We argue that the crossword paradigm overcomes many of the issues which beset other insight problems: Uniquely among insight problems, considerations of expertise also come into play, allowing us to explore how crossword solving experts handle the deliberate misdirection of the cryptic clue more effectively than non-expert, but equally experienced, peers. We argue that the same is true for cryptic crosswords, and that the key to the successful triggering of insight may lie in both the difficulty of the challenge and the degree to which misdirection has been used. Future research is outlined which explores the specific mechanisms of clue difficulty. One of the key problems in studying insight is the unpredictability of this moment in everyday life.
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- “The Penny Drops”: Investigating Insight Through the Medium of Cryptic Crosswords
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We argue that the crossword paradigm overcomes many of the issues which beset other insight problems: Uniquely among insight problems, considerations of expertise also come into play, allowing us to explore how crossword solving experts handle the deliberate misdirection of the cryptic clue more effectively than non-expert, but equally experienced, peers. We argue that the same is true for cryptic crosswords, and that the key to the successful triggering of insight may lie in both the difficulty of the challenge and the degree to which misdirection has been used.
Future research is outlined which explores the specific mechanisms of clue difficulty. One of the key problems in studying insight is the unpredictability of this moment in everyday life. Nonetheless, even this approach is not without issues, primarily centered upon the difficulty of finding an effective, convenient, and reliable insight-triggering task for the participant to solve.
Lab studies of insight in problem solving have met with a number of obstacles, which have been well rehearsed in the literature. These include the historic paucity of standardized problem material MacGregor and Cunningham, ; Batchelder and Alexander, ; Danek et al. Classic brainteaser puzzles used to explore insight: Following attempts to increase the pool of test material in recent years, larger collections of calibrated problems do now exist Chu and MacGregor, Recently, magic tricks have been added to the list of available paradigms Danek et al.
An early attempt Weisberg, ; see Ash et al. A critical flaw in this approach is that it overlooks the interactive nature of problem solving: Much will depend on what each solver brings to the solving process: The presence or absence of insight thus resides in the solver's approach to solving the puzzle, not simply in the problem itself Bowden and Jung-Beeman, ; Cunningham et al.
This technique has been validated by a number of neuroimaging studies, which have empirically demonstrated meaningful differences between problems identified by participants as being solved with insight, or in a step-wise fashion Zhao et al. The moment of insight is argued to be the point at which the hindering constraint is suddenly removed, leading to a relaxation of the impasse and the rapid redefining of the problem space, followed by a swift solution.
It is the dropping of the incorrect assumptions, and disengagement from the outdated hypothesis, which is argued to allow progress to be made. A number of theoretical models to explain this restructuring in classic insight puzzles, such as the 9-dot or the 8-coin puzzles, have been put forward: Nonetheless, since the formulation of these theories, a wider range of insight-triggering paradigms has been developed which on at least superficial grounds differ greatly in their appearance and the demands they make upon the solver Bowden et al.
It is therefore at least possible that the cognitive processes leading up to the moment of restructuring differ according to the specific puzzle parameters at play Bowden and Jung-Beeman, , making a single-process theory of restructuring difficult Cunningham et al. As predicted by RCT, some puzzles involved the need to overcome misdirection or the relaxation of automatically elicited constraints concerning the existing components of the puzzle or its spatial layout Cunningham et al.
An ill-defined problem has no clear representation of the problem space in terms of key features such as the initial conceptualization of the challenge, the final goal state, and the mechanizable steps which need to be taken to achieve this goal. Despite early attempts to categorize insight puzzles e. Attempts to find one single explanation of the cognitive processes leading to insight solution by pitting alternative theories against each other on a single puzzle type e.
Equally vexed is the question of whether a period of impasse is always involved in insight problem-solving as argued e. I have no awareness of having done anything to try to get the answer. Similarly, a study of RAT problems Cranford and Moss, , found that out of solutions arrived at with self-reported insight, under think-aloud conditions, were solved almost immediately, in a mean time of 7. Conversely, the benefits of a period of incubation non-conscious solving activity, or a period of respite away from the problem in resolving problems which have reached impasse have been well-documented see the meta-analytic review by Sio and Ormerod, ; also Ohlsson, ; Baird et al.
