Crosswords and puzzles are great, I got into them not that long ago really when I was buying magazines such as "full house" and "chat" they have crosswords and puzzles in them, and I started doing them, and I was HOOKED!!! :-D I'm a 19 year old girl who likes to party and have fun....so it just shows that crosswords and puzzles really aren't just for old men!!! I've always known that a crossword a day keeps things like alchziemers (cannot spell I'm afraid!!!) away, and keeps your brain functioning in good working order especially if you do a job where your brain isn't really needed much and isn't stimulated. I was working at Tesco for a while as a cashier, and I found my poor little brain was running out of charge and needed something to get it going again, and when I started doing puzzles it started working again!!!
I now regularly buy books like Puzzler which are around £2 and last ages!! :-D Just one puzzle a day keeps your brain in working order and helps with things like memory and quick thinking!!
They really can become addictive though so beware!!! Especially when you get the books which allow you to send them off completed to win cash!!
I recommend the Puzzler books to newbies as the crosswords and puzzles are of varying type and level, so you can progress throughout the book!! You can get specialist magazines i.e. sukoku/crossword/wordsearch but I find the puzzler are much better if your new to puzzles as they have a little bit of everything so you can vary what you do and even share them with family members, me and my husband swap answers and then pass the books onto my dad to do the harder crosswords and puzzles as he is much better than us!!!! :-D
I suggest if your going to try puzzles...get a theasurus....!! You can get them for a couple of pound, and they really help with the crosswords!!! I don't personally use a theasurus, i see it as cheating :-p lol. But, my husband does....(CHHEAAATTT!!! LOL)
and he says it does help alot!! :-D
I recommend you go out and get yourself a puzzler and give it a go, for £2 a book, its worth the risk!! :-D
Puzzled by Sudoku ?
Sudoku is the number puzzle that has taken the UK by storm , if you have not heard or tied it where have you been hiding ?
~ The meaning of Sudoku ~
Originating from Japan , the original name for this puzzle is Suuji wa dokushin ni kagiru but try putting this into any publication .
When truncated into its simplest form it translates as Single Number ( su = number ; Doku = single ) .
Sudoku is also known as ; Suduko, Sudoko, Su do ku, Sodoku, Suduku .
~ Useless facts ~
I actually came across this game with an Apple Macintosh shareware programme simply titled SingleNumber , way back in the late 90s . At that time little notice was taken of it . It can be found on a cover cd of MacFormat magazine ( sorry cant be more specific as I lost my disk if anyone can help then Ill be most thankful ) .
It is probably the most popular logic puzzle in Japan , but popularised in the USA as Number Place and from there around the world .
~ The puzzle itself ~
True Sudoku is played on a 9*9 grid , which is subdivided into nine 3*3 grids .
The rules of the puzzle are simple . This 9*9 grid has to be filled with the numbers 1-9 , however each line , column and 3*3 mini grid can only contain one of each number ( 1-9 inclusive ) . The solver must complete the missing numbers. The attraction of the puzzle is that the completion rules are so simple yet the overall task can be quite difficult.
The true puzzle requires no calculations , simply logical thinking in order to provide a solution .
Those that require guess work are standard puzzles with the odd clue missing.
~ Example grid ~
++9 ++4 +++._______________.879 264 315
3+6 ++1 92+._______________.356 871 924
4++ +9+ 68+._______________.412 935 687
7++ +9+ ++1._______________.765 498 231
1+3 +++ 8+9._______________.123 756 849
9++ +2+ ++6._______________.984 123 576
+31 ++7 +++._______________.531 687 492
+48 5++ 7+3._______________.248 519 763
+++ 3++ 1++._______________.697 342 158
~ Hints on helping you solve a puzzle ~
Are there any steadfast rules well no , each person will find their own personal way how to solve a puzzle , but heres how I solve them :
1) Knowing that each row / column can only have a number once and working with a set of three rows / columns at a time cross reference each row / column and place numbers where appropriate , eg:
Puzzle : Posibilities
--- -7- --- : --- -7- ---
7-- --- --- : 7-- --- ---
--- --- --- : --- --- xxx
where x is where a 7 could be placed
If the bottom line read --- --- 5-- then obviously the 7 could only go in two places
Puzzle : Possibilities
--- -7- --- : --- -7- ---
7-- --- --- : 7-- --- ---
--- --- xxx : --- --- -x-
-7- --- ---
--- --7 ---
--- --- 7--
--- 7-- --- again x marks possible/only placement for 7
--7 --- ---
--- --- 6-7
Do this by row then column then compare both together . Repeat this each time you ad a number to a position . Further repeat for each number.
2) Once step 1) has been made , visably check each 3*3 grid noting what numbers are missing compare these numbers with row/column contents and place if possible .
3) Go through each blank space and pencil in all possibilities for that place youll be amazed what you have missed. Once this step has been completed look for those blank spaces where only two numbers can be placed select one at random and fill in in pencil your chosen number , after this you will be able erase the other options leaving just one alternative for the remaining twin square . Now go through stages 1-3 again .
