on 7 February 2011
I've always loved puzzles, codes, crosswords - trouble is, I'm not all that good at them. They've always fascinated me - I'm an artist, and put puzzles in my paintings because I'm so fascinated by them. Fascination is one thing, but I always end up being able to go so far and no further. Crosswords - proper crosswords - are a particular bugbear for me. I've always loved the idea of being able to do them, but never figured out how on earth to start. Trial and error only got me so far. I needed to be able to know not just how they worked, but *why* they worked as well - and now I do. This book isn't just about crosswords, of course, and takes in a whole range of other cryptograms and codes, starting with the basics and getting steadily more complex. This means that, unlike books that focus solely on one kind of puzzle solving, you begin to understand how any kind of information can be hidden. And once you start to understand that, you can not only break codes but make them as well. This book explains code-breaking and puzzle-solving with clear and straight-forward examples, along with little nuggets from the history of codes and cryptograms. The exercises are well-designed and build up your knowledge as you go along. By the end, I was not only solving the codes and crossword clues - but I began to understand how I could construct my own. Recommended to anyone who's ever stared at crossword grid and felt left behind!