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The Guardian Monkey Puzzles [Paperback]

Araucaria
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

12 Sep 2002
For the first time, Araucaria's selection of the very best of his ingenious and fiendish cryptic crosswords are available together in one book. Monkey Puzzles is a must for all crossword-lovers.


Product details

  • Paperback: 227 pages
  • Publisher: Guardian Books; 1st edition (12 Sep 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843540045
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843540045
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 19.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 405,673 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Monkey Puzzles by Araucaria 18 Oct 2002
Format:Paperback
This is the first collection of GUARDIAN crossword puzzles by one individual compiler to be published in book form. Araucaria has been compiling for the GUARDIAN for almost 45 years, and this collection is a splendid and fitting tribute to the prolific output of "Britain's master compiler" who is "an institution in his own right", as the blurb says.
All 100 puzzles have, of course, appeared in the GUARDIAN, but the collection goes right back to the very start. Araucaria's first puzzle to be published -- in 1958 -- appears as the first one in the collection.
It is a pity that no other dates of publication accompany the puzzles, as it would have been interesting for solvers to trace the development of Araucaria's cluing style, stunning word-play and originality of themes over the years.
There are nine Alphabetical Jigsaws in the collection. These puzzles (Araucaria's own invention, by the way) are set on grids with 26 solutions so that all the 26 letters of the alphabet are each used once as the initial letters of the solutions. One of these puzzles is based instead on the Greek alphabet; another includes a theme, so that when the solutions are entered correctly in the grid, all the Across words are thematic; and others have clues in rhyming couplets.
Many of the puzzles are thematic, and this approach to crossword compiling distinguishes Araucaria's work. The broad spectrum of themes and audacious approaches to their presentation are fully reflected in the collection. A few puzzles have peculiar titles such as "Bald-patch Bess", or cryptic preambles like "F has the same meaning throughout", whilst another is entitled "Hidden Anagram Pairs".
Within the puzzles, the clues themselves reveal Araucaria's devilry time and time again.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Araucaria in book form 13 Oct 2002
Format:Paperback
This is the first collection of GUARDIAN crossword puzzles by one individual compiler to be published in book form. Araucaria has been compiling for the GUARDIAN for 45 years, and the book is a splendid and fitting tribute to the prolific output of "Britain's master compiler" who is "an institution in his own right", as the blurb says.
All 100 puzzles have, of course, appeared in the "GUARDIAN", but the collection goes right back to the very start, as Araucaria's first puzzle to be published-- in 1958 -- appears as the first in the collection.
It is a pity that dates of publication do not accompany any other puzzles, as it would have been interesting for solvers to trace the deveelopment of Araucaia's cluing style and stunning word-play and originality of themes over the years.

There are nine Alphabetical Jigsaws in the collection, including one based on the Greek alphabet; another includes a theme to all the Across solutions, and others have clues in rhyming couplets.
Many of the other puzzles are thematic. The broad spectrum of themes and audacious approaches to their presentation are fully reflected in the collection. A few puzzles have peculiar titles, such as "Bald-patch Bess", or cryptic preambles like "F has the same meaning throughout", another is entitled "Hidden Anagram Pairs".
Within the puzzles, the clues themselves reveal Araucaria's devilry time and time again. Cross-references to an individual clue-number throughout the puzzle necessitate the solver first discovering a theme (Puzzle 46); puzzle 38 was compiled for Valentine's Day, one year; puzzle 34 has each Across clue beginning with the word "Sport"; whilst puzzle 2 refers to the days of the week in each Across clue.
Pride of place must be the real tour-de-force at puzzle 80.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fiendish Anti-senile-dementia fodder 20 Feb 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I started doing Grauniad crosswords back in the early fifties. In the sixties a new phenomenally clever compiler had me and my friends gripped every morning; to the extent that our day's work started late and ended VERY late. I discovered this compilation in June 2011. Now working solo in retirement I find myself constantly amazed at the ingenuity of Araucaria. It is now February 2012 and I am about to start on #85. What other book could give such pleasure at so little cost? There are several puzzles which I have not completed; one or two clues having defeated me. The solutions are there, at the back of the book. It's tempting to take a peek but I'd rather not let Araucaria claim victory in this battle of minds. One word of warning - the puzzles are somewhat English. For Scots, and others possibly, one should note that "church" generally means the Church of England, not the Kirk or Chapel. Likewise there's quite a lot of cricket hidden in words like "deep" and "run". Have fun!
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