4) Should you find that a number is required in one space but already occupied in the same column/row then you know that in 3) your choice was wrong so then go back and alter it.
Do the above and all will be revealed.
~ Variations ~
As with most puzzle types variations soon appear and Sudoku has its fair share of them these include :
1) Colours instead of numbers
2) Letters in place of numbers
3) In conjunction with 2) 16*16 grids
4) Childrens variants with colours on a 8*8 grid.
~ Cant solve your puzzle ? ~
Fear not help is at hand , try the following sites , both of which offer a free solution programme :
Alternatively check out "Carol Vorderma's How To Do Sudoku" available from all good bookshops .
Hope this has been of interest and help thanks for reading .
www.crosswordclub.org is a site to visit for people who like really tough crosswords with prizes awarded. I found it quite by chance, when I was surfing. Make no mistake, this is one for people who don't have a problem with The Times crossword, and can tackle Ximenes. The club was founded by three enthusiasts in Australia in 1990, and the members are mostly Australian. This adds extra interest for non-Australians, as some of the clues are Aus-orientated. I've discovered a lot about wildlife, places, plants and general vocabulary. You need the Internet and a really good dictionary for this. Here's how it works. You subscribe on site, and the charge for non-Australians is AD$62. They do not have credit card facilities, as they are not a company but a group of very talented individuals. Paying, therefore, could be a pain. I have a friend in Queensland who paid for me. However, seeing what they offer I'd be happy next year to pay the extra for a banker's draft here. The magazine can be sent by mail, though this won't give you much time to solve the puzzles, since the solutions must then be posted back. It also comes by email, and you download it using Adobe Acrobat. It prints out very well indeed. There are usually six puzzles, of a crossword type, but often with a new slant. They range from tough to mind-blasting, and I have not yet completed all six. But that's what I wanted. The magazine is very friendly, with comments from members, news about crosswording,and related items. You soon get the feeling that you know the people in a sense. The website will give you a good taste of what goes on. It has an anagram solver, and you can try the puzzles before you buy. This is not, for us, a cheap way to do crosswords, but it's worth every cent. There are worthwhile prizes of cash and books, all financed by members' subscriptions.
Whilst contemplating Jill Murphy's request to write about a favourite thing, I toyed with many ideas. I wanted to write about a hobby but couldn't choose between my beloved Formula 1, Internet Reward Sites and Crosswords. F1 is my passion so I went with that, but have now decided to talk about another of my hobbies. My boyfriend Paul often spends hours mixing, so whilst he is on his decks I can't watch television (well I could but I wouldn't hear it) so I often amuse myself with Crossword Books. I do try many types of puzzle book but find myself drawn to crosswords more often than not. There are two main styles crossword and they are defined in the Cambridge International Dictionary of English http://dictionary.cambridge.org) as: 1) Crossword (puzzle) Noun [C] a word game of black and white squares in which you have to guess the answers to clues and write the words into numbered squares that go across and down 2) Cryptic Crossword A cryptic crossword is one which has difficult clues and the answers are not obvious. I find the cryptic crosswords ever so difficult and generally only answer a few of the clues before giving up. This review is on standard crosswords. THE CHANGING WORLD OF THE CROSSWORD With the developments of modern technology there are various mediums to acquire crosswords from. These include handheld electronic crossword games, Internet crossword web sites, crosswords that can be found in newspapers or magazines and the traditional crossword book. I'm going to list my views below on each of these formats. HANDHELD ELECTRONIC GAMES *** Paul's dad noticed that I seemed to have my head in a crossword book when at his house. A couple of years ago he bought me a Lexibook CR1000UK Electronic Crossword for Christmas. Lexibook products are available at many high street electrical retail stores such as Argos
, Dixons and Woolworths. The product I have is still available at Dixons and presently retails for £34.99. I do enjoy using this handheld device as it is quite easy to use and has three levels of difficulty. It takes 4 AAA batteries and measures less than twelve centimetres square. Although the game allegedly holds more than 30,000 entries I do find that some of the questions are repetitive. It uses quite a lot of abbreviation clues such as 'Abbreviation of Weber (2)' that has an answer of 'TT'. I normally struggle with these and end up having to leave blanks or cheat using the help facility. The help facility will do one of three things: confirm if your suggested answer is right or wrong, by giving you letters, or by answering the whole crossword. The grid for the crossword on the Lexibook CR1000 is thirteen squares across and down and has a good mixture of long and short answers. I use mine quite frequently and find it easy to navigate with its QWERTY keyboard and ball shaped navigation tool. This type of crossword gadget gets a three star rating from me. It is a fun way to occupy the time but due to the small grid and recurring questions it's novelty factor wears off after a few months. Great for passing a few minutes here and there but not recommended for the avid crossword fan. INTERNET CROSSWORDS *** With there being over 1,590,000 search results to a google search on the word crossword there should be plenty to keep people like myself occupied. Although I have by no means looked at all of these websites, I do get a little frustrated with them. The reasons for my frustration vary, but the main problem is that it's not usually until I've started a crossword that I pick up on the clues being orientated towards another country. The pitfalls here can range from differing spellings or clues based on local general knowledge. A way around this problem is to use a search en
