Time for a change

Posted on Categories Announcement
It’s with some regret that I’ve come to this decision, but also some relief. I’ve got to call it a day as maintainer of this site and as Saturday blogger. I’ve been contributing since 2006 and running the site since 2011 I think, but it’s caught up with me and I’m afraid I’ve lost the enthusiasm to continue (partly due to the fact that work is really busy at the moment and unlikely to ease up anytime in the near future, but also because the puzzles have become a chore rather than a pleasure).

So I’m hoping for someone to come forward to take over the site maintenance. The community mostly runs itself with only occasional input required – but my successor’s first job will be to find a new Saturday blogger!

Update: The new site maintainer will be vinyl1, who I’m sure you’re all familiar with. To assist in the transition I’ll need help from all current bloggers, as due to a corrupt backup last year I lost my entire email Addressbook, so only have a few where people have emailed me recently. Hopefully other bloggers aren’t as inept as I am and still have my email address, so if you can all email me a short note including your real names if you operate under a pseudonym, I’ll gather them and send them to vinyl1 (probably the safest spambait-free way to do it). Thanks for your assistance.

PS thanks for all the generous comments below. I’m sure I’ll pop in occasionally when I can.

PPS this Saturday’s was a stinker – looks like I got out in the nick of time!!!

53 comments on “Time for a change”

  1. You have done your full duty Andy, and more. Thanks for all.. I wish I could offer to take over either role, but I just don’t have the time at present.
  2. I’m new to cryptic crosswords but have found this blog invaluable as I try to unpick the clues and their true meaning. It’s definitely helped me in a new pastime which I love and helped to make the whole experience less impenetrable. I hope you can find someone to pass it over to but, in the meantime, thank you so much. You’ve definitely helped me on my cryptic journey.
  3. I didn’t realize you were running the site as well as blogging; and for so long! I do hope someone will take on the job(s), but in any case I’m truly grateful to you.
  4. Of course I (as I think any of us would) will step up to the plate if called. But hopefully you can can find someone less callow…
  5. I think you’ve more than deserved a break, Andy. Thanks for all your efforts.
    I can’t offer to maintain the site (I don’t even know what it means, to be honest) but I could take on some of the Saturday blogging if there aren’t other takers – every other week, when I don’t have a Sunday puzzle to do, would suit me.
  6. Thank you for all your work! This community has been a real treat for me since I discovered it. Lacking in local friends with an interest, I was struggling to get better at the puzzles armed only with my memories of “helping” my Dad with the Telegraph 15×15 when I was a lad. Finding somewhere I can really learn about solving has helped a great deal.
    1. This.

      My progress in the ~5 years since discovering the site exceeds by many orders of magnitude that which had occurred in the previous ~40. Thanks so much for your time and effort, Andy.

  7. A huge thank you.

    If I had the skills and time I would love to help; sadly, I do not.

    I look forward to your contributions to the blog when you have the huge weight of maintaining and formal blogging lifted from your shoulders.

  8. I echo all the comments above. I have been doing the Times Crossword, off and on, since schooldays – but rarely at competition speed. Thanks to this blog for playing Holmes to my Watson by unravelling all the knots and supplying those “oh but of course” moments. Thanks to you for keeping this blog afloat for so long. Best wishes for the future. Not fare well, But fare forward …
  9. Thanks Andy – you’ve always been a mensch. Sadly I haven’t the time or the skill to offer to run the site. At the moment I could offer to pinch hit on the Saturdays for the next 5 or 6 weeks but would then have to take a break until November. If you need an emergency stopgap right away while you find a more permanent arrangement let me know.
  10. Andy, we’ve “spoken” already behind the scenes but I’d like to say again how much I appreciate your efforts over the years taking over from Peter B when he became ST Crossword Editor. You’ve done a great job, and thanks for all your help and advice.

    Edited at 2017-02-04 02:05 pm (UTC)

  11. I am relatively new to the blog and found all the explanations really helpful. After years of not solving, I was thrown by the use of partial words in solutions and am eternally grateful to you and your cohorts for the explanations. A particular thank you for maintaining the blog. I am too much of a novice to be helpful in blogging.
  12. Thanks so much for all your personal encouragement Andy, particularly when I started doing QC and then ST blogs. Your avuncular guidance made what was a quite terrifying prospect merely mildly alarming!