Incubation is clearly not always involved in insight problem resolution—though it was present as the second of Wallas' four stages of insight problem-solving Sio and Ormerod, —and is rather seen as an ancillary feature, to be utilized where necessary Gilhooly, Engaging in a diversionary activity with a low cognitive load appears to be most helpful Sio and Ormerod, , and many people report that the problem solution occurs to them when engaged in everyday activities such as walking, driving, or showering Hill and Kemp, ; Ovington et al.
Cryptic British-style crosswords afford a unique opportunity to explore the mechanisms of insight and the issues highlighted above within an existing, readily available puzzle format. One puzzle may thus encapsulate a wide range of these mechanisms, presenting a compendium of heterogeneous insight challenges unrivaled by any other insight puzzle format.
Studying cryptic crosswords may therefore enable us to understand better the antecedents, solving processes and key triggers of the insight moment. The nature of the cryptic crossword has been described in some detail in an earlier paper Friedlander and Fine, , but key aspects are highlighted again below. Example cryptic crossword clues, together with an explanation of the cryptic instructions for achieving the required solution, are set out in Boxes 1 , 2 , 4 — 6.
Clue 1 a Active women iron some skirts and shirts 9 — Schulman, , p. The wordplay comprises: The surface meaning is highly misleading; additionally, the interpretation of IRON relies on a linguistic ambiguity homonym employing different part of speech - noun, not verb. Clue 1 c Scrub the cooker top and clean out 6 - Cleary, , from the Guardian, No. Wordplay elements Friedlander and Fine , Clue 2 a Frightened to death? Clue 2 b Discovered why electrical equipment was dangerous?
Clue 2 d A wicked thing? As in most punning or riddle-style clues, the quirky or nonsensical nature of the answer is flagged by the use of a question mark, which serves as a clue-type indicator. Clue 4 a: Player with only one leg? Clue 4 b: The punctuation is a highly distracting feature. Clue 4 c: Part of it 'it an iceberg 7 - Moorey, Clue 4 d: There is no guidance in the clue: Clue 4 e: Clue 4 f: Somewhat swollen condition of female diving bird?
Clue 6 a: Tea shop 5 Biddlecombe, , attributed to Azed. Synonym 2: Clue 6 b: Savings book 7 Aarons, , p. Clue 6 c: Quits flat 4 Connor, a , by Rufus. Synonym 1: Clue 6 d: Left red wine in harbour 4 Biddlecombe, ; Aarons, , p. Synonym 3: Synonym 4: Cryptic crossword clues usually comprise two elements: It is not always obvious which part of the clue is fulfilling what role, and there is often no clear division between the two parts Friedlander and Fine, The clue type also has to be identified and interpreted.
All these factors mean that that cryptic crosswords are typically ill-defined in both problem conceptualization and solution methodology Johnstone, The misdirection is deliberate: In this use of misdirection, cryptic crosswords are similar to magic tricks: The task of the setter, as for the magician, is to conceal the clue mechanism so subtly that the pathway is not readily detectable Friedlander and Fine, Once deconstructed in this manner, there is no requirement for the cryptic components to make further sense as a coherent whole: Although there is general agreement that the clues have to be fairly constructed i.
A brief review of the most striking parallels between a variety of insight puzzles and the mechanics of solving cryptic crosswords follows. Individual differences in the ability to appreciate humor have been previously identified Cunningham and Derks, ; Kozbelt and Nishioka, ; Dunbar et al. In a study involving solvers and non-solvers Underwood et al. Linguistic jokes share many characteristics with cryptic crosswords, including deliberate misdirection Aarons, , and—although only rarely used as such in the lab—jokes have been identified as a type of insight puzzle Gick and Lockhart, ; Ramachandran, ; Robertson, ; Kounios and Jung-Beeman, ; Kozbelt and Nishioka, ; Amir et al.
In other words, they must backtrack to search for an implicit constraint in their interpretation of the joke wording, which can be relaxed sufficiently to accommodate both the joke setting and its punchline within a revised interpretative structure Suls, ; Navon, This process takes only a short time: Brian Kiley. The punchline seems incongruously out of place given that a joke is ostensibly being recounted: Following this account, ambiguous phonetic forms such as homophones, homonyms, and polysemes can act as triggers which abruptly switch the listener from one semantic script e.
Key to the workings of the joke or crossword clue is the initial concealment of the alternative meaning; and indeed it is a general feature of insight puzzles that the solution typically involves a statistically infrequent response, such as an unusual use for an object, or a less familiar, less dominant meaning for a word or phrase Dominowski, This provides the motivation to detect and explore alternative interpretations some perhaps fruitlessly in order to arrive at the moment of insight.