gine that is UK orientated, or gives the option to search UK sites only. Normally we'd think of using Yahoo for those perimeters, but believe me don't bother trying as it brings up about thirteen web sites which are not actual crossword sites. Instead they offer clue-solving programmes to down load, or they sell crossword software. Using the 'Ask Jeeves' search engine I have stumbled across the web site www.cluemaster.com, which holds crosswords, and other puzzles in its ClueMaster's puzzle archive consisting of about six volumes of fifty puzzles. Each volume contains a selection of cryptic and quick crosswords, as well as wordsearches, letter-logic and other puzzles. The crossword puzzles here are very similar to those I described in my hand held device section above - they even measure 13 squares along and wide! The grid though is much bigger than my game, which is a good benefit to people who have poor eyesight. I would have given this category of crossword puzzles a two star rating had it not been for my favourite crossword web site www.lovatts.uk.com which has samples from the companies numerous puzzle magazines that update monthly. They also have a monthly puzzle pack, which is available for download. Lovatts you are the saving grace - *** NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES **** A great way of passing the lunch hour at work, a dull train journey or to relax for a few minutes at home is to grab your national paper or a handy magazine and attempt to try the crossword. The shapes, sizes and types of questions very from paper to paper. I particularly like the general knowledge crosswords that appear in magazines such as Chat, Take a Break or Inside Soap. Like the weekend newspaper supplements grids they are quite easy to do, often with a handful of challenging questions thrown in. My favourite newspaper for puzzles of all sorts is the Daily Mail's Saturday edition. I like this not
for the journalistic content but for the great mixture of puzzles. Generally they have two pages of puzzles in their TV supplement but the best bit is the Coffee Break Puzzles that usually appear towards pages 59 and 60 of their newspaper. The Coffee Break Section has three puzzles - A Codeword which is commonly known as a cross reference, a quick crossword measuring twelve squares by twelve and then the killer of all crosswords 'The Giant Crossword'. 'The Giant Crossword' is my favourite of all the newspaper crosswords and I am yet to complete on despite Saturday after Saturday trying. The grid measures twenty-five squares by twenty-five and has around eighty to ninety clues. There are two types of clues - cryptic and quick, but both of the clues result in the same answer, which is a good way to double check answers. The solution appears in Monday's newspaper, so we don't have to wait too long for the answers. Using newspapers and magazines for crosswords ensures a steady supply of grids to keep me happy. Another benefit over my handheld game and the Internet is that questions are updated and are designed for a UK audience. A great way to pass the time - four stars! CROSSWORD BOOKS ***** This method of problem solving can't be beaten in my eyes! I have tried numerous crossword puzzle book and they all have questions with varying degrees of difficulty. My least favourite is Puzzler Quick Crosswords. This book has two crosswords per page. They are thirteen squares long and wide - which you already know is too small for my liking. The book generally has over one hundred puzzles and the answers are in the back. The paper is quite blotchy and this causes your pen to blotch quite easily. On the other hand, Nexus Jumbo Cross is a good book to work through. It has around 50 crossword puzzles and has one page for clues and another displaying the grid itself. The
grid size is twenty one by thirty one. Solutions are in the back, as with most crossword books. My favourite compiler of crosswords has already been mentioned one - Lovatts! They are absolutely great and can't be beaten in my eyes. They publish a variety of different crossword books but I usually buy 'Colossus' or 'Big Crossword', both of which are priced at £2.20 a month. The only negative about their books are that they are not always available in local newsagents, although I'm sure they would order them in against a regular order. I generally purchase mine at WH Smiths, although I am seriously considering a subscription. This is another publisher who spreads each crossword over two pages. The Colossus is my favourite because the grid is massive (hence the name) and always challenges my mind. The grid size is roughly 35 squares by forty-five. The Lovatts collection has some lovely unique points. They have a lefties crossword for left handed people. When I first saw it I wondered what the difference was, but upon trying it I did realise that it was as comfortable for me to do, being right handed. The group also encourage a friendly member involvement. They have prize puzzles, as many magazines do, but they also encourage us to spot errors and feedback our quirks. If you haven't tried their crossword books then try the samples at www.lovatts.uk.com. FINAL SUMMARY I love crossword books! I think they keep my mind active and they also provide me with hours of fun (though not as much fun as the internet gives me!) PS The answer to the title question was Basalt
