I almost prepared a puzzle to go up today, but thought at the last minute to check the relevant page on the site – sure enough, I’d already picked it, and its neighbour.
Pshaw! I thought, and prepared the next one I had on my list. Which once again it was a puzzle I had already put up. I will point you at it, though, as I intend to follow it in July with something I know I haven’t yet put up, and which forms a sort of sequel.
What I don’t have is time to prepare a third puzzle (there’s a grid clamouring to be done), so I shall resort to some musing about Ninas, based on last week’s Independent puzzle.
I don’t remember my puzzles terribly well. When I grid one, I know it will usually be a few weeks before I write the clues, and a few more before it goes off to an editor. So I leave myself notes to remind me what the Nina is. These notes will generally be simply a comment plus a list of the grid entries (or cells) involved, otherwise I wouldn’t spot everything when it came to summarise things in the notes. Indeed, a couple of weeks ago, I realised there was an extra thematic entry while clueing; how I’d missed seeing it in the initial grid fill, I couldn’t imagine.
Looking at these lists, I noticed that many of the puzzles had more across entries than down ones. I wondered whether that was because I instinctively read across the page, and this led to me wondering whether solvers do so as well. So I prepared one puzzle with hidden across thematic entries (which actually spanned two separate lights), then flipped the puzzle across its diagonal so they were down entries. (I then made it a pangram, which was probably a diversionary tactic too far. But it got so close without me really trying…)
And what happened? Along comes a solver who admits they tend to read downwards. But I guess there isn’t really a credible sample size either side of the issue at the moment. What does anyone else think?
Upcoming puzzles before the next update (and I’m getting out the boxfile for an unvisited year…): a Times Quick and a Times Jumbo either side of the next Independent.