3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 9 June 2011
Beware the Kindle version. I'm sure the actual book is fine and a very good tool but it just doesn't work as an ebook as the Kindle keypad doesn't have the corresponding symbol for a blank letter so you can't search - if they'd used an asterisk instead of a blob, you'd be in business. Sadly I found it completely hopeless. But maybe that's just me! Just be warned.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 18 December 2008
I've had this book for several months now, and although it's NOT a crossword book I use a lot, I've found it very useful when I've come across a clue to which I can not find an answer (and end up with a partially completed word). It's at this point that this work becomes the best crossword 'ANSWER' book I've ever encountered.
A short synopsis of how this book functions...the main part of this book is an extensive list of possible answers, in fact 1269 pages of them; there are absolutely no definitions. It assumes you have a least two letters (in any position) in ANY 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 letter word and then proceeds to give you ALL possible combinations of words (answers) that would fit with the letters you already have.
For example...If you had a seven-letter answer with the second letter being H and the sixth letter being C, and appearing on your crossword page as *H***C*, this book will suggest the words CHALICE and PHYSICS, the proper names EHRLICH and SHYLOCK, and the phrase THIN ICE as possible answers.
To help make the book easier to use, all letter combinations are listed alphabetically; this listing method allows you to quickly find the letters you have and their positions within a word quickly. For example, all four letter words using at least one 'A' and one 'B' would be found listed initially under AB**, then A*B*, then A**B, then *AB*, *A*B etc. until all A & B combos were exhausted. And so on with all the rest of the letters in the alphabet.
The only daunting thing about this system is that the number of possible combos for some of the potential answers can be VERY extensive. So it really helps in some cases (especially with six and seven letter words), to have more than just two letters available, as this will narrow your search down significantly. It becomes obvious that the more letters you have to start with, the smaller and easier the search required.
As you might imagine, some of the words listed as possible answers can be very unfamiliar looking. So to try to help this situation, the authors have developed a 'Glossary' (at the end of this book) that has 24,000+ words in it; words initially found in the main answer section. Each of these words, has a short definition to help explain the meaning of these 'unfamiliar answers', to help you determine if the word fits your crossword definition. Surprisingly, this section turned out to be much more useful and helpful than I thought it would be.
Only one minor concern...this book is big and heavy; toting this volume around is cumbersome to say the least.
This book offers the potential solution to many tough crossword clues if your regular definition dictionary is unable to do the job. The only caveat is that you do have to have at least two letters in the word that is giving you trouble; but with this minimum information this book will be a definite asset. 5 Stars.
This book could be classified by crossword puzzle purists as unfair or even cheating in obtaining help for some clues, however, if you've reached the end of the line in some 'obscure' definition, this book will very likely be able to give you the assistance that you need.