Suppose you want to count the number of answers in the crossword grid. How will you do it?
["Why will I want to do such a thing", you ask? Dozens of reasons. You find the clue-sheet unusually large and suspect it's because there are more words in the grid than average. You've solved the puzzle and want to find out what percentage is made up of anagrams. You want to do it because like any self-respecting crossword solver you obsess over pointless trivia.]
Tell me how. I'll update this post after a day (by Thursday evening), with links to ways you mention in the comments, and also write how I do it.
No earth-shattering revelations so don't hold your breath, but a property of the crossword grid comes nicely into play there.
Leave a comment, and do drop in this Thursday evening IST to see the updates.
Update (22nd Oct 2009 Thu): Thanks for your comments! Tony (The MEANDERthal man) has written an equation for counting that would impress any mathematician. Baldev does it by simply counting the clues.
Colonel Gopinath, I'm pleased to find, has the same method as mine. Without further preamble, here it is.
A Quick Way To Count The Answers
- Run your eye down the DOWN set of clues, counting only those having a number common with the ACROSS set.
- Add this to the biggest clue number on the ACROSS set of clues. That's it - the number of total answers in the grid.
Applying this on today’s The Hindu 9668 (M.Manna):
Down clues sharing a number with an Across = 3 (1D, 5D, 22D)
So the grid has a total of 3 + 29 (Biggest Across clue number) = 32 answer slots.
Simpler and faster than counting the clues sequentially, isn't it?
Of course, if you have the clues in text/HTML format online, the fastest way is to paste the clues in a text editor and enable "show line numbers". (There are some things machines will easily beat humans at. At least at solving cryptic crosswords, humans still have an edge over computers.)