Besides reading, blogging, and baking, another favourite pastime of mine is solving puzzles. It could be crossword puzzles, sudoku or kakuro.
Sudoku is a number puzzle that is logic-based.
The objective of the puzzle is to complete a 9x9 grid so that each column, each row, and each of the nine 3×3 boxes contains the digits from 1 to 9, only one time each. You start off with a partially completed each puzzle. There are various dificulty levels of the puzzles. I have gotten quite good at it, such that if it isnt a 4 or 5 star difficulty rating, I will not even attempt it. Even then, I try to set my self a time limit to solve these puzzles, 30 minutes max. I have also attempted the 16x16 grids, which are real eyesight killers!!
Kakuro is the mathematical equivalent of crosswords.
The objective of the puzzle is to insert a digit from 1 to 9 into each white cell such that the sum of the numbers in each entry matches the clue associated with it and that no digit is duplicated in any entry. Solving a Kakuro puzzle involves investigating combinations more, compared to Sudoku in which the focus is on permutations. These also come with different difficulty ratings. As there are numrous possible combinations, it is a real mental stimulation. I am still only at the intermediate levels for these puzzles, but as I solve more of them, I begin to get a better hang of it. But not quite an expert yet. It can take me more than an hour just to solve a puzzle.
There are variations to these 2 types of puzzles which combine both and really give your brain a good work-out.
"Exercise is the key to good health both for body and mind." So the exercise for our minds are these mental stimulants. It has been said that a brain that is not used, would soon become useless. You will be glad to know that mine has been put to good use solving these puzzles. I have been toying with the idea of buying a Nintendo DS for its Brain age games. But my fear is my kids will take over my toy!