The Stickler Weekly Insights 215

When Greg C announced that he had given up “conventional” solving techniques and reverted to electronic helpers after just 3 days of The Stickler Weekly 215 being released, my heart sank. It’s definitely the modern way, with such tools readily available and our busyness preventing us from letting things play out naturally. My spirits were lifted, however, by the responses of the regular solvers who painted a picture of patience, persistence and preseverance.
If you read the blog, you’ll notice nothing much happens on the Wednesday a new Stickler Weekly is posted (maybe a few comments on the previous one) until the evening when some have got stuck in. Thursday things liven up, and by Friday, the regulars have largely nutted everything out and resolved any outstanding issues. To the lurkers, those following but not posting, it seems most people have The Stickler Weekly done and dusted by the weekend. I’m here to tell you, that’s a long way from the truth. We have less than 10 regular posters, yet about 200 people attempt each Stickler Weekly. About 95% of solvers take a significantly longer time to solve, and many haven’t finished the last one before the next one is published. I have access to statistics from my website that show the solving trends, and it’s a small percentage of solvers who access the new Stickler Weekly the day it is published.
The Stickler Weekly isn’t easy to solve – it is designed that way. A weekly offering is always going to be more difficult than a daily one as solvers have a week to do it. Trust, though, that I always create clues that can be solved from the wordplay alone, that is, you don’t NEED the answer to make the clue work. That means, as a solver, you are always in the game: it might take multiple attempts, a number of rethinks and a good night’s sleep, but you will get there in the end, as that’s how the clues have been designed.
My one tip for solving is to have access to good reference books in print, on your computer, or through the net. As I’ve said many times before, I use these to create the crosswords, so it’s only right that solvers should use them too. There’s no way a solver, even a really good one, knows (or can remember) all the meanings to all the words in a dictionary and knows all the synonyms of a word or phrase. Get yourself access to a good dictionary and thesaurus and use these extensively to help you solve. Leave the crossword solver websites to the day before the answers come out and use them always as a last resort.

The Stickler

Spread the word
This entry was posted in Crosswords General, Stickler Weekly General, Stickler Weekly Puzzles, The Stickler. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to The Stickler Weekly Insights 215

  1. Richard Sternes says:

    Solvers strictly as Last Resort now David.
    But for example, couldn’t have got 215/25a without, or 214/13a either.

  2. Richard Sternes says:

    Learning the Craft of Cryptics is never over. …YAY!!!
    Those at beginning of their Cryptic Journey should not hesitate to seek assistance in Clue Hints posts. We all started out once. There will always be someone with an alternative View to a Clue, happy to assist & most importantly, do it with proper respect.

    • Arthur Maynard says:

      I remember in my early days with challenging puzzles (eg Guardian) when I was struggling how I was reluctant to join a blog for fear that unknown people would think less of me because my problems were simple. I hope that is not an issue for solvers of Stickler. Regardless of how long we have been solving, there are learning opportunities and times when we are at the wall.
      A visit to the blog gives new direction. Just reading the blogs might tip the balance.
      I endorse Richard’s comment above.

  3. Andrew Gibson says:

    Life would be dull without the Sticklers, both the one in the Fin Review and this one on line. Yes I do have an electronic solver in the bottom of the drawer somewhere but I never ever use it. I bought it quite a few years ago when I tried my hand at setting crosswords to help find words that would fit in the grid where needed. Whilst it was good here I soon discovered that I lacked the very special skills needed to shape the clues in such a way that the whole thing could be solved.
    I tend to do my solving on the weekends, first the Fin on Saturday and the Weekly on Sundays. About half the time I can solve Saturday’s in a single sitting but the other usually takes a bit longer. Some of the time an answer comes to me in a flash when I am totally involved with something else, so it just goes to show that the old brain never shuts off.
    All the best and keep on stickling.

  4. Arthur Maynard says:

    Pronunciation is another element which can influence the ability to solve a puzzle. “Flower” is a simple example. Occasionally I find the need to read a clue aloud word by word and looking for alternate pronunciations.