So, it’s 2013.

Always good to set out some sort of pan for the year, and my ambitions for 2013 are, in no particular order;

  • Continue climbing regularly, 10 times over the year, and improve by a grade (to 6b+,  think).
  • Take a photo got every day.
  • Go to the cinema.
  • Go camping.
  • Cook something I’ve never cooked before.
  • Go to Spring Harvest (yay).
  • Maintain weight at around 72kg
  • Pray and read the bible every day.
  • Put my boys to bed every evening.
  • Complete a Times crossword (electronic aids allowed).
  • Continue blogging and twitter-ing (20 blog posts).
  • Take C# and HTML5 MS exams (towards the new MCSD qualification).

These are aspirational in many ways, and I’m not really expecting never to have to go out in an evening before both boys are in bed, or never to be away from home!

The Times crossword may need a bit of explanation. For some reason I started attempting the Times crosswords earlier this year, and now tend to have a stab most weekdays. (We get the paper at work). I started off maybe getting 1 or 2 clues, it then crept up to usually getting 8 or 9, and now – as at time of writing – I regularly manage 17 or 18 before I need to look at the answers (and can often do all the downs once I have filled in the acrosses).

The electronic aids thing refers to the use of a crossword solver (i.e. enter the known letters, and it lists all matching words), an anagram solver, and an online dictionary/thesaurus. As I get better I aspire to not needing the first two, but for now just managing to get all the answers with these helps is my target.

I must also mention Times for the Times, an awesome blog where the answers are provided every day, together with the explanation of why it is the answer, i.e. how the clue was constructed. I am at the stage where I only need 2 or 3 clues explaining once I’ve seen the answer, but still occasionally don’t understand them even then! Likewise, there are consistently 4 or 5 clues that I think “I never would have got that” – the other 10 or so that I don’t get I usually kick myself about when I see the answer.

Crossword No 25,348, which I did over Christmas, was my first completed grid (i.e. I entered an answer to every clue), but one was a complete guess and wrong.