Mindkeep: Coffee and Cryptic Crosswords anyone?


Mindkeep: Coffee and Cryptic Crosswords anyone?

Do any of you do cryptic crossword puzzles? My favourite Saturday morning ritual after my early morning walk, is to sit down with a mug of dark roast coffee and cream and tackle the cryptic crossword by Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon.  

There are a couple of reasons why I get so much pleasure out of this crossword. It’s not just a question fitting general knowledge words to spaces and letters. First you have to figure out what type of clue it is. So it’s like a puzzle in a puzzle and sometimes the first part of the puzzle is hard to spot. At least so I find.

Some answers are anagrams, or words contained within words. Sometimes it may be a simple or a cryptic double meaning, a hidden word, a reversal or selecting alternate letters. When I can spot the theme underlying some of the clues, that helps a lot. Literary, science, history, geography or arts based themes are helpful. I struggle with sports themes.

I usually start on the puzzle while sipping my coffee and observing the activity of birds and boaters on the waters of False Creek. Sometimes the answers come quickly and I can get a large chunk of the puzzle done by the time I have finished my coffee.  Other times I find the clues unusually obscure and it might take a day or two before I get the last words in. The second reason I enjoy it is that each week I challenge myself to finish the puzzle by Sunday night. 

I believe that exercising one’s brain is as important as exercising one’s body. Nutrition, sleep and exercise all play a role in maintaining brain health. Cryptic crosswords are one form of brain exercise I enjoy a lot and I’ll tell you about computer based brain training in another post.

What are you doing to keep your mind sharp ? Email me at askdrgill@gmail.com with feedback or questions or leave a comment on the facebook post.