John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton

That looks familiar

I bought myself a copy of How to Conquer the New York Times Crossword Puzzle: Tips, Tricks and Techniques to Master America's Favorite Puzzle a couple of weeks ago, and I've been working my way through it. I'm already reasonably good at solving the NYT puzzles; I would rate myself a solid Thursday solver, meaning that I can fairly consistently solve puzzles at a Thursday level of difficulty (NYT puzzles increase in difficulty throughout the week) without too much trouble. I can usually struggle through a Friday puzzle, but rarely in one sitting. Saturday is almost always beyond my grasp. But hey, that's why I bought the book, right?

Anyway, like I said, I've been working my way through the book, and I'm in the Thursday section right now. And the last two puzzles I solved were, in fact, puzzles I had already solved. That is, I remember them from the paper. I have mixed feelings about that. On the one hand, it's sort of irritating -- how can I get better if I'm practicing on puzzles I've already solved? On the other hand, doing the puzzles a second time demonstrates how far I've come in the last year as a solver. The last one I did (which appeared in the paper on August 2, 2006) caused me fits the first time I saw it. This time was much easier, of course, in no small part because I rememered the gimmick and was thus able to fill in most of the theme answers right away, but the rest of the fill came a lot easier than before, and I didn't remember any of that. Still, I think all things being equal, I'd rather practice on puzzles I haven't already solved.

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