Most helpful positive review
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
The very best
on August 16, 2009
I have been doing cryptic crosswords for more than twenty years. I LOVE those things! Cox and Rathvon are undeniably the top in their field. I pre-ordered this volume way before it came out, and got utterly hooked when it arrived. I am very busy, and I tried to ration the 60 puzzles to evenings at home, after work, after travels, so that I could spread out and savor the fun . . . still, I finished the book in less than 2 months.
There is not a single disappointment in this collection. Every puzzle is devious in its own way. I like them HARD, as difficult as possible. I want them to take many days to finish, and if you do too, then this is the PERFECT book for you!
All of the clues are tricky, some even sinfully misleading, but they are all fair. I often found myself laughing out loud at the surface meaning, which really shouldn't matter too much, once you have a feel for how to attack such clues, but nonetheless adds a level of enjoyment to the solving, a kind of "Wow, that is beautiful! How did they think of that?" The puzzles are all works of art in their own way and can be enjoyed for the sheer aesthetics of the construction, for the elegant mental gymnastics it must have taken to invent them.
Puzzles #20 and #53 were the hardest for me, especially #53, which I had to erase TWICE to start all over.
If you like tackling problems that seem intractable, and need to know that they are indeed honest and solvable, with hard work and patience, then this is the book for you. In most cases, merely cracking the cryptic clues is just the first step -- discerning where or how to place them makes it even MORE fun! It must have been a Herculean . . . almost Sisyphean . . . effort for Cox and Rathvon to produce such ingenious, flawless works.