Crossword SNITCH

A quantitative guide to the degree of difficulty of the Times Cryptic Crossword

ScoreGrade
Less than 64Very easy
64-93Easier
94-108Moderate
109-138Harder
More than 138Very hard

The SNITCH (Same-day Numeric Index of Times Cryptic Hardness) is a score of the difficulty for each Times Cryptic Crossword as shown in the table.

It is based on the time taken by reference solvers to complete the crossword with no errors. On this page the movement of the SNITCH (as reference solvers complete the puzzle) is shown for recent days. Scroll down to see the final NITCH value and a link to the underlying details for many past crosswords.

How hard is each Times Cryptic Crossword? A good way to judge this is to work out how long it takes a group of experienced solvers to complete the solution without errors. This site uses a group of over 100 solvers who regularly complete the crossword on the Club site. Each solver's time to complete the puzzle is compared to their average over the last six months. This is averaged again across all the solvers to provide an overall rating, the Numeric Index of Times Cryptic Hardness (NITCH). See the actual results for each six-month period at the Trends page.

A NITCH value of 100 means that the crossword is solved in the average time. A value of 150 means that the crossword takes (on average) one and a half times the normal time; a figure of 67 means that it is solved in two thirds of the normal time.

That's fine for a historical view (after everyone's completed the crossword), but it would be nice to see how today's crossword is going. So this site also calculates the SNITCH, Same-day NITCH, by updating the NITCH value regularly. Early results may be a bit misleading, so the movement of the SNITCH and the number of reference users who've completed the puzzle is graphed to give you some idea of how the value has varied during the day.

A sanity check of the NITCH code against the senitments in the Times for the Times blog has been done. Crosswords that have a high NITCH tend to be regarded as difficult in the blog, and those with a low NITCH are generally seen as easy. No measuring system will be perfect, but the NITCH seems to be a reasonable way to score the difficulty.

Did you know?

The SNITCH calculations are based on the solutions submitted to the Crossword Club. But we do have a few blog solvers whose times are picked up and tracked from the times submitted in their comments in theTimes for the Times blog. Further details are on the Neutrinos page.

If you would like to help cover the costs of running the SNITCH site, please "buy me a coffee".

Recent crosswords

Day:Friday
Date:2024-07-19
Number:28973
PDF link:PDF 28973
SNITCH:95
Blog Link: Times for the Times 28973
More details:Detail and results
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Day:Thursday
Date:2024-07-18
Number:28972
PDF link:PDF 28972
SNITCH:93
Blog Link: Times for the Times 28972
More details:Detail and results
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Day:Wednesday
Date:2024-07-17
Number:28971
PDF link:PDF 28971
SNITCH:136
Blog Link: Times for the Times 28971
More details:Detail and results
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Why does the number of Reference solvers often decrease during the day?

For the SNITCH calculation, only the Reference solvers in the top 100 of the leader board are used. The main reason for this is to make the SNITCH/NITCH calculation repeatable. Only the data for the top 100 solvers is available to all users. Members can see their own results (and the few surrounding) outside the top 100, but these are not available to everyone. So, if Reference solver results get pushed outside of the top 100, I remove them from the SNITCH calculation and show this reduction in the Reference solver count.

Past crosswords

This table contains NITCH scores and links for the last year of crosswords. Please see the full archive link for the complete set.

