I started solving cryptics in the 1970s, a time by which firm standards and guidelines had been set regarding what was acceptable in cryptic crosswords. I think this was a golden age of sorts, when many people learnt the art of solving, most of which are still solving today. That’s a lot of crosswords, 40-odd years worth: approximately 10,000 crosswords solving an average of 5 a week. For fans who solve cryptics in multiple papers, the number could easily be double.
I’m interested in your history with cryptics: when and how you started and maybe some of your solving habits. If you’ve been solving a long time, what are your expectations when it comes to progress, innovation and variety within cryptic crosswords? Do you think cryptics need to “evolve” as you “evolve” and become more experienced? How can cryptic crosswords cater for experienced and inexperienced solvers at the same time?
Time for you to give me your insights.