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Comment: Minor scratches on cover, some writing on the 1st puzzle
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Superhard Crosswords to Keep You Sharp Spiral-bound – April 6, 2010

2.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Acclaimed puzzle creator, editor, and publisher Stanley Newman is crossword editor for Newsday, with puzzles syndicated worldwide. He holds the world record for the fastest completion of a New York Times crossword.
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Product Details

  • Spiral-bound: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Puzzlewright; 16202nd edition (April 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402763824
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402763823
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.4 x 10.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,172,517 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

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Having played crosswords for over thirty years now, I was looking for a book of hard ones. The title of this book, "Superhard Crosswords To Keep you Sharp," plainly promises that the puzzles therein are not just hard but superhard. The introduction says the book "contains some of the most difficult [crossword] puzzles ever put between two covers."

These are gross exaggerations, and I can prove it.

Here are my times in minutes and seconds for the first nine puzzles: 10:07, 10:29, 14:14, 15:52, 10:27, 8:37, 6:31, 10:54, and 7:37. The sum of these times is 94:48, and the average is 10:32. If we throw out the two flyers the average drops to 10:20, but let's be conservative and round up to 11 minutes even.

To decide whether 11 minutes per puzzle is hard you need to know two facts. One fact is that the "New York Times" daily crossword puzzle -- sized 15 by 15 just as the puzzles are in the book under discussion -- gets harder throughout the week; Monday puzzles are the easiest, and Saturdays are the hardest. The other fact is that I have kept a record of my times solving those puzzles for over a dozen years, so I know how long on average each day's puzzle takes me.

Before I put the two facts together, let me point out that it doesn't matter whether your times are much faster or much slower than mine. All that matters is whether the puzzles in this collection are hard.

If they are, you would expect them to take me as long as at least a NYT Saturday, whether I'm a really fast solver or a really slow one. If they take me as long as a average Friday, then there's no way they can be fairly described as superhard.

In fact, my average time for a Saturday is a whopping 40:34.
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I bought this crossword collection based on its puzzles being described as "superhard" and because it is edited by Stanley Newman whose Saturday Stumper in Newsday is always truly difficult. I've done 10 of the 50 puzzles in this book so far, and they are anything but "superhard." In fact, I don't believe any one of them has taken more than 10-15 minutes to solve. If you are looking for extreme challenges in crosswording, this collection is not for you.
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Stanley Newman consistently over-rates his books. Take whatever 'day' level he advertises and back it off by 3 days! For example, if Stanley claims a 'Saturday' level of difficulty, figure on Wednesday level. This is SO disappointing because many regard Mr. Newman as the father of the modern crossword cluing (tricky instead of arcane). Now it seems he's branched out into tricky descriptions as well.
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When I can do several of the puzzles in less than an hour, they are not living up to the hype.
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