I have two favourite-ever cryptic clues, both from Araucaria (I think):
First person’s frog, second person’s man (6)
Oppo of Caesar, J (7)
– Lucy, via Twitter
Just out of interest, roughly how long does it take you to set the cryptic?
– Nick, via Twitter
A non-themer takes about 15 minutes per word. So if there are 30 words in the grid, it would take me 7.5 hours. Theme crosswords take me about 30-45 minutes per word, depending on how insane the concept is.
Are you concerned about the AFP and ASIO requesting a backdoor to your cryptic crosswords?
– Vernan, via Reddit
I already work closely with ASIO and the Department of Defence putting subliminal messages into my clues. I did a Battleships theme once and navy enrolments went up 200 per cent.
How do you go about striking the right difficulty for your crosswords?
– Dan, via email
After a while you start get a feel for which of your clues are hard and easy - although you can never be sure because it’s impossible to truly solve your own clues. To make puzzles as fair as poss, you need to make sure that if a clue is really hard, some of the intersecting clues are easier, to gift people some starter letters. I aim to make PuzzleMail crosswords about 7/10 for difficulty.