10 apps that will sharpen your mind and memory

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New York Times Crossword (Freemium)

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The New York Times Crossword has long been considered the standard by which all crosswords should be held, and deservedly so. But with its brilliant structure comes often brutal difficulty, especially in the oversized layout of the Sunday edition (the difficulty ramps up throughout the week with the Monday edition being the easiest). For the uninitiated, crosswords are sort of the anti-Sudoku. Instead of dealing with numbers, you try to figure out words from cryptic clues. This puzzle will lift you up and then break you down all within a matter of seconds as you constantly count out letters over and over hoping the word you want will magically fit. It isn’t easy but it can be fun if you are someone who likes words and has a basic knowledge of history and pop culture. This app provides the daily crossword that is found in the paper but there is the possibility of buying more if one a day isn’t enough. 

Braingle (Free)

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Instead of reaction and memory tests, Braingle offers riddles and optical-illusions to keep the reasoning parts of the brain sharp. This is a fun app to share with other people and see if your friends and family can figure out the riddles as fast as you did. It has a pretty basic look with one menu that leads to different options to tease different parts of the brain. 

Not the Hole Story (Free)

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This app offers exclusively riddles, but hard riddles. It has a super simple interface, you just click on a book with a hole in it and read the riddle. Then, after you are inevitably stumped, you’re given two hints before it finally reveals the answer after you’ve given up completely. Not the Hole Story not only stretches your brain by making you think in different ways, it also provides you with an awesome and annoying party game. Try to stump everyone around you then mock them when they can’t figure it out. If that doesn’t say life of the party, I don’t know what does.  

Duo Lingo (Free)

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Duo Lingo provides a fast and easy way to learn a new language or practice one you haven’t visited in awhile. The app features writing and speaking challenges and demands the user keep a tight schedule so the lessons stay fresh. Each lesson goes pretty quickly and at the end, the app highlights you weakest areas so you can redo those sections or practice outside of the app. Although it’s free, it is surprisingly useful and would be a great tool for anyone heading abroad for a short period. The only languages supported are Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, and English, so if you’re looking for other languages you might have to wait for a couple updates to go through.

IQ Test (Free)

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Once you have spent months and months working out that brain muscle, it is important to see if it is working. Take this Best IQ test and see if you go up any points. Though there are other ways to see benefits of these apps, such as improved memory or concentration, this is an accomplishment you can use to compare yourself to those around you, which is one of the best reasons to do these exercises anyway.

That’s it for today. If we missed some brain apps in this roundup, let us know. Maybe we should start using one of these apps more regularly.

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