Thursday 23 October 2008


Guest post by Chaturvasi, co-owner and moderator of the Orkut community The Hindu Crossword Solutions.

This is an analysis of the lattices that Gridman uses for his puzzles published in The Hindu.

Puzzles that were published for the first time with the pseudonym are: 9348 to 9353 (on weekday/publication dates between Wed., Oct. 8 and Wed., Oct 15, 2008.)

Number of grids used: six. These may be numbered 1 to 6.

All the grids are based on the lattice shown below, with extra squares blocked out to divide words off:

Basic Grid

Basic Crossword Grid

Puzzle Grids

THC Blank Grid 9348 Gridman THC Blank Grid 9349 Gridman THC Blank Grid 9350 Gridman THC Blank Grid 9351 Gridman THC Blank Grid 9352 Gridman THC Blank Grid 9353 Gridman

As far as I know all these grids have been in use since mid-2001. So it is safe to assume that the compiler has been at work all these years but only lately has he got credit, though even now he uses what is apparently a pseudonym.

All the grids follow these rules:

  • at least half the letters checked in every word
  • there are not even two unchecked letters in succession, leave alone three or more unchecked letters in succession
  • no part of the grid is isolated from the rest

All the grids have a clue numbered 1 Across. In all grids, except Grid 3, it starts in top left cell.

All answers are in odd rows and odd columns. The lengthiest entries in Grid 1 and Grid 3 are in the middle of the lattice whereas in all other grids they are in the perimeter.

"Big black shapes" such as those seen occasionally in the grids that are used for the Sunday crosswords are rare, if not totally absent. Only Grid 3 (THC 9350) has an area of 5 blocks making a solid shape, which also includes a 2x2 square of blocks. None of the other grids has a 2x2 square of blocks.

Grid 1 (9348) has words of 10 letters and less. The constructor has for each succeeding grid increased, step by step, the length of the slot with the maximum number of cells. Thus, Grid 2 (9349) has words of 11-letters and less, 3 - 12 and less, 4 - 13 and less, 5 - 14 and less and 6 has words of 15 letters and less. This enables the composer to fit in words/phrases of varying length. In each grid these long slots are only two - in symmetrical positions.

None of the grids has words of less than four letters.

Grid 1 has 34 answers (16 Ac. and 18 Dn.). All the other grids have 30 answers each (16 Ac. and 14 Dn.).

For the statistical-minded here are some figures:

  Blocks Letters %Blocked  Interlocking squares  Non-interlocking squares  Mean word length
Grid 1 69 156 30.67 54 102 6.18
Grid 2 71 154 31.56 60 94 7.13
Grid 3 71 154 31.56 56 98 7
Grid 4 63 162 28 58 104 7.33
Grid 5 65 160 28.89 62 98 7.4
Grid 6 59 166 26.62 58 108 7.47

Length Distribution In Grids

Length Distribution In Gridman's Grids

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