How long does it take to produce a custom cryptic crossword?
Our bank of compilers can usually create a custom puzzle for you within a month, but the more time we have, the better. Please note that Boatman and Enigmatist are very busy, and generally need more notice - two to three months is normally enough, but they can only field a certain number of enquiries per month, so they may not always be available.
How much of the puzzle will be relevant to the person I'm commissioning it for?
A custom puzzle will usually have about thirty clues in it, of which at least half will refer to some element of the theme, either in the clue or in the solution. The remaining half of the clues will be 'normal' cryptic clues - necessary because it's pretty much impossible to compile a symmetrical grid from just themed words.
What will the puzzle look like?
We usually set 15x15 symmetrical grids, just like in the newspapers, but sometimes branch out to jigsaw-style puzzles (where the grid isn't numbered and, in the immortal words of Araucaria, the solutions should be 'fitted into the grid jigsaw-wise, wherever they will go') or novelties (a recent Boatman commission took the form of a game of Scrabble, for example).
How are the puzzles created?
When you commission a bespoke crossword puzzle from us, we'll craft it by hand for you. There are various pieces of software which will take a list of words and automatically fill a grid for you, but we tend not to use them, becuase you can end up with a curious mish-mash of words. All the clues will be written specifically for your puzzle.
Who holds the copyright on the finished puzzle?
The individual setter.