Tips for solving crossword puzzles and why they are valuable for the brain

If you are planning to solve a crossword puzzle, you should definitely be ready to take certain steps to ensure that you are ready for solving any clue that you get. When solving the puzzle, it would be wise on your part to keep a thesaurus and a dictionary handy, so you can get some sort of reference when you get stuck and do not waste your entire time on one single clue. Some other things to keep close by are an eraser, at least two sharpened pencils or a pen, and a table and chair to sit on and solve the puzzle, along with adequate light.

The first thing to do would be to read all the clues first before you start solving the clues. This usually gives you a fine idea and helps you segregate the easy ones from the more complex ones, which might be problematic at times. Reading the clues first will also help you to mark the ones which you will be able to do right away, and which ones you will keep for later. Using different kinds of check and box marks for different types of clues will be a smart thing to do. When you are done reading through the clues, take a small break of at least 10 minutes, and then start solving the puzzle.

A vital thing to keep in mind is that whenever you are solving a crossword puzzle, you must give yourself a comfortable head start with the shorter and easier words, so as to get the easier ones out of the way. Breaking down the entire puzzle into sections, subsections and blocks will make it much easier for you to finish the puzzle within a fixed time limit. Sometimes, in certain cases, you can come across clues that might be in reference to two solutions in the puzzle. In such cases, fill in the gaps across and down very carefully so as to keep the puzzle clean and also accurate.

Once you get the easy solutions, it is now time to use the thesaurus and dictionary to solve the more complex clues, especially if the clues do not seem to make any sense, or if you do not know what a word actually means. For biblical quotes as well as science and history related clues, make use of a Bible or a detailed encyclopaedia to get the right answers. Keep your attentiveness and focus intact when you are solving these difficult clues, and break up the puzzle in blocks again to make the job a whole lot easier. When you start filling up each box with words that you have discovered, you will see that the puzzle becomes a whole lot easier, as you will have clues to many of the words you have not solved yet.

In many cases, it may be noticeable that some of the given complicated clues will have answers which pertain to the crossword puzzle’s actual theme. So it might be in your best interest to keep the theme of the puzzle in mind when you start solving it, as you might find it easier to figure out the solutions to the clues. Make use of the process of elimination to solve the crossword, along with the default usage of logical reasoning, as these two are really the main partners who assist you in successfully solving the crossword.

In certain situations, the author of the puzzle might introduce some tricks, such as using symbols and numbers to complete certain parts of the phrases or words in the puzzle. When you are solving such a puzzle, you need to have a creative approach to successfully solve it, or else things just might get a little bit weird. For example, the word ARROW can be in multiple clues in a puzzle, which indicates that to solve the puzzle, you might actually have to use arrows in the empty boxes to help the clues intersect perfectly. In many cases, using a number instead of a word becomes a necessity.

How it is good for the brain

It is known by almost everyone that activities that make the brain work helps a person to stay focus and attentive, and sharp. Many physicians usually prescribe memory therapy and mind games so as to make the brains work and help their patients. Many studies have also proven that working on games and puzzles stimulate the cells in the brain, which is a good source for a long, healthy and happy life for all. Puzzles like crossword usually provides assistance to the solver for keeping his or her mind focused and also leads to an increase in memory capacity as well as the ability to process everything. 

Crossword puzzles usually keep the brain active, and give it reason to think analytically and in a logical way. They, in a manner of speaking, force the brain to increase the space in its short term memory bank for better retentive capacity, which is a vital requirement for solving these puzzles. It is a very simple concept – when you have solved a puzzle, and already know the answer, that very answer keeps on playing back inside your head when you are trying to solve a connecting clue. This makes it easier for the puzzle to be solved as quickly as possible.

Crosswords are not only fun, but they can also be called a good stress reliever, as well as a memory stimulator, along with being a wonderful tool for improving one’s vocabulary. Crosswords can never be considered as completely easy, as some clues given in the list are extremely complicated and might require you to do some research on your part to find the right solution and fill up the gaps.

Another brain related advantage of solving crosswords circles around the concept of improving your focus, concentration and attentiveness. It is believed that our brain needs proper workout, just like our body, and that is where crosswords come into the picture. They provide the necessary workout for the brain.