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Colorful Circles

Brain Teaser: Going in Circles

Allie Johnson

Maybe you use the phrase “going in circles” to describe how you feel when you can’t find your keys or you’re juggling too many tasks at once. But this puzzle will have you going in circles to focus and sharpen your mind.

Word games like this can help you exercise the main parts of the brain that handle language and speech tasks. These areas are also commonly affected by dementia and help you to:

  • Articulate concepts
  • Process written and spoken language
  • Link words with ideas

But that’s not all: when you play word games like this one, you’re actually exercising your entire brain. That’s right: scientists have found that your brain essentially contains a giant “dictionary” with pockets of words that are stored in different areas. In fact, distinct parts of the brain “light up” depending on which word you’re thinking about or using at the moment.

Scientists have even been able to create an “atlas” that shows where different words are stored across the brain. So, while you’re working on this brain teaser, you never know which parts of your brain may get involved. (That depends on which words you find here.)

In this brain teaser, you’ll have to think about two different letters you’d insert into each circle to create two different eight-letter words. It’s challenging because you have to figure out whether the word goes clockwise or counterclockwise — it could be either way.

Going in Circles Brain Teaser

Did you try the “Going in Circles” word game? If so, please comment to share what words you came up with and how challenging (or easy) this game was for you. Extra points if you can find out where these two words are stored in the brain.

Do you find word games help to keep your brain sharp? If so, we’d love to know what other kinds of word games you play regularly.

Going in Circles Brain Teaser Answer
108 Responses to "Brain Teaser: Going in Circles"
    • Duane Connett | January 27, 2022 at 3:18 pm

      A little too easy. I solved them both in 3 minutes. But fun anyway. I’d keep playing.

      • Extra Mile Staff | January 28, 2022 at 8:13 am

        Duane – Nice job! See if any of our other brain teasers give you more of a challenge – you can find them here.

    • Linda Wiley | September 17, 2021 at 11:40 am

      I find these challenging but like doing them! Please keep them coming.

    • TheOldMan | August 17, 2021 at 10:02 am

      Failed test! Could not find any words that fit

    • Hazel J Gerber | July 31, 2021 at 10:06 am

      I couldn’t immediate get these and soon lost patience. But I love Sudoku and can spend hours working the puzzles. Does that make me a numbers person? Interesting!

    • RJ Isham | July 29, 2021 at 8:41 pm

      I came up with magazine and campaign also. Only, for no apparent reason I started with the circle on the right first. Also, It seemed easier to find the one with the missing vowels. And, I got a little nauseated looking in right circles and switching to left going circles a couple of times on, the word magazine.

    • HRIDAY | July 29, 2021 at 11:22 am


    • Robert | July 29, 2021 at 9:01 am

      Don’t see how people got cinemas out of it, but oh well lol. I got magazine and campaign quickly. Just lucky I guess lol.

    • Lila Khourey | July 29, 2021 at 12:13 am

      The words are Magazine & Campaign . The only problem is You don’t tell us how to insert the correct letters and everything I tried failed. Some instructions would have been helpful

    • VParker | July 26, 2021 at 6:03 pm

      I didn’t get the first word, but I did get campaign immediately. Thanks for the brain teaser!

    • Fredya | July 26, 2021 at 4:47 pm

      I solved campaign within a minute and did the other as maragine

    • Joan Castaldo | July 26, 2021 at 12:57 pm

      I got both of the words after about 6-8 minutes. I do crossword puzzles every day. I also do computer generated word games. I find it enjoyable and necessary to keep my gray matter working. Very often when I see a word jumble, my brain starts forming words quickly. That pleases me.

    • Wanda | July 26, 2021 at 11:24 am

      Not too hard but I enjoy the stimulation from figuring things out. Frustrating if I can’t figure it out.

    • Tom Sweeney | July 26, 2021 at 10:03 am

      Got the words after re reading directions etc. fun puzzle
      Create more

    • Jeanne | July 26, 2021 at 10:00 am

      It was very easy, but also fun. I enjoy word games. Hope there will be more.

    • Marie Taylor | July 25, 2021 at 9:20 pm

      Easy but interesting

    • Brenda Parrish | July 25, 2021 at 8:50 pm

      I came up with the two words that are listed. Quite easy actually.

    • MARY A GARVIN | July 25, 2021 at 7:16 pm

      It really was fun to play.

    • Mary Horvath | July 25, 2021 at 7:15 pm

      The first word was harder than the second. I really enjoyed this though.

    • Steve Gust | July 25, 2021 at 4:56 pm

      Fun! Each challenge took me about one minute….the first one (magazine) a bit more.

