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benefits of crossword puzzles

5 Surprising Benefits of Crossword Puzzles For The Brain

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The benefits of crossword puzzles is not only astounding but benefiting. Just one hour a week can improve your health and memory. That’s the incredible powers of the mind, when you put it into good use.

Looking for a way to enjoy your downtime and simultaneously improve your mental abilities? Look no further as solving crosswords is all you need to get those gears running while relaxing. There are numerous ways in which pursuing crossword challenges benefit the mind, and this article will serve as a guide to the kinds of puzzles you should aim to tackle to achieve these benefits.

The following list includes the kinds of clues crossword puzzles generally feature and the benefits that arise when attempting to solve them.

Anagrams: Improves problem-solving ability
Anagrams are one of the most common types of clues used in cryptic puzzles. Anagrams are jumbled letters that when rearranged give you the answer to the puzzle. For example, “Steals electric cars.”

Rearrange the word STEALS to form TESLAS which is a type of electric car. These kinds of clues are usually solved by randomly arranging all the suspect letters in a circle and looking for familiar patterns or words. This exercise allows the brain to develop it’s pattern recognition skills and in turn improve its ability to solve real-world problems based on analysis and critical thinking.

Puns: Aids in all-round development of the brain
Another recurring theme in the clues for cryptic crosswords are puns. A pun is a play on words, interpreted in multiple ways. Consider the example, The ideal city for the world travelers’ association (4) ROME is the solution because Rome is a famous tourist city and travelers roam.

According to a study by Tara McHugh and Lori Buchanan, you need both sides of your brain to interpret and appreciate a pun. This, in turn, implies that solving such puzzles gets both sides of your brain working and aids in all-round development. Training your mind to look beyond the first layer and find hidden meaning helps to deal with complex real-life scenarios where the answer is not immediately apparent.

The L.A times Daily Crossword Answers offers a wide range of cryptic crossword puzzles,  and their answers are easily accessible through crossword buzz, a hub for all crossword puzzle solutions.

Synonyms: Improves team building and Coordinating skills
Outside of cryptic puzzles, the most common kind of clue is the direct synonym. In such dilemmas, you must derive or deduce the solution from the direct meaning of the word. These kinds of clues help to increase your vocabulary, memory, and understanding of the language. An example of such a clue is “Related to color (9)” whose solution is “CHROMATIC.”

The dictionary meaning of chromatic is relating to or produced by color. These kinds of puzzles stimulate the left side of the brain and help enhance the overall understanding and knowledge required to deal with problems you could encounter in real life. Further, when a group of people gets together to solve crosswords, it improves team building and coordinating skills as well.

General Knowledge: Develops Interpersonal skills
Another common theme in simple crosswords are clues that put to test your general knowledge skills. Trick questions on current affairs, geography and landmarks usually find themselves in daily crosswords. The geographical location generally limits such questions. Their targeted audience is in. However, such matters improve your knowledge and awareness and hence your ability to handle everyday situations that require a fair understanding of the world around them. Such puzzles also improve the ability to keep a conversation going and hence aid in developing interpersonal skills.

For example, The largest railway station in Bristol, England, Temple ___ (5).
MEADS is the answer. Bristol Temple Meads is the largest railway station.

Hidden Words: Helps to crack complex problems
To find the answer to such clues, one must look in the phrasing of the clue itself.
Consider the example from The Times Jumbo. Some forget to get here for gathering (3-8)
The hidden words are in the phrase “Forget to get here.”

These form the solution, GET TOGETHER which is another word for gathering.
Such kinds of clues help develop pattern recognition skills. These skills allow you to crack complex and convoluted problems in a short time frame.

Critical thinking is a highly valued skill in most if not all industries and crosswords play a significant role in developing this ability. For example, the ability to find patterns between letters to solve a clue could help IT professionals solve challenging software problems that require pattern analysis. Improved memory retention, as well as the ability to analyze problems at a deeper level, significantly improves the value of workers in the finance and marketing fields.

Outside of the benefits specific types of clues offer, crosswords are also known for helping keep the brain active, reduce the chances of dementia and Alzheimer’s and stave off boredom.  Solving at least one crossword a week is an excellent way to keep your brain active and sharp. There is no shortage of crosswords at various difficulty ranges available online as well as offline. Pick the medium most convenient to you and begin! After all, the mind would be a terrible resource to waste.

Author Bio:
Ross is a blogger who loves to write especially in the kids Vertical vertical. He has written many informative Blogs. He has also written blogs in other verticals too like personal development, unique gifting blogs.

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