We’ve just had a relaxing summer break with family. We stayed at a high-country station near Methven. The dog came too.
I love the opportunity to get out into the outdoors, to ride my bike and to eat in a leisurely way.
But one of my favourite summer-time rituals is a little quirkier. It involves several days absorbed in back-issues of The Listener. I indulge myself in a series of David Tossman’s Cryptic crosswords. While I solicit help from others from time-to-time, often I am singularly obsessed with this pursuit.
I’ve often wondered why these puzzles are so attractive. And maybe I’ve just stumbled across this riddle’s answer…
An article in the New York Times explains that they affect mood. The very idea of doing a crossword or a Sudoku puzzle shifts the brain into an open, playful state that is itself a pleasing and captivating escape.
Curiously, it is not clear whether or not the chicken comes before the egg; the effect may run the other way too. Humour and a buoyant mood can move the brain into a state that is better for problem solving!