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73 of 74 people found the following review helpful
on 3 April 2003
I have been doing quick crosswords for years and although I was beginning to find them a bit simple I had always thought the cryptic ones too daunting, and all my previous attempts to learn had failed in confusion and disillusionment... but I decided to give them another go, using this book to start. What i really appreciated is that she weans you from quick crosswords onto the different sorts of cryptic clues one at a time, so that you can use the skills you already have to build on, and to verify your own progress. This book was really helpful and suited perfectly to someone who enjoys quick crosswords already, as you can enjoy the achievement of the example crosswords using many of the skills you already have, rather than spending ages staring at the page getting baffled and dissillusioned without really knowing where to start(which had been my previous experience of trying to learn cryptic technique.) An excellent gap-bridger.
Lots of example crosswords too, (30 altogether) and all with well explained answers in the back (an absolute must to have the explanation as well as the answer to every single clue if you're trying to learn, by the way- something to look out for!) It also contains a few "word banks" of commonly occuring oddities peculiar to cryptic crossword solving- again, worth looking out for in other books.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 11 October 2008
This is an excellent introduction for the novice on how to solve cryptic crosswords. Obviously geared towards the (supposedly easier) Daily Telegraph cryptic crossword, this book will take the beginner to - well, if not an expert, at least in with a fighting chance. Before reading this book I hardly got anywhere with crosswords; now I finish the very occasional one.

The first section explains all the different types of clue, with examples and a crossword containing several examples of that type of clue, all flagged. It then gives tips on approaches to solving, a reference of all the abbreviations and special indicators you're likely to find. There are also several crosswords for you to try.

It would have been superb at twice the price, but this is superb value. Writing this review has convinced me I should reread it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 9 July 2009
A few friends at work have a go each day at the times crossword and i was interested in how they came to the answers. so i bought this... and it's a brilliant book! I'm about 75% through it and it has taught me so much. The book is not easy if your English is relatively poor like mine, but i doubt there is a better book to guide you through the different types of clues with well described solutions and explanations. I highly recommend this if you want to begin learning how these excellent crosswords work.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on 1 October 2001
This book is an introduction to completing cryptic crosswords, with special reference to the Daily Telegraph's (one of the more tractable). All the different types of clue are explained and illustrated, and there are special crosswords for you to practise on, where the types of clue are flagged. As ever, I'd have liked more examples, and more on the approach to take when tackling a crossword, and as yet I still haven't managed more than half a crossword - but that's more than a couple of weeks ago...it's a bargain.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 17 February 2014
This is a great book if, like me, you are/were keen to unlock the mysteries of the cryptic crossword! A couple of caveats: I read Val Gilbert's book after reading Kevin Skinner's ' How to solve cryptic crosswords' and I do feel that the combination of the two books, read in that order, took me to a level of problem solving I never felt possible to attain. My only criticism would be that Val's book didn't get me to a point where I could competently solve one / any of the 'real' Telegraph crosswords - in other words, having followed her instruction I was, in the end, cruising through the 'learning' crosswords, but struggled badly with the real McCoy. Anticipating a new level of competency I also, rather rashly in hindsight, purchased several of the 'Daily Mail' cryptic crossword books, assuming that they would be a doddle after instruction from Val, however they remained almost completely unfathomable - this may well be a measure of my own abilities, or lack of them, however just a weather warning - don't expect a magic bullet solution!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 24 December 2008
Bored with the quick crosswords, I tried to fathom the cryptics. Oh dear. This book and to a lesser extent the similar book by Kevin Skinner have helped open up this fascinating hobby. Already, I have become obsessed and appreciative of how these things are created. Highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 2 July 2009
Very easy to follow, a great introduction to cryptic crosswords. Well worth it.

Be carefull - there are two editions of the same book

The "Daily Telegraph" How to Crack a Cryptic Crossword by Val Gilbert
and
How to Crack the Cryptic Crossword by TheDaily Telegraph
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 7 December 2010
This is an excellent training for the over 60's braincells and rewarding because it's so much easier when you know what to look for !
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 8 June 2009
My daughter & I took this book on holiday to learn how to crack the cryptic crossword. We enjoyed working our way through the lessons and both felt we understood the basics by the end. It is a well written book and will certainly help anyone learn the skills - the glossary at the back is useful even when you have finished the book (I have since bought another copy so we have one each!)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 11 July 2011
I have been trying to do cryptic crosswords for years, and have read two or three books on the subject. This one is easily the best. It leads you through the different types of clue in a very methodical manner. The best thing is that you get lots of practice, and the sample crosswords are well organised - increasing in difficulty.
The book is both informative and fun.
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