Puzzle fans, take note. This is supposed to be the hardest crossword puzzle ever and is definitely not for the beginner. The creator of the crossword puzzle believes that it’s so challenging, in fact, that he called it “virtually impossible” to complete, guessing it will take a puzzler two years to crack the cryptic crossword. Could it really be that difficult to solve?
Britain’s Marc Breman has been creating puzzles for 30 years, but says this new creation, which has 64 “fiendishly tough” clues, is 100 times harder than any crossword he’s made for national newspapers. That’s a pretty bold claim, but is it true? He also claims that even the easiest clue within his puzzle will be harder than clues found in most newspapers and that the hardest clue “relies on an uncommon usage of an obscure word.”
Breman has created crosswords for Daily Mirror, Daily Express and Sunday Telegraph, among others, with Daily Mail reporting that he writes an average of 13,500 clues yearly and has crafted more 30,000 puzzles since 1991.
Of his “impossible” new crossword puzzle, Breman notes: “I’m not saying that this crossword cannot be completed, because of course it can. But it is nevertheless fiendishly tough and significantly harder than anything I’ve ever compiled before.”
He continued: “It was referred to by a colleague as the ‘world’s hardest’ — an opinion which, based on my own professional experience, seems about right.”
Breman has been able to complete other puzzles that made this claim within days, so why is his puzzle so tricky? It’s the use of the wordplay, codes, and hidden meanings that make this one the hardest, with the most difficult clue being 4 Down: “Dishonest, short of getting further at King’s Head” because it “relies on an uncommon usage of an obscure word.”
This type of crossword goes beyond the typical thought process and requires the participant to use their experience and ability to think laterally to solve it. The puzzle is available on Breman’s website, marcbreman.london and the first 10 people who solve it receive a signed copy of his book, The Foggiest Notion.
Breman said that, in his experience, most crossword enthusiasts take a week to complete the hardest of puzzles, noting that his will be much more involved to solve: “Based on the feedback of other compilers who have seen it or tried it, mine is about 100 times harder. If that description is indeed correct, then it stands to reason that it would take the average enthusiast 100 times longer to solve it.” He explained, “This amounts to 100 weeks, or just over two years.”
Among the comments left on the Daily Mail’s report about the challenging crossword were many who appeared to be working together to solve it, posting answers to the clues in hopes of completing it through crowdsourcing. One person appeared to have it solved, in much less than two years, writing: “2 hours 7 minutes. Sorted.”
Another commenter thought they were making good headway, considering the claim that this puzzle would be super challenging, writing: “So I’ve only read the first dozen clues and I have four of them straight off. And I’m someone who really struggles to get anywhere with the Times crossword.”