Pretty Girl in Crimson Rose(8)

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Pretty Girl in Crimson Rose(8)

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Jun 6, 2008, 10:38 am

I'd say the above was pretty much 'required reading' for this group ? ;)

I really enjoy the cryptic crossword in the Manchester Evening News, but the ones in other (broadsheet) papers are quite daunting... it seems more luck than figuring clues out if I manage to get any :P

Is it just a matter of getting used to the different setter's styles ?

Edited: Jun 11, 2008, 5:21 pm

I haven't read Pretty Girl in Crimson Rose, but I'd certainly like to. Another piece of required reading is Don Manley's excellent Chambers Crossword Manual, with Ximenes on the Art of the Crossword as the all-time classic.

Yes, it's partly a matter of getting used to different papers' styles – I sometimes find the Independent very difficult, as I'm first and foremost a Times solver. If you're serious about breaking into the broadsheets, it's worth sticking to just one paper initially, so this sort of variation isn't as much of a problem.

That said, some papers' puzzles are intrinisically harder than others. The advice is often to start with the Telegraph, which is by some way the easiest broadsheet cryptic, but the problem with this is that the puzzles just aren't very good. The Guardian isn't a good place to start either, as the editorial policy is very laissez-faire, which means it can have an air of Mornington Crescent about it.

The Times is probably your best bet. Don't be put off by the thought that it must be the hardest. Personally, I don't think it is – they have a comparatively strict editorial policy, so at least you usually know where you stand. And, of course, the puzzles themselves are excellent.

Finally, there are a couple of helpful blogs that cover the daily cryptics: Times for the Times covers, er, the Times, while Fifteen Squared covers just about everything else.