Are cryptic crosswords really ‘better than sex’?

Kathryn Friedlander explores the ‘kick’ we get from cracking a really good cryptic crossword clue.


A number of stories in the press earlier this year reported work carried out in Vienna and London on solving puzzles in a brain scanner. The study suggested that solving a clue to a puzzle can trigger a highly rewarding ‘Aha!’ (or ‘Eureka!’) insight moment, which releases dopamine into the brain. This is the reward chemical associated with daily activities such as eating, winning money … and having sex. This led to headlines promising that cryptic crosswords were ‘better than sex’… but what’s the reality behind the hype?

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Medical Student or Qualified Doctor? We need your help!

Want to help improve medical education? Fancy the opportunity to win a £40 Amazon voucher? Want to boost our donation to Médecins Sans Frontières /Doctors Without Borders (MSF)? Know any doctors who could help? Paige Vanleer explains what to do …


Medical Survey QR CodeI’m Paige Vanleer, and I’m currently engaged in an MSc project at the University of Buckingham which aims to help us ensure that the process of medical education is as effective as possible. As part of my research, I’ve launched a survey comprising a series of questions about the professional status, medical training and thinking styles of trainee and qualified doctors, and I’m still looking for more participants before it closes. Do you, or anyone you know, qualify for the survey? Continue reading