The Metagrobologist is a beautiful, beautiful site about mechanical puzzles and those who love them. The star attraction is the magazine, an online .pdf to download full of interviews with mechanical puzzle designers and collectors. The first issue was released in three parts over the course of 2014; the second issue has had its first part released a couple of weeks or so ago and the remainder will roll out over the course of the year. Many of the interviews are also featured on the web site.
The puzzles themselves look gorgeous, far more often than not, and magazine editor Dave Holt has the same tremendous sense of aesthetic taste, which is reflected in the site and magazine’s design. The lighting on the photography consistently shows the items off to their full effect; so many of the design elements on the layout of the site clearly have a great deal of love lavished on them. The standard of craftsmanship of the site matches up with that of the site’s subject matter.
From the outside, the world of mechanical puzzles can seem to be a little difficult to get into at a deeper-than-Rubik’s-cube level; some of the pieces can cost a few tens, others several hundreds. (Yet, as seems to be the case with so many aspects of the puzzle world, it seems likely that people are paying themselves very scant wages for the considerable time and effort they put in, even putting aside the expertise in artifice that they have developed as well as their plain ingenuity.) When serious collectors own many hundreds, or thousands, of puzzles, it’s clear that it’s possible to delve extremely deeply into the hobby, especially if you are well-heeled. As with many other puzzle hobbies, there is great intrigue and joy to be had, no matter what level of depth you find yourself comfortable with.
The London Puzzle Party meets monthly on the second Tuesday of each month, which would surely be a very accessible way to learn more about the mechanical puzzle hobby. Of course, the London legs of Puzzled Pint also meet – as does every other Puzzled Pint around the world – on the second Tuesday of each month. What are the chances of the collision? It’s tempting to guess at “about 1 in 30”, considering the usual ratio of months to days, but this site hypothesises that regular monthly events are not going to be uniformly distributed about the month, with a tendency towards midweek days, and “about 1 in 20” might feel more plausible. If you like one, you’d probably like the other, though you probably know in advance which one suits you better. Nevertheless, both are well worth a go!
Talking of events well worth a go, there are only six of the original 25 tickets remaining for the DASH 7 puzzle hunt in London and 15 US cities, less than seven weeks away. As both of the monthly events mentioned above will be happening this week, people will be meeting this week, likely discussing DASH and registering. Those six are likely to go very soon!