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How to Solve Cryptic Crosswords
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on 24 June 2017
This is the book that helped me to crack cryptic crossroads - before I worked my way through it, I was completely mystified and cross when I failed to understand the clues. Now they are my favourite type of puzzle which gives me a lot of satisfaction when I complete one. I bought this for someone else who loves crosswords but doesn't know how to tackle the cryptics. Buy it!
5 people found this helpful
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on 2 September 2014
I have bought several books on how to solve cryptic crosswords before and got a few tips, but usually given up half way because I have not got a cryptic clue mind. On average I get 3 or 4 clues in a normal broadsheet crossword. That's not as bad as it seems because sometimes I get none, I tell myself in defeat. Reader, measure your own capabilities to mine.

However, I decided to try to understand clues again and recently bought this most helpful book by Kevin Skinner. The author teaches us to "think cryptic" and gives very helpful advice in reading clues, with simple revision. He gives very clear and economical explanations of the most common clues, together with examples. He sets mini crosswords using each clue type in turn and then explains in simple, illustrated sentences how the correct solutions fit the type of clue. He also provides concise, helpful lists of commonly-used exchange words and abbreviations in order to guide and teach the reader by example. Finally, he has a section of graded crosswords: 14 on level 1- and 12 on level 2-type crosswords. The reader solves these, hopefully, using all the methods he has demonstrated in the book and by reading how the clues worked.

I found the book so easy to use and my skills developing so fast that I bought a copy each for two of my friends. Not only is the book clearly written and encouraging, but the author uses humour in a non-patronising way, which is always a bonus. He tells us he has been through this journey himself. At present I have only done four of the final examples and have no idea how I will progress, but I am so much better than I was a week ago. This is a winner in every way for me and highly recommended.
8 people found this helpful
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on 9 June 2016
I love doing crosswords but have been at a loss to understand how compilers arrive at their cryptic clues/solutions. This book explains a lot and there are lots of example crosswords with the answers/explanations on the following pages so you can practise. It's a neat format and fits into my handbag so I can do a bit of quick 'revision' when out and about, but I think it could have gone a bit further. It's great as an introduction to those mystified by the process, but doesn't quite go far enough in explaining some of the very devious techniques used by some. I would definitely recommend it as a starting point though - the English and the layout are clear and straightforward.
One person found this helpful
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on 22 August 2017
Baffled by Cryptic Crosswords? I have always wondered how to do them. Reading this book for 20 minutes has unlocked this secret world for me! I love it so much and looking so much to looking clever on a bus! (the clue of my title? The Answer - Dazzling Book :-) See! It's working already!
One person found this helpful
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on 8 July 2016
Brought this book...and love it!if you want to learn how to solve cryptic crosswords and look like a code breaker,than this is the book! Plenty of breaking down of the rules and indicators of cryptic clues,and lots of excercises to practise on before the second half of the book is numerous crosswords that get more difficult as you increase in confidence.excellant
4 people found this helpful
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on 11 March 2010
I have long wanted to be able to solve cryptic crosswords. And this book has really helped me along the way. Kevin Skinner starts by explaining how a cryptic crossword clue is constructed and then introduces the reader to the different types of clue, or clue parts. Such as the double straight clue the anagram and various other kinds. Each section has its own mini crossword. After the different types of clues have been introduced the vest of the book (the majority in fact) is made up of actual crosswords which become increasingly complex. What is nice is that the solutions given tell what the clue type is, or which parts of the answer are given by what type of clue. After just a short while I could at least spot clue types for parts of the whole solution and solver easier cryptic crosswords. After that, as the book says, it is just a matter of practice. This really is a good jumping off point.
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on 9 January 2017
As someone who has struggled to get their head around cryptic crosswords for many years, this book logically sets out how to interpret clue meanings and their alternative structures. Clear and concise, with exercises and answers with explanations of the solutions, the author guides you through the cryptic crossword minefield to start you on your journey.
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on 23 March 2013
I adore doing crosswords and I do the one in our local paper every day.
I picked up how to do cryptic crosswords by studying the clues and solving as many as possible then when the next days paper comes I check the answers to the ones I couldn't get so I can see the little nuances that go with solving cryptic clues.
I have found this book by Kevin Skinner very informative and very easy to read and understand.
I can't compare this book against others out there on this topic but if you are thinking of getting a book on how to solve cryptic crosswords I would recommend you start with this one.
3 people found this helpful
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on 13 June 2017
Really good book - gradual introduction of tips and hints, with plenty of practice crosswords to do. Good explanations of answers, so you can build up your skills
One person found this helpful
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on 17 February 2013
I bought this for a friend who has seen me do cryptic crosswords but believes that he'll "never be able to do them." When he went through this book which is very well laid out, methodical and easy to understand, he started to believe that in fact he could do crosswords just he same as any one else, he just needed a guiding hand in how to approach solving clues and he now enjoys doing them. He is also amazed at how humourous some of the answers can be!
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