In addition to assessing the condition of singing coral reefs, artificial intelligence has been shown to outperform humans at solving crossword puzzles. Crossword puzzles are a favorite pastime for many people all around the world. It has long been believed that humans are superior to computers in solving crossword puzzles because of our exceptional ability. Participants put their vocabulary and general knowledge to the test as they try to decipher the cryptic clues and fill up the crossword grid with the correct answers. The annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament is regarded as one of the most elite crossword competitions. In 2017, a piece of software known as Dr. Fill allowed a machine to finish in 11th place, the most remarkable performance it has ever achieved in this competition. However, computers are currently making a comeback. In the year 2021, the Berkeley Crossword Solver, developed by a group of people at the University of California, Berkeley, successfully outscored every human player for the very first time. This was no mean fit; it signaled that computers could be great at any specialized task if enough resources and time were dedicated to improving them. The program, described in a post on arXiv, relies on “neural question answering, structured decoding, and local search,” which entails locating solutions to problems and refining them with databases and natural language artificial intelligence (AI). And even with that kind of development, there is always room for enhancement. Compared to earlier versions (57%), the Berkeley Crossword Solver now has an “exact puzzle accuracy” of 82% for New York Times crosswords. Crossworders beware. Singing coral reefs This week, we learned about another innovative use for artificial intelligence (AI), which involves evaluating the state of coral reefs to determine how healthy they are. A multinational team led by scientists from the University of Exeter and Lancaster University in the United Kingdom employed artificial intelligence to study the sounds reefs make. These “songs” are produced by the diverse population of fish and other organisms that call the reef home; the absence or absence of these organisms is directly correlated to the state of the ecosystem. Team members used Indonesia’s Mars Coral Reef Restoration Project recordings to hone their artificial intelligence. Once taught, the algorithm accurately identified the reef’s health 92% of the time based on recordings taken from both damaged and healthy reefs. According to Ben Williams of Exeter, “Coral reefs are facing many dangers, including climate change; thus, monitoring their health and the performance of conservation efforts is crucial.” “Coral reefs are facing various threats including climate change,” Moreover, he says it takes time and effort to evaluate a reef’s condition using traditional visual and auditory methods. According to our research, a computer can recognize patterns inaudible to a human’s naked ear. Williams explains that this method can provide more timely and precise information about the reef’s condition. Tim Lamont from Lancaster chimes in, “In many circumstances, it is quicker and cheaper to place an underwater hydrophone on a coral and leave it there than to have experienced divers visiting the reef periodically to survey it – especially in distant locations.”
An apple a day is meant to keep the doctor at bay but is the same true for crosswords. Many of us may have grandparents that swear by crosswords and other puzzles as a way of keeping their brains active. But does it actually work? Should we all start solving more puzzles each day to reduce the risk of cognitive decline? Cognitive Decline Increases The Older We Get. Statistics from the American Academy of Neurology suggest that cases of mild cognitive impairment are more common the older we get. This could be problems with short-term memory, concentration, language, or decision-making. They suggest that around affects about 85 of those aged 65-69 experience this, rising gradually to 10% of people 70-74 and 15% of 75-79. However, this jumps to 25% of those between 80 and 84, and then a staggering 37% aged 85 and older. Cognitive decline isn’t just a case of forgetfulness, nor it is a guaranteed sign of dementia. It can slowly worsen with time, but that progress can decrease with the right proactive action. That is why researchers are so keen to figure out the best activities for cognitive health, especially in seniors. Research Shows That Daily Crosswords Are Surprisingly Helpful. One study of particular interest was carried out by the National Institute on Aging. They took a group of 107 adults of varying ages who had signs of mild impairment in some way. Over 12 weeks, the participants would either enjoy 30 minutes on a cognitive training platform, 4 times a week, or spend the same amount of time attempting digital crosswords. The Lumosity program used for the study was specially designed to improve cognitive function. Therefore, researchers expected those using this program to fare better in post-study tests than those that did crosswords. However, analysis into cognitive decline scores, brain functionality, and brain volume showed more significant improvements in those that solved crosswords. These Findings Support Those Advising Us All To Stay Mentally Active. As we get older, we will all hear general advice about staying physically and mentally active to help our health and well-being. These studies are encouraging for older patients because not only were the activities effective, but the most effective often prove to be pretty easy to add to a daily routine. A daily crossword with a morning coffee doesn’t require too much effort or habit-forming but can have significant results. In addition to doing daily crosswords, we can add other challenging intellectual tasks to our day. For example, Ronald C. Petersen, from the Mayo Clinic’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, suggests watching a documentary or attending a lecture. A Daily Crossword Or Other Puzzling Activity Could Help Many Of Us Reduce Mental Decline. It is important to note that these recommendations tend to relate to the retired and elderly. But, this doesn’t mean that we can’t start earlier than that. Middle-aged adults could reduce the onset of decline, as some of those in the Luminosity study were aged 55-60. Millennials could boost their cognitive function too for better productivity. So, whatever your stage in life, consider adding a daily crossword to your morning routine.