Every few months my husband and I meet up with a group of friends at somebody's house for a games and quiz evening. We normally have a music or general knowledge quiz which we either make up or copy questions from a quiz book. However, we have been getting a bit bored of these quizzes and decided to try something new, it was my turn to compile the first new quiz and I got the idea for the new quiz from a local quiz that we attend once a month. My version was very well received so I thought I would share it with you lovely people on Dooyoo. If you find it too difficult or boring please don't leave without rating - VU would be nice LOL. The quiz itself is rather difficult to explain and it is much easier to show you by offering a couple of examples. I have compiled questions in three categories, these being Music, Television Programs and Sweets. **EXAMPLE** If the clue I gave you was Pale Serpent and the category was Pop Groups the answer would be Whitesnake, ie Pale being White and Snake being another name for a serpent. Get it - if not here is another example. If the category was sweets and the clue is Mums Local the answer would be - yes that's right Mars Bar, Mum is also known as Ma and her local could be the local pub hence the Bar, so Mums Local becomes Ma's Bar. Hopefully by now you understand the format and will be able to answer the clues below. **THE CATEGORY FOR THE FIRST SECTION IS POP GROUPS, BANDS OR ARTISTS** The answer to the clues below are either the name of a pop group, a band or an artist. 1. Hard of hearing large cat 2. Male deer's bubbly tipple 3. Gossip 4. Home for pigs, sheep and cows 5. Dancing rabbit 6. Mercedes, BMW, Jaguar, Rover 7. Beginning of the alphabet 8. Worn on wrist 9. Unmarried men 10. Plaster 11. Quartet of brunettes 12. H20 Men 13. Residents of small area (extra clue not residents of a town or hamlet)
14. Rotating medics 15. Chatter, chatter 16. Used to lift up car + male offspring 17. People who make false claims 18. Up to date love 19. Steak and bread 20. Humming part of male anatomy Answers to all categories can be found at bottom of page. **CATEGORY TWO TELEVISION PROGRAMMES** All the answers to the clues below will be the name of a television programme. 1. Lemonade in orbit 2. Rumbling ravens 3. Ms Thompson and Mr Winton 4. Person who looks after children (answer is not Nanny) 5. Angry lanes 6. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0 (answer is not Thunderbirds) 7. A receipt 8. Injured person 9. Large snap 10. Relations and their money 11. A herb and a broom 12. Not warm and not inches 13. Most feeble connection 14. Shoot Mr Cropper 15. Earlier today 16. Poodle consumes Dalmatian 17. Beckham and Rednaps other halves 18. Large organs rhythm 19. Sausage and squash 20. Old highway exhibition **THIRD AND FINAL CATEGORY - SWEETS** The answers to the clues below will all be names of sweets. 1. Scottish towns stone 2. Lemon + Ms Fitzgerald 3. Game played with 10 pins 4. Oarsmen do it but not at high level 5. Spin around 6. Talk quietly 7. Lactic direction 8. Sonnys ex partner + Mr Reynolds + Citrus fruit 9. Birthday or wedding anniversary 10. Generous gift or reward 11. People who save the day 12. Chomping adhesive 13. Game played by football teams + manufacturer 14. 3.00 O' Clock + not in 15. Lemonade + cats and dogs I've left a few spaces before the answers in case you want to go back to any of the earlier questions before finding out the answers. **ANSWER TIME** The pop groups, bands or artists you should have are:- 1. Def Leppard 2. Bucks Fizz (especially for Phil - Mortim
us) 3. Hear'say 4. The Farm 5. Jive Bunny 6. The Cars 7. ABC 8. The Bangles 9. The Batchelors 10. Band Aid 11. 4 Non Blondes 12. Waterboys 13. Village People 14. Spin Doctors 15. Talk, Talk 16. The Jacksons 17. The Pretenders 18. Modern Romance 19. Meatloaf 20. Buzzcocks (sorry that one was a bit rude) The television programmes were 1. Pop Stars 2. Thunderbirds 3. Emmerdale 4. Minder 5. Crossroads 6. Countdown 7. The Bill 8. Casualty 9. Big Break 10. Family Fortunes 11. Basil Brush 12. Cold Feet 13. The Weakest Link 14. Kilroy - (Mr Cropper being Roy from Corrie) 15. This Morning 16. Dog Eat Dog 17. Footballers Wives 18. Heartbeat 19. Food and Drink 20. Antiques Roadshow Finally the answers to the sweets were. 1. Edinburgh Rock 2. Fruitella 3. Skittles 4. Rolo 5. Twirl 6. Whisper 7. Milky Way 8. Sherbert Lemons 9. Celebrations 10. Bounty 11. Heros 12. Chewing Gum 13. Matchmakers 14. Time Out 15. Poppets I hope you have enjoyed trying to work out the above clues. If you still don't understand how I have arrived at the answers please leave a note in my guest book and I'll reply. Thank you for reading Julie ©
Fans of the TV series ‘Bottom’ will recall the scene where Adrian Edmonson and Rik Mayall are attempting to complete a simple crossword. When they think they know an answer they are not put off by the fact that it is too long to fit the boxes provided, but squeeze it in by putting two letters to a box! Many people are similarly frustrated by these black and white instruments of torture but I find them enjoyable, although this may just be due to the fact that they satisfy my sado-masochistic streak. Drying paint can remain unwatched – I would rather fill in grid with a lot of unconnected words. There are several types of crossword and each requires a different method to complete it. So, take my hand and let us explore the cruxiverbalists’ world. QUICK CROSSWORDS Form The novice’s puzzle. The clues are perfectly understandable and the answers are words in everyday use. Example: 3 letter word. A domestic animal, not a cat. Answer: Dog. However, some of these ‘quick’ crosswords can be deceiving and inaptly named. Example: 5 letter word. African hard wood. Answer: Iroko. The grid is normally fairly small in size and at a quick glance is not too intimidating. Again there are exceptions, such as the Saturday Mail’s ‘brunchtime crossword’, which covers almost an entire page of the newspaper and is only appropriately titled if you normally spend 4 hours over ‘brunch’. Method Read the clue. Clear your mind. No – that’s too clear – you need the answer to remain in your brain. Try to think of similar words to those in the clue. Give up, look in the thesaurus or phone a friend. GENERAL KNOWLEDGE CROSSWORDS Form The grids are the same and once again the clues make apparent sense; none of that cryptic nonsense here (although if you don&