    • Gerri Ehrmamtraut | July 25, 2021 at 4:19 pm

      I need more practice!

    • Gerri Ehrmamtraut | July 25, 2021 at 4:05 pm

      I was not good at this, how can I practice this for my brain 🧠 health?

    • Ladd McDonald | July 25, 2021 at 2:46 pm

      Surprising difficult for me. Seems my advancing age has taken more of a toll than I thought. Still, I enjoyed the challenge and will try more. Thanks.

    • JOHN | July 25, 2021 at 12:08 pm

      I got the first puzzle quickly, the second took a longer think, but arrived at it.

    • JOHN | July 25, 2021 at 12:05 pm

      The first puzzle came quickly the second one took more time to figure out, but it came to me.

    • L'Aura Ricks | July 25, 2021 at 9:52 am

      I enjoy the game Uncrossed Landscapes almost daily (free Google Play game). I’m on Level 987! I honestly don’t know if there IS an end. I’ve been surprised a few times trying to figure out words from the letters given. If you like word games, you’ll get addicted to this one ~ i don’t even play Scrabble now ’cause Uncrossed is so much fun.

    • Sylvia McElroy | July 24, 2021 at 11:10 pm

      1. Magazine
      2. Campaign

    • Darlyne jones | July 24, 2021 at 10:27 pm

      Both very simple; took under a minute to figure it out.

    • robby taine | July 24, 2021 at 10:01 pm

      It didn’t take me too long to solve them. I enjoy working with numbers and letters, so it was fun. Thank you.

    • Jarvis, Karen | July 24, 2021 at 7:53 pm

      This was too simple.

      I immediately saw the correct words.

      • L'Aura Ricks | July 25, 2021 at 8:54 pm

        Campaign i saw fairly soon but magazine took me about 4 minutes. Go figure.

    • Jarvis, Karen | July 24, 2021 at 7:52 pm

      This was easy.

      I immediately saw the correct words.

    • Jarvis, Karen | July 24, 2021 at 7:51 pm

      This was easy. I immediately saw the words.

    • GayleBang | July 24, 2021 at 7:42 pm

      These are good.

    • Susan Lovett | July 24, 2021 at 7:13 pm

      I got campaign immediately but did not get magazine.
      I regularly do the Jumble, cryptoquote, and fairly easy crosswords—all in ink

      Would love more similar puzzles.

    • Virginia Weston | July 24, 2021 at 6:28 pm

      It took a couple minutes, but I did get the answers before I scrolled down to actually see the two words.

    • Jerome Schur | July 24, 2021 at 6:14 pm

      I found this hard. I worked on it about 5 minutes and then scrolled down to see if there were more circles so I could try them. Then I saw the answers. I would like to see more of these.

    • Elizabeth Lauer | July 24, 2021 at 5:21 pm

      this is the first time that I have answered. Two words: magazine and campaign

    • Elizabeth Lauer | July 24, 2021 at 5:20 pm

      Two words: magazine and campaign

    • Frances Mabry | July 24, 2021 at 5:14 pm


    • Georgett Studnicka | July 24, 2021 at 4:52 pm

      I love word games and play four different games every day.

    • Vicki HS | July 24, 2021 at 3:54 pm

      I love word games and am usually quite good at them, especially Wordsearch. But this took me awhile. All those consonants together made it more tricky, thinking vowels were needed. Once I got the first one, the second came pretty quickly. Thank you!

    • Don O. Noel | July 24, 2021 at 3:09 pm

      I got them both fairly easily. At 89, I amuse myself almost daily by playing the three word puzzles in the online NYTimes (including the quickie mini crossword, not the long one)

    • beverly ferreira | July 24, 2021 at 3:06 pm

      love the brain teaser!

    • Bobbie North | July 24, 2021 at 2:52 pm

      It was difficult. I got the campaign and the maga but not the z. How was I supposed to know where the word was in my brain?

    • Bill | July 24, 2021 at 2:47 pm

      My game – I try to think of least four or five words that begin with each letter of the alphabet

    • Angela | July 24, 2021 at 2:22 pm

      Easy. I enjoy word puzzles. Where can I access more?

      • Extra Mile Staff | July 25, 2021 at 9:58 pm

        Angela – Thanks for reading. You can access more puzzles here.

    • Sharla S Stavis | July 24, 2021 at 1:23 pm

      This was easy for me because I do crosswords and play with Words with Friends. Still it was fun, thanks!