If you’re anything like me, and you’re awake at 11:45 PM on any given night, you find something to do for the next fifteen minutes, and then you jump online. Because you can’t wait to play Wordle. I heard about it through a friend, began playing, and was soon hooked. Now, I start my day with it whenever possible. I have a cadre of Facebook friends who post their game scores daily, and we all congratulate each other when we get the word – and commiserate with each other when we miss it. When I first played the game, I used random starter words because I didn’t know which might work. My favorite starter word is now a part of my daily Wordle ritual – and its result usually leads me to use a set “second word.” The process of how – or if – a Wordle player chooses a starter word is as individual as their morning coffee order. Wordle is the viral word game created and first posted online by Josh Wardle in October 2021. It proved to be an instant sensation, and in the subsequent months of 2022, tens of millions of people visited his site and attempted to guess a five-letter word. During its initial months, the solutions to the puzzle came directly from Josh. New York Times purchased the right to the game in January 2022, and suddenly, every Wordle lover had an account on the newspaper’s online website. The Times did its best to generate even more popularity for the game by placing it on its news app and as its crossword app over the past summer. But, as of November 7, the word game acquired its own editor -Tracy Bennett. Bennett has been a puzzle editor for the Times since 2020, has been appointed as the editor of Wordle. The game will use a word list created by the New York Times. The words will be taken from the standard dictionary. The times will program and test Wordle just as it does its daily Spelling Bee and Crossword. The rules and gameplay of Wordle will stay the same. All the solutions to Wordle can be any five-letter word found in that basic dictionary – except for plurals to three- or four-letter words that would end in “s” or “es.” (For example, “boxes” or “lamps” will never be the answer. However, unique plurals such as “geese” or “fungi” would be allowed. Although the solutions to the Wordle will all be taken from the basic dictionary, players will still be able to use any word found in a much larger list of valid “guess words.” These contain some foreign and obscure words. As for now, Bennett has no plans to alter the game, and all of us who are up at midnight every night are very glad.
The climate-conscious crossword aficionados globally parked their services and tools to protest on a certain aspect of lean coal.’ These individuals took to Twitter to reveal that ‘clean coal’ could be the answer to the New York Times’s crossword puzzle on ‘greener energy sources.’ The United States Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL) was among the crossworders. Before running for this office, the representative built his name as a cleantech executive official. Canary Media reports that Sean Casten struck out the term ‘clean coal’ on this crossword using a handy virtual red pen. After striking out, the media reports that he replaced it with the term ‘Fairy tale.’ However, the puzzle author, Lynn Lempel, doubted the answer and the phrase. Besides doubting the answer, He also had doubts about the clue of the 47 Across. The author realized that the term or phrase ‘clean coal’ provides a slight pause due to the debatable nature of the existence of such a thing. The slight pause happened in the regular column entertaining other crossworders by highlighting or showing some ‘tricky’ clues. Worse enough, the author noticed that her original clue had something or a phrase of a particular hedge. Thus, she originally framed or termed it as a dubious term to mean a greener energy source. Nevertheless, the editorial team didn’t think that a dubious term was correct. However, Writes Canary Media revealed that the Times had to issue a correction due to the complaints and noise on Twitter. The paper addressed the issue by revealing that the crossword clue for 47 Across in the crossword puzzle on Monday had some faults. The crossword clue had incorrectly implied that coal is one of the viable sources of clean energy. While it’s possible to sequester and capture some greenhouse gas emissions or other pollutants affecting the environment from coal-fired power plants, the method remains unused by many individuals. The high cost of creation and maintenance makes it hard to use the alternative for large-scale production. In addition, a climate accountability podcaster and environment journalist, Amy Westervelt, provides his insights that provided correction on this Times crossword. He revealed that clean coal is a general marketing term that this industry created and wanted to use to burnish its reputation and image. The journalist added that the term is now and has always been hogwash. The thought that it was too expensive ignores or bypasses the fact that the term was a misleading phrase from the jump.
