This week I published The Stickler Weekly 100. If I was being published in the SMH/Age, this crossword would mark almost 2 years of work. In terms of The Stickler that used to appear in The Daily Telegraph, it would mark only about 4 months work. Milestones used to come every 1000, just over 3.3 years worth of daily contributions. When I look back I don’t know how I did it, especially as The Stickler was just one of the many puzzles I used to write regularly. There’s no doubt my mind operated at a different level back then as writing crosswords was my livelihood and a daily routine established a repeatable working pattern, both physically and mentally. I was highly motivated, keen to bring experienced crossword solvers something to chew on and newbies something to chip away at. I saw my daily puzzle as accessible to all and hoped that its consistency would help unlock cryptic mysteries for those wanting to learn the solving art.
I don’t know what I actually achieved in my 15 years of professional crossword writing, but I don’t think a lot has changed in crossword-solving land. Two years on, and I have to admit I struggle to complete the relatively small amount of crossword work I have left: the enthusiasm is waning, the brain just ticking over and energy levels are low. It’s a different world as a hobby crossword writer, an unstructured one with little reward and no prospects. However, I do enjoy the personal messages and occasional blog posts of encouragement, and these keep me going.
I want to thank all those who believe in me and those who have contributed in any way in the past. I don’t know if there will be a Stickler Weekly 200, but for now I’m taking it one puzzle at a time.