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50 Variety Cryptic Crosswords Paperback – June 6, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 90 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (June 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1468008013
  • ISBN-13: 978-1468008012
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.2 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,020,272 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 30 customer reviews
Can't wait until Roger's next book.
E. Crvich
Variety cryptics are far and away my favorite type of puzzle...and they are hard to find.
Steven J. Thurman
Many new and clever twists that draw my admiration!
John Zahn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Grant on August 29, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am perhaps tempted to be overly generous in handing out the stars to variety cryptic collections because such collections are a rare commodity and I'm grateful whenever I learn that a new one has been published. But this collection by Wolff earns its 5 stars hands down. This is not to say that it's perfect. The page layout is rather amateurish, and there could have been more thorough editing. (Who is President "Hays"?) But these flaws are (much) more than made up for by the amazing creativity of the author. Frequently, he weaves not just one but multiple variety "gimmicks" into a puzzle. These don't necessarily make the puzzle harder to solve, but they do leave the solver marveling at Wolff's artistry.

I can't imagine that there is a fan of variety cryptics who wouldn't be happy to acquire this item.

UPDATE: "Sixteen" should be "Twenty-five" in the instructions for the puzzle on page 26. (Maxwell Smart: "Missed it by that much.") Did I mention that Wolff could have used an editor?

UPDATE 2: In the puzzle on page 48, 25 Across makes a lot more sense to me if "exit" is replaced by "enter", and in 30 Across "siestas" needs to be "siesta", I think.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Steven J. Thurman on October 12, 2012
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As one other reviewer noted, this book is an editor away from perfection. Roger Wolff is incredibly creative, both in clue writing and puzzle creation. The same "AHH!" you get from finally figuring out a tricky entry is multiplied tenfold when discovering the puzzles' themes. Some of these are as good as any cryptics I've solved (and yes, that does include Cox and Rathvon).

Variety cryptics are far and away my favorite type of puzzle...and they are hard to find. Here's hoping that Wolff catches on with a good editor/publisher, because the single drawback to the book is the scattered mistakes. I'll buy anything the man puts out, but with a little help I'd buy even more as gifts.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By E. Crvich on December 25, 2012
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Having done cryptics for many years, not only have I gotten a bit tired of the same old stuff, I've also exhausted most of the well-regarded cryptic book options (Cox/Rathvon, Henry Hook, etc.). I bought this one partly at random and partly to explore the new-to-me world of variety cryptics. And oh what a joy it is!

It's worth noting that there are no first-timer instructions included on how cryptic clues work. Furthermore, these are harder than the "industry standard" Cox/Rathvon cryptics you will find in the Mensa books of theirs, and there are lots of curve balls both in terms of grid construction and the clues themselves. Some puzzles involve two separate grids, some are diagramless, some answers have unknown lengths or require alteration prior to putting them into the grid, etc. So this is not suitable for cryptic-beginners (the puzzle books from Fraser Simpson are great for learning...lots of instructions and easy puzzles). The idea of having these extra layers of obfuscation will either make you excited or frightened. Or perhaps both.

Back when I first started solving conventional cryptics in Games magazine, I became obsessed due to the amount of satisfaction I got in solving just a single clue. I have since done so many hundreds of cryptic puzzles that I no longer get the same pleasure anymore, but this book brings back that feeling somewhat. So if regular cryptics don't hold the same difficulty or excitement that they once did for you, this is a mandatory purchase. Can't wait until Roger's next book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By John Zahn on August 10, 2012
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These are some of the toughest variety cryptics I have ever seen. Many new and clever twists that draw my admiration! These are not for the faint of heart, but if you stay with them and let your mind run free the answer will eventually dawn on you. When you do figure these out, you can only shake your head and admire the delightfully twisted mind of Roger Wolff! I love them!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Anita Hollister on December 26, 2012
Format: Paperback
I was given this book as a holiday present. I've been working cryptic crosswords in Games and World of Puzzles magazines for several years, and my favorites are the variety cryptics. But there are never enough of them, so having a whole book of my favorite mental exercise is a joy.

This collection by Roger Wolff is simply outstanding! Not only are the clues clever and challenging, the themes are delightful and often multi-layered. I continually marvel at all the planning which must have gone into their construction. It's particularly amazing in puzzles like "Paint by Letters", which involves two independent grids for Across and Down clues, answers that must be modified in a thematic way before entering, and a thematic pictorial image produced by shading letters that are the same in both grids. HOW DID HE DO THAT??? :-)

The extra difficulty of these puzzles means that each one is likely to take 2 hours or more to solve. For me that's a plus. The satisfaction of discovering the themes, and completing a puzzle, is immense. Thank you Mr. Wolff!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Scott Cramer on August 3, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My wife and I have been enjoying variety cryptics for many years, and have mined every source we can find in search of more. Having exhausted the entire archive of The Atlantic (Emily Cox & Henry Rathvon), Harper's (Richard Maltby, Jr. (thirty-seven years of monthly puzzles!)), many years of the National Puzzler's League's 'Enigma' publication, as well as any others we could get our hands on, we were thrilled to find this book.

I will say without hesitation that these puzzles are easily the equal of the best puzzles we've done. Rarely do we complete a puzzle without expressing our admiration for the cleverness of the construction. These are seriously brilliant puzzles, folks. Put this in your shopping cart without reservation.

Do not be put off by the complaints. The errata mentioned in other reviews are infrequent, and have never prevented us from solving a puzzle. Without looking at the answers, of course!

Scott Cramer
Lancaster, NH
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