Cryptic Crossword Research (Update – May 2016)

Cryptic Crossword Research
by Kathryn Friedlander and Philip Fine

Many of you kindly helped us in our research by completing a very detailed survey of personal background and solving habits, advertised via this board in 2010. We’ve just published some of the results from this large-scale survey in the Open Access international journal ‘Frontiers’, and a link is available here for anyone who is interested in downloading and reading the findings (click on the Download Article button for a pdf).

The article itself has two purposes: first to explain what cryptic crosswords are to a US audience (which always assumes that any reference to crosswords refers to their own definitional puzzle!); and secondly to try to establish a new methodological approach in the performance/expertise field. We’re suggesting that a good place to start is by characterizing the people engaged in a performance area, so you really get to know what ‘floats their boat’; surprisingly, this isn’t the normal approach.

Thanks to your help, we gathered a great deal of information about people who solve cryptic crosswords across the whole spectrum of solving achievement (whether casual hobbyist, speed solver, Listener solver or professional setter). The questions we asked covered a wide range of topics such as education, degree subject, occupation, hobbies and motivation for solving, so there’s lots to ponder.

We do hope that you enjoy reading the findings: the plan now is to bring forward a number of papers which have been ‘waiting in the wings’, so we will be interested to follow any discussion on the board. Or do get back to us directly with comments if you would prefer: my email address is given in the paper itself (corresponding author).

Many thanks again for taking part

Kathryn Friedlander and Philip Fine
University of Buckingham

Full article reference: Friedlander, K. J., & Fine, P. A. (2016). The Grounded Expertise Components Approach in the novel area of cryptic crossword solving. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 567. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00567

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