Kevin Skinner explains cryptic crosswords and discusses the principles of 'double straight' clues, word exchanging, how to spot anagrams and a host of other stratagems which feature in every wily compiler's repertoire.
He explains the various tricks of the trade clearly and concisely.
If, like me, you find cryptic crosswords from The Independent and their ilk totally impenetrable, this great little book (written by an actual compiler) will almost certainly cut through most of the mystique.
Skinner teaches the reader his own method for recognizing the different types of clue and how to go about solving them. His explanations make the derivation of the solutions extremely logical. From knowing nothing initialy, within around ten pages I managed to complete the first practice crossword without cheating once!
Now the caveat: as Skinner (quite correctly) maintains, the best way of learning how to do crosswords is to DO CROSSWORDS, which means that the last two thirds of the book are exactly that: crosswords. Having said that, they do come with fully exploded solutions (which newspaper versions lack).
This book will let you tackle cryptic crosswords in no time at all. Definitely recommended.