Not as sharp as you used to be? Want to improve your mental abilities or ward off cognitive decline? Can’t remember what the word cognitive means?

Are you becoming worried that your intellectual prowess isn’t nearly as prow as you would like? Or are you just simply concerned that you’re losing your mind and can’t remember where you put it?

Don’t worry. Now, thanks to a new generation of interactive games, riddles and clever Internet-based whangdoodle programs designed to prey on anyone who has ever forgotten her keys or failed to nab a Nobel Prize, you can train your brain to do better.

These programs are like going to a gym for the brain, except that you don’t have to wear shorts that are too tight or strain your elbow doing bi-lateral curls.

No head bands! No need to waste time reading or studying or even actually looking for your keys! No figuring out calculus equations! No going to the lab and having to put on those icky white lab coats!

Yes, you can improve your working memory, your cognitive flexibility, your processing speed and your gas mileage — and you can do it without actually flossing your medulla oblongata.

No need to get on the treadmill to exercise your brain. All you have to do is just play some games and solve some riddles. Like these:

  • Two trains are heading to Chicago, one from New York and the other from New Orleans. The one from New York is traveling at 103 miles per hour. The one from New Orleans has a better snack bar. What time is it in Peoria?
  • Carol’s mother had three children. The first child was named April. The second child was named May. What was the third child’s name? (I should tell you that even Carol got this one wrong.)
  • If it’s 3:15 p.m. in Bogota, Colombia, why are you in Bogota? Weren’t you supposed to be in Piscataway, NJ?
  • How many three-letter words can you make out of Piscataway, NJ? How many three letter words can you make in Piscataway, assuming you were stuck there during a snowstorm and couldn’t get to the brain gym?
  • Repeat all these numbers without looking at your phone or asking Carol, April or May for help: 6
  • Without looking at your phone which is still, probably, in Bogota, Colombia, what letters on your phone keypad correspond to the number 6?
  • Find all the verbs in the above paragraphs and arrange them in a grid that will look like the Eiffel Tower. Do it again, this time while eating a grilled cheese sandwich.
  • In a labyrinth, start at the bottom and find your way to the top before the train gets to Peoria.
  • Which of the following doesn’t belong:




Warren G. Harding

Now explain why your answer was “giraffe.”

  • Connect the dots. Please don’t ask which dots.