Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My 2013 New York Times Crossword Stats

Of the 365 New York Times crossword puzzles published in 2013, I solved 232 of them, or 64%. By “solved” I mean I correctly filled in all the blank squares without any outside assistance, whether by asking for help or looking things up or anything else like that. And I only do 'em with pen on paper -- that's today's puzzle, above. I also kept semi-detailed records on my progress, as broken down in the sabermetric-like stats below...

Percentage Solved by Month
January: 13/31 -- 42% (year-to-date: 13/31-- 42%)
February: 16/28 -- 57% (year-to-date: 29/59 -- 49%)
March: 15/31 -- 48% (year-to-date: 44/90 -- 49%)
April: 19/30 -- 63% (year-to-date: 63/120 -- 53%)
May: 13/31 -- 42% (year-to-date: 76/151 -- 50%)
June: 20/30 -- 67% (year-to-date: 96/181 -- 53%)
July: 23/31 -- 74% (year-to-date: 119/212 -- 56%)
August: 25/31 -- 81% (year-to-date: 144/243 -- 59%)
September: 24/30 -- 80% (year-to-date: 168/273 -- 62%)
October: 23/31 -- 74% (year-to-date: 191/304 -- 63%)
November: 21/30 -- 70% (year-to-date: 212/334 -- 63%)
December: 20/31 -- 65% (year-to-date: 232/365 -- 64%)
After starting the year relatively slowly, I solved the greatest number (and percentage) of puzzles in August -- don’t know if they were easier then, or if I was in the proverbial zone, or what. My longest solving streak was 25, from Sunday August 18 to Wednesday September 11. (On the other hand, my worst unsolved streaks were a couple of five-day runs early in the year.) But the general trend is that I got better as the year went on, having solved just 53% in the first six months of the year, followed by 74% in the second six months.

Percentage Solved by Day
Mondays: 48/52 -- 92%
Tuesdays: 45/53 -- 85%
Wednesdays: 38/52 -- 73%
Thursdays: 32/52 -- 62%
Fridays: 33/52 -- 64%
Saturdays: 15/52 -- 29%
Sundays: 21/52 -- 40%
The puzzles generally get tougher as the week progresses, with Saturdays being by far the hardest. I’d say Sundays are about as difficult as Wednesdays or Thursdays, but the 21x21 Sunday grids are almost twice as large as the 15x15 Monday-Saturday grids, so there are nearly double the opportunities to goof up.

Errors Per Month
January: 108
Errors per day: 108/31 -- 3.5
Year-to-date errors per day: 108/31 -- 3.5
Errors per unsolved puzzle: 108/18 -- 6.0
Year-to-date errors per unsolved puzzle: 108/18 -- 6.0

February: 101
Errors per day: 101/28 -- 3.6
Year-to-date errors per day: 209/59 -- 3.5
Errors per unsolved puzzle: 101/12 -- 8.4
Year-to-date errors per unsolved puzzle: 209/30 -- 7.0

March: 206
Errors per day: 206/31 -- 6.6
Year-to-date errors per day: 415/90 -- 4.6
Errors per unsolved puzzle: 206/16 -- 12.9
Year-to-date errors per unsolved puzzle: 415/46 -- 9.0

April: 34
Errors per day: 34/30 -- 1.1
Year-to-date errors per day: 449/120 -- 3.7
Errors per unsolved puzzle: 34/11 -- 3.1
Year-to-date errors per unsolved puzzle: 449/57 -- 7.9

May: 203
Errors per day: 203/31 -- 6.5
Year-to-date errors per day: 652/151 -- 4.3
Errors per unsolved puzzle: 203/18 -- 11.3
Year-to-date errors per unsolved puzzle: 652/75 -- 8.7

June: 26
Errors per day: 26/30 -- 0.9
Year-to-date errors per day: 678/181 -- 3.7
Errors per unsolved puzzle: 26/10 -- 2.6
Year-to-date errors per unsolved puzzle: 678/85 -- 8.0

July: 15
Errors per day: 15/31 -- 0.5
Year-to-date errors per day: 693/212 -- 3.3
Errors per unsolved puzzle: 15/8 -- 1.9
Year-to-date errors per unsolved puzzle: 693/93 -- 7.5

August: 140
Errors per day: 140/31 -- 4.5
Year-to-date errors per day: 833/243 -- 3.4
Errors per unsolved puzzle: 140/6 -- 23
Year-to-date errors per unsolved puzzle: 833/99 -- 8.4

September: 49
Errors per day: 49/30 -- 1.6
Year-to-date errors per day: 882/273 -- 3.2
Errors per unsolved puzzle: 49/6 -- 8.2
Year-to-date errors per unsolved puzzle: 882/105 -- 8.4

October: 31
Errors per day: 31/31 -- 1
Year-to-date errors per day: 913/304 -- 3.0
Errors per unsolved puzzle: 31/8 -- 3.9
Year-to-date errors per unsolved puzzle: 913/113 -- 8.1

November: 143
Errors per day: 143/30 -- 4.8
Year-to-date errors per day: 1,056/334 -- 3.2
Errors per unsolved puzzle: 143/9 -- 15.9
Year-to-date errors per unsolved puzzle:- 1,056/122 -- 8.7

December: 235
Errors per day: 235/31 -- 7.6
Year-to-date errors per day: 1,291/365 – 3.5
Errors per unsolved puzzle: 235/11 -- 21.4
Year-to-date errors per unsolved puzzle: 1291/133 -- 9.7
These numbers show how badly I did on the puzzles I didn’t solve, with an “error” being any square in a puzzle that is left blank or contains an incorrect entry. I basically kicked ass in July, making only 15 errors during the entire month, while December was the worst, with 235 errors (it was the end of the year, so I was just playing out the season). I got totally blown out on a few Fridays and Saturdays, leaving dozens of blank squares ‘cause I couldn’t make any headway on those puzzles to begin with. The worst was Saturday May 18, when I made 150 errors -- oof.

Errors Per Day
Mondays: 4
Tuesdays: 12
Wednesdays: 21
Thursdays: 54
Fridays: 192
Saturdays: 863
Sundays: 145
Meaning that in the course of the year, I made only four errors in 52 Monday puzzles, and 863 in as many Saturday puzzles. Starting next year I’m also gonna keep track of how many squares there are per puzzle, so I can calculate what percentage of each puzzle I solve.

My 2014 goal is solving 75% of all puzzles -- 274 out of 365... How will I do? Watch this space on January 1, 2015.
***

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