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Puzzled *

By: 

David Astle

Are you someone who has no idea what cryptic crosswords are all about? Do you look flabbergasted at clues like "Early curve superb on cheerleader(7) or "...Twisters for openers(8)".

Are you a crossword aficionado but can't cope with the devious SMH cryptic on a Friday?

Did you enjoy solving the word puzzles on the SBS program "Letters and Numbers".

Well maybe this book will be of interest. David Astle is the DA of those fiendish SMH Friday crosswords and the word guru on that SBS show. He has compiled a tell-all book about the byzantine rules that underlie cryptic clues. Learn all about exotics and reversals, alternations and &lits - and the many other methods of word manipulation used by cryptic cruciverbalists in their attempts to drive us all insane. Tucked in amongst the hints and hand-holding are some anecdotes both concerning David and the history of crosswords.

It is said that some books do change you. How then should I describe my mind after reading David's book: Should it be rubbery - or resilient - from having a devilish Astle in charge? (7)1 Sorry. Went off course there a bit to see David tee off. (8)2

Has the book had an effect on my mind - perhaps, you might think, a chilling one.
Ice could do a mind in! (7)3 No way! Strange remedy. (7)4 Sort of pleased that's passed now. (7)5
Aren't you?

A cryptic crossword may not be really fair but it's all square in black and white.

How would I rate the book overall? I will give you a clue. I would put this down as the best book about cryptic crossword-solving that I have come across!


1. [Rearrangement (devilish) of "Astle" = elast] + [in charge = ic]  = elastic = rubbery or resilient
2. Rearrangement (off) of "David tee" =
deviated = went off course
3. Rearrangement of "do a mind" = diamond = ice
4. No + st (street is a "way") + [rum = strange] = nostrum = remedy
5. Rearrangement (sort) of pleased = elapsed = passed now

21/11/11
Review by: 
dougk

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