Customer Reviews

11
4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
8
4 star
3
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0

Your rating(Clear)Rate this item
Share your thoughts with other customers

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 31 October 2013
`Anon' may be right that some historical research is lacking, but for me there is plenty of information about the crossword's early years, and one important little nugget is John's mention that from a particular point in its development "nothing much happens". It's true. Cryptic crosswords reached a stage in the 1970s where editors and setters had found a comfortable and stable set of rules. From then until now there have been no fundamental changes, just little tweaks here and there which have gradually turned the puzzle into the sophisticated thing it is today.
It is my very considerable pleasure to know John personally and to have been given a spot in the book, but my opinion of it isn't swayed by favouritism. From the moment the concept of what it would be was mentioned to me I knew it would focus on the fun and fascination of wordplay. Celebrating the centenary as it does, then yes, of course, there must be historical background, but I think that adding more than there is here would run the risk of creating something a bit dry and academic. For me, the greatest pleasure in this book is that - unlike any other cryptic crossword `history lesson' I can think of - we are moved towards the modern era quite quickly, and many of the setters featured are those considered to be at the forefront of where cryptic clue-writing is currently headed. That is very, very refreshing.
This book contains many snippets of crossword history that were new to me, but presented in an informal, almost trivia-like manner which emphasises the sheer joy of crosswording.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 20 October 2013
The best thing about this book is the collection of 50 or so puzzles it contains from different decades and countries. This appears to be where the hard work has gone, and it's worth getting for the puzzles alone. The prose that links them is rather less compelling. The coverage of the crossword's history is brief - its heyday in 1920s America gets barely a couple of paragraphs ("the nation was swept up in crossword fever"), and its social context almost none at all. The development of puzzles outside the UK and US receives welcome mention, but it's not much more than a bullet list. The writer soon gets on to the more comfortable territory of today's setters, editors (10 pages on editors) and solvers, and a short how-to-solve-cryptics guide. John Halpern clearly loves his job and loves crosswords and crossworders, and happily declares it. The enthusiasm's not in question, but this reader would have liked to see it backed up with a bit more historical research.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 19 December 2013
A charivari of information about one of the world's most enjoyable hobby. A lovely book to dip into and revisit again and again.

Lots of anecdotes and history of the crossword, plus information on some of nthe people who torment you every day.

Written by one of the nicest guys in crosswordland!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 November 2013
After reading John Halpern's enthusiastic and entertaining celebration of the crossword, who wouldn't want to be part of this community? The book is well-researched, well-balanced and well-written, with honesty and great humour. It's informative and educational, and provides the reader with a comprehensive overview of, and insight into, this fascinating world and some of its personalities. Along with plenty of clear, useful advice on both solving and compiling, he includes an eclectic mix of puzzles for us to have a go at. There are all sorts of delightful tit-bits and anecdotes, and he winds up with some brilliant, hilarious anagrams on the acknowledgements page.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 October 2013
I have been sent this book by a friend who loves cryptic crosswords, and I can't put it down. I might even be a convert by tomorrow! John Halpern is not only a number one crossword setter, but also a fluent and clever prose writer, whose fun style is accessible and infectious. I couldn't help but join him in his own fascination with the history, form and possibilities of these puzzles, their setters and their solvers. Whether you're a crossworder or not, you'll be riveted when you have this intriguing black-and-white nugget of a book in your hand.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 18 April 2014
This is a good quality well produced book with plenty of interesting history, however, I found the choice of representative puzzles a tad disappointing - too many elementary puzzles and too many American style 'synonym' puzzles. I was hoping for many more ingenious British style 'barred' puzzles from the crossword's historical development. I suspect the book is aimed at the U.S. market too, hence the American puzzles and the intro from Will Shortz. Also didn't like yet another 'how to' guide to solving cryptics - there is already a limitless number of these on the market.

I did like the author's enthusiasm, though, and I do like tackling his puzzles as Paul in the Guardian!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 February 2014
Full of information and lots of titbits of facts and figures. Also well laid out in a logical sequence. All the examples (and answers) is great.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 January 2014
Great read and informative for those who like crosswords. Would recommend to everyone interested in the history of the crossword.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 27 April 2014
Having seen this book in a posh Visitor Centre, I decided to look online to see if I could buy it at a better price for my wife. I found it, ordered it, and received it with efficiency, speed and great value. Thank you.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 17 July 2015
A must for crossword fans
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.