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?

For each reference and tracked solver, we keep track of their alignment to the SNITCH on their individual solver page. You can find this individual page from the daily detailed results (the user's name is a link). The alignment is shown as a graph of their recent results against the SNITCH for the same crosswords.

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

Recent crosswords

Day:Friday
Date:2024-03-01
Number:28853
PDF link:PDF 28853
SNITCH:100
Blog Link: Times for the Times 28853
More details:Detail and results
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Day:Thursday
Date:2024-02-29
Number:28852
PDF link:PDF 28852
SNITCH:118
Blog Link: Times for the Times 28852
More details:Detail and results
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Day:Wednesday
Date:2024-02-28
Number:28851
PDF link:PDF 28851
SNITCH:112
Blog Link: Times for the Times 28851
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
100 2024-02-26 28849 77 28850 95 28851 112 28852 118 28853 100
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
94 2023-07-03 28645 69 28646 83 28647 91 28648 104 28649 123
107 2023-06-26 28639 87 28640 113 28641 140 28642 63 28643 132
93 2023-06-19 28633 63 28634 136 28635 97 28636 76 28637 97
97 2023-06-12 28627 104 28628 76 28629 101 28630 129 28631 79
95 2023-06-05 28621 70 28622 81 28623 79 28624 88 28625 158
89 2023-05-29 28615 95 28616 61 28617 84 28618 78 28619 127
118 2023-05-22 28609 93 28610 58 28611 103 28612 139 28613 197
95 2023-05-15 28603 66 28604 86 28605 106 28606 110 28607 111
89 2023-05-08 28597 89 28598 71 28599 89 28600 104 28601 92
90 2023-05-01 28591 72 28592 78 28593 95 28594 88 28595 118
90 2023-04-24 28585 66 28586 103 28587 76 28588 133 28589 74
87 2023-04-17 28579 138 28580 74 28581 96 28582 71 28583 144
103 2023-04-10 28573 102 28574 130 28575 88 28576 106 28577 90
67 2023-04-03 28567 54 28568 86 28569 79 28570 109 28571 78
87 2023-03-27 28561 57 28562 57 28563 115 28564 77 28565 130
98 2023-03-20 28555 90 28556 82 28557 107 28558 119 28559 93
91 2023-03-13 28549 59 28550 86 28551 74 28552 96 28553 141
98 2023-03-06 28543 77 28544 65 28545 106 28546 85 28547 161
89 2023-02-27 28537 88 28538 77 28539 79 28540 85 28541 116
101 2023-02-20 28531 99 28532 80 28533 108 28534 120