Solving Crosswords Gives Me Motivation

A lot of people who love puzzles and brainteasers find them to be a great
way to stay fit. The small stuff can make a big difference when it comes to
our mental health. (You might even become a Zen master.) But I had to
wonder: if I’m not doing Crossword puzzles, then how am I going to stay
focused and energetic during the day?

I love solving Crosswords. As a journalist and writer, I’m often asked to
solve mind-boggling puzzles in magazines, newspapers and online
publications. That’s not the most challenging part. What I love about the
puzzles is the creativity, spontaneity and logic that they require from me.
I have to come up with all the answers and work out the entire logical
sequence on the fly. This is the stuff I can do in my head for hours
without getting bored. Plus, with hundreds of questions I can work my way
through, there is a whole world of topics to keep me engaged.

So when I heard about The Art of Crossword and its online version, I had to
try it out. It’s called The Unmapped Mind.

The Unmapped Mind is free to download, but only after you watch a tutorial
video that explains all the basics. The app includes three categories of
puzzles: Riddles, Puzzles and the Unmapped Mind — the latter of which has
more than 700 questions and can be used by more than 1,500 users.

When I started using the app, I started with the Riddles category and
answered one puzzle a day for a month. I wanted to keep it short, simple
and rewarding. When I got an answer right, I was awarded with a nice
surprise — a heart, ring, bird or cat, depending on what the puzzle was
about. When I got the answer wrong, I was awarded with a sad face (this one
made me think of Depression Quest). I kept up the routine for the first few
months, and then I started moving on to new puzzles every few days. (I love
that I can take quizzes and get feedback, all without leaving the app.) I
finally decided to start an account after my monthlong challenge.

At the time of writing, I’ve completed more than 2,000 puzzles. I no longer
count them in my daily tally. For me, that’s a lot. It’s not exactly a
scientific study, but if you have been using the app for the same amount of
time, you’ll know that you will, on average, answer 500 to 1,000 puzzles a
day. While this might not be the same for everyone, I think that’s probably
close to the true number of puzzles solved by The Unmapped Mind users. It’s
also pretty impressive if you consider that the app was launched in the
beginning of 2015.

On average, I’m solving 100 puzzles a week. If you are new to the app,
that’s still a lot, but it’s not nearly as impressive as The Unmapped
Mind’s founders thought it would be. When I shared some of my puzzles on my
social media channels, many people told me that they couldn’t believe it
was still around. I guess they were expecting the app to crash under the
load. If you’re thinking of giving the app a try, just keep in mind that it
takes a while to work your way up the levels. I’ve only just entered the
Riddles category. I think my progress was slower than what I see on my
friends’ profiles.

I think that, more than anything, The Unmapped Mind shows how talented and
ambitious its creators are. They constantly seek new challenges and develop
new features to keep users engaged. According to Nathan Selby, one of the
designers behind the app, they are doing everything they can to keep it
ahead of the curve. This week’s update includes a nifty new “discovery
mode”, which is basically a way to automatically generate new puzzles as
you type them in. The result is that users of The Unmapped Mind will always
find fresh puzzles, often as soon as they start a new session.

The Unmapped Mind app isn’t just about puzzle solving and Unmapped Mind
isn’t only about puzzle solving. The app is also a social media platform,
designed to promote the crossword genre, and contains two fantastic
community features, both of which are inspired by Twitter. One of the
coolest features is the Unmapped Mind Community — a community that lets you
share favorite puzzles, hint to help other users and get helpful feedback.
If you like crosswords, you should give The Unmapped Mind app a try.


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