Conscious Aging: Getting Better at Crosswords

You may remember that I wrote awhile ago about the Atlantic Online Crossword, which begins with a sort of easy puzzle on Monday and gets progressively harder by Friday. I’m not especially good at crosswords or Scrabble for that matter, even though I have a good vocabulary and read all the time. I think it has to do with the spatial array of words — add anything in that requires visual spatial adeptness, and I’m at a loss.

But I also recently read a book about midlife, and the author stressed that we can improve our minds even into old age, and the point is improving what capacities we have, not working only in those areas where we’re great to start with.

I’m happy to say I’ve stuck with the Atlantic Crossword, and I’m getting much better. I can usually do Monday and Tuesday with not too much difficulty, and in a reasonable amount of minutes. Yes, the puzzle is timed — the clock starts ticking when you open the puzzle. I have a harder time Wednesday through Friday, but sometimes I get as many as half the words correct before I give way to frustration and check “reveal grid” so I learn from the answers that are eluding me.

The first week I started, I got exactly one word out of twenty six on Friday’s puzzle, so I’d say I’ve made great gains. 🙂

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