Crossword SNITCH

A quantitative guide to the degree of difficulty of the Times Cryptic Crossword

So is the Friday puzzle really harder than the rest? On the basis of NITCH calculations, the answer is a definitive yes, at least on average. And the Monday one is similarly easier. This page shows the rolling average solving times for reference solvers over a six-month period. The trend is consistent - Monday is generally easier and Friday harder, on average. This is also a good place to see the average completion times for reference solvers - click the Show button to see the details for each period.

This page summarises the average times taken by reference solvers in each six-month period. To track the trends from Monday through to Friday, each month is taken to be finished on the final Friday of the month (and the next month is taken to start on the following Monday). For each of the 155 reference solvers, the site looks at how many puzzles they have solved correctly and made it to the leaderboard in the period. If they pass several criteria (sufficient overall puzzles on the leaderboard, enough on each day, etc) their results are averaged and they are added to the set of reference solvers used for the period.

For the selected reference solvers, the average NITCH for each day of the week is also calculated, i.e. the solving time on each day of the week is compared to the reference solver's overall average for the 6-month period and then averaged again over all users. The trend towards an easier Monday and a harder Friday seems to be quite consistent. A look at the NITCH codes for the long list of puzzles on the Crosswords page confirms the trend.

Solving Trends

Month Start Date End Date Solver Count Average Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Sep 2019 01-04-2019 27-09-2019 89 20:13 82 94 101 107 112 Show
Aug 2019 25-02-2019 30-08-2019 89 19:45 82 97 100 107 110 Show
Jul 2019 28-01-2019 26-07-2019 91 20:15 81 96 105 104 112 Show
Jun 2019 31-12-2018 28-06-2019 91 20:24 82 96 106 101 111 Show
May 2019 03-12-2018 31-05-2019 92 20:35 84 96 106 98 115 Show
Apr 2019 29-10-2018 26-04-2019 93 21:08 85 98 106 97 111 Show
Mar 2019 01-10-2018 29-03-2019 94 21:35 86 100 103 98 110 Show
Feb 2019 03-09-2018 22-02-2019 97 21:41 85 98 104 97 111 Show
Jan 2019 30-07-2018 25-01-2019 100 22:03 85 99 102 99 111 Show
Dec 2018 02-07-2018 28-12-2018 103 22:11 85 101 98 100 111 Show
Nov 2018 28-05-2018 30-11-2018 104 22:02 84 102 98 102 109 Show
Oct 2018 30-04-2018 26-10-2018 105 22:03 86 100 98 103 109 Show
Sep 2018 02-04-2018 28-09-2018 72 22:11 86 97 103 100 110 Show
Aug 2018 26-02-2018 31-08-2018 78 22:07 86 96 103 99 114 Show
Jul 2018 29-01-2018 27-07-2018 77 21:25 86 94 104 101 113 Show
Jun 2018 01-01-2018 29-06-2018 73 21:43 87 91 106 99 114 Show
May 2018 27-11-2017 25-05-2018 77 21:33 88 94 107 96 112 Show
Apr 2018 30-10-2017 27-04-2018 76 21:29 86 96 105 96 113 Show
Mar 2018 02-10-2017 30-03-2018 79 21:21 86 98 104 97 112 Show
Feb 2018 28-08-2017 23-02-2018 83 21:15 86 103 102 98 106 Show
Jan 2018 31-07-2017 26-01-2018 81 21:19 85 102 100 99 109 Show
Dec 2017 03-07-2017 29-12-2017 83 21:49 81 105 100 98 111 Show
Nov 2017 29-05-2017 24-11-2017 99 22:05 81 103 95 104 113 Show
Oct 2017 01-05-2017 27-10-2017 109 22:22 81 103 97 102 113 Show
Sep 2017 03-04-2017 29-09-2017 74 21:16 83 100 95 102 117 Show
Aug 2017 27-02-2017 25-08-2017 107 22:07 82 97 99 99 119 Show
Jul 2017 30-01-2017 28-07-2017 107 21:31 83 99 98 97 118 Show
Jun 2017 02-01-2017 30-06-2017 111 21:12 83 97 97 100 118 Show
May 2017 28-11-2016 26-05-2017 113 21:13 84 94 105 98 115 Show
Apr 2017 31-10-2016 28-04-2017 112 20:16 83 95 103 101 113 Show
Mar 2017 03-10-2016 31-03-2017 110 19:40 84 98 103 100 111 Show
Feb 2017 29-08-2016 24-02-2017 106 20:06 84 98 103 101 109 Show
Jan 2017 01-08-2016 27-01-2017 104 20:34 85 98 102 103 107 Show
Dec 2016 27-06-2016 30-12-2016 111 19:57 84 99 103 101 108 Show
Nov 2016 30-05-2016 25-11-2016 107 19:24 86 101 98 101 109 Show
Oct 2016 02-05-2016 28-10-2016 104 19:29 87 100 101 98 110 Show
Sep 2016 28-03-2016 30-09-2016 108 19:34 83 102 100 99 112 Show
Aug 2016 29-02-2016 26-08-2016 102 19:27 83 102 97 102 112 Show
Jul 2016 01-02-2016 29-07-2016 101 19:59 81 103 97 100 114 Show
Jun 2016 28-12-2015 24-06-2016 104 20:14 83 100 99 99 115 Show
May 2016 30-11-2015 27-05-2016 100 19:22 81 101 103 99 111 Show
Apr 2016 02-11-2015 29-04-2016 102 18:42 82 103 102 102 107 Show
Mar 2016 28-09-2015 25-03-2016 100 18:35 83 101 100 104 108 Show