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Decoding Cryptic Crosswords: A Step-by-step Guide Paperback – 15 Dec 2007

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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  • Decoding Cryptic Crosswords: A Step-by-step Guide
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  • Learn How to Solve Cryptic Crosswords: A Course for Beginners
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Product details

  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Matador (15 Dec. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906221693
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906221690
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 1.3 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 714,094 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Ged O'Connell was born in Bradford and went to university inLeeds before becoming a teacher. He taught English in Spain, Egypt and Finland before moving to Japan over 20 years ago. He now teaches academic writing andcritical thinking at a university in Tokyo.


Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback
Two groups of people write books about how to solve cryptic crosswords. Most are written by professional crossword setters and a few by solvers. On the face of it, the books by solvers ought to be better, because they spend their time doing the thing they're trying to teach you. In practice, it's the books by setters that are better, because:

* To become a setter you must understand cryptic clues well enough to write ones that a newspaper crossword editor is happy to inflict on the public.

* A cryptic crossword tutorial book needs plenty of examples - both individual clues and whole puzzles. A professional setter can use material they've already written or write fresh stuff for the book. The solver must produce his own material or find a way to borrow material from the pros.

* Although setters spend a lot of their time writing clues, most have been or still are solvers too - often very good ones. They need to do some solving just to see what other setters are doing.

Ged O'Connell is a solver. His website says: "Ged O'Connell was born in Bradford and went to university in Leeds before becoming a teacher. He taught English in Spain, Egypt and Finland before moving to Japan over 20 years ago. He now teaches academic writing and critical thinking at a university in Tokyo." Neither this information nor the book itself tells you much about his crossword solving experience, which seems a shame.

Like many 'how to solve' books, most of the text is organised by clue type, telling you what clue types are used, and how to recognise them.
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I love puzzles of all descriptions and lately I've been struggling to understand the cryptic crossword as I find the basic crossword not challenging enough. Yet the clues in the book I've been struggling with, read like Arabic to me! So I decided I needed the cryptic crossword explained for me so I went looking for a book and found this. I can definitely recommend this book as it does what it says it does, which is to provide graded exercises along with all the tricks, techniques, mind games, functions, keys, clues, codes, hidden words, anagrams, abbreviations, grammar, double synonyms, and pronunciations that the cryptic crossword compilers use to challenge the determined puzzler! The writer has also included lists of roman numerals, abbreviations etc. with which to work the puzzles out. I am only half way thought this book and I am finding it absolutely fascinating. I also found myself wondering how the writer himself worked how they work as it really is a language all of its own. And I know that when I have finished the book that I am still going to have to go back to the beginning to read it again, and I may even have to read it a third time as it does take some doing in terms of absorbing it all. Still at least now when I am stuck on a clue I have this 'how to' book there by my side to use as a guide.
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Format: Paperback
This is a great book. It has really clear instructions. To be honest, I've always been useless at crosswords but this book has made it possible!
Well written and easy to understand. Brilliant!
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