Learn to Solve Crossword Puzzles!

Here’s one more course from the GenWise stables that has been shown to exercise a wide range of cognitive faculties. Learn the basics of unraveling cryptic crosswords, and end with creating your own that other participants try and solve!

This course is open to all above the ages of 14. Families are welcome to join in as a group.

Cryptic crossword puzzle solving is a workout for the brain using a combination of both creativity and logic. It is both an art, and a science!

Solving cryptic crossword puzzles have been shown to exercise a range of cognitive faculties, including:

  • The general capacity to analyze, reason, problem-solve and think ‘on one’s feet’
  • A specific aptitude for cryptographic or mathematical thinking
  • The visuospatial ability to mentally manipulate algebraic components of wordplay ‘fodder’
  • The ability to pattern-match and, most specifically, complete word fragments provided by cross-checking letters
  • The ability to break free from familiar patterns of thought (particularly red herrings deliberately supplied by the setter) using new and unusual interpretations of clue components
  • The ability to retrieve words from long-term memory to match synonym definitions.

"The endorphins spike and the cortisol and the adrenaline drops - so there is this real general and genuine wave of pleasure."– From the book “Rewording the Brain”, by David Astle.

In this course, participants will be taken through the various strategies for cracking crossword clues, as well as clue composition. On the final day, participants will have a crack at crosswords compiled by their fellow participants!

We hope this course can start the participant on a lifelong journey towards loving wordplay and crossword puzzles!!


1. Cryptic Crossword Creator, David Astle, on The Brain Effects of Puzzles

2. The Grounded Expertise Components Approach in the Novel Area of Cryptic Crossword Solving