Did you know you can build your brain just like a skilled carpenter crafting a piece of furniture with hardwood and dovetailed drawers? You just need to use the right tools to strengthen your memory.

You might be tempted to write off little memory lapses — from misplacing your phone to calling a friend by the wrong name to forgetting to add oat milk to the grocery list — as a normal part of aging. It’s true that research shows memory may start to falter much earlier than you’d imagine — before age 40 for about 20 percent of adults.

But it’s also been found that lifestyle factors can contribute to memory issues and may help resolve them. In fact, creating a daily routine of simple healthy habits that include word games like this “Dovetail Words” brain teaser may help you reverse forgetful tendencies and sharpen your memory.

For example, the two-week brain program outlined in the book “2 Weeks to a Younger Brain: An Innovative Program for a Better Memory and a Sharper Mind” by Gary Small, M.D. and Gigi Vorgan, involves a regimen of:

  • Physical exercise — getting at least 15 minutes of daily brisk walking and strength training.
  • Healthy meals — eating fish, nuts, flax seeds, fruits and vegetables and avoiding refined flours, sugars and other processed foods.
  • Memory training — practicing memory techniques like concentration and doing brain teasers, puzzles and games.
  • Relaxation routines — practicing meditation, tai chi and other stress-relieving techniques.
  • Other healthy behaviors — treating chronic conditions like high blood pressure and cholesterol, quitting smoking and protecting your head from trauma.

Research shows this simple program can have an effect on cognition, helping your brain to work more efficiently, as shown on brain scans. Of course, you’ll need to continue these healthy habits for life in order to keep up your memory gains.

If you want to improve your memory, you can start by adding brain games to your daily routine. Strive for a mix of word games, like this “Dovetail Words” brain teaser, and spatial games to exercise all the parts of your brain.

“In right-handed people, the brain’s left side usually controls language and reasoning skills. Word games help build this left hemisphere, while mazes and jigsaw puzzles can bolster the right hemisphere, which controls visual skills and orientation,” Dr. Small writes in an article on boosting your brainpower in The Guardian.

So, why not start today with this word game? If you’ve ever looked at a finely crafted dresser or table, you may have noticed how seamlessly a dovetail joint fits together. The words in this brain teaser interlock just as perfectly. And it’s up to you to untangle them to get the answers.

To complete this puzzle, look at the sets of “dovetailed words.” Each group of letters contains two related words that have been intermingled. To solve the puzzle, separate out the two words in each set of letters.

Dovetailed Words Puzzle

Did you take a swing at solving the “Dovetailed Words” brain teaser? Click here to check your answers against the key.

Leave a comment to let us know how you did on this puzzle and whether you’re ready to start a program of daily habits that includes brain teasers to improve your memory. What’s your plan to continue to boost your brain health from now on?