What should have been a reasonably successful week with the daily Times cryptics turned into a disaster. Despite supposedly checking my solution before submitting Thursday's puzzle, I somehow failed to spot that I'd typed AS WEKL instead of AS WELL. I find it hard to understand how I could have missed this, since the difference between K and L really ought to have leapt out at me, but the offending letter was nearly at the bottom of the crossword in a down clue, and I suppose tiredness at the end of a busy day led to carelessness. Anyway I checked Friday's puzzle extra carefully, aware of my tendency to make two mistakes in quick succession (as I wrote about here
), and was relieved to spot that I'd misspelt INTELLIGENTSIA. Unfortunately that sense of relief must have led me to relax my guard, and I failed to spot that I'd mistyped HIGH NOON as HIGN NOON. There's perhaps slightly more excuse here, since N and H are a lot more alike that K and L, and in fact I had to look through my solution twice before I spotted my mistake. Nevertheless I could hardly believe my eyes when I found I'd made another error. What is particularly galling is that on both days I'd have been well up the Times Crossword Club leaderboard.
It's obvious from the above that my typing is pretty awful. AS WEKL was presumably a simple typo, with my finger hitting K when I meant to hit L. On the other hand I actually intended to type INTELLEGENTSIA (working haphazardly from the wordplay: sounds like TELLY, comes from TELEVISION, needs two Ls, must be TELLE), so that wasn't a typo. However, HIGN NOON almost certainly was, though I'm not sure whether I accidentally stuck my finger on N hoping it was H, or (as with GOODY-GODDY earlier in the year) I moved to the N a letter early - the sort of mistake I occasionally made in the days when I always used to solve crosswords on paper and needed to write only those letters not already in place.
The upshot is that to try and cut down the number of typos I make, I'm going to change my checking technique. In the past I've always checked my solution after I've completed a puzzle (or sometimes just before I've completed it if I'm stuck on the last two or three clues and feel the need to take a short break from solving to try to clear my head). In future I'm going to check each individual answer as soon as I've typed it in. I've tried this today with Saturday's puzzle, and although it felt a bit strange, I think it's something I should be able to get used to quite quickly. For the moment I'll still make a final check, but if all goes well I may try submitting once I'm sure I haven't left any blank cells (3-letter answers being an obvious danger). I expect it will slow me down a little, particularly at first, but if I could eliminate typos altogether, it would be worth it.Latest thought (early Monday morning)
I've just tried the latest T2 Jumbo with my new technique, and felt confident enough to submit without a final check. However, I've now realised there's a danger that I may fail to spot when I type in an apparently correct answer to a down clue that clashes with an apparently correct answer to an across clue (or vice versa
), so I suspect I may need to keep making that final check just to be on the safe side.
Current Location: Ealing
Current Mood: careful