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The practice puzzles are neither enough nor of the right quality
on 10 February 2015
As an absolute beginner in this area, I bought this book based on the reviews. I regretted it quickly. Reading through the reviews I thought there would be enough practice puzzles for every kind of new clue taught. But that is not the case. The book talks about double definitions first, gives 2 practice puzzles, talks about anagrams next and gives 2 practice puzzles. And then it speeds up. It covers several different more complex kinds of clues next, but gives only 2 puzzles to cover the whole lot. Then there are more complex clues and no practice at all. Instead it jumps straight into full-fledged puzzles. It may be hard to create a full puzzle for each kind of clue, I don't know. But it cannot be hard to ask the reader to solve words instead of a full puzzle. It would have been a lot more helpful if each kind of clue came with 40-50 words to be solved by the reader. I don't like the full puzzles either. I don't see them going up in difficulty level as the author claims. I've done only a few so far, but in each puzzle, right from the first one, some clues are too easy and some simply cannot be solved by absolute beginners. Some of the clues seem less than fair as well. I think for a beginner, it is much more helpful to read Alan Connor's blog on the Guardian website and to start practising by solving some of their Quiptics before graduating to cryptics.