I thought I would share another little known secret about my life with you today! In addition to trying to get my 45 year old body to respond to training, I also try to exercise my brain in the same way. I like to read, and probably average 2 books a month: More in the winter, and less in the summer. I read a lot of fiction, which I enjoy most, but I also do a fair amount of journal and reference reading for work, which, while not as enjoyable, is just as exercising for the brain.
Each day, at lunch, I complete the “Jumble” and “Sudoku” puzzles in the “Grand Forks Herald.” I also save the daily crosswords in a pile on top of our microwave in order of oldest on top. When I have extra time at lunch, or in the evening, I pull down the top one and plug away at it and the rest of the pile. I usually finish up the weekly stack over Saturday breakfast, but sometimes they pile up and I will do maybe 20 of them on a day we are snowed in, or on a rainy summer Saturday. I don’t use the internet for help on these crosswords, but if they contain a lot of words from other languages, or obscure names, I may just throw it away unsolved.
My greatest challenge, though, comes courtesy of the “Grand Forks Herald” on Sundays, when they print the granddaddy of all puzzles, the “New York Times” Sunday crossword. Years ago, I couldn’t even complete one little section of the puzzle, but now, with a little help from the internet, I can sometimes complete the entire puzzle in a few hours. I don’t work on the puzzle every week, but if I have some time on Sundays, I may sit down and give it a try.
This morning I slept late, until nine, and ate breakfast while I read the paper and did the “Sudoku.” There isn’t a “Jumble” in Sunday’s paper, so about ten, I pulled out the monster Sunday puzzle and started in. I finished it about 1:00 with help now and then from the computer. One word I couldn’t have possibly gotten without help was “Paisano,” whose clue was “Buddy.” I finally got enough letters that I could hunt down that Paisano is the Italian word for compatriot: How in the world is someone supposed to know that! I also looked up Dumbo’s tiny friend (Timothy Q. Mouse), German Chancellor Merkel (Angela), City on the Penobscot (Bangor), and 1965 title role for Peter O’Toole (Lord Jim), along with several others. It may be cheating, but it still is an intense brain workout, and it‘s the only way I‘ll ever finish one!