One of the things that I wanted to do when I retired was to take a crack at Crossword Puzzles. I did make a brief, abortive stab but found the exercise too frustrating. When Sudokus came along, I did a lot better, which caused me to think that people would naturally tend toward one type of puzzle more than the other. My feeling was that some people are logical problem solvers (ie Sudoku), while others tend to have more associative brains (ie Crosswords).
While I still feel that way, I recently decided to give crosswords another whirl after seeing how D2 attacked them when we were visiting in Vancouver. Now, D3 is the real puzzle person in the family, but while she was doing something else, D2 picked up a puzzle, and Cuppa and I tried to help. What I saw D2 doing was to quickly move on to another clue when we were stuck. She didn't spend a lot of time labouring over one clue. We either got it or moved on.
I thought, "Hmmm, maybe that's the secret. Maybe I'll try again." So, I did try it, and it went a lot better. Then, I decided to draw Cuppa into the scheme and asked for her help. It turns out that she helped a lot, for she is quicker to find the associative leaps that are troublesome for my linear and logical brain. Meanwhile, I seem to be able to contribute from the store of trivia that is somehow locked within my cranium. I guess that I'm saying that between the two of us, we manage to put together one brain that can do these dastardly puzzles.
This is often our new bedtime ritual. We do a puzzle; she goes to sleep, and I come here to post about it. Here's tonight's solution.
We've been doing puzzles from the newspaper, but we've recently discontinued our subscription, so we'll have to look for a decent book at the bookstore. I picked up a Dell puzzle book at the grocery store the other day, but they seem too easy. Can you beat that? After a few weeks of trying crosswords, we're getting picky.
We'd still drive D3 nuts though. As an expert, she never cheats. Neither do we exactly, but after having gone wrong a few times in the past, we do like to confirm our answers when in doubt. Most of the time, I am able to flip to the solution and focus on the right spot without seeing the surrounding answers, so it works pretty well for us novices. And we're already checking less than we were.
I guess it is possible for old dogs to learn new tricks ... even if they do bend the strict rules just a tad. At least we're exercising our brains, which is rather the point.