No matter how lengthy and difficult this problem-solving phase has been, the clue is typically processed rapidly once the constraint is cracked Topolinski and Reber, a. Although many cryptic crossword clues rely heavily on punning misdirection, many also employ clue mechanisms which indicate that letters or letter blocks must be transposed, reversed, removed, substituted, extracted from a sequence or read as an acrostic Aarons, In these clues, the elements providing the wordplay fodder must be decontextualized from the natural surface reading, either abandoning meaning altogether, or taking on new meaning of their own.
In this process, cryptic crosswords may not observe morphological rules: See further clues 1 a and 4 f in Boxes 1 , 4. Rebus puzzles are also examples of ill-defined problems Salvi et al. As with cryptic crosswords, the solver has to relax the ingrained rules of reading in order to overcome their tacit understanding of word-form and contextual interpretation and to achieve a restructuring of the problem space Salvi et al. For this reason, they are likely to trigger the insight experience MacGregor and Cunningham, ; Salvi et al.
MacGregor and Cunningham, Rebus puzzles typically rely on the literal and quirky interpretation of encrypted elements and their spatial arrangement, which are interpreted as part of the solution MacGregor and Cunningham, This is precisely the approach needed by a number of the rebus-style cryptic crossword clues in Box 4 which use highly inventive gimmicks to cryptically represent the solution word clues 4 b-e.
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We argue that the crossword paradigm overcomes many of the issues which beset other insight problems:
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How to Get Started Solving The New York Times Crossword Puzzle
Search for clues, synonyms, words, anagrams or if you already have some letters enter the letters here using a question mark or full-stop in place of any you don't know e. We've listed any clues from our database that match your search. There will also be a list of synonyms for your answer. The synonyms have been arranged depending on the number of charachters so that they're easy to find. If a particular answer is generating a lot of interest on the site today, it may be highlighted in orange. If your word has any anagrams, they'll be listed too along with a definition for the word if we have one.WATCH THE VIDEO ON THEME: The basics - how cryptic clues work
Crossword Puzzle Search
The jobs are:. Read on, or jump to … … a complete list of answers. Want to discuss the puzzle? Then … … leave a comment. ZIP codes were introduced in To badger is to harass. Badger-baiting is a blood sport in which a dog is used as bait for a badger in its den, to draw it out into the open. The dog is sent down the tunnel causing the badger and dog to lock their jaws on each other. Horrible ….
GIVE AS PART PAYMENT
Search for clues, synonyms, words, anagrams or if you already have some letters enter the letters here using a question mark or full-stop in place of any you don't know e. Definition of article bind by a contract; especially for a training period one of a class of artifacts; "an article of clothing" nonfictional prose forming an independent part of a publication grammar a determiner that may indicate the specificity of reference of a noun phrase a separate section of a legal document as a statute or contract or will. We've listed any clues from our database that match your search. There will also be a list of synonyms for your answer. The synonyms have been arranged depending on the number of charachters so that they're easy to find. If a particular answer is generating a lot of interest on the site today, it may be highlighted in orange.
Riddle Of The Day
We believe that anyone can learn to solve crosswords. You have some downtime on a Saturday and you look around for something to pass the time. You hate your officemate. So, not to be outdone, you pick up the paper or download our app and turn to the Saturday puzzle. How hard could it be? Fun Fact: The Saturday crossword is actually the hardest puzzle of the week. Contrary to popular belief, the Sunday puzzles are midweek difficulty, not the hardest.
Tag: Facetious local subject in many articles in “The Onion” crossword clue
You can use our crossword solver to help you find the answers to a lot of clues. To get started right away you just have to type the clue into the input field and select either one of the suggested clues or press the search button. You can also filter the results by length using the buttons beneath the input field. All features are explained in more detail below. You can insert the crossword clues or questions into the main input field and either press the search button or choose from up to 10 clues that might be similar to your clue. To submit the form you can also just hit the Return key on your keyboard. Use the filter buttons below the clue input field to select the length of the answers or even some letters the solutions should contain. This even works without any clue given, just in case we have the answer, but our clues sound different than yours.
Used a “five-finger discount” crossword clue
“The Penny Drops”: Investigating Insight Through the Medium of Cryptic Crosswords