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Chambers Crossword Manual [Paperback]

Don Manley
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

17 Sep 2001 Crossword
Chambers Crossword Manual is an essential step-by-step guide covering the language of cryptic crossword puzzles. It explains what clue words mean or signify, and how to work out how certain clues hint at required answers. With 90 practice puzzles to try, it is the complete guide for would-be cryptic crossword-doers eveywhere.


Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Chambers; New edition edition (17 Sep 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0550120068
  • ISBN-13: 978-0550120069
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.8 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 322,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Don Manley sets cryptic crosswords under a variety of pseudonyms (duck, Quixote, Pasquale and Giovanni) and for a range of papers (including The Times, The Guardian, The Independent on Sunday and The Sunday Telegraph).

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring 3 Jan 2004
Format:Paperback
Don Manley preaches the gospel of the crossword better than anyone else I have read. The object of this book is not just to help the reader have a stab at the cryptic on the back of the daily broadsheet - though it certainly does that. Rather, the author opens the door and invites you in to the inner sanctum of the advanced cryptic and the special crossword.
Manley does not plod. He covers all the basic cryptic clue types in fewer than forty pages, and nearly a third of those are taken up with tutorial puzzles. He certainly does not attempt an exhaustive list of indicator and other giveaway words; he takes the view that a large part of the fun of crosswords is learning such things for oneself.
What Manley does provide is an excellent guide to crossword grammar with plenty of discussion on what distinguishes a sound clue from an unsound one. This is vital knowledge for aspiring setters of crosswords, but invaluable too for the everyday solver; recognising what interpretations of a clue cannot possibly be sound is a big time-saver.
Perhaps this book is not for the complete beginner, but it is great for the solver with some experience who is in a rut. When I first read this book I could usually get more than half way through the daily crossword in the Times, sometimes finishing it completely. I was vaguely aware of the more advanced crosswords with barred grids, but never expected to be able to tackle one. Manley's introduction to advanced clueing, coupled with his evangelical zeal for crosswords in general, inspired me to attempt the Listener puzzle, and now I sometimes, very rarely, actually finish it - even though I still can't always complete the Times. I don't believe any other book would have moved me on. Thank you, Don Manley.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable 10 Oct 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is invaluable to anyone with an interest in cryptic crosswords. It provides a history of the cryptic crossword; it is a manual on how to solve them; it provides annotated examples of 100 crosswords of different types; it tells you how to set them, and provides suggestions for further reading. It goes beyond other "how to solve cryptic crosswords" books in tackling the more sophisticated cryptic crosswords, such as those scary looking ones found in the Sunday supplements.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as crossword solving aids get! 7 April 2005
Format:Paperback
Don Manley is a vastly experienced cryptic crossword solver and compiler, with his crosswords published in all of the major broadsheets. This is reflected in the substance of his manual, which explains in simple and easily understood terms how crosswords are constructed, and gives a step by step guide to the sorts of clues which are encountered.
The clue explanations have many examples, and progress from the more basic up to the kinds which are found in the more difficult, barred crosswords.
As either a resource for those wishing to learn how to solve cryptic crosswords, or for those wishing to improve their solving skills, the book is indispensable.
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8 of 16 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I could have saved myself money, if I had read the other reviews. I think the concepts are there in the book, but [as previously mentioned by other reviewers] there are just not enough examples. I have bought "How To Solve Crytpic Crosswords" by Kevin Skinner and it is a much better book. If you have an interest in compiling crosswords, then the Chambers Manual is useful. If, however, you [like most crossword enthusiasts] want to solve crosswords, you could do worse than giving the Manual a miss and buying "How To Solve Crytpic Crosswords" or a similar book.
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5 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Big Disappointment! 6 Nov 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
If you have a choice, then avoid this book. It is the one of the worst instructional books that I have used. There are a number of answers that are not explained, leaving the learner struggling with the question "How does that answer relate to that clue?". The indications or signposts which indicate the type of crossword clue are briefly covered. The following exercises then failed to test this new found knowledge. Rather, the tutorial crosswords test "indicators" which the learner has not been told. The "tutorial" crossword infuriatingly consolidates all the types of cryptic crosswords learnt to date, whereas it would have been better to test the material learnt in each chapter, then followed by a test to date.
The one saving grace with this book is that I purchased it using a book token, rather than spending my own money. If it were my own funds buying this book, I would have asked for my money back. I struggle to see how this could possibly be a market-leader - maybe that accolade was given several years ago. There are many better manuals on the market, such as "How to Solve the Cryptic Crossword".
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