Are you a fan of locked-room mysteries, red herrings and whodunnits? As an armchair detective, you’ve probably picked up some clues about the craft by working alongside great fictional detectives like Columbo, Sam Spade and Miss Jane Marple.

Solving mysteries is a good skill to have, even if you use it only to answer everyday riddles like where you put your keys or finding the answer to 29 across in today’s crossword puzzle. But to get really good at solving mysteries, you’ll need to boost your brain power.

Good ways to up your mystery-solving game include:

  • Doing puzzles. Having fun with puzzles, like our “What’s Your Number?” brain teaser, is a great way to sharpen your mind and practice looking for clues and making connections that lead you to answers. Puzzles may also improve your concentration, short-term memory and problem-solving ability.
  • Focusing on the task at hand. Solving a mystery requires deep concentration. That means carving out time, away from distractions, to focus on the conundrum in front of you. Instead of multitasking, try unitasking to pump up your brain power.
  • Taking notes. Jotting down ideas can help you gather your thoughts and sharpen your observational skills. Some of the toughest mysteries (in fiction and in real life) have been solved by a keen-eyed detective noticing a key detail that escaped everyone else.
  • Boosting your memory. Ways to keep your memory sharp include getting regular exercise, eating brain-friendly foods like leafy greens, and challenging your mind with activities such as traveling, learning new languages and playing games.
  • Getting creative. Using your imagination can help you get out of a mental rut and into a space where you can dream up creative solutions to the mystery or puzzle at hand.

Want to sharpen your mind and your mystery-solving skills? Start with our “What’s Your Number?” brain teaser. This math and logic puzzle requires you to take a close look at two columns of numbers. In the first two rows, the numbers in both boxes are filled in to give you a hint on how to crack the code.

In the second two rows, only the first box is filled in, while the second box contains a question mark. You’ll use the numbers given to figure out the relationship between the numbers in the first boxes and those in the second boxes. Once you have your lightbulb moment, you’ll be able to come up with the missing numbers.

number puzzle

Were you able to solve it? Click here to double check your answer.

Did you use your detective skills to solve this puzzle? Leave a comment and let us know what you thought of this brain teaser. Then tell us about your favorite ways to hone your skill at cracking tough cases.

Want more brain teasers? Try Dovetailed Words and Bull’s-Eye Letter.