Last month I set a few cryptic crosswords for a college fest. My setting experience has so far been limited to a occasional entries to clue-writing contests; this was my first attempt at compiling full grids for public solving.
I learnt a few lessons. Comments/experiences, new setters and old?
1 Your puzzle is harder than you imagine. You wrote it - you know how it works. Your audience does not.
2 You will be faced will tough setting choices. A word with a clue you are dying to put in, which narrows the crossing to an intractable word. Should you sacrifice your lovely clue, or go with it and hope the solvers will forgive you for the dull crossing?
3 What is common knowledge to you, or awfully interesting to you, may not be to all your solvers.
4 One test solver will find errors that multiple self-checks missed.
5 If you try something different, you must be prepared for extreme reactions.
6 Your work isn't over until you see the puzzle in published form, for there may be publishing errors.
7 When solvers discuss your puzzles, don't be in a hurry to offer hints or explanations. They can work them out.
8 Only a fraction of those who attempt your puzzles give feedback. Cherish that feedback.
9 The rules of fairness you insist upon as solver suddenly feel like painful chains of lead. Why must I not write a proper noun in lowercase? Why must I not put in "over" and "into" wherever I want? The good solvers can still solve it, can't they? Can't they?
10 It isn't much fun if your puzzle gets cracked too soon. It is even less fun if your puzzle doesn't get cracked at all.
- So the slips might not show... ~ Chaturvasi
- Useful Tools For Crossword Setters ~ Anax
- How to Put Words In A Crossword Grid ~ Chaturvasi
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