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 An enjoyable and stimulating pastime

Solving cryptic crosswords is fun to do and provides a good work out for the mind. It exercises the memory and thinking skills — such as analysis, deduction and lateral thinking — and stimulates an interest in words, language and general knowledge.

It’s a great activity for U3As, giving members the opportunity to share their learning and enjoyment of solving puzzles.

Cryptic Crossword groups in U3As

There are more than 35 U3As with crossword groups in the UK, at least 20 in Australia and probably more in other English-speaking territories.

Most groups are focussed on solving puzzles and these may be for improvers only, for beginners only, or cater for both. Some groups also set puzzles and may publish these in U3A magazines and newsletters.

An opportunity open to all

Anyone can learn how to solve cryptic clues, and with practice develop their skills further. This is an activity that has appeal among third agers, and there will be enough interest in most U3As to support a group.

The ‘Starter leaflet’ provides practical guidance on getting a crossword group underway.

About the subject adviser

I teach people how to solve cryptic crosswords and am the author of Learn How to Solve Cryptic Crosswords: A Course for Beginners.  I have taught over 100 U3A members – mostly in the SE of Dorset where I have lead groups in Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole, Dorchester and Wimborne U3As. Some of the people I have taught have set up crossword group in their U3As.

There is more information about the book and resources for solvers at my website,