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.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. Pop Art Puzzle

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 at W&P Design for $20.

2. Darwin's Dinosaur Egg Puzzle

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 at Uncommon Goods for $15.

3. Infinite Galaxy Puzzle

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 at Nervous System for $120.

4. Great Civilizations Brain Teaser Set

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 at Uncommon Goods for $20.

5. Wooden Fractal Puzzle

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 at Uncommon Goods for $60.

6. Nat Geo “My Town” Custom Aerial Map Puzzle

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 at National Geographic Store for $45.

7. New York Times Front Page Puzzle

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 at Uncommon Goods for $50.

8. Aristotle's Number Puzzle

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 at Uncommon Goods for $14.

9. Crossword Puzzle Reprint

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 at New York Times Store for $150.

10. 1000 Colors Puzzle

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 at Uncommon Goods for $48.

11. A-Maze-Ball Maze Game

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 at ThinkGeek for $8.

10 Ways to Get Your Caffeine Fix Without Coffee

iStock.com. Photo illustration: Rebecca O'Connell
iStock.com. Photo illustration: Rebecca O'Connell

Looking to get an extra buzz without drinking another cup of coffee? Luckily, sleepy people everywhere have created a huge market for all things caffeine-related. Here are some more unusual products that will give you a buzz.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. Perk Energy Bracelet

A woman wearing a Perk bracelet
Perk, Amazon

These bracelets administer caffeine right through your skin. They're lined with energy patches that provide the same amount of caffeine as a medium cup of coffee, according to Perk, but over the course of four hours to prevent jitters or crashing. Because the caffeine isn't going through your digestive system, the effects are also stronger and hit faster. Each bracelet comes with 30 caffeine patches to get you started.

Buy it on Amazon for $40.

2. Viter Energy Mints

Six light blue tins of energy mints
Viter Energy, Amazon

Worried about getting coffee breath? Viter Energy mints will make your mouth minty fresh while putting a pep in your step. Each mint has 40 milligrams of caffeine, so eating two mints is about the same as an 8-ounce cup of coffee. (The caffeine content of coffee varies from brand to brand, but according to the Mayo Clinic, an 8-ounce brewed coffee might contain anywhere from 95 to 165 milligrams of caffeine, while an espresso will around 47 to 64 milligrams. A tall dark-roast brewed coffee at Starbucks contains 193 milligrams.) These mints have a "strong and intense wintergreen flavor and menthol kick” as the makers describe it, but they also come in spearmint, cinnamon, chocolate mint, and peppermint flavors.

Buy them on Amazon for $20 for six tins.

3. Shower Shock Caffeinated Soap

Showers are about to get a lot more energizing—no freezing cold water needed. This vegetable-based glycerine soap from ThinkGeek is made with caffeine to give your morning a jump start even before your first cup of coffee. Each Shower Shock bar packs about 200 milligrams of caffeine per use. (Each bar is about 12 servings.) It also has a refreshing peppermint smell—but no, it's not edible.

Buy it from ThinkGeek for $8 or from Amazon for $16.

4. pureLYFT Energy Stir Sticks

Boxes of pureLYFT stir sticks near citrus fruit
pureLYFT, Amazon

Now you can add caffeine to any beverage you like with a stick that you can swirl into your drink. The plastic sticks are filled with crystals that dissolve after just 10 seconds of stirring. Each packs 125 milligrams of caffeine. You can opt for the plain version or try flavors like orange, mixed berry, and lemon-lime.

Buy them on Amazon for $13 per pack of six or at these other retailers:

5. OGX Fight Fallout Shampoo

A brown bottle of OGX shampoo
OGX, Walmart

Energize your scalp with caffeine-infused shampoo. While this shower addition might not actually wake you up, some studies have suggested that caffeine may (slightly) help with hair loss. OGX claims their shampoo helps thicken hair and keep it on your head. The company also makes a conditioner and a "root stimulator" spray with the same ingredients.

Buy it from Walmart for $12 or at these other retailers:

6. Power Toothpaste

Say goodbye to groggily brushing your teeth. Power Toothpaste is infused with caffeine that quickly kicks in as soon as you're done with your oral hygiene routine. Each tube has enough mint-flavored paste for 90 brushes with roughly 80 milligrams of caffeine per serving.

Buy it from Power Toothpaste for $15 or from Amazon for $20 (with Prime shipping).

7. HeroEC Energy Water

A 12-pack of water bottles
Hero Water, Amazon

Swap out your coffee for something a little more refreshing. This hydrating water from Hero Water comes with electrolytes and 60 milligrams of caffeine, without the bitter aftertaste of coffee.

Buy it on Amazon for $20 for a pack of 12.

8. Jolt Energy Gum

A box of Jolt Energy Gum
Jolt, Amazon

Based on the popular soda, Jolt Energy Gum comes packed with guarana, ginseng, and 40 milligrams of caffeine per serving. The spearmint and "icy mint" flavors are designed to deliver a minty kick that's sure to keep you up for a while.

Buy it on Amazon for $20 per pack of 12 (120 pieces total).

9. First Aid Beauty Matcha Wake Up Wipes

A pack of facial wipes
First Aid Beauty, Amazon

Start the morning right with a clean and refreshed face. These caffeine matcha wipes remove dirt, soothe with aloe, and wake you up. The caffeine reduces puffiness and redness, too. Each pack comes with 25 wipes designed for all skin types.

Buy it on Amazon for $7 and at these other retailers:

10. Eagle Energy Caffeine Infused Inhaler

A three-pack of caffeine inhalers
Eagle Energy, Amazon

Made with guarana extract, ginseng, and vitamin B12, Eagle Energy’s caffeine inhaler is a sugar-free, calorie-free way to get your energy boost. According to the company, “Eagle uses a customized heating system that creates a vapor and is engineered to maximize caffeine bioavailability and prevent the creation of any unintended by-products.” Because the caffeine is inhaled, it only takes three to five minutes to kick in.

Buy it on Amazon for $26 per pack of three.

The 3 Best Mattresses You Can Order Online Right Now

iStock.com/diego_cervo
iStock.com/diego_cervo

President’s Day is quickly creeping up, and you know what that means: Everyone and their mother will be shopping for new mattresses (which traditionally go on sale over the holiday weekend). However, if you don’t feel like fighting off the crowds at your local mattress outlet, there are plenty of great online deals you can take advantage of—and you don't have to sift through a thousand reviews to find a great one. Check out our buying guide to the three comfiest mattresses on the market right now from Leesa, Allswell, and Linenspa.

1. Leesa’s Universal Adaptive Feel Memory Foam Cooling Mattress

Leesa's universal adaptive feel memory foam cooling mattress
Leesa, Amazon

Do you kick off the covers in the middle of the night because you get too hot? Try Leesa’s 10-inch-tall cooling mattress. It has three unique foam layers: The first layer is designed to keep you cool, while the second offers body-contouring comfort, and the third helps relieve pressure and provide core support. The “adaptive feel” label refers to the fact that it adapts to your body no matter what your preferred sleeping position may be. The mattress comes in twin through California king sizes, with prices starting at $375.

Buy it on Amazon or from Leesa's website, where you can get 15 percent off plus two free pillows this weekend.

2. Allswell’s Luxe Hybrid Mattress

This extra-thick mattress is so popular that it frequently sells out from Allswell and at other retailers. It packs 12 inches of high-end material into one mattress, including quilted memory foam and an outer layer designed keep you cool in hot weather. Similar mattresses tend to go for thousands of dollars, but the Luxe Hybrid retails for far less. Prices start at $345 for a twin, $485 for a full, $585 for a queen, or $745 for a king. (Not sure about the difference in mattress sizes? We've got you covered.)

Buy it from Allswell's website, where you can save 15 percent through February 20 using the offer code 15FORALL. It's also available at these retailers:

3. Linenspa’s memory foam and innerspring hybrid mattress

The Linenspa memory foam and innerspring hybrid mattress
Linenspa, Amazon

Amazon customers swear by Linenspa’s hybrid mattress, which comes in sizes twin ($96) through California king ($198). Ideal for people who like medium-firm mattresses, it combines the benefits of memory foam with the support one gets from a traditional innerspring mattress. The standard version is 8 inches thick, but Linenspa also offers a 10-inch version in all sizes. (We also love the company's incredibly affordable down-alternative duvet, which is $50 off right now on Amazon.)

Buy it on Amazon, where the 8-inch queen mattress is currently 18 percent off ($156).

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER