You can’t have failed to notice the recent meteoric rise of Wordle. From November 2021, when its creator Josh Wardle first shared it on Twitter and it had 90 players, to 2 million players in the second week of January 2022, it has certainly caught the public consciousness. But why is that? And what makes a good Wordle player? Philip Fine investigates.Continue reading
Tag Archives: Cryptic crosswords
Cracking Psychology: Understanding the appeal of cryptic crosswords #3 – Anagrams
It’s a common experience – you have a blank grid in front of you, 1A isn’t helping, and there’s no obvious way to get going. Maybe you, too, scan the list of clues hoping for an anagram clue or two? In the third part of our ‘explainer’ series, Kathryn Friedlander takes a look at the psychology behind this popular clue form.Continue reading
Cracking Psychology: Understanding the appeal of cryptic crosswords #2 – Rebus-type clues (‘Say what you see’)
In this second part of a series unpacking the psychology behind cryptic crossword solving, Kathryn Friedlander explores the connection between cryptic clues and the ‘rebus’ or ‘word-picture’ puzzle form.Continue reading
Cracking Psychology: Understanding the appeal of cryptic crosswords #1 – Puns and misdirection
Nearly all of us enjoy a good joke now and again, but those who do cryptic crosswords seem particularly attracted to verbal humour. In the first of a series unpacking the psychology behind cryptic crossword solving, Kathryn Friedlander explores the many links between puns, verbal ambiguity, misdirection and the solving of cryptic crossword clues.Continue reading
Thinking flexibly is key to cryptic crossword solving
When it comes to thinking about cryptic crossword solvers, what kind of image springs to mind? Maybe Chief Inspector Morse, a vicar, or a bowler-hatted Civil Servant? But would you be right…? Kathryn Friedlander shares new research lifting the lid on the mind of the cryptic solver – and finds that they are an academically able group, tending towards science, with fantastically flexible problem-solving abilities.Continue reading
‘Rewording the Brain’ – Can cryptic crosswords fight off dementia?
Kathryn Friedlander reviews David Astle’s fascinating guide to cryptic crosswords. Should we all consider taking up cryptic crossword solving, as the book suggests, to ‘improve our memory and boost the power and agility of our brain’?
CREATE joins MK Innovates STEM Festival: 7th/8th July 2017
Gillian Hill reports on preparations to help celebrate the 50th birthday of Milton Keynes at a festival to celebrate Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in Middleton Hall, Milton Keynes Shopping Centre (7th/8th July)
Final preparations are underway for our Pop-up Lab. showcasing the University of Buckingham’s Psychology Research Hubs which – of course – includes CREATE.
The challenge was set by MK Innovates to provide exciting and interactive activities that engage young people – and especially girls – from Milton Keynes and the surrounding area with science. As always, the CREATE team were keen to get in on the act and we’ve identified some core aspects of our research to showcase at the event.
What makes an expert cryptic crossword solver?
Study reveals what it takes to become a cryptic crossword expert – and it’s more than just practice
You may have heard of the “10,000-hour rule”, the belief that it takes thousands of hours of intense practice to become an expert in something. Training and practice are clearly vitally important in many highly competitive areas such as sports, music and chess. But is that really all it takes to achieve greatness?
Recent research suggests that other factors such as genetics influence the likelihood that you will try, enjoy and excel at a performance activity. We decided to test that theory in the highly challenging arena of cryptic crossword solving. Continue reading
What’s it all about?
Ever wondered why some people are better at playing the violin than others? Mystified by those who knock off the Times cryptic crossword in only 5 minutes? Curious as to why some people pursue niche hobbies – like campanology, mycology or button-collecting?
Want to know what makes people creative (or not), and how creative thinking might be enhanced? So do we!
Based at the University of Buckingham, our CREATE research hub is dedicated to probing these questions, and more. Together with our guest bloggers and collaborators from other Universities, we’ll be sharing our thoughts and discoveries along the way.
Want to get in touch or write something for us? Leave a comment below, or check out our About page to find out more. Or contact us here.