Over the last few months i have become very interested in cryptic crosswords, i guess because i consider them to be rather 'clever'. A few friends at work have a go at the Times crossword most days and i've questioned them many times about how they got their answers.
Having decided to try my hand at these puzzles i thought i'd buy a book or two to help. I've purchased 4 books and this is the best (although the one by Kevin skinner and the Daily Telegraph guide are both very good)
The reason this book works so well is because it has 30 puzzles which gradually increase in difficulty. The first 10 puzzles give you the definitional part of the clue and the type of cryptic 'puzzle' it is e.g. anagram.
The second 10 do not give you the definitional part but do tell you what type of puzzle it is.
The last 10 give you no help and these are like the standard that can be found in broadsheet newspapers.
So far i'm on crossword 12.
There is also a 'help' section which i have found very valuable. It gives hints and sometimes explanation as to how the solution can be worked out. For example, it might say it is an anagram of 'remain + ark' where remain and ark have been obtained from two different parts of the clue. Of course there are also solutions to all 30 crosswords as well
Although i rate this book highly, i have not found it easy going. I understand the different types of clues very well now, but my problem has been with MY vocabulary....
Entreat, Excoriate, Caprice, Grandee are examples of solutions to clues which are simply not in my vocabulary, or should i say, weren't. But the reason i like these is because of there educational element as well as the puzzle and so i will endeavour to continue and see if i can get to puzzle 30.
If you'd like to understand how to complete these crosswords and have a good vocabulary (or want to improve your vocabulary) then i highly recommend this book.