Quick SNITCH

A quantitative guide to the degree of difficulty of the Times Quick 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 Quick 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 Quick 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 Trends page shows the day-of-the-week trends for crossword difficulty over a six-month period. This is where we provide an answer to the question "Is the Friday crossword really harder than the other crosswords of the week?"

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

Recent crosswords

Day:Wednesday
Date:2024-02-21
Number:2604
PDF link:PDF 2604
SNITCH:82
Blog Link: Times for the Times 2604
More details:Detail and results
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Day:Tuesday
Date:2024-02-20
Number:2603
PDF link:PDF 2603
SNITCH:107
Blog Link: Times for the Times 2603
More details:Detail and results
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Day:Monday
Date:2024-02-19
Number:2602
PDF link:PDF 2602
SNITCH:93
Blog Link: Times for the Times 2602
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
94 2024-02-19 2602 93 2603 107 2604 82
96 2024-02-12 2596 98 2597 105 2598 85 2599 110 2600 86
85 2024-02-05 2590 78 2591 85 2592 78 2593 96 2594 92
88 2024-01-29 2584 83 2585 96 2586 82 2587 99 2588 81
93 2024-01-22 2578 80 2579 78 2580 95 2581 90 2582 123
99 2024-01-15 2572 98 2573 94 2574 100 2575 108 2576 95
94 2024-01-08 2566 80 2567 92 2568 92 2569 102 2570 108
94 2024-01-01 2560 103 2561 96 2562 94 2563 70 2564 109
99 2023-12-25 2555 88 2556 99 2557 113 2558 100 2559 97
97 2023-12-18 2550 108 2551 86 2552 94 2553 106 2554 91
107 2023-12-11 2545 120 2546 123 2547 86 2548 82 2549 125
91 2023-12-04 2540 75 2541 81 2542 84 2543 121 2544 95
97 2023-11-27 2535 96 2536 104 2537 85 2538 91 2539 113
106 2023-11-20 2530 103 2531 114 2532 103 2533 118 2534 95
92 2023-11-13 2525 83 2526 98 2527 82 2528 97 2529 103
97 2023-11-06 2520 66 2521 92 2522 91 2523 137 2524 101
100 2023-10-30 2515 69 2516 91 2517 95 2518 107 2519 141
110 2023-10-23 2510 106 2511 119 2512 124 2513 104 2514 99
88 2023-10-16 2505 77 2506 92 2507 86 2508 80 2509 108
97 2023-10-09 2500 80 2501 106 2502 82 2503 89 2504 132
109 2023-10-02 2495 103 2496 122 2497 100 2498 105 2499 119
104 2023-09-25 2490 86 2491 107 2492 89 2493 123 2494 117
97 2023-09-18 2485 84 2486 97 2487 99 2488 114 2489 92
98 2023-09-11 2480 89 2481 87 2482 116 2483 92 2484 108
111 2023-09-04 2475 94 2476 92 2477 143 2478 113 2479 117
113 2023-08-28 2470 102 2471 124 2472 117 2473 97 2474 126
91 2023-08-21 2465 83 2466 89 2467 83 2468 99 2469 102
106 2023-08-14 2460 79 2461 119 2462 106 2463 142 2464 84
92 2023-08-07 2455 108 2456 76 2457 96 2458 90 2459 92
105 2023-07-31 2450 93 2451 108 2452 99 2453 129 2454 98
90 2023-07-24 2445 86 2446 95 2447 94 2448 82 2449 95
94 2023-07-17 2440 80 2441 104 2442 102 2443 91 2444 94
92 2023-07-10 2435 87 2436 93 2437 77 2438 115 2439 92
93 2023-07-03 2430 105 2431 102 2432 89 2433 79 2434 91
109 2023-06-26 2425 113 2426 124 2427 81 2428 120 2429 109
97 2023-06-19 2420 96 2421 83 2422 86 2423 87 2424 133
100 2023-06-12 2415 113 2416 84 2417 105 2418 94 2419 106
99 2023-06-05 2410 77 2411 106 2412 115 2413 89 2414 108
103 2023-05-29 2405 99 2406 103 2407 100 2408 104 2409 110
94 2023-05-22 2400 95 2401 81 2402 91 2403 105 2404 100
94 2023-05-15 2395 111 2396 78 2397 93 2398 94 2399 94
105 2023-05-08 2390 113 2391 97 2392 86 2393 123 2394 108
100 2023-05-01 2385 88 2386 104 2387 105 2388 102 2389 103
99 2023-04-24 2380 107 2381 95 2382 99 2383 102 2384 93
98 2023-04-17 2375 69 2376 95 2377 104 2378 95 2379 130
110 2023-04-10 2370 126 2371 126 2372 100 2373 103 2374 96
100 2023-04-03 2365 86 2366 109 2367 86 2368 105 2369 118
92 2023-03-27 2360 77 2361 103 2362 107 2363 79 2364 96
105 2023-03-20 2355 115 2356 103 2357 95 2358 111 2359 102
102 2023-03-13 2350 95 2351 96 2352 97 2353 113 2354 111
103 2023-03-06 2345 83 2346 116 2347 116 2348 91 2349 111
102 2023-02-27 2340 83 2341 100 2342 111 2343 109 2344 110