Help for Listener crosswords

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Verbix | 09:45 Mon 23rd Nov 2009 | Quizzes & Puzzles
3 Answers
Usually manage to get the Times Jumbo and daily cryptic finished, but not quickly. How best to start trying the Listener and similar? Any useful books or worked examples? It all looks impossibly obscure to me. Thanks anyway.


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The Listener crossword is aimed at the more experienced solver and I think you would
find the jump from your present level of the Times cryptic very difficult.

I try to advise people to master puzzles at a midway point between the usual daily ones and
the Listener. The sorts of crosswords you could try are Mephisto (also in the Times) AZED in the
Observer ,& Beezlebub in the Independent.
These are all bar gridded crossword and should help you graduate to EV in the Telegraph & Inquisitor
in the Independent.

Good luck and there are always people on here to help. We even have a couple of Listener setters!
Previous reply makes good sense. You need to give it some time once you have chosen the next level that you want to move to. Study the solutions and clues until you understand the setters ways of thinking. This can take some time

Who are these setters then????
No doubt that is sound advice from the legend that is Kayakamina.
I will also have a go at some of those others that he mentioned now.

I write as someone who was, dare I say, until recetly very similar to you;

I only started the Sunday Times a couple of years ago, and that was all I had time to do. I then did the Sunday Times crossword club monthly special ( harder and more obscure words ). Then after e-mailing a setter about a clue in the sunday times that seemed to break the 'cyrptic rules' learnt that the Sunday Times is somewhat very 'laissez faire' about its clues.

So I started the Saturday times a few months ago and the cyptic Jumbo which are better in this respect and then just plunged into having a go at the Listener - I first looked at the answers to the previous weeks to get a feel and then head down. I don't have time or the experience to always complete them and I am a million miles away from the speed and knowledge of guys like K and the other brainiacs on this site but I have now completed three and now also do the spectator and mephisto which I'm sure I would still be struggling with had I not struggled with the Listener first.

The big benefit to having a go at the Listener is that it tends to be very tough but very precise and fair, as well as great fun. BAT by Scahenfreude last week being a great example.

The point I am clumsily making is that, hard as it is, diving into the deep end forces you to raise your game as it were. I would enourage you to have a go.

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