Friday, 9/27/19

Add your times here.

Dear "Not a Blog" "readers":
I've decided to quit speed-solving for the foreseeable future. The time I have to spend on crosswords has been dwindling this year, and my personal and work lives are going to keep getting busier. For the last 11 years, I've tried to be in peak form when I'm solving the daily crosswords, so I can post the fastest possible times. If it's too early in the day, too late in the day, I'm not sober enough, not in the right mood, I put off solving until I have time to do it "right".

This isn't sustainable if I want to continue enjoying this hobby. This summer I took a six-week "sabbatical" when I was working on two musicals at once, and didn't do any crosswords at all except the ones I'm paid to test-solve. I had to force myself to collect the .puz files and get back into regular solving, and I've still got a huge backlog. I want to keep solving as many quality puzzles as I can, and keep competing in the ACPT, but I'm releasing myself from the self-imposed pressure of sharing my solving times here.

I'm happy to continue hosting daily spreadsheets, but won't spend the time to set up the daily docs and blog posts. This has always been a manual process - it only takes 30-60 seconds per day, but that adds up. Yes, I have typed out "Add your times here." more than 2,500 times. If any of you friendly folks who enjoy the spreadsheet are interested in taking over (either on this site or your own), please get in touch. I've got posts scheduled for the next few weeks.

Now I need to figure out how I'm going to catch up with the 75+ Rows Garden puzzles that have been piling up on my desk...


Tyler M said...


Thank you for all of the time and dedication you've put into this blog. Though I've only been posting here for less than a year, there has been a considerable increase in my enjoyment of solving (and a decrease in my times!) as a result. I'm glad to have found a group of individuals who share my hobby and am grateful that you've provided a space for us. I hope that this decision brings you peace and allows you to continue doing what you love.

All the best,

Tyler M

Joon said...

first of all, thanks for doing this for so many years. it's made a significant difference to me, especially in my early years when i was trying to gauge my improvement.

second, pretty much all of this should be automatable. i'd have to do some homework to figure out how to programmatically create the spreadsheets, but the blog posts ought to be no problem.

oeuftete said...

Dan, thanks for keeping this going for so long. It's been super helpful to me.

I still remember suggesting to you many ACPTs ago that I could help automate this process, but I never did. :( Like Joon, I'd have to do a bit of homework on the spreadsheet automation part, but automating processes with code is what I do for a living, and I've got a few weeks before my next job starts, so there's no better time!

Joon, let me know if you'd like to team up on this! Meanwhile, I'll take a quick stab at getting a POC automated spreadsheet going on my own account.

Dan said...

Tyler - I'm not that dedicated! I meant to welcome you when you started visiting, but never did... thanks for contributing and I'm sure there'll be a new-and-improved version somewhere going forward. Hope we'll see you at a crossword tournament or three sometime soon!

Ken - I certainly remember the conversations, and I was going to get in touch once I decided to bail, but figured others might chime in to help as well. Thanks to you and Joon! I don't even know if individual daily spreadsheets are the best way (as opposed to a giant one), it's just what my computer skills could handle.

oeuftete said...

So I've been working a bit with Joon, and there's now a fully automated daily post and spreadsheet going at!

There might still be some improvements to be made, but as best I can tell, it's ready to become the site/sheet of record whenever things are no longer available here.