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Superhard Crosswords to Keep You Sharp Spiral-bound – April 6, 2010
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These are gross exaggerations, and I can prove it.
Here are my times in minutes and seconds for the first nine puzzles: 10:07, 10:29, 14:14, 15:52, 10:27, 8:37, 6:31, 10:54, and 7:37. The sum of these times is 94:48, and the average is 10:32. If we throw out the two flyers the average drops to 10:20, but let's be conservative and round up to 11 minutes even.
To decide whether 11 minutes per puzzle is hard you need to know two facts. One fact is that the "New York Times" daily crossword puzzle -- sized 15 by 15 just as the puzzles are in the book under discussion -- gets harder throughout the week; Monday puzzles are the easiest, and Saturdays are the hardest. The other fact is that I have kept a record of my times solving those puzzles for over a dozen years, so I know how long on average each day's puzzle takes me.
Before I put the two facts together, let me point out that it doesn't matter whether your times are much faster or much slower than mine. All that matters is whether the puzzles in this collection are hard.
If they are, you would expect them to take me as long as at least a NYT Saturday, whether I'm a really fast solver or a really slow one. If they take me as long as a average Friday, then there's no way they can be fairly described as superhard.
In fact, my average time for a Saturday is a whopping 40:34.Read more ›