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prolixitysquared
Posted: Wednesday, July 1, 2009 8:48:10 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/16/2009
Posts: 1,035
Neurons: 3,101
Location: pennsylvania.
Today on the second hour of Radio Times, a Philadelphia-based radio show sponsored by WHYY (a PBS station), the stand-in host interviewed a man who recently wrote a book about crossword puzzles.

Here is the sound file--

http://www.whyy.org/podcast/070109_110630.mp3

They were talking about how crosswords are a stimulating and challenging activity for the brain.

One thing I just loved was hearing about was the idea of cryptic puzzles. A woman called in with one as a pop quiz. I don't know if I am getting this exactly right, but she said the clue was something about 'sounds like a troubled love affair on a plane.'

The author said analyzing these is about looking beyond the surface of the words to figure out the hidden meaning. He didn't end up cracking it, but in the end, the caller explained it. The answer was 'sycamore.'

Troubled = Sick (Syc)
Love Affair = (Amore)

And a sycamore is also known as a 'plane tree.'

So if you put that all together, you have 'sycamore.'

Even though I understand it now that I know the answer, I don't know that I'd easily have figured it out on my own. But I'm sure it's like anything else-- practice will help.

Did anyone else hear this ? Or if not, if you are a fan of crossword puzzles, what is it that you love about them ?

I don't do crosswords, but I probably should once in while !
Spanish Teacher
Posted: Thursday, July 2, 2009 1:30:53 AM
Rank: Member

Joined: 4/29/2009
Posts: 14
Neurons: 51
Location: United States
I just love word games, being a linguist and a BIG fan of words (both in English and Spanish). I can never get enough of challenging myself with learning new words or looking up words I do know, but TRULY understanding what they mean...but I digress.

Like you, I do not solve crossword puzzles, though admittedly, I have not really tried. What I do partake in are word games such as "jumble" from www.jumble.com (there you will find a number of different word games and they are all FREE!!)

From playing these words games I find that they challenge me in different ways: I have to think of possible letter combinations and think of what might the word be. In the end, I must concentrate and use my mental "rolo-dex" to solve the puzzles.

Likewise, I use these types of puzzles with my students in order to practice the spelling of new vocabulary words they learn in a given chapter. They become excited and engaged whenever they solve my "evil creations" via PowerPoint Eh?
Joseph Glantz
Posted: Thursday, July 2, 2009 7:33:00 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/18/2009
Posts: 2,036
Neurons: 6,040
Location: United States
They're great time fillers - when I take the train into the city. My goal is to do one in ink where I don't have any cross-outs.
bugdoctor
Posted: Thursday, July 2, 2009 3:54:40 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/8/2009
Posts: 1,789
Neurons: 5,456
Location: United States - Georgia
I read somewhere that crosswords and other mental games are good to slow the progression of alzheimers. But I forget where I saw it.
early_apex
Posted: Thursday, July 2, 2009 8:48:38 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/20/2009
Posts: 2,281
Neurons: 12,855
Location: Spindletop, Texas, United States
bugdoctor wrote:
I read somewhere that crosswords and other mental games are good to slow the progression of alzheimers. But I forget where I saw it.



Ooooh. Bad sign!
early_apex
Posted: Thursday, July 2, 2009 8:54:59 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/20/2009
Posts: 2,281
Neurons: 12,855
Location: Spindletop, Texas, United States
Joseph Glantz wrote:
They're great time fillers - when I take the train into the city. My goal is to do one in ink where I don't have any cross-outs.


I remember a movie with the opening scene in an airport, where one of the characters is busily working on the New York Times crossword, using a pencil, erasing and making corrections. As the plane is ready for boarding, he tosses the paper in the trash. Once seated on the plane, he asks the stewardess for the NY Times. Next, he proceeds to fill the puzzle out in with his ball point pen, impressing the woman sitting next to him. I never tried this, always settling for the puzzle in the airline magazine.
early_apex
Posted: Thursday, July 2, 2009 9:04:46 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/20/2009
Posts: 2,281
Neurons: 12,855
Location: Spindletop, Texas, United States
prolixitysquared wrote:
Today on the second hour of Radio Times, a Philadelphia-based radio show sponsored by WHYY (a PBS station), the stand-in host interviewed a man who recently wrote a book about crossword puzzles.

Here is the sound file--

http://www.whyy.org/podcast/070109_110630.mp3

They were talking about how crosswords are a stimulating and challenging activity for the brain.

One thing I just loved was hearing about was the idea of cryptic puzzles. A woman called in with one as a pop quiz. I don't know if I am getting this exactly right, but she said the clue was something about 'sounds like a troubled love affair on a plane.'

The author said analyzing these is about looking beyond the surface of the words to figure out the hidden meaning. He didn't end up cracking it, but in the end, the caller explained it. The answer was 'sycamore.'

Troubled = Sick (Syc)
Love Affair = (Amore)

And a sycamore is also known as a 'plane tree.'

So if you put that all together, you have 'sycamore.'

Even though I understand it now that I know the answer, I don't know that I'd easily have figured it out on my own. But I'm sure it's like anything else-- practice will help.

Did anyone else hear this ? Or if not, if you are a fan of crossword puzzles, what is it that you love about them ?

I don't do crosswords, but I probably should once in while !


I enjoy crossword puzzles, particularly the one in my Sunday paper. I never had much success with the NY Times crossword, and would not suggest starting with that one. My local paper has a daily crossword on their web site, which I work on my computer during my lunch hour. A good challenging crossword will always have some references that you just don't know, because they cover such a wide gamut of knowledge. But, if you can get some letters in from the orthogonal words, you can often guess at the correct answers. It will sharpen your spelling skills, because judging what "looks right" does not always work when the word is vertical. Most important is to keep track of which answers you are sure of, and which are guesses, because a wrong guess will leave you stumped on the dependent words in the other direction. Sometimes you have to go back and erase everything in a section that you are not sure of, and try some different approaches. The best puzzles have some very tricky word games, with the clues being words that can be taken multiple ways, such as nouns or verbs. Whether all of this is useful for maintaining my mental faculties (such as they are), it keeps me from watching mind-numbing TV. (Was it Stalin who said TV was the opiate of the masses?)
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