Swallowtail Books have done a magnificent job in reproducing the book in an authentic font and with the original diagrams. The foreword by Colin Dexter echoes many of my own feelings. When I was a student in the late sixties I was very proud of my solving abilities and could usually finish the Guardian puzzle during the tube journey from Kentish Town to Warren Street. When I came across the puzzles of Ximenes it was as if I had entered a different universe. For weeks I attempted the puzzles without solving more than a half dozen clues. By the time I came upon his book in a public library, and developed my solving skills, Ximenes was no more and Azed had taken over. I read the book from cover to cover and continued to borrow it for many years. Recently I have been searching the book-shops for a copy, but in vain.
Dexter calls this book 'a seminal treatise' and its influence on the world of cruviverbalism was immense. Ximenes unfurls his banner on the very first page when he says that the purpose of the book is "the ambitious one - perhaps too ambitious - of trying to arrive at a system of principles which can make the crossword more enjoyable and rewarding to solvers". The early chapters deal with the history of crosswords and the coming of the cryptic clue before going on to diagram composition and types of clue. In the chapter Crossword Principles he acknowledges his debt to Afrit (A F Ritchie), who made the first moves towards fair clueing but still used unsymmetrical grids.Read more ›