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Vowelless Crosswords Spiral-bound – Bargain Price, June 2, 2009
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WHAT is it?: Simply the most awesome crossword book ever written. That may sound like a pretty bold statement when we are talking about the most talented and prolific constructor ever, Frank Longo, the author of Cranium Crushing Crosswords 1 & 2, Scrabble Crosswords, World's Largest Crossword, and Sit 'n Solve. But it is true.
WHO is it for?: Seasoned master solvers who want to take the ultimate plunge.
HOW does one conquer it?: Several tips, more or less in order of decreasing importance:
1) Don't jump off a cliff after being crushed by the first puzzle. The first puzzle took me a week, and the second puzzle took me three days, and most of the rest were in under a day, and the last half were all in under an hour, and the last 20 or so were mostly under 30 minutes each. Remember, there is a steep, consistent, and plateau-less learning curve. The puzzles do NOT get increasingly difficult, they stay at the same level, but your learning the ropes, gets rapidly better and better.
2) Keep EXTREME faith that:
a) ALL clues are amazingly and consistently and even ridiculously STRAIGHTFORWARD, because if the clues were tricky like most of the Shortz and Gordon era puzzles are, the vowelless book would be quite impossible to solve. I am pretty sure the author realized this, thank goodness.
b) There are absolutely NO entries you have not heard of.
3) If you are stuck, please leave for 30 minutes or a couple hours, or better yet, try again the next day, and dead ends will magically connect. Guaranteed.Read more ›
For me, an experienced crossword player, these puzzles are difficult. That's what I was looking for, and I got it.
They are also satisfying to play. You get many more Aha! moments per puzzle.
Update of January 2012: I have played all but the last two of these 66 extraordinary crosswords. I play just a few at a time, and then I stop so I can build up the anticipation before I indulge myself again.
I now believe that we should pass an amendment to the U.S. Constitution making it illegal for Frank Longo not to publish a book of Vowelless Crosswords every four years, and that Congress authorize payment to him of $100,000 per book.
It is unique: you solve the usual way except omit all vowels from the entry.
KEYBOARD becomes KYBRD, GREAT WALL OF CHINA becomes GRTWLLFCHN etc.
Because entries are considerably shortened, answers get colourfully long and exciting.
So if you're bored of the repetitive crossword entries - this book will please you.