    Your hard work has made a massive difference to a lot of people – thanks for everything and best wishes for all your future endeavours.

  13. If memory serves, Andy first wrote reports when I was running the first version of the blog single-handed and needed a stand-in when on holiday, some time in 2006. So thanks for being here for more than 10 years.

    Edited at 2017-02-04 09:35 pm (UTC)

  14. Just to echo other comments and say thank you very much for all your hard work. Finding this site probably made the difference between battling on with little success and maybe giving up altogether, and being able to complete the puzzle on most days. Linda L
  15. As they say in the gambling ads in recent times “If the fun stops, stop” so you’re taking the right decision. Thanks for all your work over the years, and hopefully someone will stand in to replace you.
  16. I’ll echo the above – I wouldn’t be the weak solver that I am (I’d be a complete disaster) if it weren’t for you and the blog. Thank you.
    PS – not such a bad blog, today, either. Thx
  17. Thanks, Andy. You should take it as a great compliment that at least one regular didn’t know you were running the show! You’ve been a model of light-touch leadership. Greatly appreciated.
  18. Adding my appreciation to all above, thanks Andy for the years of work and patience and getting me on board 3 years or so ago. Saturdays are not good for me, due to golf Captain commitments at weekends. I am happy to go with Wednesdays for a while though unless someone is desperate to step up.
    I don’t know what is involved in ‘running’ the site’ – do you have to post the puzzles daily, or is it automated or done by the Editor? I suspect I am too ignorant of the procedures needed to volunteer. The man in the top hat will do it well I’m sure! Pip
  19. Andy has done a magnificent job maintaining the site, corraling errant bloggers (self included), and I have fond memories of us drinking away an afternoon in Cheltenham on my last trip to the UK (I think the drinking party at that point was you and I, your other half, Jane Tether and John Henderson, maybe Richard Grafen?).
  20. Hi Andy I’d be happy to take on doing Saturday blogs, perhaps every other week. Would suit me much better than weekdays as far as schedules go.
  21. You have done a brilliant job on this website and I have learned so much from your efforts. Stay well and have a long and happy life from now on. Hamish Michie
  22. Thanks Andy from a relative newbie to the site. I know personally I couldn’t commit to such an undertaking, I struggle to comment more than a couple of items a week.Enjoy your well earned blog retirement and good luck
  23. Thanks – the fact that I was unaware that you were maintaining the site as well as blogging i sufficient evidence that you were doing it excellently, and you really deserve a rest, though I hope to see your comments here occasionally.
  24. I’d like to add my thanks for the help you’ve given me since first I started doing the weekend crosswords a year or two back. It’s been a steady progress from struggling to get half the answers (if that) to usually managing the whole thing, albeit with a few uncertain parsings. Still takes me a day or two over many sessions, but I kid myself that it is more pleasurable than rattling them off in 10 minutes. Which is in no way meant as any slight on the many expert solvers out there.

    Regards, David (Warwick)

  25. I found your email from one you sent me when I started blogging. This turns out to be a mere 3 years ago (seems so much longer) so I find your innings at the crease quite remarkable. Thank you.
  26. Late to the party, but just wanted to add my thanks to you, Andy, and to all of the other bloggers out there who contribute regularly to this fab site. It is so heartening to find others interested in the minutiae of the cryptics. Well done too to Vinyl for stepping up to take on the role of maintenance. As others have said, this is such a friendly place to meet up, if only briefly, it would be a shame if it were to be lost. Janie
  27. You are a star, Andy. Your work over the years is deeply appreciated by all of us.
    Best wishes for the future and good luck.
    Congratulations to Vinyl too for agreeing to step into some very big shoes.
  28. I rarely comment on here but am very grateful to all involved in this most useful and entertaining site. Enjoy your well-earned rest!
  29. Many thanks to linxit for all his hard work here and well done and to vinyl for taking over. Best of luck and to both in their new roles as person-with-feet-deservedly-up and person-with-nose-to-the-grindstone respectively.
  30. I’d just like to add my thanks, Andy.

