Four-Letter Words: And Other Secrets of a Crossword Insider

Michelle Arnot, Author Perigee Books $13.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-399-53435-5
While opening up a window into the unique world of those who write, edit, and obsessively solve crosswords, puzzle writer, editor and self-proclaimed ""acrossionado"" Arnot (What's Gnu: History of the Crossword Puzzle) opens up a chest of insider secrets and solving tips worth the price of admission themselves. The title refers not to profanity, but a stable of commonly occurring crossword answers-""repeaters"" to the insider-that form the foundation of nearly every standard crossword-and are cleverly highlighted, with an accompanying clue, throughout the text, equipping her readers with old-pro tools while keeping up a fleet, at times manic examination of the puzzle's people and processes. Bouncing with little or no warning from topic to topic, Arnot comes across like a close friend finally given the green light to unload about a lifelong obsession. She wisely outlines her thoughts into chapter topics like geographical words, the occurrence of ""E,"" proper names, 3-letter words and crossword variations. Crossword fans should tear through this like a specimen from Monday's New York Times, but Arnot's enthusiasm alone could make anyone curious into a convert.
Reviewed on: 08/04/2008
Release date: 08/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 240 pages - 978-1-4406-3172-6
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 240 pages - 978-1-4362-3824-3
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