My mother was a NY Times Crossword Puzzle snob. She tackled the Sunday edition in pen, disdaining anyone looking over her shoulder offering lame suggestions. She used the “e word” liberally — “Oh Barclay, really, it’s so easy.” Which of course left you feeling completely stupid when 1 Across through 5 Down were as blank as your brain.
But lest we be too hard on Peggy, many of us may have some puzzle-snobism within – (though never uttering the e-word). Brett is a Jumbles Expert — who sees beyond LOUEDM and REFTER to their real-word counterparts – something I am in awe of. (**Answers provided at the end of this post; give it a go; I dare you!)
My friend, Debbie, is a Suduko expert; Michelle a crossword aficionado a al Peggy.
I am the master of none.
Sudokos leave me feeling stupid; Crossword puzzles must have the word, EASY, emblazoned on them; and Jumbles — well, all I see is REFTER which clearly describes a person who likes “refting”.
And witnessing me try to parallel park will have you chuckling for days. (Ask my friend, Jeanne).
But the good news is that we can improve our skills and our brains will be the better for it – particularly if we play different types of brain games.
Dr. Gary Small of the UCLA Longevity Center says, “Just as you’d lift weights AND do cardio, you can maximize cognitive fitness with various types of exercise”. By “exercise” he means brain games which we rotate according to their targeted focus.
Language: Jumbles, Scrabble
Visual-Spatial: Mazes, Jigsaws
Problem Solving: Chess, Sudoku, Logic games
Memory and Concentration: Trivial Pursuit, Candy Crush
Interestingly, I’ve noticed at the nursing home I visit with Codie, the older folks who seem the most engaged are those who are cradling a Crossword or a Word Search, who never miss a Jeopardy or a Wheel of Fortune. These folks also prefer books with large print to TV unending.
And one more thing about games, they are FUN. They provide challenge, satisfaction, a sense of control.
And they just may help in remembering where your keys are (hopefully not in the freezer) or the name of that neighbor of 15 years.
Plus they may provide a chuckle or two — as you “reft” onward.
Today’s Takeaway –
-Find a puzzle to tackle today. There’s no shame in looking for the word, EASY!
-Celebrate your progress. I have completed ONE Suduko, Yes, one. But I will drink to that!
Enjoy the DEIR***!
xox Barclay and Joy
** muddle; ferret
Changing Words (language)
Begin with WALL and change one letter at a time until you get to FIRM. Each change has to create an actual word.