Former Zynga Developers Raised $4 Million for their Puzzle Game Startup Extremely successful American-based mobile and online game developer Zynga, whose portfolio includes hits such as “Farmville,” “Words With Friends,” and numerous others, recently lost several employees who left the company to found their own startup. Suraj Nalin, Preeti Reddy, and Siddharth Jain, a former software engineer, product management employee, and lead product manager at Zynga, recently founded a new gaming studio, PlaySimple games. The startup, based in Banglore, made headlines recently after receiving a recent 4 million dollar investment. Created in 2014 with a $500,000 initial investment, PlaySimple now employs 22 people who work on easy-to-play mobile games for users of all ages. PlaySimple games, primarily puzzle and word-based games. The games are known for being quick hitters; users spend only a short time playing the games (PlaySimple reports that the games have an average session time of 15 minutes) but tend to log in daily over weeks, months, and years. PlaySimple’s games are geared toward users who are waiting and have time to kill, whether in between appointments while winding down at night or during breaks at work or school. PlaySimple’s games aim to provide quick, fun, and challenging entertainment. The company’s games target t individuals who are traveling as well. Users waiting for flights at the airport, waiting to catch their train at the station, or those in transit on a train or while in a taxi or uber caught in traffic are part of the company’s target market. The company’s current portfolio offering includes “Word Trip,” “Crossword Jam,” “Word Wars,” “Daily Themed Crossword,” and “Solitaire.” All games are available on the leading mobile download stores: Apple’s App Store, the Google Play Store, and the Amazon Appstore. PlaySimple garners most of its revenue, like most mobile game developers, via in-app purchases (where users pay small fees for added in-game benefits or exclusives) and via advertising revenue. One of the co-founders, Siddharth Jain, notes that the global gaming market is worth a whopping $100 Billion, with nearly half of that number, $40 billion, comprised of the highly lucrative mobile gaming market. The company’s goals for the future include continuing to increase sales while targeting lucrative markets in Asian countries like China, Japan, and South Korea, as well as the European and North American gaming markets. Since the beginning, PlaySimple has had a clear and focused strategy of developing quality mobile games designed for a global audience. Being an Indian company PlaySimple is also focused on the ever-increasing smartphone market in India, which is expected to pass China as the world’s most populous country shortly. The Indian government’s recent focus on internet and smartphone initiatives should bolster PlaySimple’s business in its home country.
If you think Solving a tricky crossword puzzle is quite challenging. Then try solving it on a tournament, in front of many people and in less than 10 mins. You must be a magician to do that, you may think. Well Dan Feyer is nothing short of a crossword genius, he has won the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament several times. Mr Dan Fever is a pianist working and living in NYC and multiple times crossword tournament champion.
How does Dan prepare for the tournament?He actually practices and solves many crossword puzzles. It is not far from the prep work that many athletes do before a tournament but in his case the prep work is doing more ‘crossword training’. This is a general rule to improve in anything you do practice and get better. But must be noted that Dan doesn’t only do crosswords before a tournament, he does them all year long because well – it’s a passion for him above all.
How many xword puzzles he solves in a day?The average number for Dan is about 15, he does them whenever he can. Whether he is on lunch break, commuting or dinner time before the Television. If you are as passionate and good as him the puzzles go very quickly. His daily commuting amounts to about 40 minutes each day and during that time he can easily crack 5 to 10 puzzles depending on their difficulty. You might be wondering what does a pianist have to do with crossword puzzles and why he is so good at it. We’ll we were wondering the same thing. What is your theory? Comment below.
Max Scherzer, a notable American Baseball Pitcher who has also previously played for Detroit Tigers, LA Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks was featured on USA Today Crossword. He was a clue in the crossword puzzle and the clue number was 7 Down. The question was: “Max Scherzer Pride” Max actually tweeted about this and pointed our that maybe they should’ve done a little more research. He would have thought a more accurate answer would have been his ARM that is his pride but let’s explain what DIC meant. That’s because Max has two different colored eyes you have a condition called dichromatic, or DIC for short. Regardless, this is a new step for max, because when you are featured on the USA Today Crossword, you know you’ve made it. Right? How many guys get in the crossword? Max has officially arrived.
