Never knowingly undersolved.

A to Z of Crosswords

Posted by Colin Blackburn on September 22nd, 2008

Colin Blackburn.

Now that many crossword devotees have bought Jonathan Crowther’s book, Collins have decided to remainder it. It is now available for the knock-down price of £5.99 from the online, high quality, remainder bookshop Postscript. I’d recommend this book for anyone with a serious interest in tougher cryptic crosswords, especially the thematic puzzles. The book contains biographies of many prominent setters, some puzzles, from those setters, and an introduction by the author where he spells out his ideas on fairness in cryptic clues.

Here’s the blurb:

Offering a glimpse into the arcane world of Araucaria, Phi, Quark, Serendip et al, Jonathan Crowther (Azed of The Observer) presents a biographical A-Z of over 80 of his fellow crossword setters. His book does not pretend to help solve crosswords, but delving into the mindsets of the compilers might just help. There is also a selection of 43 puzzles, mostly chosen by their setters, all previously published, and ranging from straightforward ‘plain’ puzzles to fiendishly complex thematic crosswords. Solutions at the back.

Postscript Books

2 Responses to “A to Z of Crosswords”

  1. Wil Ransome says:

    It’s well worth having, because nowhere else, to my knowledge, is there a comprehensive list of setters with details about them; and Azed’s introductory essay is alone worth the cover price. But otherwise it’s a bit slack: it reads as if he’s just sent out questionnaires to all those who agreed to be in the book and they’ve done the writing about themselves. He doesn’t seem to have bothered to change the words much so that it reads as if he’s written them himself.

  2. nmsindy says:

    I’d strongly recommend this book – I’ve never seen so much info about the top setters anywhere else. I guess they all co-operated because of the very high esteem in which Azed is held among setters. I think the questionnaire format was probably intentional, similar to Who’s Who books and I think that’s absolutely right for a book like this.

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