#8217;t know the answer, some of the clues may seem a little puzzling – no pun intended). Example: 4 letter word. Currency of Ghana. Answer: Cedi. Or as in this slightly easier clue: Example: 6 letter word. The name of Ophelia’s rabbit. (No cheating by looking back at past opinions). Answer: Loxley. Method Read the clue. Rack your brains for the answer. If it doesn’t instantly spring to mind you are pretty much up a certain creek without a certain implement. After all, you either know it or you don’t. So, we are back to cheating. Get out your Pears Encyclopaedia or ask the audience. CRYPTIC CROSSWORDS Form The puzzle for the true torture enthusiast. At first glance these can seem relatively innocuous but after starting off with pen in hand and enthusiasm in your heart you can find yourself several hours later disheartened and self-condemnatory wondering whether those O Levels you achieved were really worth the paper they were written on. The clues can appear to make sense but the answer is never ever what you would expect. Double meanings abound and only the true of heart can reach enlightenment. Example: Two words – 3, 5. Bramley’s affiliation to New York. Answer: Big Apple. Oh, you think you are so clever, don’t you? I can hear all you dooyooers thinking, ‘That was easy. I got that straight away.’ Well, how about this? Example: 7 letter word. I get into real trouble on a wing flap. Answer: Aileron. No, that was too easy as well. Let’s try this. Example: 7 letter word. Go to the devil for advice Katerina took before she was tamed? Answer: Beshrew. Not so smug now? I will now put you out of your misery and help you to tackle these monstrosities. Method Some of the answers to the clues consist of several words,
as in the first example above. I often find that these can be the easiest, so try starting with these and once you have got some letters to work around move on to the other clues. If you have a flair for anagrams, start with those clues. Let us examine the examples above and try to understand what the compiler was thinking when they devised those particular thumb screws. Example 1 – Bramley is a variety of apple and a familiar term for New York is the Big Apple. Example 2 – This is an anagram. How do we know? The word ‘trouble’ gives us a clue. Look out for words or phrases such as ‘mixed up’, ‘confused’, ‘broken’, ‘in distress’, ‘twisted’, which may give us an indication that the clue we are dealing with contains an anagram. In this instance ‘I’ is mixed up (‘gets into’) with the word ‘real’ and is followed by the word ‘on’ to produce ‘aileron’, which is of course a wing flap! Example 3 – This requires not only cryptic crossword skills but a little general knowledge. Katerina is a character in Shakespeare’s ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ and she was in fact the ‘shrew’ that needed ‘taming’. Therefore, before she was tamed the advice Katerina would have been given by the devil would have been ‘be a shrew’ (‘beshrew’), which leads us to the answer. The more practice you get at these crosswords the more familiar you will become with their methods. The clue is always in the question. I have already indicated some words which will flag up a possible anagram and other words can provide similar warnings. The word ‘flower’ in a clue can, of course, lead to an answer to do with gardening, however, rather sneakily it is more often pointing to an answer which is the name of a river. ‘Flo
wer’ pronounced flow-err, as opposed to flour. Different compilers have different styles as well. Attempt to complete crosswords from various sources and once you find a compiler who thinks the same way as you, you will find the answers come much easier. USEFUL RESOURCES If you get a little stuck, and let’s face it we’re only human, you may need a little help. Your partner may get a little fed up if you are constantly asking him what the capital of Outer Mongolia is (Ulan Bator in case you were wondering), while he is in the middle of watching a penalty shoot out of some important footie match, so where else can we find assistance? Roget’s Thesaurus (or equivalent). A good dictionary (I recommend Chambers). A crossword computer (these are not usually as helpful as you might think as the words in the memory are normally very limited). An encyclopaedia. Your computer! Search engines will help provide the answers to general knowledge crosswords and – now here’s the real gem – some websites will actually solve the puzzles for you, either from the clue or from the pattern of letters and gaps. Try these: www.oneacross.com www.ekelundh.com www.ojohaven.com/fun/crossword DON’T GET CROSS, GET EVEN I hope that I may have whet your appetite and that you will also attempt a cryptic crossword. These are certainly the most satisfying upon completion! However, if you are still unconvinced and still perceive these puzzles as the modern equivalent of the Chinese Water Torture, and you wish to really make your partner suffer, buy them a compilation book of The Times Cryptic Crosswords. £5.99 well spent as any sadist will agree.
