The 11 Best Puzzle Books for Adults of 2021

Sharpen your mind while having fun

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Keeping a sharp, quick mind is crucial as you age—not only for your well-being but for the sake of your family and friends. Unfortunately, things like forgetfulness, irritability, or an inability to multitask may occur naturally as individuals age. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to combat mental decline as you get older.

Activity experts have found benefits to "mind games," which are puzzles and games that focus on memory, problem-solving, and speed. Solving these problems may help you maintain a more youthful mind and sharpen your brain.

Adult puzzle books are beneficial for brain health—they also provide a form of screen-free entertainment, which is something that people of all ages are lacking.

To get you started, here are the best puzzle books for adults on the market.

Our Top Picks
Unique in nature, the puzzles take you through 'escape room' challenges that ask you to decrypt messages.
Filled with fun facts, each of these puzzles will teach you something new while providing multiple challenges.
Ideal for crossword lovers of all ages, it's filled with 200 Monday crosswords from The New York Times.
Intended for critical thinking-loving adults, the 130 puzzles are curated to challenge your mental muscles.
Each of the 125 large-print puzzles contains a mathematical element, and they gradually increase in difficulty.
Perfect for wordsmiths, each puzzle includes at least 45 words, so you won’t have to worry about growing bored.
For adults who are looking to advance their critical thinking skills with the classic Sudoku puzzle, this book is a great choice.
Designed to promote memory and attention to detail, these puzzles will take your mental workout to the next level.
Best for Cryptograms:
On This Day at Amazon
Each cryptogram contains five hints, and there is a solutions section in the back for you to check your work.
Each mystery contains a witty plot line, complete with characters and descriptions that make solving the puzzle entertaining.

Best Overall: The Master Theorem: Book of Puzzles

The Master Theorem
Pros
  • Aesthetically pleasing

  • Unique

  • Hints available  

Cons
  • "Escape room" style may not be for everyone

Thanks to its beautifully illustrated pages and unique puzzles, this book, filled with over 40 puzzles, has quickly developed a cult following. The puzzles channel a challenging "escape room" vibe that requires individuals to decrypt messages, solve brain-teasers, and use critical thinking skills to complete challenges.

The difficulty ranges from medium to hard, and the book is designed to keep the puzzle-solver busy for weeks. However, there are helpful hints on the back of the book to help with obstacles.  

Difficulty level: Medium to hard | Number of puzzles: 40+ | Style: Logic | Size: 7.5 x 10 inches

Best Beginner: The 125 Best Brain Teasers of All Time: A Mind-Blowing Challenge of Math, Logic, and Wordplay

The 125 Best Brain Teasers of All Time
Pros
  • Variety of styles

  • Progresses in difficulty 

Cons
  • Some may prefer a speciality book

If you’re looking for a puzzle book and don’t know where to start, this book of the 125 best brain teasers is a great option. Each puzzle describes the history of the style, some new fun facts, and challenges—giving your brain a multi-dimensional puzzle experience.

The difficulty of the puzzles gets harder as the book progresses, meaning you'll have the opportunity to advance your skills as you go. With over 200 pages of word problems, logic puzzles, and more, this book is a great starting option for all ages.

Difficulty level: 5 challenge levels | Number of puzzles: 125 | Style: Variety | Size: 5.3 x 7.9 inches

Best Crossword: The New York Times Monday Crossword Puzzle Omnibus

The New York Times Monday Crossword Puzzle Omnibus
Pros
  • Great for kids and beginners 

  • Quality source

Cons
  • Only one difficulty level

The New York Times is known for its Sunday crosswords, but this puzzle book proves that Mondays can be just as fun. Filled with 200 Monday Times crosswords, this book includes fun challenges that aren't too difficult.

Edited by Will Shortz, the crossword editor of The New York Times, this puzzle book is appropriate for wordsmiths of all ages. Plus, if you finish this book, there are additional New York Times crossword books that follow.  