    • Stella P | July 24, 2021 at 1:19 pm


      Easy to find
      I Like word search games also

    • Stella P | July 24, 2021 at 1:18 pm


      Like word search games

    • John M. Moes | July 24, 2021 at 12:55 pm

      “campaign” immediate, “magazine” took one of my minutes. Today I’m 1864-1 (minutes till I’m 100)

      • Extra Mile Staff | July 25, 2021 at 8:32 pm

        John – Happy Birthday!

      • L'Aura Ricks | July 26, 2021 at 2:45 am

        John ~ Happy, awesome and fantastic 100th!

    • Joan Villa | July 24, 2021 at 12:47 pm

      Found the words quickly – enjoyed playing the games and would like more.

    • MARY ONEILL | July 24, 2021 at 12:40 pm

      Didn’t get magazine, but got campaign quickly

    • Mary Helen Wallace | July 24, 2021 at 12:25 pm

      “ine” and “ng” lead me fairly quickly to which letters would end each word, thereby directing me to the first letters and direction the words would go. I do a lot of various word puzzles every day so found this not too difficult. They are very good for the brain, I agree.

    • Shirlene C. Vevig | July 24, 2021 at 12:19 pm

      I got one of the words but I think that is ok since I have had a small stroke in that part of my brain

    • Don lavoie | July 24, 2021 at 12:18 pm

      You should have solved the first one as an example. Didn’t help much. Drat. Would like to play, BUT???

    • Margarita Siches | July 24, 2021 at 12:17 pm

      Well, I couldn’t do it because I did not read the instructions correctly at first but once I read them over it was obvious. I speak read and write four languages and English is only my third. That in itself is a good brain teaser for me switching back and forth from one to another– or so they say.

    • doc craddock | July 24, 2021 at 12:03 pm

      Enjoy the word games. Always work (and would recommend) the ‘pangram’ and the ‘mini-crossword’ in the NYT “The Morning” email.

    • Linda May | July 24, 2021 at 11:38 am

      Super easy. Took me less than 30 seconds.

    • Brenda Parrish | July 24, 2021 at 11:35 am

      As I age I try to learn new words for entertaining my brain. I have found that there are several crossword puzzles that I enjoy doing as well as keeping my mind sharp!

    • Teresa Malloy | July 24, 2021 at 11:29 am

      I came up with american and campaign immediately. I enjoy crossword puzzles, jumble et al.

    • Jessie | July 24, 2021 at 11:22 am

      Magazine. Campaign.
      It seemed more like one of those SAT logic tests than recall of a word from the brain. I guess if you used words that aren’t often used, it would have been more difficult.

    • D Barnes | July 24, 2021 at 11:14 am

      It’s a great idea…… and fun. I will TRUST my information will not be distributed elsewhere!
      I like learning about our brains, always have.

    • Marsha davis | July 24, 2021 at 11:07 am

      Enjoyed brain teasers. Thank you.

    • Joseph Stewart | July 24, 2021 at 11:02 am

      Fun puzzle. Solved in just a few minutes. Thanks.

    • maryanne | July 24, 2021 at 10:54 am

      That was fun, thank you!

    • Shirley | July 24, 2021 at 10:40 am

      Like circle word game. Not too hard. Also liked state shapes but can’t find to play again. Could not get state capitals game to play.

      • Extra Mile Staff | July 25, 2021 at 9:56 pm

        Shirley – Here’s the 50 States Shapes Quiz. The Capitals Quiz should be working, but if you’re having trouble, make sure you’re using Chrome. Our interactive quizzes don’t always work in Internet Explorer.

    • Nancy | July 24, 2021 at 10:24 am

      I love word games, especially anagrams. Please have more if these games and thanks.

    • C Wilbur Underwood | July 24, 2021 at 10:22 am

      I need this.

    • Tanya Kelsey | July 24, 2021 at 10:14 am

      I’ll try it

    • Bern | July 24, 2021 at 10:11 am

      Took me awhile—about 5 mins, but got them both. Fun challenge. I enjoy the NYT anagrams and mini puzzle daily.

    • Lindmuth Fuller | July 24, 2021 at 10:08 am

      1. MAGAZINE
      2. CAMPAIGN

      #1 took me quite a while, whereas #2 I got right away
      I do cryptograms and that might help?

    • Amie M Francis | July 24, 2021 at 10:02 am

      I love word games, share some more with us!

      • Extra Mile Staff | July 25, 2021 at 9:39 pm

        Annie – Thanks for reading! We’re glad you enjoyed Going in Circles. Here’s a link to more brain teaser games.

