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 skills wouldn't hurt, either. Putting it all together in an accessible and witty "guide to life in the grid" is just what everybody wants and needs. CRUCIVERBALISM will help people become better solvers and have more fun doing crosswords. It will also pull back the curtain on puzzle–making itself, outlining the history of crosswords, showing how they have evolved over the past century, and how rules and the mindsets of puzzle editors have changed over time. It will pass along the guidelines the author provides to his stable of puzzle constructors, and tidbits such as the "100 essential words" for the pursuit of crossword happiness. Finally, it will recount the decade–long battle between Old Guard and New Wave constructors, bringing in a cast of colorful characters living in a world of words. The book will be a combination of crossword self–help, wisdom, trivia and stories that will fascinate today's millions of avid puzzlers.
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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.
Mark Lasswell is the deputy books editor at the Wall Street Journal. He lives in New York City.From Publishers Weekly:
Crossword puzzle fans will eat up this entertaining stew of history, arcana and personalities in this memoir–cum–instruction manual by longtime Newsday crossword editor Newman and Wall Street Journal deputy books editor Lasswell. And woven into the mix is a great lesson in how to engineer a midlife career switch. Newman, an advocate of "new wave" crosswords, gleefully describes his "war" with "pedantic" Eugene Maleska, the New York Times crossword editor from 1977 to 1993, a David-vs.-Goliath tale. But Newman doesn't neglect the nuts and bolts about difficulty levels (contrary to popular belief, Sunday isn't the hardest puzzle of the week: it's about midweek-level, but bigger), the types of clues used by constructors and the most effective ways to approach puzzle solving (start with an easy clue and try to fill in that entire section before moving on). Newman touts the health benefits of puzzling, citing studies that show it can help ward off Alzheimer's and senile dementia. He also provides some interesting trivia bits, among them, that the late Seagram's chairman Edgar Bronfman's passion for puzzles helped Newman finance a Lincoln Town Car, and many of the puzzles appearing in daily newspapers are constructed by prison inmates. (Nov.)
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