Difficulty level: Easy | Number of puzzles: 200 | Style: Crossword | Size: 8.47 x 10.92 inches

Best Logic: Tricky Logic Puzzles for Adults: 130+ Difficult Puzzles to Challenge Your Brain

Tricky Logic Puzzles for Adults
Pros
  • Variety of styles

  • Designed to be challenging for advanced players

Cons
  • Not beginner-friendly

This puzzle is intended for adults looking to expand their critical thinking prowess. Filled with 130 puzzles curated specifically to challenge your mental muscles, the book is designed to push your critical thinking skills to the max.

There are a variety of puzzle styles featured—Sudoku, Masyu, logic, grids, nonograms, and more—all of which are simple to understand but difficult to complete. Thanks to the diversity of styles, it keeps you on your toes so boredom won't become an issue.

Difficulty level: Hard | Number of puzzles: 130 | Style: Variety | Size: 6 x 8.9 inches

Best Math: 120+ Variety Puzzle Book for Adults

120+ Puzzle Books for Adults
Pros
  • Large print

  • Variety of puzzles

Cons
  • No advanced-level puzzles

Created with the intent of sharpening adults' minds, this variety puzzle book boosts memory, creative thinking, reasoning, and problem-solving. It includes 125 large-print puzzles, all containing a mathematical element such as number blocks or BODMAS equations.

These simple math refreshers are great for adults and seniors who want a classroom-like mental workout on their own terms, with puzzles beginning at an easy level and progressing to medium difficulty. Featuring large-print throughout, this book is easy for all ages to see.

Difficulty level: Easy to medium | Number of puzzles: 125 | Style: Math | Size: 8 x 10 inches 

Best Word Search: Funster 500+ Word Search Puzzles for Adults

Funster 500+ Word Search Puzzles for Adults
Pros
  • Wide margins

  • Free online bonus puzzles  

Cons
  • No set difficulty level

This award-winning word search book has over 500 puzzles to help you stay entertained for hours. Each puzzle varies in difficulty level and has a theme assigned to it, making it even more fun and memorable as you work your way through the book.

Aside from a creative angle, each puzzle includes at least 45 words to keep you entertained for hours. Thanks to the wide margins, you can easily tear out a page (each page contains two puzzles) and stow it in a purse or backpack for emergency entertainment. Additionally, the book provides access to free online bonus puzzles.

Difficulty level: Varies | Number of puzzles: 500+ | Style: Word search | Size: 8.5 x 11 inches 

Best Sudoku: Oh My Sudoku! Over 1000 Easy to Hard Sudoku Puzzles: Sudoku Puzzles for Adults

Oh My Sudoku!
Pros
  • Wide margins

  • Variety of difficulty levels 

Cons
  • Font sizes may be too small for some

For adults who are looking to advance their critical thinking skills with a classic Sudoku puzzle, this book is a great choice. It has over 1,000 puzzles that range from easy to hard, allowing individuals to advance their skills throughout the book.

Designed with wide margins, the book lets you easily tear out a page and take it with you for hassle-free on-the-go entertainment. A free downloadable Sudoku mastery guide is also available with the purchase of the book.

Difficulty level: Easy to hard | Number of puzzles: 1,056 | Style: Sudoku | Size: 8.5 x 11 inches

Best Variety Book: 399 Games, Puzzles & Trivia Challenges Specially Designed to Keep Your Brain Young

399 Games, Puzzles & Trivia Challenges
Pros
  • Touches on six cognitive functions

  • Variety of puzzles

Cons
  • Thinner margins

This puzzle variety book—containing 399 puzzles that range from trivia to word games—will take your mental workout to the next level. The versatile puzzles vary in difficulty and are designed and curated with six cognitive functions in mind: long-term memory, working memory, executive functioning, attention to detail, multitasking, and processing speed.

This format ensures that adults moving through the book can work multiple brain functions simply by completing the puzzles. Great for anyone over six years of age, the 420-page book enhances cognitive functions for a healthy mind.

