Monday, May 22, 2006

The Crossword Trial

Last week I decided to give my crosswording skill a comprehensive test doing both Herald crosswords (straight and cryptic) everyday it was published and also the Kropotkin crossword on the weekend, to have some quantitative test of how well I can do them. I'll try it again later to see if I improve.

Here are the results:

Straight crosswords
Finish rate: 100% (6/6)
Error rate: 4 mistaken answers in 6 crosswords
Assistance: 2 answers provided from outside sources (A friend suggested vaunted for boasted, and also a comment from my mother made me realise a mistaken answer was something else).

Cryptic crosswords
Finish rate: 5 crosswords out of 6. Due to a mistake, one crossword was rendered impossible.
Error rate: 3 mistaken answers in six crosswords
Assistance: 1 answers provided using outside sources (I didn't know what a parvenu was).

I would have included timing to do them but I am often interrupted by work ;-) And besides some of them take me almost 24 hours to complete...

Kropotkin crosswords
Fortunately for my Crossword trial, I finished this crossword for the first time ever. That being said, I did have a lot of guesses, and occasional assistance. His clues are the most evil cryptics possible and the answers are occasionally words you'll never see anywhere else (not even on the internet). Last week I got one answer. I have to wait till next weekend to get the answers but so far I can say:

(out of 28 clues)
Error rate: At least 1 (I guessed an answer for a dressage movement, got it wrong, it was 'piaffe')
Assistance: Only to confirm answers

The evil of the clues are everywhere e.g.

  • Charlie cutting the duck up - back end discarded while meditating (7,3,3) = C+hewing the [k]cud
  • Is tenor featuring in opera? Order one to appear (8) = Is+op(t)era (the Order of termites, I found out later...)
  • Queen with straight wrist - wife leaves - mate comes around (9) = (to get this I needed cockney rhyming slang, as another word for mate is China i.e. china plate = mate so...) Ch+[w]rist+ina, apparently there is a Queen Christina...
  • Film someone eating around noon (a little bone) - had meal by the sound of it (6,2,5) = This is classic - 'Diner' insert the 'n' from noon, a small bone is 'a t bone' reduced to 'at' and sounds like had a meal is ate/'eight' = Din(n)er at Eight, a movie I found out, according to my mum...

I'll take it easy this week, but I'd like to try a few for speed.

No comments: