Recently, while punching the remote and trying to decide whether to tune in Crime Scene microbial evidence in LA or Miami, I saw snatches of a Public Broadcasting show called “Super Brain Power” or maybe it was “Your Old Brain” or “How to Not Look Like You Have Dementia”. Pausing just long enough from the CSI murder trail, I learned from the brain gurus that people of a “certain age” should do four things to keep their brains active. One of these things is give your brain challenging tasks, another is … oh, I can’t remember.
Anyway, back to the challenging tasks. I’m not positive but I think this is the reason that sales of Sudoku books have rocketed over the past several years. That is if you ignore the fact that some Stanford math nerd just invented this diabolical game in 1996 and gave it some old school Japanese sounding moniker that the folks at PBS liked.
Like me, you may have been suckered into thinking that working with Sudokuian numbers one through nine couldn’t be that hard. But hold on Gridlock Breath; these things are hard. Oh sure, some of the game squares have numbers filled in, but I have yet to see one Sudoku where I only have to write in oh, say one or maybe two numbers. How unfair is that!
So, in my quest to stay at the peak of my mental prowess, (I heard that whisper: “This is her peak?”), I elected to turn my back on those mathematical grids and pursue another mind game. Fearing that controlling all NASDAQ transactions would land me in trouble with the SEC or those Word Find puzzle books might look a little juvenile while sipping a latte at Starbucks, I landed on the crossword puzzle.
I started with that familiar yellow clad series “101 Crossword Puzzles for Dummies”. The only thing I could fill in was my name on the front cover. Not wanting to be daunted by a few mysterious foreign word clues, I dropped down to a slightly more accessible crossword version. And, you know if you wrap the ”Easy Crosswords for a Fifth Grader” in a brown paper sack, hardly anyone at Starbucks laughs at me…maybe a few snickers, but rarely do they point and laugh. Besides, I know I’m connecting those brain synpases while struggling with the three letter synonym for ancient.