9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Great Fun for the Casual Crossword Puzzle Fan!,
This review is from: The Crossword Obsession: The History and Lore of the World's Most Popular Pastime (Hardcover)
Caution: This book contains coarse words that would never appear in The New York Times crossword puzzle.
Most people who occasionally do crossword puzzles are bound to have certain questions such as:
(1) How are the puzzles constructed?
(2) What do editors do with puzzles submitted to them?
(3) What were the famous puzzle editors like in person?
(4) What do the best puzzle solvers do to make faster progress?
(5) How to solvers prepare for contests?
(6) What reference books do constructors and the best solvers use?
(7) What are the most common short words used in puzzles?
(8) How should unusual clues be interpreted?
(9) How should I attack unusual puzzles?
Those who have wanted to know more about these and many other interesting questions will find many interesting answers from a variety of perspectives in this multifaceted book.
The book contains a fine combination of history, profiles, interviews, answers to common questions by many experts, and perspectives on a variety of crossword puzzles. In addition, you will be pleased to know that the book also provides a number of puzzles and answers to entertain you. For some of the famous puzzles, there are also comments about the puzzle by the constructor.
My favorite part was the section on how to construct puzzles, with many references to computer programs and on-line resources to help. I have always wanted to try my hand at a puzzle, and this shows me the basic elements. I'm sure it will be very difficult, but personally rewarding.
You will also find a good appendix on various resources, suggested readings, a glossary, a brief summary of factoids about words that appear frequently, and biographies and photographs of constructors and editors.
The tone of the book is very down to earth. You will learn about the mistakes, blind spots, and foibles of those involved with crossword puzzles, as well as their successes. It almost felt like reading a series of People magazine issues just on crossword puzzles.
This book will be a favorite gift over the next year or so for those who enjoy puzzles, but have not read very much about them.
After you finish puzzling your way through this book to greater understanding of how to enjoy crossword puzzles, I suggest that you think about how they could be changed to become even more fun? What's missing, from your point of view? What is there too much of?
Whether you use a pen or a pencil to solve puzzles, keep your mind open to all the possibilities!