Cruciverbalism: A Crossword Fanatic's Guide to Life in the Grid
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Cruciverbalism: A Crossword Fanatic's Guide to Life in the Grid

3.33 of 5 stars 3.33  ·  rating details  ·  88 ratings  ·  28 reviews

For the millions of people who do crosswords, the person behind the puzzle is always something of a mystery. What puzzler wouldn't want to know how a constructor thinks when putting together a puzzle? Or the secret rules that guide the selections of clues and answers? Or how to outsmart the constructor by understanding his mindset? A few tips about how to improve solving

Hardcover, 160 pages
Published November 1st 2006 by Collins (first published 2006)
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Jun 20, 2012 Jeff rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: the Mik
Shelves: 2012, non-fiction
For hardcore puzzlers who desire insight into one of the big names in cruciverbalism's (not so) "new wave," focus on chapters 1, 2, & 4. For beginners who want a boost over the invisible fence of unwritten rules, read chapters 3, 5, & 6.

Those who find this book most instructive will probably consider it only mildly interesting while those who find it most interesting will learn little from it: a perceived balancing act that i think warrants precisely 3.00 stars.

Mr Newman's tips, tricks,...more
While this book had some good crossword solving tips, interesting crossword history anecdotes, and a reasonably engaging writing style, it never progressed beyond being mildly interesting. As an avid cruciverbalist myself, I was already familiar with many of the crossword techniques laid out. And while I appreciated some of the crossword-world lore, the writers endless ragging on those who did not appreciate his own brand of wit and his constant reminders of how very witty he found himself to be...more
Will Shortz hasn't written his memoirs yet, so we have to settle for this pathetic ego-trip.
This book caught my eye while at another branch of the library - always fun to scan shelves that you're not so familiar with. Cruciverbalism is part crossword history, part insider's how-to. It's written by Stanley Newman, a serious crossword fanatic and editor of one of the few nationally syndicated puzzles. Pretty interesting, and lots of tips on how to improve your puzzling. One of my favorites: If the top row has a long word, look for it to contain lots of consonants - since most words start...more
Jacob / Julie
After reading Word Freak, this seemed like a natural next book to read -- it's the Crossword Puzzler's version of that book, but a much shorter book. I actually didn't know that it existed until I went to the library to pick up some books on wordplay that were mentioned in Word Freak and there it was on the shelf among the wordplay section. I wrote a post on it in my LiveJournal.
Jun 12, 2008 Theresa rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys solving crossword puzzles.
If I didn't like crossword puzzles, I would probably give this book only two or three stars. But for anyone who has struggled to find a four letter word ending in "ue" with the clue "a pout or grimace," this quick read book is FUN and gives helpful hints to solve any crossword puzzle. The author has very strong opinions about crossword constructors and editors and does not hesitate to share those opinions with the reader.
i thought this would have more things like tips on how to better do crossword puzzles, and fun facts about how the crossword puzzle was invented, etc.

while there were both of these things, the book was a little too much about the author's personal experience with puzzles and his journey to becoming an editor.

it did, however, give a good list of 100 words that are often used in puzzles and are often not known.
Mar 19, 2008 Kayleen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people interested in crossword puzzles
Interesting history of crossword puzzles. Good tips to working out clues. A fast enjoyable read.

The book itself is beautifully designed. Careful consideration was given to font, page number placement, and color of the book it's self. Also has a very well done index. It's very unusual to find such a wonderful example of the bookmaker's art in a new book these days. Delightful.
I spend way too much time doing crossword puzzles, and some time when I'm not doing crossword puzzles reading books about them. How pathetic is that! Anyway, this is one of the books on crosswords that I really enjoyed. The best part was that the author turned me on to some great puzzles, the Wall Street Journal Sunday puzzles, available free on the web!
The book can be helpful to the aspiring crossword puzzle solver. The book comes off as rather narcissistic, and the author is prone to rants. He attempts to gear his book towards all audiences, but much of the advice would bore even a moderately proficient crossword solver, and his jokes and comments may be too much for a novice.
This book is a quick read, and for anyone interested in crossword puzzles, there are lots of tips for solving puzzles. I really liked the suggestion about writing down words that I don't know, then looking them up. I am now making voice notes of words I come across if I don't have pen/paper at hand.
I bought it for my brother who is a crossword enthusiast, but I read it first (is that bad?). I'm not an enthusiast, but I liked Mr. Newman's voice and his sense of humor. Interesting stuff, too, albeit a bit TMI for a crossword novice like myself. I think my brother will really like it.
This is a fun, quick read for any crossword enthusiast. If you are a pun-loving word nerd, you will like this book. It is interesting to learn more about how crossword designers think, and the list of 100 common crossword words is quite handy!
Brian Sison
A unique look at what makes a crossword enthusiast tick. Written by one of the top Crossword editors in the past decade, this book highlights the evolution of the Crossword Puzzle from a purely analytic pasttime to a creative one.
Jun 24, 2007 Kurt rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: crossword people
A very quick read. Gives some interesting insights into the world behind those puzzles in the paper. Author is the editor of the nationally-syndicated Newsday crossword. I'm still looking for a book on how to construct puzzles.
Feb 28, 2008 Amy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: novice crossword puzzlers
I am on the outside looking in on the crosswording world and thought it would always be so. This book was entertaining and an easy read. I never knew how to approach crossword puzzles and now I have a starting point.
May 21, 2009 Adrian added it
Funny little book about all things crossword. Appreciated the history of the craft, tips on doing them better and analysis of different clues. His shilling for his other books and services? A bit much.
A great read, he’s a fun author and has some good tips and great trivia esp. if you’re a puzzle freak like me. He edits the Newsday puzzle and also had won some of the big crossword tourneys back in the day.
This is a clever book full of tips to improve a solver's game. I enjoyed this book quite a bit, although I haven't decided if I am willing to put in the effort to become a true crossworder.
A very quick and lively read, Newman's wit and insatiable appetite for puns are fully deployed in this book which is part biography and part self-help for crossword solvers.
I think this sets a new world record for the most humblebrags in a published book. After enduring 58 pages, I took it back to the library sale table.
Apr 23, 2009 Mo rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Mo by: Suzanne
A must-read for all cross-word enthusiasts. Beware of the puns though; they're all fun and good for the first few chapters, but become groan-worthy.
A great read for anyone wanting to improve their crossword skills. Some history of crosswords as well as "rules" and tips for solving.
This was kind of fun, but too short!
Did you know that former NYT Crossword Editor Eugene T. Maleska was EEVIL? He was.
Probably an enlightening read for a crossword newbie. Ewe, Ott, ort, orb ... zzzz.
A small book with some tips and pointers on how to complete a crossword puzzle.
this was a fun book on crossword mania.
Castelle eldredge
a great book on crosswords
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