    • Ellen Heim | July 24, 2021 at 9:59 am

      I’d like to try Going in Circles but can’t find how / where to download it.
      I play Words with Friends 2 & Scrabble.

      • Extra Mile Staff | July 25, 2021 at 9:38 pm

        Ellen – No download needed. Most of our brain teasers are not interactive, but just to get you thinking. Sometimes you might want paper and a pencil, but most of them you just thinking about what letters/numbers to add.

    • Daniel D Munguia | July 24, 2021 at 9:53 am

      Not easy for me never was never good with putting words together.

      • Shirley | July 26, 2021 at 2:59 pm

        Daniel, Word games are easy for me, but there are lots of things I am not good at doing. Fun to try a new challenge.

    • Jan | July 24, 2021 at 9:48 am

      I liked it! It took me about 1 minute to solve. I do a lot of crossword puzzles and play Words with friends everyday for years. Also a huge fan of UpWords and Scrabble. More please!

    • Marjory Mack | July 24, 2021 at 9:34 am

      margarine campaign

    • Akhmckee | July 22, 2021 at 2:14 pm

      Took me about 1 minute.

      • Shirley | July 24, 2021 at 11:33 am

        Cinemas works but one letter left over. C N G is key to 2nd word. Need to break up those three.

    • Charlotte Massey | July 22, 2021 at 2:11 pm

      Couldn’t get into the spaces to complete the words.

      • Extra Mile Staff | July 22, 2021 at 2:13 pm

        Charlotte – Thanks for reading. This isn’t an interactive game so you can’t complete the words on the screen.

      • Jessie | July 24, 2021 at 11:34 am

        I loved your response, because I often do exactly what the instructions say to do too!

      • Extra Mile Staff | July 25, 2021 at 8:35 pm

        We made a slight update to the instructions that will hopefully help. Thanks for reading!

    • Valerie Muroki | July 22, 2021 at 1:58 pm

      Campaign was quick n easy. To get magazine, I had to decide how the word might end and figured on -ine. Then the rest fell into place.

      • Vera | July 24, 2021 at 7:43 pm

        Me too!

    • Jane Orto | July 22, 2021 at 12:17 pm

      I found both words (magazine and campaign) easily. I have been doing New York Times crossword puzzles for over 20 years and love the challenges of both crosswords and anagram puzzles. Keep the challenges coming!

    • Ann Engel | July 22, 2021 at 10:07 am

      I got cinemas and campaign, my brain must be wired differently 😉

      • Kimpia | July 24, 2021 at 9:15 am

        cinemas, campaign

      • Charles Petzold | July 24, 2021 at 10:55 am

        Your wiring may be a little off. It’s not cinemas. It’s …… worth checking, I’m sure I read it correctly, if you get my meaning. 😁

      • Jessie | July 24, 2021 at 11:25 am

        But cinemas is only 7 letters…

      • RJ Isham | July 29, 2021 at 8:49 pm

        I don’t think you’re allowed to leave a letter off at the end of the word to make it work. There would have to be an “a” at the end of cinemasa. 🙂

    • Mary Ellen Dawson | July 22, 2021 at 9:27 am

      I don’t know why but I saw the complete words almost instantly. I do enjoy the games included in your emails. Thank you.

    • Alexander Daughtridge | June 11, 2021 at 9:07 am

      Thank you for sharing indeed great looking !

      • Nancy | July 27, 2021 at 12:55 am

        Got both words very quickly. Enjoyed it and would like more of these. I play word games on my phone (Word Collect).

    • Sharon | May 22, 2021 at 6:32 pm

      was a bit difficult until I seriously looked at it and thought about it. But my answers were correct. Yea ha, enjoyed testing my brain.

    • Sharyn | May 21, 2021 at 2:58 pm

      Ok … I thought this would be easy but it’s not! Obviously I’m more of a numbers person so I need to do more of these.

    • Fran Borg | May 21, 2021 at 11:26 am

      Enjoyed this – was a good teaser, knowing your vowels helps a lot!!

    • Carol Quinet | May 20, 2021 at 9:58 am

      It was fun like the first one and I did solve them. I would love more puzzles

      • Extra Mile Staff | May 20, 2021 at 3:08 pm

        Carol – So glad you enjoyed the puzzle. Here’s our brain teaser page where you can find more!

    • Missee | May 10, 2021 at 10:26 am

      I found this extremely easy.

      Both words werefoind within 1 minute.

      Anything that stimulates the brain is appreciated.

      • Joan Weatherholtz | July 31, 2021 at 12:48 pm

        Miss spelled word and words ran together 😸. Were /no space and found is the correct spelling.

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