I absolutely love puzzles! Logic games, riddles, crosswords, math, brain teasers, mysteries, chess, Rubik’s cubes and the like are my brain food. If I go too long with attempting to tackle anything of the sort, I feel as if I am losing a part of myself. It’s almost as if I can sense neural connections between my synapses fading away into oblivion. Perhaps it’s more like the wire’s snapping on a collapsing bridge. Regardless of how it happens, I try to avoid letting my brain get mushy by tackling a few of my favorite mind games from time to time. So, I thought I’d share some that I’ve enjoyed.
Here’s a classic riddle that I found on BrainBashers:
You are in a room with 2 doors leading out. Behind 1 door is a coffer overflowing with jewels and gold, along with an exit. Behind the other door is an enormous, hungry lion that will pounce on anyone opening the door. You do not know which door leads to the treasure and exit, and which door leads to the lion. In the room you are in are 2 individuals. The first is a knight, who always tells the truth, and a knave, who always lies. Both of these individuals know what is behind each door. You do not know which individual is the knight, or which one is the knave. You may ask one of the individuals exactly 1 question. What should you ask in order to be certain that you will open the door with the coffer behind it, instead of the hungry lion?
Despite the frustration of trying to work on this one, I love the experience of mulling over the various possibilities. At first it seemed like it would be easy to tackle, but I was consumed by this riddle for quite some time before coming to the correct solution.
If you crave more of a mathematical challenge, the sudoku puzzles are always a great. You can access hundreds of these puzzles to play online or print out from Web Sudoku, Daily SuDoku and a plethora of other sudoku sites.
When I feel like my lexicon is in a state of decline, I take a stab at the New York Times Crossword. Although my attempts rarely lead to a completely filled in puzzle, I typically get most of the puzzles done. Well, at least to a point where I’m fairly proud of myself. I feel better knowing that I’ve learned something new and kept a part of myself from turning into mush. Unfortunately, the online version of the NY Times requires a subscription, so I try free and fun alternatives like The Washington Post crossword puzzle and the Thinks.com crossword puzzle. I even tried to create my own crossword puzzle a few years back. I invested much more time than I initially expected, but in the end it was a truly gratifying experience. Unfortunately, I don’t have many friends that enjoy crosswords, so the puzzle remains in a box, still yearning for someone to take a stab at it . How sad!
I also like to play the ultimate strategic board game, chess. I’m out of practice and rarely have or create opportunities to play against a live opponent. As a result, my skills in this arena have plummeted to lows I haven’t seen for a decade plus. I’ve never been any sort of expert when it comes to chess, so maybe I can look at this ‘bottoming out’ as a chance to fully reset my play. From time to time I’ll take on the competition at Yahoo! Chess. The people usually maintain a cordial attitude and play a friendly match; yet, on occasion, there’s the annoying and ruthless types which sour the atmosphere and create a negative experience.
I need this brain food and am always looking for new and interesting things to read or to challenge the mind. If you have any ideas, please let me know.