NYT Crossword Puzzle Maker’s 5 Tips For A Razor Sharp Mind

For over 20 years, Will Shortz has been carefully editing those mind-twisting, memory-testing and sometimes incredibly frustrating crossword puzzles in The New York Times — which, let’s face it, some of us have yet to complete. And at 62, we think it’s safe to say he’s a fair bit sharper than the average person as the world’s only academically accredited puzzle master, AKA enigmatologist. How’s that for a crossword clue?

We had a chance to speak to the whiz himself to see if he could share a few tips for how the rest of us can keep our minds as razor sharp as his. Here’s what Shortz had to say.

1. Puzzle yourself.

“I will solve literally any type of puzzle,” Shortz told The Huffington Post. “Any mental activity is good for the brain but crosswords are particularly good because they exercise so many parts of the brain.” Clues can test your knowledge on practically anything — vocabulary, things you learned at school, current events, TV, movies and sports, to name a few. “Crosswords have a lot of deceptive clues, so you’re twisting your brain.” Forcing yourself to recall things from your memory is always a good thing.

2. Have fun.

Shortz says while there are many things that are said to be good for the brain — like learning another language, which some studies have shown helps slow mental aging — it’s important to find something you can actually like and stick with. “It can be taxing and it’s easy to give up. But with a crossword puzzle, it’s fun,” Shortz said. “There’s a positive reinforcement every time you finish a puzzle and you want to keep doing it. It’s nice to be engaged in an activity that you enjoy that you also know is —> Read More