Work, university, college or school. They all include sections of the day when you are just bored to tears, with nothing to do but twiddle your thumbs or follow the second hand of a clock minute after minute. Sure, there are easy ways to cure your boredom. One, funnily enough, popular way is to talk to somebody, even if you do get drifted onto talking about how beastly the Queen Mother's teeth really are. Within my circle of friends, that would probably be classed an intellectual conversation, we have talked about many strange things in the past, all usually when we are bored to the point of crying. I remember one particularly one bad conversation (that can be repeated on a family web-site anyway), we somehow got into a conversation about toilet seats, and were describing to each other what novelty ones we had encountered before. Call me sad, I deserve it. But c'mon, would you not be intrigued if you had a crap on a toilet with a beer cap toilet seat? I think you would! If you are lonely however, and don't have any friends to name apart from the lady who bakes the Madeira cake every week, then perhaps your best boredom beater is the world of crosswords and other such middle aged puzzles. Quite a big business actually, walking into my local Sainsburys I noticed just how many puzzle magazines there are on the market, surprising really, I certainly never thought they were popular enough to warrant over ten magazines and specials. But, they must sell surely, so just who is buying them? Well, this just brings me back to my opening line. Workers mainly, although students too may stoop so low as to buy a puzzle magazine for those tedious work breaks on your own. But, quite cleverly I suppose, these crossword/puzzle supplements are a big hit amongst travellers as it soaks up the time. This is in fact probably the main reason for the popularity of these, should have hit me earlier really as most of them have the word 'Travel' on them, pr
obably making the people who buy them for sheer entertainment (haha, yeah!) feel quite sad. Sad, well yeah, that's quite close to ill is it not? Ill people, invariably recovering from operations, seem to have a stockpile of puzzle magazines in their travel (there goes that word again) bags. I recall a time when I was recovering from an operation (nothing serious) I had loads of the pesky little things shoved in front of me by my mean-well relatives. Actually, in those few days that I was lying in an uncomfortable bed, when I couldn't move my head for toffee, these "pesky little things" were actually a great relief for me, and really did bring me much enjoyment without the possibility of a Television. You would have thought I would have continued to buy them when I departed from the hospital but I didn't, and you can blame Mr. TV for that one! The elderly, they can watch as much TV as they want, but yet they seem to be enormous fans of these puzzle malarkey's, and may occasionally get the youth wondering what all the fuss is about. But then again, old folk like 'Fifteen to One', but that has failed to become a hit amongst teenagers as of yet. As of yet, just a matter of time...right? Live in hope C4, it has almost happened for Countdown, just bide your time. I once worked in a newsagents, during my time there I noticed that an elderly couples regular purchase was a supplement known as "Tea Break Quickie". Odd that, as I am sure the gent and lady didn't read it in their tea break. Sure enough, probably whilst drinking a spot of tea, but that is surely a whole new ball game? Sorry, I'm like a piece of driftwood, and just can't seem to stay on topic. Ahem, right, here goes. If you have a way with words then you will obviously be better than, well, dumb asses. Admittedly, some of the puzzles and crosswords found are easy peasy lemon squeasy, but some, well bugger me they're hard. On occasion I
do buy puzzle magazine type-things that include the really hard ones, if I need a challenge, some stimulation for my under-used brain. But, as I said, only on occasion. I usually just make do with the daily newspaper, The Mirror's daily section 'puzzles and crosswords'. Yes, you read it right, The Mirror, one of the highest circulating newspapers in the country has a page devoted to the damn (in an addictive and 'What the hell am I doing with my life?' way) things. Of The Mirror's respectable selection, I personally, whilst quite partial to a quick go at the Codebreaker - I usually give up half way through, my perennial favourite has to be the traditional old Crossword. No fuss, just a basic crossword to attempt whilst drinking a can of Coke as I lie on my sofa. Heaven....well, no, not quite, that would be very pathetic of me if that was my heaven. Still on The Mirror, I hate, really, really hate, the Arrowwords puzzle. Sure, the concept is easy enough, and the clues are fairly helpful, but I'm John Paul if I can ever complete one of them. Ridiculous, I tell you, ridiculous! In case you are an alien who has just crash landed on earth and for some reason visited dooyoo and saw my op, then I suppose I'll just give you a quick outline of what you do in a crossword. Imagine one of those maths tables that has numbers from one to one hundred. Right, got that? Now just take away the numbers, colour in a about a quarter of the boxes black, in any random order making sure some of them join to create little nooks. Then, just dot numbers at the top or side of a line and hey presto, in under a minute you have your crossword. If you do make a home made one then it will do the trick if you are supplying it to someone else, but not if you are making it for yourself, that would be a Mr. Bean sort of silly. Oh yeah, the put the cherry on the iced roll you just have to write clues in for words that fit into the squares not black on t
