Cryptic crossword setting – Live! – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Cryptic crossword setting – Live!

A message from Dean Mayer (Anax, Elkamere in the Telegraph Toughie series)

Hello everyone.

Early next week – Tuesday 11th September, 4pm UK time to be precise – I’m going to try something new. I really don’t know if it has been attempted before.

There are some YouTube videos of solvers tackling daily cryptics, but how about watching a setter creating a puzzle from scratch, live, in real time, as it happens etc?

Everybody is welcome to come and watch, and there will be live chat so you can interact with each other, ask me questions about the setting process, all that good stuff.

The live broadcast will be via Twitch (I no longer use YouTube) and the channel is here:

There is a countdown timer below the main screen so you can remind yourself of when it all starts.

I really hope to see you there – it should be a lot of fun, although it may also be a one-off!

Dean (Anax, Elkamere)

If you missed it, then try the puzzle here

… or watch a recording of the event on YouTube here


23 comments on “Cryptic crossword setting – Live!

  1. Interesting idea, Dean, I will be watching.

    Can we suggest some stinkers to clue – I’ve got quite a list of those!

  2. Well, hopefully part of the process will include how to avoid stinkers in the grid! However, chat will be open to all and you can share stinkers there, see who can come up with clues for them.
    We’ll be starting with a completely blank grid, and while clue-writing is a necessary part of building the puzzle, I’m particularly looking forward to showing what Crossword Compiler does (along with other bits of software used by setters), as this is something I’m asked about frequently.

      1. I’m probably not too far behind. But this will be different, wholly new environment – explaining software, grid building, choosing answers etc, and interacting with chat, so it’ll be a long ‘un.

        1. I was on a roll with that one. I suspect it usually takes me about 12 hours in total, but that’s likely to be spread over 3 days.

  3. I watched the video of Mark Goodliffe solving 3 of the dailies … it will be most interesting to see your experiment.

    Hope that works on my iPad onTuesday!

    Good Luck!

  4. Should have mentioned… unlike YouTube, a Twitch channel is effectively a single page. As such, the chat is always available even when the stream is offline, so if you’re at a bit of a loose end and want to come and say hello before we go live, please do!

    1. I was – but I’m giving up, as it keeps freezing with Media Decoding Error and then when I refresh, it’s that advert all over again. Can’t hear him properly and the video keeps blurring.

      Never mind – I’ll stick to notepad and the dictionary

  5. It held my interest throughout, and parts of it were really enlightening (no pun intended). I thought that trying to think up clues while others are watching (and chatting to them at the same time) might be inhibiting, but Elkamere said the gridfill was actually achieved quicker than usual.
    Very enjoyable session, and a fine puzzle at the end of it.

  6. Great fun! For those who want a record of the puzzle, it’s here (solvable online or as a downlaodable PDF)

    The stream is also uploading to YouTube and should be available to view in 20 minutes or so:

    My apologies for audio echoing in the first part of the stream. It was caused by the channel tab being open on my laptop (from which I was streaming). Even though I couldn’t hear it myself, it was evidently coming through until I muted it.

  7. It was very well attended – probably the reason it’s been on the quiet side here today! A really interesting exercise – thanks.

    I’d be interested to see comments from those who have solved without/before watching, to compare how the puzzle looks from each direction as it were.

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