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Sudoku, Crossword Puzzles, and Math - A Lovely Trio

You know I have not yet caught on to the sudoku craze but from what I understand this puzzle game can become quite addictive. Maybe that’s the reason I haven’t dived in yet. You see, there is something delectably delightful about solving puzzles and other brain teasers and I simply have way too much to do already. Yet with all my busyness, I try to get in a good crossword or two from time to time, and I make sure to do some brain teasers. You should too and here’s why.

For one, these puzzles keep your mind sharp; for two, these games and brain stimulators keep your mind from wandering into other less desirable territories. The harder your brain works on solving such challenging mind games, the less energy you have to contemplate things like problems and other time consuming frivolities. If you think this proposition is hogwash then take me up on the challenge. Go get yourself a brain teaser, crossword, or sudoku book in your nearest Borders or Barnes & Noble. Learn the rules and start to do these. Watch how after a few days—once the fever has caught on—you are less inclined to frivol away your precious time on senseless and inane absurdities: like what the latest celebrity gossip is and what your neighbor across the street just did to his garden with his new chain saw.

My father was an ordinary mailman yet he had an extraordinary zest for doing crossword puzzles. He had no college education, yet he could pound away at these black and white diagrams until all the spaces were full. I would watch him intently as he racked his brain to get that last clue and complete the grid. Little did I understand the fascination so one day I, the college boy, asked the untutored mailman, “Dad, what is it about those stupid puzzles that you like so much?”

My father, annoyed that he had to lift his head from the clue trail, glacially looked up and stared me down. He responded with utter challenge: “You’re the college boy, let’s see if you know a three letter word for a sea eagle?” “A what?” I retorted, surprised by the question. “A three letter word for a sea eagle,” he repeated. Needless to say, I was dumbfounded by the question and quite challenged by the task. Within a week, I too was a crossword junkie.

When I contemplate the whole concept of brain teasers, math problems, sudoku, crosswords and the like, I marvel at how few people realize the great joy that lies in taking these challenges head-on. Maybe this is why I turned out to be such a normal, fun-loving guy: I had too many challenges on my mind to be sidetracked by nonsense and unproductive thoughts. Try it out for yourself and see whether you too do not become a junkie of the highest order. Indeed, we can afford more junkies like this in the world.

See more at Cool Math Site and Problem of the Week and Cool Brain Teasers

Joe is a prolific writer of self-help and educational material and an award-winning former teacher of both college and high school mathematics. Under the penname, JC Page, Joe authored Arithmetic Magic, the little classic on the ABC’s of arithmetic. Joe is also author of the charming self-help ebook, Making a Good Impression Every Time: The Secret to Instant Popularity; the original collection of poetry, Poems for the Mathematically Insecure, and the short but highly effective fraction troubleshooter Fractions for the Faint of Heart. The diverse genre of his writings (novel, short story, essay, script, and poetry)—particularly in regard to its educational flavor— continues to captivate readers and to earn him recognition.

Joe propagates his teaching philosophy through his articles and books and is dedicated to helping educate children living in impoverished countries. Toward this end, he donates a portion of the proceeds from the sale of every ebook. For more information go to .