Nine Thousand?

Yes, I really solved about 9,000 crosswords last year. I counted. Contrary to what may be popular belief, I didn’t set a goal of solving 25 puzzles a day in order to try and win the ACPT. I just happened to spend a lot of free time on my new hobby! (Well, sure... once I realized I was approaching top-ten-level speed, I stepped it up. But that wasn't until October.) I've only been doing crosswords on a daily basis for a year and a half -– for a couple years before that, it was a much smaller portion of my free time.

So at the end of 2008, I decided to try tallying up my total, literally on the back of an envelope. I shared the result on Facebook, Amy Reynaldo mentioned it on her blog, and I guess word spread, because everyone was asking me about it at the ACPT. I don't know if anybody was impressed, or just frightened. If I solve that many puzzles this year -- and dear Lord I hope I don't -- you're not going to hear about it.

Anyway, I recently found that envelope with numbers scribbled on it, so if you’re curious about the breakdown:

Start with all the daily puzzles, i.e. the ones blogged by Amy in 2008. That's nearly 2,000 (we’ll round up). Seven-plus years of archived New York Times puzzles, for a total of about 2,700 (1996-2000, ’04, ’06, ’07). Exactly 875 delicious Sun crosswords. One to three years’ worth each of old Puzzle Pointers-pointed puzzles: Reagle, WSJ, CHE, Inkwell, Onion, etc., totaling about 900. Another 300 miscellaneous online puzzles, Second Sunday and variety crosswords.

And I bought a LOT of books. These are the ones I finished in 2008:
Humorous (Millhauser), …Dummies (Berry), Really Clever 2 (Levinson Wilk), Crasswords (ed. Heaney), A-to-Z (Norris), Mensa (Longo), Challenging (CrosSynergy), Two-Step (Hook), Strain Your Brain (Payne), Super Saturday (NYT ’03-’05), Sports and Movie (ed. Gaffney), Ultrahard Vol. 3 (ed. Newman), and World’s Longest (Longo), which I’m only counting as one.

Partly/Mostly Finished Books: Cranium-Crushing (Longo), Really Clever (Levinson Wilk), Rainy Day (Estes), 10-Minute (Ashwood-Smith), Pop Culture (Payne), Baseball (Kahn), Twisted (Hook), Savage #1 (Savage), Cranium Crackers (ed. Newman), NYT Saturdays (ed. Maleska, surprisingly fun), Masterpiece Collection (ed. Newman), Mega #1 (Simon & Schuster), and several Omnibuses (Boston Globe Vol. 3, NY Mag Vol. 1, WashPost Vol. 3). And a couple of Dell “Crosswords Crosswords” magazines.

That’s about 2,000 in the “bound” category. Adding up all those numbers doesn’t quite make 9,000, so I guess I rounded up. Would the reaction have been much different if I had claimed 20 puzzles a day and 7,500 for the year? Probably not. Ah well... everyone needs a claim to fame!


Joon said...

okay, i was thinking about this, and ... it's not all that crazy. really. even if i don't increase the amount of time i spend on crosswords, if i just shift my focus from reading crossword blogs to solving more puzzles, i can easily get up to 5 or 6 thousand/year. and from then it's just a hop, skip and a jump to 9000.

wait, no. on second thought, it really is all that crazy. you crazy, crazy son of a bitch.

Anonymous said...

I may or may not have all the pre-Across Lite NYT puzzles ('93-'96) in Across Lite format. Let me know if you're interested.