I’ve really gotten into crossword puzzles in the last year or so. My particular poison are daily-size NY Times puzzles. I do about four per day - two at lunchtime, and two at bedtime to help get to sleep.
I started out on the 50 puzzle booklets, then moved onto the harder stuff: the 200 puzzle ominbus volumes, preferably edited by Wil Shortz. I hate completing a book, and live in fear of running out just when I have to wait in a doctor’s office or the DMV.
So today I bought 3 new 200 puzzle books, and one 500 page book!
Yes, but only for a while. Then, you’ll find yourself without one, for some reason. And you’ll find a bookstore. And you’ll get a collection that you don’t have. Maybe it will be edited by Shortz, or possibly Maleska or Weng. Hey, we’ll give them a try; why not? And then…
You can probably fill in the rest. Welcome to crosswords!
(A confirmed Sunday New York Times puzzle solver who has collections and omnibuses stashed in many locations around the house.)
Even though I live in Las Vegas, I still pick up the Sunday LA Times as I love both crosswords in their Sunday edition.
I used to try the NY Times Sunday puzzle ages ago when I lived there, but usually gave up, feeling like a remedial student in 5th grade for the third year in a row. Maybe I should give the NY Times Sunday puzzle another try and see if I be gettin’ less dummer over the years.
The circumstances are even more dire — 1100/4 = 275, so the OP will only got nine months’ worth of solving out of his most recent purchases.
When my paternal grandmother and aunt (both now deceased) moved out of their house about fifteen years ago, I found a crossword magazine that Grandpa “Sternvogel” had bought in the 1950’s, about ten years before he died. Only a few of the puzzles were filled in, so I solved the rest. It was fun to see how cluing patterns had changed in the intervening years. Also, if you really want to go “old school”, try to dig up a New York Times collection from the Margaret Farrar era.
We found half a dozen old mags, 2003 I think, in a dollar store a while back. That will last a while.
For a start on cryptics, try thinks.com. Some newspapers, mostly British, also have online cryptics. More and more make you register or even subscribe to get at them, but there are still some out there.
Word of warning though - you might want to try American cryptics first. I’ve found that the London Times puzzles have a lot of answers that are easy if you know rugby and other odd British sports. London Sunday Times puzzles are slightly better, but still a bit obscure at times. I had an old office mate from New Zealand, much smarter than me, who had trouble with these also.
Cox and Rathvon have a new Mensa cryptic book out which I’m about 2/3 done with, at 2 a day or so. There is a collection of cryptics from the New Yorker’s experiment with them - smaller than usual, and not too tough. I used them to teach my daughter and her boyfriend how to do them. They might be a good starter.
I do the Times puzzles every day, but I agree with RealityChuck - cryptics are more satisfying.
By the way, crossword lovers (twicksterin particular will be interested in this, though she’s probably seen it already), there’s a documentary about Will Shortz coming out soon called Wordplay. Much of it was shot at the National Crossword Puzzle Tournament in 2005 (at which I ahem placed 81st out of about 500), plus it features Jon Stewart, Bill Clinton, Bob Dole, and many, many others.
The site I linked to there has trailers; check out “Hate Mail,” in which Will Shortz reads from actual mail he’s received from readers. I really can’t wait to see this.