If you do not believe that crossword compilers do something close to journalism, try solving one of the more imaginative cryptic crosswords like Araucaria in a topical mood...

Those commissioning crosswords need to know that there is an enormous difference between the cryptic and the quick variety. Consider these two clues:

  • Refugee eels' fen - acid shuffle for useful tome (9,4,5)
  • Tells you what compiler's worth (9,4,5)

Setting clues of the first - cryptic - kind so that they are entertaining, challenging but (just) doable by the target audience takes much longer than simple definitions; probably twice as long. Rates should be at least 50% more than for a quick grid of the same size.

Compiling a themed crossword - for example one in which a significant proportion of the answers relate to a client's business or to a special occasion - takes far longer, on top.

Though software is now available to help create the grids and fill in the "lights" or solutions, it cannot help with clue-writing and is not much assistance with creative theming.

 
More advice and links...
* On negotiating for Crosswords
[www.londonfreelance.org]
* Rates for the Job good, bad and ugly
* Join the NUJ to get individual advice & representation

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