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Secrets of the Setters: How to Solve the "Guardian" Crossword Paperback – 10 May 2007

4.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Guardian Books; New edition edition (10 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843544695
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843544692
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 160,667 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"'Indispensable. All you ever wanted to know about crosswords but were afraid to ask.' Francis Wheen 'A gentle and comprehensive introduction to the seductive and witty world of the crossword puzzle. Hugh Stephenson's book is an ideal guide.' Simon Russell Beale 'The ideal present for your non-cryptic-crossword-solving friends. If this doesn't work, nothing will.' John Graham, aka Araucaria"

About the Author

Hugh Stephenson is the Guardian's crossword editor.


Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I think the other review is a little mean-spirited!
This is a very good book to get you started on how to solve the Guardian crossword; it explains things clearly and in nicely paced stages, ratcheting up the difficulty in such a way that you feel that you're making progress without getting left behind.
So, all in all, it does exactly what its sub-heading sets out to do!
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Format: Paperback
This book is written by the Guardian's Crossword Editor, who is not a crossword compiler, so sees things more from the solver's point of view. It's written in a more entertaining style than some 'how to solve' books, and has helpful guidance for beginners, both clue analysis and tips about solving techniques, and does well at showing that the knowledge you need is "wide but shallow". It slips up on one or two technicalities such as the meaning of "&lit" - as used in this book, this includes true &lits and another clue-type, normally called "cryptic definition". The text includes groups of practice clues, and at the end of the book there are 14 sample puzzles with some letters in the grid to start you off, and (equally important) explanations of the answers as well as the solutions.
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Format: Paperback
I'm afraid I found this book of little use. It roared along making a lot of assumptions right from the start. I'm no idiot but find it difficult to see these sorts of puzzles whereas I very quick on lateral thinking. I just felt even in the early examples it rattled on far too fast. It is also not honest to imply anyone can do these crosswords. There are a large number of historical, classical and cultural clues which require a pretty in depth education.
The author may not be a setter but he is clearly an accomplished cryptic crossword worker who has forgotten (if he ever knew) the blindness beginners have to these type of clues. There's an implication that it's all so obvious.
As for the lists and lists of what certain phrasing styles could possibly mean in a clue, I'm not sure how one is supposed to memorise that lot.
It would be more helpful to be introduced to a certain type of clue one at a time and then to be given a crossword to practice that before moving on.
This book probably reads well to those who already undertand what's involved. But then they are not the target audience.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a good general introduction to cryptic crosswords. As well as describing the main types of clue and how to solve them, the book also includes some (partially completed) Guardian crosswords to help you practice. Although I'd recommend this book, since buying it I've read Tim Moorey's book How to Master The Times Crossword, which I think is a lot better.
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