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Crosswords
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Uploaded 2008-12-02 00:00:00; for current version see http://www.londonfreelance.org/feesguide/print.php?§ion=Crosswords

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:

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.

Notes on negotiating rates for Crosswords

These are some things to remember when negotiating rates for crosswords. And please send us your accounts of successful negotiations.

We would much appreciate hearing from compilers of more rates actually paid. Two tow a Yukon hod (3, 4, 4, 2, 2).

The suggested rates: Crosswords

Cryptic clues using anagrams, abbreviations, hidden words and so on take much longer to create than simple definition-type clues; probably twice as long.

Magazines - category: A: large-circulation and glossy mags
Over 15x15 squaresGBP230.00
15x15 squares and underGBP180.00
Magazines - category: B: smaller consumer mags
Over 15x15 squaresGBP160.00
15x15 squares and underGBP100.00
Magazines - category: C: larger trade and trade union mags
Over 15x15 squaresGBP160.00
15x15 squares and underGBP100.00
Magazines - category: D: smaller mags
Over 15x15 squaresGBP105.00
15x15 squares and underGBP95.00
National newspapers -
Extra large (eg 21x21 squares)GBP370.00
Over 15x15 squaresGBP160.00
15x15 squares and underGBP125.00
Public relations - category: High budget
15x15 squares and underGBP160.00
Public relations - category: Low budget
15x15 squares and underGBP105.00
Regional newspapers -
15x15 squares and underGBP75.00

Notes:

  • Compilers should charge more if they are commissioned by a group of papers and the crossword will be used by several titles.
  • Negotiate a higher fee for crosswords that will be exclusive to one client.
  • Clients who want compilers to provide explanations for readers should negotiate an additional fee, probably by the hour.

Notes:

  • Compilers should charge more if they are commissioned by a group of papers and the crossword will be used by several titles.
  • Negotiate a higher fee for crosswords that will be exclusive to one client.
  • Clients who want compilers to provide explanations for readers should negotiate an additional fee, probably by the hour.

Text © Mike Holderness & previous contributors; Moral rights asserted. Comments to ffg@londonfreelance.org please. You may find the glossary helpful.

The National Union of Journalists must not, can not and would not wish to dictate rates or terms of engagement to members or to editors. The information presented here is for guidance and as an aid to equitable negotiation only.

Suggestions apply to contracts governed by UK law only. In any event, nothing here should be construed as legal advice.