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VINE VOICEon 7 January 2010
Most of this review applies to any book in this series, and if you've read my previous reviews of books in this series, there is little new except in the first two paragraphs. This volume has the new cover style for Times xwd books and mercifully avoids the common xwd book howler where the grid on the cover is one that couldn't possibly appear inside the book. It also corrects the slip-up in volume 13 where the "beginner's guide" puzzle was a different one from the one whose answers were explained on the next page.

The 80 puzzles in this collection appeared in 2006, and it includes the nine puzzles used in the reinstated Times Crossword Championship (puzzles 70-79, including tie-breaker which wasn't needed). The introduction briefly describes the championship and also names the setters whose puzzles are used, though individual puzzles are anonymous, as in the paper, except for former xwd ed John Grant's last puzzle.

The crosswords are the main point of the book and the main point of a daily paper cryptic is the quality of the clues. If you're after lots of contemporary culture or thematic puzzles you won't find them here, but for entertainingly deceptive but fair clues, the Times crossword is as good as any cryptic crossword on the planet and streets ahead of many.

What's lacking, as in many crossword books, is explanations of answers. The Times puzzle sometimes uses quite difficult "general knowledge" or subtle wordplay, and it would be possible to identify some of this and add a few explanations to the solution grids. That's my reason for awarding four stars rather than five.
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on 12 September 2014
After sampling the Daily Telegraph's cryptic crosswords, I now realise that printing of the Times crossword books is inferior (elderly eyes have difficulty with numbers in the grid). There is no such cheapskate printing in the DT books. Although the wit and subtlety of both are equal, I detect a greater absence of the pretentious clue in the DT. The Times setters are too often eruditely difficult with links that scarcely hold up. Perhaps a bit of a quibble, but not if you are trying to fill the grid while commuting to work. Setters should always remember that users are extremely time-stressed and REALLY appreciate wit and acumen when divorced from intellectual affectation.
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on 22 February 2010
I ordered this book for a neighbour who was in hospital having stem cell treatment and she found this was really useful for the times when visitors were unable to get there, a really useful book for anyone who loves crosswords.
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on 17 May 2012
Bought this book for my elderly mother who enjoys cryptic crosswords. She loves it. The only 'quibble' is that the type face could be a little larger; otherwise, these are excellent books.
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Please see reviews of other books of "The Times" crosswords. This one is, alas, no better than the other recent volumes.
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on 20 July 2013
The Times has had some of the best cryptic crosswords for a long time so a book by them is always going to be a delight.
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on 25 January 2010
I can't agree with Pete Biddlecombe; - "The Times crosswords" always have to be a bit more "cryptic" than their competitors to go with their reputation as "THE" crossword. However, using abbreviations that don't exist in the dictionary, grammar and parts of speech that are, shall we say dubious, weird names of plants,religious knowledge, daft anagram indicators and incongruous "wordplay" serves to annoy and frustrate rather than to entertain. The Guardian setters have more of a "feel" for the proper rules of crosswords and are better at it. The Times, no doubt, will suit the Oxford scholar of the 1930's who thinks a certain way.
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on 18 August 2014
Another great mental work out
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on 21 February 2015
Great crosswords
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