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George Versus the Listener Crossword is about one average crossword solvers battle with the Listener Crossword.  I’m trying to get better at this, one barred grid at a time.  Now in the seventh year, here is the progress so far…

2008:  George 27, Listener 25

2009:  George 33, Listener 19

2010:  George 38, Listener 13

2011:  George 40, Listener 13

For 2012 and beyond I’ve gone to a more American scoring style – first column is completions, second column is complete wipeouts and third column is close but no cigar

2012:  40-3-8

2013:  38-7-7

4 Responses

  1. George

    The Listener looks far too difficult for me. Have you had a look at AZED? It keeps me occupied most of Sundays, and I wondered how it compares in degree of difficulty with ‘Mephisto’.

    I’m hoping it will allow me to get better at the Times daily puzzle, which I am still pretty rubbish at.

  2. Hi Andrew

    I do Azed every week too – the difficulty level fluctuates, I find I can get further on most Azed puzzles without dictionaries than I do on the Mephisto, but I usually need longer to finish. I also seem to miss some of the more arcane words.

    Mephisto is an interesting one because it rotates through three setters. I find Mike Laws the most difficult of the three, and he often works in really obscure biological terms. I find Paul McKenna the easiest (sorry Paul), but I think that’s because I like his wordplay elements, I seem to get on the wavelength easily.

    So I’m usually correct or close to on Mephisto and Azed each week. You can find blogs of them at Times for the Times (sometimes I do the Mephisto blog there), and at Fifteen Squared (Ilan Caron, who comments here very occasionally and Peter Biddecombe are amongst the people writing up over there).

    Funny you’re doing it in that order… I got to the point where I could regularly solve the daily Times before I could even get anywhere on Mephisto or Listener (I started doing Azed last year when the Guardian opened up their service).

  3. Thanks George. I started with ‘Everyman’ 16 months ago, and a retired colleague who regularly does well at the AZED clue writing comp (several times cup winner), and a 20minute ‘Times’ man, encouraged me to buy a Bradford and Chambers and try AZED. I am now hooked!

    Dorset Jimbo (DJ to my Guru) made the point that barred puzzles help with Dailys, and I am gradually improving. I guess I don’t get round to really having a good think about the Times every day, wheras I spend a fair bit of time doing AZED on Sundays.

    My crossword guru Eddie is a big fan of your blogs on ‘Times for the Times’ by the way.

  4. With Joshua Kosman, I co-set the cryptic crossword in The Nation (a US weekly). We also co-edited the collection National Puzzlers’ League Cryptic Crosswords, available for free download at http://www.puzzlers.org.

    The purpose of this message is to ask you to add Word Salad, our cryptic crossword blog, to your links page. The URL is
    We already have your blog on our blogroll.

    Thanks in advance!

    –Henri Picciotto

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