: New: Book Report: Crossworld

You'd think that I'd like to read a book about competitive crossword-puzzle solving featuring a first-hand report on playing in the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. Crossworld is such a book, from the blurb it sounded like it was going to be like Word Freak only for competitive crossword solving instead of for Scrabble. I liked Word Freak a bunch. So I picked up Crossworld. Unfortunately, the writer (Marc Romano) isn't funny, but keeps trying. He seems to understand that he isn't funny. In the book, he tells Will Shortz a story, and notices that Shortz gives him a pitying look instead of a guffaw. He wrote about this, he understands that Shortz doesn't think he's funny... Maybe he thinks this tells us something about Shortz instead of something about his own sense of humor? There were some nice anecdotes from the Tournament in there, but there was a lot of not-so-interesting stuff to slog through along the way; if you've already got some background on crosswords and the Tournament, you'll find slim pickings here. (And if you don't already have that background, there are happier ways to pick it up.)

The good news is that the book is short. You can get most of the way through it on a long bus ride if you, say, picked up the book thinking it might be good and didn't, say, think to bring along another book in case this one turned out to be bad.

Tags: book puzzle scene unfinished

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