There are many great ways to exercise your mind, but perhaps the most fun way to get in your mental reps is with a good brain puzzle. There are many different types of puzzles out there to suit a wide variety of interests, all of which will sharpen your mind.
Puzzles with solutions are simply games that are formatted to get your mental gears turning, whether that be recalling facts or using logic to find an answer. These puzzles can vary in difficulty, and the solutions are always provided in case you get stuck or need to check your work.
Whether you prefer words, numbers, or pictures, are retired, middle-aged, or five years old, there are multiple fun puzzles to pick from. If you are not sure where you should start or what would be the best puzzle for you, read on to learn about some of the more popular options out there.
Perhaps one of the most famous puzzles out there, the crossword puzzle is a staple in newspapers worldwide and a favorite for those looking to test a wide-range of knowledge.
Crosswords feature a square grid full of numbered boxes. Right beside or above the crossword are a series of numbered hints, each of which is labeled under “Across” or “Down”. Your job is to then locate and count the corresponding boxes and find an answer that contains the same amount of letters.
Crosswords almost always have a theme, and some come with hidden quotes or messages at the end once you have solved each answer. They also come in varying levels of difficulty, so there is something for everyone.
Fortunately for those who do not get the morning paper, or who need more variety than just one a day, crossword puzzles are also compiled into books. Here are some of the most highly rated crossword puzzles for purchase:
Solutions to the previous day’s newspaper crossword puzzle are typically placed on a subsequent page and flipped upside down so as to deter the wandering eye. Books will usually place their puzzle solutions in the back pages and label them by number.
While sudoku can be intimidating to those who do not have a great relationship with numbers, the game does not usually require any substantial math skills. The goal is to use logic to fill in a square, 9x9 grid full of smaller 3x3 sections. All boxes must contain a number 1-9 and each square and line cannot contain the same number twice.
Like all puzzles, there are levels of difficulty and you can work your way up to solving more difficult puzzles while you get the hang of things. The solutions are also always given in the back of the book or newspaper page that you are working on.
Unlike crosswords, you do not need any background knowledge, you need only understand and practice following the rules of the game.
Here are some of the more popular sudoku books for beginners you can purchase online:
Logic Grid Puzzles
Similar to crosswords and sudoku, logic grid puzzles are a type of syllogism that also utilizes a type of grid. The difference here is that across these grids there will be multiple categories that correspond to different options.
The goal is to use logical deduction to pair each category with its corresponding options by following a list of hints or clues. Typically these puzzles follow a storyline and will overlap the more you make accurate deductions.
These can be quite tricky for beginners, but they are offered in a range of difficulty levels. Puzzle Baron offers an online app that is great for your smartphone or iPad so that you can take the puzzles with you on the go, but there are also print versions out there. Here are some of the most highly rated:
Nonograms are a type of Japanese crosswords or syllogism, also called Hanjie Picrosse Griddlers and otherwise known as picture logic puzzles. They are described as a paint-by-number grid in which the numbers at the top and along the sides hint at how many boxes must be colored in for each column and row.
Eventually what you are left with is a picture formed from the various placements of colored-in and blank boxes. These are definitely more challenging puzzles than those listed above, as they are not very intuitive for the average person. You will want to follow some examples before you attempt one on your own.
Although they are not widely known or practiced in the US, there are a handful of highly-rated nonogram books out there to get you started on this Japanese logic game:
Cryptographers are a common trope found in action and spy movies. Cryptography is the art of deciphering and creating secretive forms of communication through the use of ciphers and algorithms.
Cryptography is an old practice dating back to the Middle Ages and was how militaries and different political leaders were able to encrypt secret intelligence so that it could securely reach its audience.
Cryptogram puzzles provide you with a cipher that you must use to fill in a series of boxes with their corresponding letters. Ciphers can range from letter substitution to using an entire book to follow a series of clues. Typically you will find the simpler substitution ciphers in cryptography practice books and in newspaper puzzles.
Check out this list for some of the more popular cryptogram puzzle books:
If you prefer to put your brain to the test on a wide array of logic games and puzzles, there are plenty of books out there that include a combination of many of the above options, and more. These are great for a well-rounded mind workout, and the variety will be sure to keep you coming back to try something new.
Some of these books contain puzzles not listed here, such as trivia, riddles, and word searches. The games will typically increase in difficulty as you make your way through their pages. Some offer warmups so that you are not quickly overwhelmed.
Using your brain in this new way can be challenging, but these books are designed to make it fun. Plus, if you get stuck, the solutions will always be there for you to reference in the back. Remember that the more you practice, the better you will get, and you may even see your logic skills working faster when put to the test in your daily life!
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