Week beginning Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
99 2024-07-15 28969 67 28970 105 28971 136 28972 93 28973 95
95 2024-07-08 28963 66 28964 83 28965 97 28966 114 28967 119
105 2024-07-01 28957 59 28958 85 28959 109 28960 129 28961 147
99 2024-06-24 28951 60 28952 98 28953 96 28954 98 28955 146
94 2024-06-17 28945 78 28946 106 28947 98 28948 99 28949 90
94 2024-06-10 28939 73 28940 77 28941 114 28942 99 28943 107
96 2024-06-03 28933 72 28934 100 28935 73 28936 106 28937 132
96 2024-05-27 28927 97 28928 82 28929 106 28930 82 28931 113
101 2024-05-20 28921 76 28922 80 28923 85 28924 117 28925 147
97 2024-05-13 28915 76 28916 55 28917 126 28918 119 28919 113
99 2024-05-06 28909 99 28910 65 28911 80 28912 110 28913 144
76 2024-04-29 28903 67 28904 79 28905 86 28906 60 28907 91
87 2024-04-22 28897 57 28898 94 28899 125 28900 85 28901 78
101 2024-04-15 28891 85 28892 80 28893 117 28894 107 28895 119
86 2024-04-08 28885 67 28886 70 28887 75 28888 113 28889 107
92 2024-04-01 28879 89 28880 92 28881 79 28882 70 28883 130
86 2024-03-25 28873 65 28874 83 28875 93 28876 114 28877 79
101 2024-03-18 28867 61 28868 96 28869 127 28870 92 28871 133
98 2024-03-11 28861 89 28862 96 28863 98 28864 98 28865 109
91 2024-03-04 28855 73 28856 63 28857 95 28858 102 28859 124
99 2024-02-26 28849 77 28850 95 28851 112 28852 117 28853 97
78 2024-02-19 28843 63 28844 57 28845 85 28846 88 28847 101
92 2024-02-12 28837 89 28838 59 28839 98 28840 112 28841 106
76 2024-02-05 28831 68 28832 74 28833 89 28834 72 28835 78
87 2024-01-29 28825 64 28826 78 28827 85 28828 128 28829 83
101 2024-01-22 28819 65 28820 104 28821 108 28822 138 28823 94
100 2024-01-15 28813 59 28814 95 28815 90 28816 115 28817 142
83 2024-01-08 28807 70 28808 69 28809 68 28810 99 28811 111
72 2024-01-01 28801 72 28802 64 28803 71 28804 76 28805 77
93 2023-12-25 28795 66 28796 86 28797 133 28798 78 28799 106
99 2023-12-18 28789 96 28790 59 28791 116 28792 105 28793 120
101 2023-12-11 28783 78 28784 117 28785 99 28786 121 28787 90
107 2023-12-04 28777 73 28778 93 28779 142 28780 99 28781 128
106 2023-11-27 28771 68 28772 108 28773 100 28774 150 28775 104
101 2023-11-20 28765 97 28766 109 28767 94 28768 89 28769 117
90 2023-11-13 28759 82 28760 66 28761 64 28762 104 28763 137
94 2023-11-06 28753 89 28754 83 28755 89 28756 84 28757 126
88 2023-10-30 28747 73 28748 83 28749 92 28750 86 28751 109
94 2023-10-23 28741 96 28742 113 28743 71 28744 95 28745 99
90 2023-10-16 28735 63 28736 88 28737 85 28738 125 28739 93
92 2023-10-09 28729 71 28730 74 28731 106 28732 112 28733 98
98 2023-10-02 28723 88 28724 64 28725 85 28726 98 28727 156
98 2023-09-25 28717 60 28718 107 28719 93 28720 139 28721 91
100 2023-09-18 28711 85 28712 96 28713 70 28714 132 28715 118
92 2023-09-11 28705 67 28706 88 28707 74 28708 97 28709 134
93 2023-09-04 28699 68 28700 79 28701 82 28702 118 28703 119
87 2023-08-28 28693 59 28694 71 28695 74 28696 111 28697 124
116 2023-08-21 28687 64 28688 112 28689 155 28690 131 28691 121
92 2023-08-14 28681 56 28682 98 28683 109 28684 87 28685 113
91 2023-08-07 28675 78 28676 93 28677 66 28678 100 28679 122
94 2023-07-31 28669 55 28670 83 28671 89 28672 113 28673 133
102 2023-07-24 28663 99 28664 107 28665 90 28666 99 28667 115
95 2023-07-17 28657 70 28658 117 28659 92 28660 83 28661 115
86 2023-07-10 28651 91 28652 71 28653 105 28654 84 28655 79
69 2023-07-03 28645 69