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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best single book for the job,
This review is from: How to Master The Times Crossword: The Times Cryptic Crossword Demystified (Hardcover)If you want to do better at the Times crossword, this is definitely the book to read. The product description should show you why Tim Moorey is well-qualified for the task. In the past, I gave five stars to the previous book by Brian Greer - How to Do the "Times" Crossword (The Times) - and I think this book does a better job, so five stars it must have! The other 5-star review already here, from someone in the target readership, should convince you as much as this one.
Like any "how to solve cryptics" book, an essential part is the coverage of the various clue types. Tim does this elegantly, listing 12 types and putting them in two groups - those which always include an indicator word, and those that don't (or don't always) do so. He's not scared to give some of the types names that differ from the norm, but these are all well-chosen - e.g. All-in-one to replace that rather dusty name "&lit.", and "sandwich" for the clear but lengthy "container and contents". This section uses a consistent diagrammatic way of explaining the structure of clues, which is continued in the rest of the book.
But the clue-types are dealt with in about 20 pages, and for many intended readers will just confirm what they already know - so good as this part is, it can't sell the book on its own. You then get over 100 pages of advice to help bridge the gap between understanding a list of clue-types and seeing how to solve clues. Some of this is general advice, which I must count as good, having said much the same to many people myself! Equally important is 40-odd pages on the "Finer points of clues", which shows you lots of the tricks that can make good clues so tricky to solve.
At the end of the book are 120 practice clues, a short but interesting exercise in trying a bit of clue-writing yourself, and 12 practice puzzles, the first of which has the type and definition indicated for each clue. The solutions to these are all annotated, so that if you fail to finish a puzzle you're not just presented with a grid of inexplicable answers. As a treat at the end, you get one of the very best Times puzzles to try, with a couple of levels of "clue-hinting" provided if you need them, as this puzzle is difficult.
The book pays a huge indirect compliment to setters and editors of the Times puzzles over the years - the clues used as examples are from the top drawer, showing you the entertainment in store when you solve the puzzle in future.
If you're not particularly interested in the Times puzzle, but in solving broadsheet daily cryptic crosswords in general, this book is equal to any other currently available - and it's clear which information is specific to the Times puzzle.
Declaring a small interest: I used to be the organiser of the "Times for the Times" blog which Tim both recommends and quotes from in the book. I now edit the puzzles Tim writes for the Sunday Times.
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crack the Code with this Masterclass,
This review is from: How to Master The Times Crossword: The Times Cryptic Crossword Demystified (Hardcover)For a while I'd been put off doing the Boradsheet crosswords as I felt like Icouldn't speak the "language" the crossword setters would use in their clues, but this book really is like the rosetta stone when it comes to breaking down exactly how the clues are constructed.
The book starts by breaking down the clue types, and how they are indicated and built. Using detailed descriptions of example clues for each type, you'll soon know how to get from the clue to the answer.
As with anything, practice is the key to truly mastering, and this book not only has lots of example clues for you to analyze, but it also contains full puzzles, with full explained solutions, so you can have lots of dry runs before going for the real thing.
Not stopping there, the book also contains a list of commonly used abbreviations, which I found incredibly helpful, as well as a list of indicators (words that point to things like anagrams, sandwich clues, etc within a clue).
After reading the chapter on clues alone, I almost finished the Telegraph crossword the same day! Ok, so I'm not there yet, but this book is an indispensable tool for getting your mindset into that of the crossword solver.
If you are clever enough to attempt the cryptic crosswords, but find yourself frustrated
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what you need!,
This review is from: How to Master The Times Crossword: The Times Cryptic Crossword Demystified (Hardcover)Blow away your preconceptions of cryptic crosswords as the preserve of fuddy-duddy erudition. I speak as a setter, and this book's enthusiasm and accessibility show that I'm human after all.
Writing cryptic clues is hard work. It isn't well paid. But we do it because the English language - possibly more than any other - avails itself to delightful discovery of wordplay, and there is no greater pleasure than to discover something which is (we hope) unique.
And this book puts it across so well. It isn't just the fact that clue types are broken down and explained so thoroughly; it's the way this is done. You get the sense that you are stepping into the setter's mind and seeing an answer, pre-clue, in pretty much the same way, identifying the components that will, if you get lucky, form a killer clue.
The example clues, of which there are hundreds, are not just "let's think of any old thing that fits this wordplay type". Tim has chosen an excellent cross-section of easy(ish!) and very tough clues which demonstrate how sophisticated the modern cryptic clue has become.
Target audience? To be honest, I think this book has something for anyone who is interested in cryptic crosswords. Novice solvers will find it to be hugely encouraging. And for me? I've been setting cryptics for around 25 years at pro level and this book showed me a few things I wasn't aware of.
The most important thing, though, is FUN, and after reading Tim's book you'll understand that fun is what it's all about.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect book for solving cryptics,
Tim Moorey has a long background in teaching people to solve cryptic crosswords, through clinics and presentations around the U.K., and his experience shows.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best there is but didn't work for me,
I then decided about 18 months ago to really make a go of it and bought several books which I worked painstakingly through without much in the way of improvement.
Then I came across this one which includes "The stated intention is that the Times Crossword can be done by any moderately well educated person with a love of language and problem solving without recourse to reference books"
Believe me I have really worked my way through this book but I have never managed to solve one Times crossword wihtout online help. Here is a clue that I couldn't get "Traveller swindled pair from Rome clothes company" -now if you can solve that I take my hat off to you but I don't think any book can ever teach you that. I have found that it is a bit like buying a book on "How to plaster". There is no way that you will ever learn to plaster without getting your hands dirty and even then some will never have the skill no matter how hard they try.
I frankly don't believe that that the Times Crossword can be done by any moderately well educated person with a love of language and problem solving without recourse to reference books.
This is without doubt the best book there is but anyone thinking that they will be successful even if they spend hours on it will be wrong.
The answer to the clue is Didicoi. I and several others of my standard just couldn't get it-we'd never heard of it. Some will say ah yes but swindled =did , company =co, two from Rome =ii so the answer must be did i co i . I'm afraid no book is ever going to get me thinking that way.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very comprehensive book for any cryptic crossword adict.,
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cryptics made clear,
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Christmas present success,
5.0 out of 5 stars learning,
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent behind the scenes look at Times crosswords ...,
The book explores in a very readable way all the different types of clue you are likely to encounter, breaking them down into compnent parts which lead to what the answer might be. Fantastic for Times crosswords specifically, and useful for others as well.
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How to Master The Times Crossword: The Times Cryptic Crossword Demystified by Tim Moorey (Hardcover - 3 Nov 2008)