he crossword. For instance, [and this is out of today's Mirror by the way] a clue for a rat would be 'Long tailed rodent'. All very simple really, but you do get some excruciatingly hard ones that you can only possibly get if you are a certain age or nationality. Yeah, they throw some obscure ones at you. To demonstrate my point, and if anyone knows this then please leave it on a comment, what in the blue hell is this? 'Tropical Asian starling such as Gracula religiosa'. Any guesses?! If you don't get any of that, then, well, rate me down or something, because I'm not the best in the world at explaining things...blame it on the Arrowwords. One word puzzle that I always used to like as a young lad was when you are given a word, of about eight or nine letters long, and you have to find as many words in the word as you can. Simple concept, but compulsive fun. Quick tester, if the word was 'approximately', then the basic few words you could get are ones in ending in 'at', rat, pat, mat etc. I never knew the name for this particular word puzzle, but it was always my favourite. Give it a go, after all, you don't know until you try! Hmm, as Quizzes are in the title of this category, then I suppose I should outline what the hullabaloo about these gadges are. Pubs are a hive for quizzes, and most do weekly quizzes for prizes, contested between several teams. These social occasions can be a great laugh with a group of mates, and the added incentive of a prize just makes them better. Out of personal experience, I have found quizzes good ways to settle bets. My friend and I once had a quiz about football to settle an argument between the two of us. Yeah, you can buy quiz books. They're everywhere, and they are in specialist subjects as well, football being one of them. You can have a quiz by yourself, and they can sometimes be better if they are in a magazine or a similar such piece of print, but qui
zzes come into their own within a crowd of friends, or several crowds of friends for that matter. Also, they don't have the same 'square' reputation that puzzles and crosswords seem to have. I'd be sure to give a quiz a go, they really are fun...go on, you've only got your already tattered reputation to lose. just remember though, if you go on a Television quiz, such as Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, then make sure I get a slice of the winnings...please?! Well, I've scrambled my Smarky way through this bemusing subject, and I'll tell you, it isn't the easiest topic to write about! All in all, all three - quizzes, puzles and crosswords, they can provide some light hearted, mind bending fun, just make sure you don't get all anoraky on me alright?! I've been Smark, you've been reading, I bid you well.
Being a big fan of number puzzles and logic problems, I visited the puzzler website (www.puzzler.co.uk) recently and came across a new type of puzzle. They are called Tsunami puzzles and are tagged as ‘painting by numbers for intellectuals’. This immediately intrigued me, so I took a further look. The puzzle is based on a grid and the idea is to fill in squares within the grid to form a picture. For each row and each column you are given a set of numbers which indicate the length of each block of squares to be filled in. For example (and this is tricky to explain without a picture) if you have a 10 x 10 grid and the top row has the numbers 1 3 2 this means that there is a block of 1, then a block of 3, then a block of 2 squares. Sound simple ? Well, the trick is in deciding where within the row those blocks are placed. You’ll have to work along the columns and down the rows several times building up the picture slowly. The puzzler website has much clearer instructions (though you may have to read them through a couple of times!) and contains 2 puzzles to print and try along with an interactive puzzle you can do online (this isn’t very fast and I prefer the printable ones anyway). One thing I would say, although I am very guilty of doing the opposite, is use a pencil! However simple they look, they can get quite tricky and it’s much easier to rub something out than start again with a darker pen! There is a Tsunami puzzle book available on subscription (I haven’t seen it available in shops yet). I phoned for my subscription (number on the puzzler website) but there is also a form there you can print and send off if you prefer. Each issue is 48 pages and the current price is £16.57 (at time of writing ). I must warn you though that I am now addicted to them. There are the odd occasions when you’re working away and realise there’s a mistake right in the middle and you have to begin again, which can be f
rustrating, but the happy feeling when you finish one and see the picture is worth it. It wouldn’t be much fun if the puzzles were all really easy, of course. Oh, I forgot to mention, don’t expect works of art for the pictures! And just make sure you keep them out of the reach of people who like puzzles, or you may find they never give them back…
When you are on a train, waiting for the bus on your journey home, and sick of seeing the same trees, counting as often I find myself how many black cars there were and how many red cars, I have found quizzes, crosswords and puzzles come to my rescue and I am grateful. Normally, before my lectures I am required to read a broad sheet so I normally read the Times or the Observer to keep upto date with current affairs. It was only when I bought the Daily Mail, that’s when I became wrapped in crosswords, puzzles and quizzes. They had a whole section on them and I was occupied all the way through my journey. Perfect in the morning to wake you up and get your brain going before lecturers. And they are also a great way of keeping you occupied during your journey. I have now my own crossword and puzzle books. Some of the crosswords can be so irritating and keep you guessing all day. But, it’s good fun and keeps you occupied. I like doing the Puzzles, like finding the words in the grid, you won’t believe how quick your mind can be in the morning. The Times crossword I am afraid to say is very hard, and if I get more than five guessed I am extremely happy. Definitely a brain tester in the mornings. You will crosswords in loads of magazines, the answers will be different and some will be more difficult that others but it’s a good pass time and can really take your mind of things like university work. Puzzles are far easy, just keep your brain alert, no knowledge really required and my little cousins loves doing these. A good babysitting tip is create your own puzzle, it only takes a second, give them a prize if they finish which for them will be incentive and they will be kept busy for a long time. I never thought I would like crosswords and puzzles as much I do, it’s good and gives me something to do on the train or the bus. You can buy a crossword/puzzle book from mos
t newsagents they cost about £1 and will last you ages. I like crosswords and you do actually learn things by expanding your general knowledge as you do them. Good fun for me.