    Unfortunately I seem to be slowing down as the years roll by, so I fear that if I did volunteer, there would be an ever-increasing danger of dereliction of duty on my part.

    Despite being a highly experienced Times solver, I still seek enlightenment here on occasion. How I wish this site had been around when I was starting out!

  31. Thank you for all the work you have done and others continue to do, a great contribution to the world of crosswords and a great education for the learners. If I have a regret, it is with the time obsession (eg ‘Oh dear, I had to answer the phone and this added 20.35 seconds to my overall time — please forgive me for being so slow because normally I’m a bit better!’). Blame the annual championship and the title of the blog for that! Still, all thing considered, you all do a really good job. Thank you!
    1. I believe the time obsession adds to the special nature of this blog and actually makes it what it is. For it is the banter here and the lack of an over-reverential approach to this great pursuit that makes this site stand out from the rest. Part of the reason for this special spirit is the aforesaid obsession with times, which, truth be told, is not quite as pukka as it may at first appear. As well as providing an organising principle around which the site revolves in all its glorious oddity, it also helps to prevent it from descending into a mere ‘thanks to setter and blogger’ type of thing. If ever there were a site to mirror and even emulate the setters for erudition, wit and wackiness, this must be it – but perhaps I am running away with myself!
      1. If we *actually* cared primarily about our times then it wouldn’t be fun! I love that we’re constantly sending the whole thing up – we are, aren’t we? Well articulated either way sir.
  32. Many thanks, Andy, for so much over such a long time. It’s difficult to add to what has already been said, short of noting how much the blog has helped, encouraged and often entertained me over quite a few years. I do, however, have a good understanding of how much goes into the administration of anything intricate especially when it works as apparently seamlessly as this site: truly appreciated. Thanks also in anticipation to Vinyl1 for stepping up. Bob K
  33. Can only echo the previous comments. Nothing but praise for an invaluable resource which I’ve come to take for granted so good to be reminded that time and human effort goes into it. I’d contribute more but I have settled into a steady state level involvement which is tantamount to what used to be called lurking.
  34. This site has been a huge help to me as I mentioned on the Saturday blog.
    I added this so we can get up to a deserved 40 comments.
    And I agree with Izetti’s view about the amount of attention on the time taken. It is a useful yardstick of difficulty but no indicator of the pleasure factor. I am still ploughing through last Saturday’s -and have nearly finished it! David
  35. Big thanks to you, Andy, and all the other bloggers for your tireless work. Good luck for the future.
  36. Just to say a very big thank you to you and to all those who contribute. The blog has really helped me with my fascination with crosswords and my move to the QC in The Times.
  37. Enjoy your retirement 🙂 If you reach a point where your enthusiasm is waning, definitely best to walk away before you find yourself unable to look at a grid at all. This is supposed to be what we all do for fun, ater all…
  38. I feel like I haven’t thanked you enough yet personally Andy – you’ve done a phenomenal job obviously, and additionally I owe you a unique debt in giving me the blogging opportunity you did, with very little more justification than an introduction from Dave T and your own generosity towards unprepossessing waifs and strays it must be said. I hope I didn’t given you too many reasons to regret that decision in intervening years. Much love, and you will be missed!
  39. Agree with everything said above so thanks Andy for keeping this going behind the scenes. It is a key part of my day.
  40. I don’t often contribute to this site, but I use it whenever I can’t see how a clue works. Thank you to you – and to all other bloggers – for your help over the years. Work is a distraction, isn’t it?
  41. Well done. Thanks and good luck.
    Will miss the dog too except, I guess, when you comment.
  42. This blog has been invaluable in improving my solving of the Times crossword or rather not solving mainly, in my case. I marvel at the times that some manage to solve the puzzle. I think it make this site unique and gives rise to nice banter such as the recent addition of par scoring by some regular contributors for the completed times.Thanks to all who blog and contribute to this site.

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