The Case for Crosswords

The Case for Crosswords

A brief introduction to the world of crosswords and why we should solve more of them.


Simply put, we should solve more crosswords. Whatever your view on them, these puzzles aren't just pastimes relegated to the back page of the newspaper anymore. With more and more papers making online versions of their crosswords, and major crossword kingpins like the New York Times making more accessible versions like the Mini, crosswords are making a resurgence. With the ubiquity of crosswords today, we should do all we can to start filling in more boxes and solving clues.

Crosswords have evolved from simple square kinds to complex, cryptic puzzles with all kinds of clues. The clues can range from straight definitions of answers, to abbreviations, to clues formed from letters from specific boxes. Indirect clues present a need for clever thinking and are always fun.

However, crosswords don't have to be thought of as tricky tests of knowledge. They range along all difficulties, and many versions are designed for beginners. The NY Times mini usually only has about 10 clues and is meant to be solved with ease. Of course, solving harder crosswords rewards skill and experience, and solving a lot of crosswords will definitely make you better. As you solve more, you learn the nuances of the types of clues and the strategies to solve them. Eventually, the clues start to repeat themselves and you can speed through the easier words.

Crosswords are enjoyable because they're low-key, fun assessments of our awareness. You really don't have to study anything specific to start solving crosswords. You just have to be paying attention. They draw on a wide range of subjects, from the words you learn, to the music you listen to, to what you learn in your basic US History class; as long as you are listening and remembering, you have enough to start solving crosswords. Yes, having a wide range of general knowledge will help you out when solving the harder ones, but if you are someone who has never solved a crossword, you are ready to start right now.

As you solve more and more crosswords, you also learn a lot. I've learned expressions I had never heard before and many other random facts. This knowledge may not be critical to my understanding, but knowing a lot about our world is great and rewards you with a keen sense of awareness and understanding.

Crosswords have medical benefits too! From a study at the University of California, Berkeley, researchers found that those who participated in more mentally stimulating activities, like reading, writing, and solving challenging puzzles, like crosswords, were less likely to have as much beta-amyloid buildup in the brain. Beta-amyloid is the protein that induces Alzheimer's disease in the brain. Solving crosswords might be able to stave off Alzheimer's until much later in life, or reduce its incidence entirely.

I've taken my love of solving crosswords to producing them. I've started helping make crosswords for my school newspaper, The Emory Wheel, and through it I've learned how making one is as much of a challenge as solving one. When you make a crossword, you have to chain the words so you always have legible answers, and finding words that work with the character constraints can get pretty tricky. Throw in themes, and it gets even harder. But, as with solving them, you get better as you make more. Eventually you get into the mindset of a crossword producer when you solve them, and it makes for an entirely different way of looking at the puzzles.

Crosswords are fun little way to get into problem solving. They can be low-effort, no-frills diversions from your usual routine, and besides the opportunities they present to learn more about our culture, they can be good for your health! With daily practice, you'll find yourself tackling the NY Times Saturday crossword in no time.

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14 Stages Of Buying Jonas Brothers Concert Tickets As A 20-Something In 2019

"Alexa, play "Burnin' Up" by the Jonas Brothers."


In case you missed it, the Jonas Brothers are back together and, let me tell you, they're giving us some major jams. For those of us who were there when it all began back in 2007 with their first album, It's About Time, this has been one of the most important events of the year. But nothing, and I mean nothing can rival the excitement every twenty-something felt as the Jonas Brothers announced their Happiness Begins tour. I, for one, put my name in for ticket presale, have been following every single social media site related to the tour/group, and, of course, listening to the Jonas Brothers on repeat. And if you did manage to snag tickets, then you know that this is how your brain has been ever since they announced the tour.

1. Finding out that they're going on tour

2. Hopefully entering your name into the lottery to get presale tickets

3. Finding out that you actually get to buy presale tickets

4. Impatiently waiting for your presale tickets by listening to their songs on repeat

5. And remembering how obsessed you used to be (definitely still are) with them

6. Trying to coordinate the squad to go to the concert with you

7. Waiting in the Ticketmaster waiting room...

8. ...And feeling super frantic/frustrated because there are about 2000 people in line in front of you

9. Actually getting into the site to buy the tickets

10. Frantically trying to find seats you can actually pay for because, let's be real, you're twenty-something and poor

11. Managing to actually get the seats you want

12. Joyfully letting your squad know that you've done it

13. Crying a little because all of the dreams you've had since 2007 are coming true

14. Listening to every single Jonas Brothers song on repeat (again)

If you, like me, have finally fulfilled one of your dreams since childhood, then congrats, my friend! We've made it! Honestly, of all the things I've done in my adult life, this might be the one that child me is the most proud of.

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15 Thing Only Early 2000's Kids Will Understand

"Get connected for free, with education connection"


This is it early 2000's babies, a compilation finally made for you. This list is loaded with things that will make you swoon with nostalgia.

1. Not being accepted by the late 90's kids.


Contrary to what one may think, late 90's and early 00's kids had the same childhood, but whenever a 00's kid says they remember something on an "only 90's kids will understand" post they are ridiculed.

2. Fortune tellers.


Every day in elementary school you would whip one of these bad boys out of your desk, and proceed to tell all of your classmates what lifestyle they were going to live and who they were going to marry.


You could never read this book past 8 o'clock at night out of fear that your beloved pet rabbit would come after you.

4. Silly bands.

You vividly remember begging your parents to buy you $10 worth of cheap rubber bands that vaguely resembles the shape of an everyday object.

5. Parachutes.

The joy and excitement that washed over you whenever you saw the gym teacher pull out the huge rainbow parachute. The adrenaline that pumped through your veins whenever your gym teacher tells you the pull the chute under you and sit to make a huge "fort".

6. Putty Erasers

You always bought one whenever there was a school store.

7. iPod shuffle.

The smallest, least technological iPpd apple has made, made you the coolest kid at the bus stop.

8. "Education Connection"

You knew EVERY wood to the "Education Connection" commercials. Every. Single.Word.

9. " The Naked Brothers Band"

The "Naked Brothers Band" had a short run on Nickelodeon and wrote some absolute bangers including, "Crazy Car' and "I Don't Wanna Go To School"

10. Dance Dance Revolution

This one video game caused so many sibling, friend, and parent rivalries. This is also where you learned all of your super sick dance moves.

11. Tamagotchi

Going to school with fear of your Tamagotchi dying while you were away was your biggest worry.

12. Gym Scooters

You, or somebody you know most likely broke or jammed their finger on one of these bad boys, but it was worth it.

13. Scholastic book fairs

Begging your parents for money to buy a new book, and then actually spending it on pens, pencils, erasers, and posters.


Who knew that putting yogurt in a plastic tube made it taste so much better?

15. Slap Bracelets

Your school probably banned these for being "too dangerous".

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