on 31 October 2012
This book kept my girlfriend and me happily occupied for hours. The larger format means that some longer answers (eg 23 letters long) are possible, with some ingenious definitions and anagrams of words and expressions. (I just love those multi-word answers!) The occasional answer is easy but most require some lateral thinking. There are a few words we would never get, and sometimes we had to resort to the dictionary to see if the word really exists. Sometimes we got the answer but then had to work out why it was correct, with some tortuous mental gymnastics. If you like cryptic crosswords, we recommend this.
on 14 September 2014
In my view it is not a proper Jumbo, only 23 x 23 and not 27 x 27 which is the real Daddy Jumbo. They are still quite good though the print looks a bit cheapskate. The reason one doesn't see larger Jumbos is that there is a clever - but expensive - computer program (one can buy) with grids up to 23 x 23 with which one gets the grid and on pressing Return the grid is filled. You can imagine how much quicker it is to produce such a cryptic. Also, if, for example, a corner of it is too erudite (eg, scientific uses), one can delete and by Return get another sample for the corner. This is why one does not find proper Jumbos (27 x 27), but it does not mean that cryptics of even minimum grid (15 x15 ) cannot be very enjoyable but there are never enough with four 15-letter answers (particularly perimeter 15s). One has to be flexible and realise that clueing a cryptic is not easy but, my opiniion is that setters should never be pedantic (with very tenuous links), unless the crossword is famed for its pedantry. An example is furnished by 1. Across of this week's Sunday Times 23 x 23: "Twenty-eight countries, typically crude oil producers" (9). My assist is: the anagram indicator (mixer) is deliciously clever, though it opens with pedantry. I suppose we should thank the Times for producing a 23 x 23, but they really should eschew the pedantry.