Ever since his sophomore years Dr Neville Fogarty participated in a TV Show related to Crosswords and reached second place. It appears that that TV show fueled his passion for puzzles even further, and it has resulted in Neville being now known as one of the most prominent crossword puzzle creators. Neville has made a name for himself in the Crosswords World and his passion for puzzles has grown continously as has the number of puzzles that he has authored and some of them have been featured in very famous newspaper’s crossword editions such as NYTimes Crossword, Buzzfeed, LATimes just to name a few.
How did it All Start?For Dr Neville it all started when he was a college student. During the summers he wanted to go to a TV show about crosswords. So he then spent about a month solving every crossword he had in its hands to practice. His father also helped with some of the crosswords he worked on. He was able to win at the first episode of that TV Show. A year or so after that event he was experimenting with creating his own puzzles as he thought they could not be that difficult to make. At first, like any beginner he found it to be a bit tricky but later on he managed to get a crossword puzzle published on the LA Times which also meant that he got a compensation for it.
How Does he go About Creating a PuzzleMost of his crosswords or even crosswords in general are themed ones. So the first thing that Neville does is thinking of a theme. This typically means that you construct the puzzle in such a way that the most difficult answers have some string that connects them. There is something indirect that they have in common or that serve as a clue about each other. He then must think of some theme entries, while also keeping the grid dimensions in mind, also trying to leave as little empty(black) tiles as possible. He then organises the answers as nicely as he can and then he goes on with formulating the clues.
Advice for newbie Crossword PlayersLike any other area, this the crossword creation or solving is something that needs practice and patience to get good at. For newbies to the crossword world it is best that you start with a simple and easy to figure puzzle. The ones on USA Today Crossword typically fall into the beginner-friendly puzzles. While it’s better to solve them on your own, it is not cheating if you confront the answers with a crossword helper site on the web. There is always the possibility that you may find an equally meaningful word but it is not the correct one. Some players chose to play with a friend, this way you double your chances and as you make progress you will start to notice that some words, short words in particular pop up more frequently and are considered seed words by some cruciverbalists.
Could Chess or Sudoku help anxiety?New studies have shown that brain-intensive logic puzzles like sudoku or crosswords may be effective at lowering anxiety and stopping overthinking people from worrying too much. The studies have shown that playing these games lowers the anxiety more than watching tv or Netflix. A researcher of this study, published by the University of UK Berkeley suggested that anxiety doesn’t necessarily increase with harder tasks, she says it is actually the opposite. This study actually reached the conclusion that anxious folks performed equally well compared to others, when they faced challenging/demanding logic puzzles that require a higher level of concentration. They however needed a bit more time than others to complete the easy tasks. Could it be that anxious people give the same level attention and seriousness even to the most simple tasks? This slower time to response to puzzles that did not require full concentration was followed by a reduced prefrontal cortex blood flow, this area of the brain serves as the Head of Deparment in areas such as Memory, Thinking and Planning. The puzzles in this study were simple ones mainly consisting of recognition of letters which were given to around 20 people. And the blood flow in the “fight or flight” section of the brain was measured via MRI. The study pointed out that this center of the brain impaired the ability to concentrate even if it was not over active, this indicates that the anxiety coupled with lower concentration must be studied in another area of the brain. As a way to keep accurate scoring, the difficulty of the puzzles was taken into consideration. The difficulty of the puzzle and its correlation with distraction and anxiety was observed. This study pointed out that about 1 in 5 adults in United States is affected by one or more form of anxiety disorder. If you want to read the full study open the Study Link Here.
Crossword puzzles? Been with us for over 100 years, published daily on many magazines each one with a distinctive style and theme.Many grid versions exist as well. But have you ever wondered if you can copyright a crossword puzzle that you created? According to most Lawyers YES they can. As they are no different than any other intellectual property. A crossword puzzle is an intellectual property just like a poem, a lyric or painting because it requires someone to create it in a very specific way. As soon as the crossword is put into print or physical form the copyright law protects it. This copyright law even clarifies that other puzzles must be distinctly