Customer Reviews


3 Reviews
5 star:
 (2)
4 star:    (0)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worked well for me!
I can't say how well this book works for complete beginners, but I can say what it did for someone who had been gradually learning to do cryptic crosswords for about 10 years. When I read it, I could finish or nearly finish the Guardian and Times puzzles I was tackling but being self-taught, I sometimes solved clues without understanding them properly. This book (first...
Published on 30 Oct 2008 by Peter Biddlecombe

versus
3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Firstly the good points. Manley does a reasonable job of explaining standard cryptic crossword clues and the tutorials are also helpful. Therefore the first third of the book is worthwhile.

Now, the bad. The two "crossword romps" and their solutions are a waste of space. Puzzles are abundant, so why fill up space with more? Over 30% of the book...
Published on 1 Jan 2009 by Edward J. Mckinnon


Most Helpful First | Newest First

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worked well for me!, 30 Oct 2008
By 
Peter Biddlecombe "peterbiddlecombe" (Bucks, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Chambers Crossword Manual (Hardcover)
I can't say how well this book works for complete beginners, but I can say what it did for someone who had been gradually learning to do cryptic crosswords for about 10 years. When I read it, I could finish or nearly finish the Guardian and Times puzzles I was tackling but being self-taught, I sometimes solved clues without understanding them properly. This book (first edition) clarified my understanding of clues, and gave me the confidence to start tackling harder puzzles regularly, and to enter the Times Crossword Championship a year or two later. Three years after that I reached the National Final for the first time (1992), and on two later occasions I walked away with the trophy.

Other ways teaching may suit beginners better, but some of the criticisms in other reviews are just plain daft. To the person who complained about untaught indicators in test puzzles, I can only say that untaught indicators are what you have to deal with in real puzzles - learning to solve by rote is not a good way. Likewise including clue types previously learned in test puzzles - you have to learn to see what type a clue might be, not just to solve it when you know the type already.

Declaring an interest: I know Don Manley personally and he recommends a website of mine in the book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 2 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Chambers Crossword Manual (Hardcover)
Excellent!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 1 Jan 2009
By 
Edward J. Mckinnon (Seattle) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Chambers Crossword Manual (Hardcover)
Firstly the good points. Manley does a reasonable job of explaining standard cryptic crossword clues and the tutorials are also helpful. Therefore the first third of the book is worthwhile.

Now, the bad. The two "crossword romps" and their solutions are a waste of space. Puzzles are abundant, so why fill up space with more? Over 30% of the book!

Manley fails to explain satisfactorily some of the answers to clues; perhaps they are obvious to him.

He confesses to being a Ximenean but cautions that many setters are not(Araucaria being a prime example). Therefore does this not render a large part of his advice moot?

He also eschews personal names. Ironically in a recent Guardian puzzle, as Pasquale, he egregiously breaks his own rules giving answers as Apollo, non-Ximenean, and Prince Charles, a person.

As a result of his book, I must admit that I look at clues more analytically but also more critically (not always helpful when the setter is a non-Ximenean, as is frequently the case).

The sections on advanced and special crosswords were of no help whatsoever. The only information that I got from them was that one had better have a wide knowledge of the existence of very obscure words. Little advice was offered on cracking the clues. Perhaps none exists, ones mind may have to work in this convoluted way! Certainly the book gave me no encouragement to venture beyond the standard, daily broadsheet cryptic.

The section on setting was of no use at all. I have tried setting puzzles and it is not easy to fill in the spaces, especially towards the end. Manley makes it sound simple. He uses his own grid and never addresses how to tackle one that is provided by a third party.

Manley's advice to editors seems to me just a combination of common-sense and plain good manners. Perhaps this is all that is required, but it is hardly the Crown Jewels.

On solving, Manley states that he always starts with a down clue, but never explains why. Is it obvious?

After 40+ years of cruciverbalism I had hoped for a breakthrough. Perhaps I was too optimistic and will have to struggle on unaided.

My final words to Manley are "Could do better".
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Chambers Crossword Manual
Chambers Crossword Manual by Don Manley (Hardcover - 2 Oct 2006)
£10.60
Not in stock; order now and we'll deliver when available
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews