11 Gifts for the Puzzle Fanatic

iStock
iStock

A dedicated puzzle fanatic isn’t satisfied by solving a simple problem. They need cryptic crosswords, tangled mazes, and abstract jigsaw puzzles to feel excited. Here are 11 gift ideas to stimulate the mind of the puzzle lover in your life.

1. POP ART PUZZLE; $20

Box containing a jigsaw puzzle.
W&P Design

This holiday, buy your loved one a colorful work of art they can assemble themselves. The original image in this puzzle channels the pop art style forged in the 1950s by such artists as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. At 500 pieces it’s no beginner's board, but the 18-by-18-inch layout makes it the perfect size for a small apartment.

Find It: W&P Design

2. DARWIN’S DINOSAUR EGG PUZZLE; $15

Wooden 3D puzzle.
Uncommon Goods

Each puzzle in the “Great Minds” series from Uncommon Goods is inspired by a different famous thinker from history. This 3D brain-teaser takes its name from the revolutionary naturalist Charles Darwin. To solve it, players must join each of the nine pieces to form the right shape. They’re done when they see the wooden “dinosaur egg” sitting in front of them.

Find It: Uncommon Goods

3. INFINITE GALAXY PUZZLE; $120

Galaxy jigsaw puzzle.
Nervous System

Most puzzle lovers have a logical and a creative side—this puzzle appeals to the latter. The photo, which depicts the Milky Way’s galactic core, wraps around the board in a way that’s impossible to view all at once. After laying down all 139 double-sided pieces, players can flip them to reshape and rearrange the image into a whole new configuration.

Find It: Nervous System

4. GREAT CIVILIZATIONS BRAIN TEASER SET; $20

3D puzzle games made of metal and wood.
Uncommon Goods

Each of the puzzles in this set of five is inspired by the inventions and achievements of a different civilization: Chinese tea, the Greek water mill, Egyptian pi, Roman keys, and the Aztec passion flower. The wood and metal structures make for chic design pieces, and the stories behind them make for the beginnings of great conversation.

Find It: Uncommon Goods

5. WOODEN FRACTAL PUZZLE; $60

Geometric jigsaw puzzle.
Uncommon Goods

There’s no painting or photograph at the end of this puzzle: just a trippy geometric design. The aniline toner-finished pieces of this jigsaw puzzle link together to form a sprawling fractal field. With no colors to guide the journey, even the most seasoned puzzle solver will find this challenging. The plywood fractal puzzle comes in two versions: one with wavy lines and one with sharp angles.

Find It: Uncommon Goods

6. NAT GEO “MY TOWN” CUSTOM AERIAL MAP PUZZLE; $50

Puzzle of town from above.
Nat Geo

How well does the puzzle lover in your life know their home town? This puzzle lets them get to know it even better without leaving their coffee table. The picture shows an aerial view of the surrounding mile or so of their neighborhood, with their home address as the centerpoint. Assembling the 400-piece puzzle might take just as long as touring the streets on foot.

Find It: National Geographic Store

7. NEW YORK TIMES FRONT PAGE PUZZLE; $50

Puzzle of newspaper front page.
Uncommon Goods

Mark the holiday by recognizing another special day in your loved one’s life. This puzzle can be customized to show the front page of any New York Times issue published since 1851. You can enter their birthday, an anniversary, or maybe the last time their favorite sports team won a big game. After they receive the memento, it’s their job to put all 500 pieces together.

Find It: Uncommon Goods

8. ARISTOTLE’S NUMBER PUZZLE; $14

Wooden number puzzle.
Uncommon Goods

An homage to one of the great philosophers of ancient Greece, this puzzle requires a knack for math. Line up the numbered tiles so that each row adds up to the same amount. It may not be as visually detailed as a jigsaw puzzle, but with wood that’s been finished to look aged, it’s just as striking on a desk or coffee table.

Find It: Uncommon Goods

9. CROSSWORD PUZZLE REPRINT; $150

Framed New York Times crossword puzzle.
The New York Times

This one’s for the friend who doesn’t let a Sunday pass without finishing the New York Times crossword puzzle. Choose the crossword puzzle from any issue dating back to 1951 and The New York Times will print it on a 6.75-by-10.25-inch sheet of photographic paper and mount it behind a black wood frame. Beneath the puzzle is the authentic signature of Will Shortz, the newspaper’s own master puzzle-writer. The purchase comes with a copy of the crossword plus the answers, so the person you’re gifting it to doesn’t have to see the puzzle go unsolved.

Find It: New York Times Store

10. 1000 COLORS PUZZLE; $48

Box of a jigsaw puzzle.
ThinkGeek

This lovely set is bound to be the crown jewel in any puzzle lover’s collection. Designed by Paris-based artist Clemens Habicht, the puzzle comprises 1000 different pieces, each one representing a distinct hue. Rather than referring to the picture on the box, solvers must match the pieces based on intuition, an activity Habicht describes as being “therapeutic.”

Find It: Uncommon Goods

11. A-MAZE-BALL MAZE GAME; $8

Spherical puzzle games.
ThinkGeek

Some puzzles require weeks and an extra-long table to finish; others are perfect for those moments when you’re waiting at a bus stop or the doctor’s office. This spherical toy can fit inside a pocket to be played on the go. Rotate the orb to guide the ball bearing from one side to the other. The colors correspond to the difficulty of the maze: Red is easy, orange is medium, and blue is hard.

Find It: ThinkGeek

12 Items Every Taco Lover Needs

Amazon
Amazon

October 4 is National Taco Day. Let’s tacobout some products you can buy to show your love for this most excellent of foods every day of the year.

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1. TRICERATACO HOLDER; $22

Two dinosaur shaped taco holders with tacos in them.
Amazon

Yes, you could buy some more standard stainless steel taco holders, but why not get these punny and whimsical stands instead? They’re made of BPA-free plastic and are dishwasher safe. If carnivorous dinos are more your speed, try the TACOsaurus Rex.

Find it: Amazon

2. SHORT SLEEVE TACO SHIRT; $16 - $25

Subtly show your taco appreciation with this button up shirt, which is equipped with a tiny taco print and is made of 100 percent cotton. (They recommend buying a size up from your usual size.)

Find it: Amazon

3. TACO WAIST PACK; $11

A fanny pack with tacos on it.
Amazon

Don’t call it a fanny pack: This taco-adorned waist pack has three compartments and an adjustable strap that will accommodate taco bellies up to 46 inches.

Find it: Amazon

4. TACOS: RECIPES AND PROVOCATIONS; $21

This book, written by New York City chef Alex Stupack, is filled with essays, gorgeous photographs, and, of course, recipes. Learn how to make tortillas from scratch, whip up delicious salsas, and top it all off with fillings that are anything but basic. The book promises to “change the way you make—and think about—tacos forever.”

Find it: Amazon

5. TACO HAT; $20

A hat that looks like a taco.
Amazon

Perfect for Taco Tuesday or Halloween (or both!), this hat measures 8 inches by 18 inches.

Find it: Amazon

6. TACOS VINTAGE TEE; $20

This retro shirt comes in men’s and women’s cuts and five different colors.

Find it: Amazon

7. TACO CAT BED; $48

A cat in a bed that looks like a taco.
Amazon

This adorable, cozy taco bed is perfect for your feline friend. Made of padded fleece and microfiber yarn, it has wire in the trim to help it hold its shape and comes with catnip-stuffed pepper toys.

Find it: Amazon

8. TACO DOG COLLAR; $20

A dog collar with tacos on it.
Amazon

This dog collar is both durable and stylish: Made of polyester with a plastic buckle, it’s adorned with a mustachioed taco.

Find it: Amazon

9. KIDROBOT TACO PILLOW; $30

A cute taco pillow with a happy face on it.
Amazon

This friendly-faced pillow will look great on your bed or couch. If photorealism is what you’re looking for in your taco, consider this one.

Find it: Amazon

10. TACO SOCKS; $12

These crew length cotton socks are adorned with avocados, peppers, limes, hot sauce, and tacos. On the bottom, they say “If you can read this” and “bring me some tacos.”

Find it: Amazon

11. TACO POOL FLOAT; $11

A pool float shaped like a taco with a face on it.
Amazon

At 5 feet long, this vinyl taco float is made for lounging in the pool. It comes with a patch kit for easy repairs.

Find it: Amazon

12. TACO KITCHEN TOWEL; $15

Made of microfiber fabric, this tea towel—which measures 16 by 24 inches—is both cute and functional: Made of microfiber terrycloth, it’s ultra absorbent, and the dyes won’t fade.

Find it: Amazon

16 Magical New Harry Potter Products

Business Wire
Business Wire

Another September has arrived, and with it, the realization that—once again—you won’t be going to Hogwarts. But don’t cry into your butterbeer: These Potter products from Pottery Barn, Williams Sonoma, and Target will help you forget that you’re a mere Muggle.

1. HOGWARTS CANDLE LANTERN; $99

Pair this turret-like lantern—which is made of aluminum and glass and features an antique bronze finish—with a pumpkin juice candle from Wick and Fable to get that Hogwarts at Halloween vibe.

Find it: Pottery Barn

2. HOGWARTS COMFY THROW; $13

Don this fleece throw—which looks exactly like a Hogwarts student robe—for studying in your house “Common Room” (a.k.a. your living room) or before mealtime in the “Great Hall” (a.k.a. your kitchen). Get some treacle tart on your robe? Don’t worry—it’s machine-washable.

Find it: Target

3. GRYFFINDOR APRON; $40

As all wizards know, food is the first of the Principal Exceptions to Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration: Tasty treats don’t just appear out of nowhere—someone has to make them. Now you can display your house pride in the kitchen with this cotton twill robe. The neckband is equipped with a d-ring to make adjustments a snap.

Find it: Williams Sonoma

4. HOUSE BACKPACK; $63

These adorable canvas backpacks (available for all houses) feature interior and exterior pockets, a padded laptop pocket, and a roomy interior. See if you can make it even roomier with an Undetectable Extension Charm!

Find it: Pottery Barn Kids

5. VELVET TRAIN CASE; $59

Arrive at Platform 9¾ in style with one of these chic velvet toiletry cases.

Find it: Pottery Barn Teen

6. TRIWIZARD CUP LAMP; $18

Great for your bedside table or your Halloween costume, this cordless, battery-powered acrylic lamp will make you look like a Triwizard champ.

Find it: Target

7. MIRROR OF ERISED JEWELRY CABINET; $399

If you don’t have room for the full-length mirror, this jewelry cabinet is the next best thing: It opens to reveal hooks, shelves, and pegs for all of your baubles.

Find it: Pottery Barn Teen

8. WALL DECALS; $16

What better way to show of your hoggy hoggy Hogwarts pride than with these house crest vinyl wall decals? Each set comes with five decals, which reviewers give high marks.

Find it: Target

9. HOUSE CREST COOKIE CUTTERS; $17

These detailed cookie cutters are fun for witches and wizards of all ages. Plus, they’re dishwasher-safe.

Find it: Williams Sonoma

10. HOGWARTS MAP; $129

This vintage-looking aerial map of Hogwarts is a true work of art. It’s printed on canvas and has grommets for easy hanging. And it won’t talk back like the Fat Lady!

Find it: Pottery Barn Kids

11. WIZARD CHESS; $40

It’s not life-sized, but this set is a detailed replica of the smaller board Harry and Ron play with in Sorcerer’s Stone.

Find it: Target

12. FAUX BOOK LOCKBOX; $139

Whether you’re hiding a Hallows or a Horcrux, this 20-inch-long facade—which looks like a shelf straight from the Hogwarts library—will keep all of your most precious things safe.

Find it: Pottery Barn Teen

13. GOLDEN SNITCH SNACK BOWL; $40

Made of gold-plated aluminum, this adorable bowl is perfect for serving up all kinds of snacks, from jelly slugs to Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans. (Just watch out for the earwax flavor!)

Find it: Pottery Barn

14. QUIDDITCH PILLOW; $50

This Quidditch pillow—which is made of cotton velvet—has a delightfully retro vibe. There’s also a Snitch pillow, a Hogwarts letter sham, and this throw pillow featuring one of Harry’s signature spells.

Find it: Pottery Barn Kids

15. DEATHLY HALLOWS BLUETOOTH SPEAKER, $79

This gold-gilded Bluetooth speaker is compatible with all smartphones. It’s also cordless, which means you can take it with you—and listen to the Weird Sisters—wherever you go.

Find it: Pottery Barn Teen

16. ETCHED SCENE SHEET SET, $79 - $149

These cotton percale sheets come in every size from Twin to King and are adorned with scenes from the Hogwarts grounds and the Forbidden Forest.

Find it: Pottery Barn Teen

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