9781585421985 / 1585421987

Pretty Girl in Crimson Rose (8): A Memoir of Love, Exile, and Crosswords





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About the book:

Think Word Freak with international flair. A nonfiction Ella Minnow Pea with a built-in book-length puzzle. Pretty Girl in Crimson Rose (8) will enthrall (or obsess!) anyone interested in words.

Born and raised in South Africa, at age twenty-one journalist Sandy Balfour went into exile and began traveling the world. While hitchhiking through Nairobi, Cairo, and Moscow, before settling in England, he was introduced to a hobby that has ensnared millions of cognoscenti: the cryptic crossword.

Cryptics offer the ultimate linguistic challenge-leagues beyond Scrabble, more eloquent than The New York Times puzzle. For Balfour, they became both a personal obsession and a way to understand something of himself and his new adopted homeland. Pretty Girl in Crimson Rose (8) weaves the story of Balfour's travels with an insider's account of the pastime called "the world's most remarkable crossword." We meet legendary setters like Araucaria and Bunthorne, learn of great clues such as "Amundsen's forwarding address (4)," and travel the course of Balfour's life from the Ubangi River in the Congo to the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in Stamford, Connecticut.

Peppered with anecdotes that explain the workings of cryptic puzzles while also offering a devilish hidden riddle, this book is a crossword lover's must-have and a deliciously engaging account of an outsider who falls in love with a new place.

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