For this next entry in the Kubiya Blog universe, we’ll talk a bit more about what it means to write about puzzles: different styles, voices, techniques used by the professionals, etc. We’ll also highlight some of our favorite blog writers, and why we think they're worthy of your attention. Great pieces of writing are usually born from passion, strong will, and the urge to spill the ideas in your brain onto paper. The writers from our list below are not only passionate, but intelligent and articulate. Puzzles are baffling enough when they are right in front of you, in your hands, but it's a completely different ballgame for a puzzle blogger. Faced with the task of keeping their readers intrigued as if they were solving or examining the mechanical puzzles themselves, we believe these folks get the job done. So, if you've exhausted your options with the Kubiya Collection and still feel like exploring, take a look below. The authors we've selected write about extraordinarily unique and rare puzzle designs; some are so rare they’re only held by the most serious, hardcore collectors. Take a look!
The Metagrobologist (www.themetagrobologist.co.uk)
Metagrobology is not only a fun word to say, but in fact refers to the study of puzzles; therefore, a Metagrobologist refers to an expert in this field. It’s no surprise, then, that mechanical puzzles are the main focus of this popular blog. TheMetagrobologist features a myriad of puzzle recommendations, reviews of puzzles, and sometimes they’ll devote an article to just talking about how much they love puzzles. The writers here believe firmly in the enjoyment and aesthetic beauty of puzzling in particular. They have an old school vibe about them, and like to harken back to a time before technology, when puzzles and games were virtually all people had! In one post about what makes a good puzzle, they say “puzzles to us, are not just a one-time activity, they are items and experiences that can be played over and over again. Puzzles are among the simplest and most enjoyable of pastimes.” Readers of this blog can expect hearty, diverse, intellectual, and classic posts with a lot of content to sink your teeth into.
Rob's Puzzle Page (www.robspuzzlepage.com)
Rob's Puzzle Page, in his own words, is a “virtual museum showcasing my collection of mechanical puzzles.” Right at the top of the home page is a beautiful collage of interesting looking gadgets. This website informs on the topic of mechanical puzzles and it seems that Rob loves to share his discoveries with other puzzle fiends like himself. There is a unique, low-tech, under-produced vibe in the formatting that works well with Rob’s own voice and style. The way the articles, pictures, and explanations are displayed is stripped down and less polished. It’s exactly the type of no-nonsense, informative collection that you would expect from a STEM-oriented field. Although we include this website in our list of bloggers, Rob describes the collection as more like his “puzzle book.” He includes historical research, pointers to designers, and even help with problem-solving strategies. What makes this blog most unique is the sheer volume and diversity of the imagery compared with the writing content. It’s a great choice for readers who connect more with a genuine, down to earth writing voice. He may be discussing complicated topics, but he never makes you feel stupid while explaining, and thatis a feat.
Boxes and Booze (www.boxesandbooze.com)
We had to include this next puzzle blog because the gimmick behind the writing is unexpected, original, and a little goofy! This Texas author combines fine craft cocktails with finely crafted puzzles; basically, a puzzle box is paired with a cocktail and each is described in some detail. Why is this fascinating and worth your time? B&B explains that “a puzzle box is a metaphor for life itself, and for all of our searches for meaning and solutions. Each one is unique, beautiful, and different, each with a story to tell. Cocktails, meanwhile, can tell us where we’ve been, and maybe where we are going. They are how we mark life’s journeys when we raise our glass. So, here’s to boxes and booze, a celebration of ourselves.” He’s serving you philosophy, wit, wordplay, and alcohol! There's nothing puzzling about a good cocktail, but a good puzzle might just make you need one. We at Kubiya have to agree that liquor pairs very nicely with a great mechanical puzzle. In fact….Kubiya has its own boozy puzzles available here (4 moves to free the wine bottle, how hard can it be?). Boxes and Booze would surely approve. We recommend this blog, of course, for any puzzlers who also appreciate the nuances of a fancy cocktail.
The first thing you need to know about this blog is the tagline: “A mechanical puzzle blog from a grown man who should know better!!” We’re already laughing, and intrigued by what this bloke might have to say on the topic of mechanical puzzles. Kevin Sadler is another UK blogger (TheMetagrobologist is from the UK), who started puzzling in 2010 as a means to destress after a grueling day of work. The blog is mainly aimed at charting his voyage through the world of mechanical puzzles, and it’s fun to follow along with someone so enthusiastic and authentically captivated by the topic. This blog is great for people who love to get a glimpse into somebody’s life. Kevin intersperses stories of his wife and kids among his puzzle solving journeys, and at times it feels like a social media feed because of the way the posts are collected in a long, scrolling page of words and pictures. There are many, many details that are not related, but the main focus is always mechanical puzzles. Sadler is highly recommended for a more personal, less rigorous look into the world of puzzle-solving.
Puzzle Palace (ipp30.blogspot.com)
This blog writer also began her journey in 2010, maybe there was something in the water that year? Either way, we’re glad she started the quest! Roxanne is from Boca Raton, FL and since 2017 her collection has almost doubled and she is now joined by her husband and puzzle prototype, George. In this blog, be prepared for many other extraneous details about Roxanne and George’s everyday life. Again, the main focus is puzzles, but this blog is similar to PuzzleMad in the way that it reads as more of a social media feed rather than being strictly informative. There’s a genuine, down to earth feel in the writing and everything is explained in simple, easy to understand terms. The most unique aspect of this blog is the “stream of consciousness” style of writing that The Puzzle Palace uses. Roxanne truly spills her brain on the page; we hear her worries, her mistakes, her successes, questions, etc. She gives weekly and daily updates on regular aspects of her life that make you feel like a part of the family.
By now we’ve described blog writers that are strictly business, bloggers who blur the lines of personal and professional, and bloggers who are literally drunk on puzzling! There’s no correct way to write a blog, but all of these writers share a true love of mechanical puzzles, and they let that shine through in their writing. There’s a wonderful, densely rich community of people in the world who collect, love, write about, and solve puzzles. Some collectors of the rarest puzzles will even meet once a year at a puzzle convention to swap ideas, show off new designs, and compete. Stay tuned, because this semi-related tangent actually leads into a future post about the top-secret IPP - International Puzzle Party. Yes, it IS a real thing!
Cheers, peace, and happy puzzling – we hope you feel inspired to write about the things in life that bring you joy, puzzle related or not.