Crossword fanatics all have their own favourite crosswords. One of my favourites is the quick one on the back of the Daily Mail because I have been doing it for so many years that I know how the compilers mind works. The cryptic crossword inside this paper is much harder but I usually manage to finish it. This one certainly gets easier with practise as you get to know how the compiler ticks. The one I would really like to be able to complete everyday is The Times Crossword. I get very close and have been known to complete it but that is rare. There are lots of crossword magazines on the market but I think that The puzzler which contains other types of word puzzles as well is the best. It is a quality publication and while the puzzles aren't too difficult, they aren't so easy that you get bored with them. I must admit though, that I get fed up with wordsearches. Let's face it, you only need to be semi-literate to do these. I have actually seen a four year old child who cannot read doing these quite successfully. Crosswords and word puzzles keep your brain active. If you fancy yourself as a compiler of crosswords you get software to help you do this. I have tried several shareware programmes from cnet but haven't found anything worth using. The best way is still to draw a grid, or plot one and work thing out yourself. I have managed to get three crossword in unusual formats accepted for publication in a puzzle magazine. This doesn't pay a lot and its not easy to do as they usually have their own in-house compilers, but if you have some ideas its certainly worth trying. TORY,(I TUT!) (3,2,3 Anagram)
Hands up those of you who have never done a puzzle in your life. How many have answered no, well I imagine it's not a lot. Go into your local newsagent and browse at the puzzle books, there will be so many to choose from, you may not know where to start. This opinion is aimed at the beginner or the person who sticks to the same puzzles. I'm going to tell about the different puzzles available and their difficulty. Word Searches. These are the easiest puzzles to do; there will be a box full of letters. At the side, you are given a list of words. You then have to search though the grid to find the words. Many Word Searches are based on themes. Word Searches are ideal for beginners. Kriss Kross Kriss Kross puzzles are of medium difficulty. The puzzle is laid like a crossword eg: interlocking boxes. You will be presented by blank boxes. On the page, there will be words; each is grouped by the number of letters. You then have to decide where the words go. Sometimes you will have a few letters to help you, but the harder ones won't so you may have to try many combinations to find the right word. Arrowords. These puzzles are of medium difficulty. Arrowords are almost the same as crosswords. However, the lay out is very different. All the clues are incorporated in the box. With an arrow pointing in the direction the clue must go hence arrowords. These are really fun puzzles to do; they are many variations such as pictures of famous people and picture clues. Crosswords. The good old crosswords these can range from easy to very difficult. Every crossword has the same basis. You have to guess a clue to find the right word. Crosswords can range from tea break types that take about 5 minutes to complete, to massive crossword puzzles that can take days to complete. For the brainboxs there are cryptic crosswords, these are the hardest types of crossword. Here is an example of a cryptic clue.
Drapes these over computer program 11 letters. If you know the answer post it on. Logic Problems. These are my favourite puzzles, these puzzles are of medium difficulty, but can get very very difficult. A logic puzzle will test your wits to the limit. You are given a small piece of information, from that; you must find the right solution. It takes a lot of concentration, as you may need to remember several pieces of information. Well that's about it, you will find many variations but they are all based on the above. You can get whole books dedicated to the same type of puzzle, or you can get puzzle books with a mixture of puzzles, here are some of my favourites. Christine Lovett's Big Crosswords. Take a Break Puzzle Selection. Puzzler Collection. Logic Problems. Arrowords. Picture Puzzles. Pocket Crosswords. There are also loads of websites with tons of great puzzles to keep you amused, you can even print out a crossword etc to do later. Here is a few http://puzzleup.puzzles.com www.brain-teaser.com www.cluemaster.com www.enchantedmind.com Cluemaster is my favourite it has word puzzles and crosswords. There are over 1000 pages of puzzles. The site will also train you to be a whiz at The Times Cryptic.
I enjoy doing puzzles, I like doing crosswords most of all, but the ones I find most boring are word searches. Options is a good one, it is a crossword, but you are given a choice of three answers and you have to decide which one fits in the grid. Arrow words are good, you are given a clue which you have to solve and fit into the grid the same way as the arrow points. I buy at least one puzzle book a week, my favourite one is Take A Break Puzzle Selection which has over a hundred puzzles and also a prize puzzle where 10 people can win £200 each.
Crosswords, are many a persons staple breaktime diet along with a coffee, i love doing the crosswords in the morning papers and find it a real challenge to try to get it finished before its back to work. Theyre great for waking your brain up and make you think in different ways especially when you start on the cryptic ones. The sunday papers have some great crosswords in the magazines, im not really a fan of the crossword magazines as the temptation is there to cheat with the answers been at the back. Crosswords are a great way to pass time on any journey (unless your driving) and the whole family can join in trying to get the answers.