As I mentioned earlier, I went back and tried Richard Maltby's first Harper's crossword. It was pretty easy! I've since printed out and solved five others.
The clues seem easier than in current puzzles. I do like that some of the interesting recurring puzzle varieties (dedicated dodecahedron, diametricode, righTangles) were in use right from the start.
At the same time, it seems like the clues in the older puzzles are not quite as "fair" as in his present-day puzzles. That was actually something that prompted me to look up older Maltby crosswords when I wanted more than one puzzle a month and found the ones on offer from the UK too UK-centric, while Frank Lewis's for the Nation strike me as insufficiently Ximenean. But yeah, so one of these first few Maltby clues included "Change livers (6)," which is easy enough, but which he would never use today.
But yeah, fun, in any case. I subscribed to Harper's somewhere around 2002 and haven't finished every puzzle since then, though I've given pretty much all of them the old college "try." So I have about three hundred to catch up to that point. That's what, two years' worth? Maybe I should ration them.