Difficulty level: Varies | Number of puzzles: 399 | Style: Variety | Size: 7.25 x 9.19 inches

Best for Cryptograms: On This Day: 365 Fascinating Facts About Each Day of the Year Hidden in Cryptograms

On This Day: 365 Fascinating Facts About Each Day of the Year Hidden in Cryptograms
Pros
  • Includes solution page

  • Hints available  

Cons
  • No easy-level puzzles

Cryptograms are puzzles that consist of a short piece of encrypted text—requiring a cipher to solve the message. This book provides 365 days of cryptograms, and each one contains an interesting fact, which allows you to solve puzzles and learn new information at the same time.

Typed in an easy-to-read, 16-point print, the book's fun facts range from strange laws to origin stories. If you get stuck, each cryptogram contains five hints to help you solve the problem, making it a good choice for puzzle-lovers of all levels.

Difficulty level: Medium to hard | Number of puzzles: 365 | Style: Cryptograms | Size: 8 x 10 inches

Best Mystery: Murder Most Puzzling: 20 Mysterious Cases to Solve

Murder Most Puzzling
Pros
  • Engaging plot lines

  • Variety of difficulty levels 

  • Will make you laugh

Cons
  • Fewer puzzles than other books 

Packed with 20 murder mystery puzzles, this book is for adults who love nothing more than to embark on a mysterious quest. Each puzzle contains a witty plot line, along with characters and descriptions to make the quest feel real.

The reader is cast as a faithful sidekick to an amateur murder investigator, and from there, works through a variety of dark, humorous puzzles. A great choice for adults, this one might be too mature for children.

Difficulty level: Easy to hard | Number of puzzles: 20 | Style: Mystery | Size: 8.5 x 11 inches

Best for Seniors: 100 Large-Print Crossword Puzzles: Easy Puzzles to Entertain Your Brain

100 Large-Print Crossword Puzzles: Easy Puzzles to Entertain Your Brain
Pros
  • Large print

  • Hints available  

  • Good for all ages

Cons
  • Fewer puzzles than other books 

  • Only one difficulty level

Sharpening the brain is a good practice for children, adults, and seniors alike. Filled with 100 large-print crossword puzzles, this book makes practical memory upkeep a simple (and fun) task.

Each puzzle is accompanied by clues to help the problem-solver move through the book with ease. The large print also makes it an optimal choice for individuals struggling to see smaller prints. While it's great for those wishing to polish their brain muscles, it might not be challenging enough for veteran crossword puzzle solvers.

Difficulty level: Easy | Number of puzzles: 100 | Style: Crossword | Size: 8.5 x 9 inches

Final Verdict

“The Master Theorem Book of Puzzles” (view at Amazon) takes individuals out of a traditional puzzle book mindset, capitalizing on the entertainment and fun that puzzles can provide. Its beautifully designed pages and modern approach make it irresistible to puzzle-lovers and skeptics alike.

For people wanting a more classic puzzle, “399 Games, Puzzles, & Trivia Challenges Specifically Designed to Keep Your Brain Young” (view at Amazon) has a variety of puzzles, ranging in both style and difficulty level, that focus on polishing your cognitive function.

What to Look for in a Puzzle Book for Adults

Difficulty Level

Every puzzle book should be clearly marked with a difficulty level—many may increase in difficulty as you progress through the book. Choosing a puzzle that matches your skillset will ensure you are challenged without hitting a wall of frustration

Number of Puzzles

In order to get the best bang for your buck, choose a book that has enough puzzles to keep you busy for weeks to come. The crossword in the Sunday paper is great, but it might not be enough to last the duration of a flight. Find a book with plenty of puzzles so you won’t have to buy another one tomorrow. 

Style

Buying a puzzle book is not one size fits all, since there are a wide variety of puzzle styles on the market. Choose a style that’s appealing to you, whether it’s word problems or math equations. 

Size

If you want an on-the-go option, you’ll need a puzzle book that can easily fit into your purse or backpack. 

Why Trust Verywell Mind

Long-time wellness enthusiast and current health editor, Lily Moe understands the importance of tools that are designed to help you reach your wellness goals, both mental and physical. Most importantly, Lily always looks for research and first-hand reviews when it comes to deciding on a product. 

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2 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. National Institute of Aging. Memory, Forgetfulness, and Aging: What's Normal and What's Not? Updated October 21, 2020.

  2. American Psychological Association. "Mind games."