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Puzzles in Ajijic, Lake Chapala, Mexico

Keeping Sharp in Ajijic, Lake Chapala, Mexico

I come from a long line of crossword puzzle solvers. My grandfather, my mother, my sister and I all do multiple puzzles every day.

When I was in Canada finding lots of puzzles in the newspapers was not an issue. (Crossword Puzzle books are never the same as daily puzzles – they will do in a pinch but that is it).

I would happily do The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, The Sun and just before I left The Post.

Week-ends were a special treat with lots of large week-end puzzles to solve.

When I first arrived in Ajijic, Lake Chapala we had access to one English newspaper out of Mexico City with one small crossword puzzle. Jumbles and Sudoku were, of course, out of the question.

When I would return to visit my sister and her family in Toronto I would be green with envy of her daily plethora of daily newspaper puzzle opportunities and watch despondently as she was up to her ears happily in week-end crosswords.

Then when my father would come to visit to get away from the frozen north I would carefully copy our one crossword every day and it was not long before we had our very own Jumble too. We would both do our puzzles with a spirit of competition as who could successfully solve them first.

This went on for years until I visited my brother-in-law in North Carolina. The whole family had ibooks and I was extremely jealous of these wonderful laptops. One day he asked me to come and sit beside him as he had something he wanted to show me.

That was the day that changed my world. He opened up to me the world of online daily puzzles of all kinds as well as infinite puzzles to solve at will. And best yet is that they are free.

My favorite sites are www.latmes.com, www.usatoday.com, www.The Toronto Sun.com and www.The Star.com. These sites offer daily crosswords and sudokus and www.puzz.com has 7 daily puzzles of all kinds and www.bestcrosswords.com has US and British puzzles in cryptic and straight formats in various degrees of difficulty. The LA Times site has several large week-end puzzles to rival those of my sister.

Everyone will tell you that as we grow older we must keep moving. It is also, however, very important to keep your mind moving. Doing puzzles increases your vocabulary and exercises those little grey cells so we can keep mentally sharp.

When my father passed away at 92 he had total possession of all of his faculties and still enjoyed his daily puzzles.

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