Bookshelf Travelling for Insane Times

Judith at Reader in the Wilderness hosts this meme – Bookshelf Travelling for Insane Times.  I am enjoying this meme, looking round my actual bookshelves and re-discovering books I’ve read or am looking forward to reading. The idea is to share your bookshelves with other bloggers. Any aspect you like:

1. Home.
2. Books in the home.
3. Touring books in the home.
4. Books organized or not organized on shelves, in bookcases, in stacks, or heaped in a helter-skelter fashion on any surface, including the floor, the top of the piano, etc.
5. Talking about books and reading experiences from the past, present, or future.

Whatever you fancy as long as you have fun basically.

My post this week is about my love of word puzzles. I love doing crosswords and codewords – any sort of word puzzles too – and do a few each day, either from a newspaper or from books of puzzles, such as these.

Codeword bks

I’m not very good at cryptic crosswords but I’ve got a bit better after doing an Alphapuzzles each day. This is today’s Alphapuzzle:

AlphaPuzzle April 2020

These puzzles have one clue, usually a cryptic clue, that helps enormously if you can solve it, as it gives you more letters to get started. So far today I haven’t worked out the answer to this clue – ‘Tonal switch for a hook‘.

And these books about puzzles are very helpful too:

Word play bks

The Crossword Lists and Crossword Solver edited by Anne Stibbs Kerr contains lists of words and phrases listed alphabetically and by number of letters under a wide range of category headings such as Animals in Fiction, Clouds, Writers, Playwrights and Poets, and characters in Lord of the Rings, for example. The Crossword Solver part contains possible solutions, such as place names, abbreviations and euphemisms and technical terms, and so on.

Puzzled: Secrets and Clues From a Life in Words by David Astle is a fascinating book. It’s a manual of how to solve those cryptic clues that I find so baffling. Astle is a Melbourne-based writer of non-fiction, fiction and drama. He co-hosted Letters and Numbers, the Australian version of Countdown, as the dictionary expert and his crosswords appear in Australian papers The Age and Sydney Morning Herald.

He begins the book with a Master Puzzle and leads you through each of the clues, revealing the secrets of anagrams, double meanings, manipulations, spoonerisms and hybrid clues. I’ve begun to understand … I think.

Word Play: A cornucopia of puns, anagrams, euphemisms & other contortions & curiosities of the English language by Gyles Brandreth is another book full  of surprising facts and anecdotes about words – old words, new words, funny words and ridiculous words. It’s a book you just open anywhere and get lost in – ideal for wordaholics, like me.

And here is another book I regularly use, practically everyday – it sits on the floor next to me. It’s The Chambers Dictionary.

Chambers Dictionary

9 thoughts on “Bookshelf Travelling for Insane Times

  1. I love word games and wordplay, Margaret! How nice that you shared this way of passing the time, feeding the brain, and making the most of staying at home. Thanks for this reminder of how fun these things are!

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  2. My mother-in-law taught me how to do cryptic crosswords but I don’t tend to do them very much. I have several online sites I use on my tablet, one for sudokus, one for wordsearches and one with a mixed puzzles page. I enjoy doing them and I do think they keep your brain ticking over. A lovely take on the Bookshelf meme, Margaret!

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    1. They certainly do keep the brain ticking over. I have tried sudokus but I find them even more difficult than cryptic clues – my brain doesn’t like numbers!


  3. I used to do a lot of crosswords, and my father before me. But not cryptic crosswords, I was never successful with those.

    I like other word puzzles too, but I do them much less than I used to. Maybe I should try some again.

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  4. I used to do a quick crossword most days but not for ages now. I also like the Alphabeater puzzles where you have to complete the grid by filling in the black squares as well as the letters.


  5. David Astle is well known here for his wizardry with words. His crosswords are fiendish – D A (Don’t Attempt) is the joke.


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