Did you know J. K. Rowling played minesweeper to get her through writing Harry Potter? I was playing Minesweeper this morning and vaguely remember reading somewhere when I was younger that J. K. Rowling also played. So being google savvy and an admirer of J. K. Rowling, I thought her quotations about Minesweeper would be a good post.

On 15 May 2004 she posted on her site, “In the bad old days, when I wanted a few minutes’ break while writing, I used to light up a cigarette. I gave up smoking in the year 2000 and now chew a lot of gum instead (hence the state of my desk). However, chewing a bit of gum does not give you an excuse for a nice little brain-resting break, so instead I like to escape the complexities of the latest plot by playing a quick game of Minesweeper. Since giving up smoking I must boastfully inform you that I have become rather good and that my current best time for expert level is 101 seconds.” (Back in the day, J. K. Rowling had an interactive webpage that displayed her desk with a lot of gum wrappers on it.)

In December 2004 she followed up, “Just thought you might like to know that my personal best for Expert Level Minesweeper is now ninety nine seconds. This goes to show how much time I have been spending at this computer, typing ‘The Half-Blood Prince’. To those who suggest that I might get on even faster if I stopped taking Minesweeper breaks, I shall turn a deaf ear. It’s either Minesweeper or smoking, I can’t write if I have to give up both.”

I agree, Minesweeper is pretty addicting. Hence why I’m still playing years and years from when I first started. (I own a Mac and would not dare download Minesweeper onto it because really, if that happened my productivity level would be zero. I play mostly on my iPhone, and the slight lag (from holding to mark instead of just marking) and interface on the iPhone (can’t see the whole grid at once) makes my time slower than it could be, but that best time is 225 seconds on Expert, which is still considerably behind J. K. Rowling’s. Hmm . . . )

Update: My sister has just told me there’s a quick flagging option on the iPhone Minesweeper App that gets rid of the lag. I feel rather sheepish. My Expert best time has since improved to 187 seconds.

Update 2: My current best time on expert is now 150 seconds. One day, Ms. Rowling, I will have you beat!

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