Colin Dexter's new crossword solving guide

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Colin Dexter's new crossword solving guide

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Nov 27, 2009, 1:08 pm

Tomorrow sees the publication of a new crossword solving guide, Cracking Cryptic Crosswords.  Here is a blurb found online:

"Colin Dexter, the creator of Inspector Morse (a crossword addict), has written a new book on how to understand and interpret cryptic crossword clues. The book opens with a very short new Morse and Lewis story.

"Recognising that many people who enjoy crosswords find it hard, if not impossible, to progress beyond those of the usually easier 'coffee-break' variety, Colin Dexter has written Cracking Cryptic Crosswords. The aim of the book is two-fold: first, to guide solvers and would-be solvers to advance to the delights of the cryptic variety, and second, to offer a succession of tips to those already in the promised land on how better to approach such puzzles, and how to improve their existing skills.

"The 'rules of the game' are comparatively few and fairly easy to learn. In Cracking Cryptic Crosswords, Colin Dexter provides a very personal and masterful guide to recognizing and interpreting the various types of crossword clues – an essential pre-requisite to success in filling in any crossword grid."

Nov 27, 2009, 2:28 pm

Cracking Cryptic Crosswords sounds like just the thing for Santa to bring me. I'm still working my way through The Starter Guide to Cryptic Crosswords with some success but as soon as I move on to an actual puzzle my mind just goes blank. The summer holidays are approaching so hopefully I will have more time to work on these crossword puzzles or I'll go mad and finally give up.

Can't get the touchstones to work either.

Dec 1, 2009, 5:17 am

If you have easy access to any of the standard UK daily cryptics, I suggest you try plugging away at them over the holidays, because there's plenty of help available online.  My recommendation would be the Times crossword, for its mixture of fairness, consistency and entertainment; each day's puzzle is discussed at "Times for the Times" by a friendly bunch ranging from beginners to experts.  But if you can instead only get hold of the Guardian, the Independent, or the Financial Times, the "Fifteensquared" blog has similar discussions of those puzzles at the links I've just given.  Solving guides can be very helpful to get you started, but ultimately there's no substitute for tackling a steady stream of puzzles (ideally with experts on hand to explain things you don't understand).

Dec 1, 2009, 2:45 pm

Thanks for the links Mark. They are exactly what I need - the answers explained.

Dec 1, 2009, 6:36 pm

One of the worst experiences for me (even as an experienced solver) is to know the answer because of the 'straight' part of the clue, but not being able to 'prove' it to myself from the cryptic part of the clue. I say 'worst' because even the next day when the answers come out, I'm still none the wiser! Sadly, no book is ever going to help with that. :)

Dec 2, 2009, 7:58 am

You could ask us for help with explanations.

Dec 2, 2009, 8:23 am

I could, I should... I will. It doesn't happen often, but when it does I will try to remember to post it here.