A revised handbook which guides the reader through the different types of crosswords available, and explains how to understand and complete them. Its tips and explanations are accompanied by 20 new crosswords.
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.
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.
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".