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Keep the Brain Sharp Doing Crosswords

Updated on October 15, 2014

How Do Crosswords Keep Your Brain Sharp?

Even if you are not concerned with staving off Alzheimer's Disease, you may be getting worried about those neuronal bits that you are dropping when you try to remember a word or name that's on the tip of your tongue.

Doing crosswords daily can sharpen your memory and keep your brain functioning at its optimum level.

The New York Times Sunday Crossword Puzzles Volume 39: 50 Sunday Puzzles from the Pages of The New York Times

Keep the Brain Sharp Doing Crosswords

Exercising your brain by doing crossword puzzles is a relaxing way to start each day. You can do simple puzzles in the daily newspaper that may take about 20 minutes or a toughie from the Sunday New York Times that may take a ½ day or more. A myriad of crossword puzzle books are also available at the local bookstore, convenience store or supermarket or online

My husband and I like to do the daily newspaper crossword puzzle together. Our two brains think very differently so we complement each other to get the job done and have fun at the same time. I'm also the spell checker. But, to be safe, we use a pencil

As we solve the puzzle, we keep track of words or terms we don't know, to be looked up later in the dictionary or by Google search. We also track familiar words that have seemingly inappropriate clues. Perhaps there is a meaning for the word that is not as well known (except to the puzzle master or the editor). You'd be surprised at how obscure both the clue and the answer can be.

To not get wrapped around the axle or feel an early defeat, if you don't know a particular answer fairly quickly, it's good to move on to another part of the puzzle. More often than not, the problem area will fill itself in, giving more known letters to help reach the correct solution.

If You Love Crosswords, You'll Love the Movie: Wordplay

"Cheating" is OK if You Learn

And this isn't a contest

On rare occasions, you may need to leave boxes blank and look the word up at the back of the book or online or in the next day's paper. But take that opportunity to learn something new!

If the puzzle that you are doing from the daily paper gets too easy and the clues become monotonous, don't be afraid to move up to a puzzle that is more challenging. I find that the Universal Crossword, available in some papers and online at, generally has words that I do not know!

A Crossword a Day
Keeps the Brain Dust in Play

Your Favorite Place for Crossword Puzzles

What is Your Favorite Place to Get a Crossword Puzzle?

See results

The A to Z Crossword Dictionary


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