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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 25 March 2010
With about 60 clues per puzzle, these are a bit daunting at first but for me the key was to focus on segments and not go darting all over the puzzle looking for easy answers.

I believe the test of a great clue is that from it you can construct a word or phrase that you've never heard of. For that reason I used to love Auracaria's crosswords for the Guardian. Some of the compilers here - there are 13 of them - meet that criterion. From the previous edition of the the Times Jumbo there were very few puzzles that achieved difficulty, to me at least, by being vague - probably one compiler. That's certainly an improvement over Daily Telegraph cryptic crosswords which these days are only difficult when they're either imprecise or inaccurate or both. And over about 3000 clues in that last Times Jumbo edition I think I found only one that was answerable equally logically with two different words. Pretty good going.

These puzzles also passed another acid test. When you've finished and found you got one or two wrong, do you have to agree you were sloppy and that if you'd interpreted the clue more accurately you would have got the right answer? In almost every instance I've found that to be the case. With most of these compilers you feel you've been in a fair fight.

Having a recent copy of Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary close at hand, helps. Okay, I know you're not supposed to use a dictionary but I'm not that clever and having lived half my life in Canada it helps to be able to check the exact English definition of a word, often slightly different from the Canadian version.

If I say that one of the highlights of my current day is the first half hour with a coffee and my Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword book, I hope the phrase 'get a life' doesn't come to you.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Most of this review is unchanged from my reviews of Books 7 and 8. This time we have a new cover design, with the cover strapline "The world's most challenging cryptic crossword." WRONG - the Listener and Mephisto puzzles from the same newspaper group are much better candidates for this description. On my copy there's also a mistake with the "The Times" logo on the spine, which appears as "THE TIME" - snigger, snigger. But on to the stuff that matters ...

Everything in my reviews of the Times crossword series (The "Times" Crossword: Bk. 12) applies to this book. There are two differences. The paper used in the Jumbo books is better - whiter and tougher than in the other books. More important in crossword terms, the daily Times puzzle never uses multiple grid entries as a way of squeezing in answers longer than 15 letters. So if you want to see these in a Times puzzle, the Jumbo is the only place.

Stuff about "brain-bending" in the blurb for Jumbo books suggests that they are more difficult than the daily paper ones. I think any extra difficulty is accounted for by three things: simply finding where to write the answers in a bigger/less familiar grid (for speed solvers in particular), some long answers you haven't seen before, and maybe higher average word length, so fewer familiar short words. The clues seem no harder than those in the daily paper puzzles - the setters are the same people, after all.

Retention of the precious fifth star is for the same reason as with the other books - no explanations of clues with the answers. But you can get some help. Puzzles 38-50 are the first in any Times crossword book to overlap with the coverage of the "Times for the Times" blog which I organise. If you can find the blog with Google, look for "Memories" and then "Times xwd book indexes". This will give you a way to find the reports on these puzzles, which typically analyse something between 25 and 75% of the clues in a Jumbo puzzle - thanks to Times xwd editor Richard Browne for information about the puzzles in the book which made the list easy to produce.
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on 26 April 2013
When I ordered previously The Times Crossword2, I did not realise they were not the Cryptic Crossword books, now he's very happy with the new selection of Cryptic books

I previously ordered The Times Crossword2, I did not realise they were not the The Times Cryptic Crossword, he's now very happy with this latest order..
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Given as a gift but feedback says they are appropriately difficult which is
exactly what was required. Speedy delivery and excellent offer price.
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on 12 March 2011
Got this for my dad, he's really pleased with it. Good quality crosswords and plenty of them. a must for crossword lovers!
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on 31 July 2009
Another set of big cryptic crosswords. Hours of mind-stretching and knowledge-enhancing enjoyment in store.
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on 22 March 2015
Much harder than the last one I bought - think number 12
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