9 Great Puzzles to Celebrate National Puzzle Day

iStock.com/Kuzmichstudio
iStock.com/Kuzmichstudio

January 29 marks National Puzzle Day, and there's no better way to celebrate than to get your hands on a brand new puzzle. Below are just a few of the great options available on Amazon and elsewhere on the web, from one of the biggest jigsaws in the world to a galactic puzzle that can go on forever. Happy puzzling! And for more ideas, check out our gift guide for puzzle fanatics.

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. 3D Crystal Puzzle, Saturn

A 3D transluscent puzzle in the shape of Saturn
Bepuzzled, Amazon

Bepuzzled's 3D puzzles provide thought-provoking fun in 42 different shapes. We think this translucent Saturn puzzle is out of this world (and many Mental Floss readers seem to agree), but Bepuzzled also offers puzzles in the likeness of birds, animals, fruit, vehicles, and other common objects, in case assembling a noble snowy owl or a bunch of purple grapes is more your speed.

Get it on Amazon for $13 and at these other retailers:

2. 33,600-Piece Wildlife Puzzle

A wildlife-themed jigsaw puzzle
Educa, Amazon

For true puzzle experts, 500- or 1000-piece puzzles are just the warm up. Designed to be one of the world's biggest commercially available puzzles, Educa's wildlife-themed puzzle has a mind-boggling 33,600 pieces and measures almost 19 feet by 5 feet when complete. It's so big that it comes in a suitcase-sized wooden box on wheels for easy transport. (With that many pieces, you may be worried about misplacing one or two, preventing you from fully completing the image, but fear not—Educa has a policy of replacing any individual pieces that go missing from its puzzles.)

Get it on Amazon for $325 or at these other retailers:

3. 1000 Colors Puzzle

Design aficionados will love this CMYK-themed puzzle that features a slightly different color on each piece to create a color gradient. This fan favorite is so popular that it regularly sells out, but it's due back in stock within the next few weeks, and trust us, it's worth the wait.

Get it on UncommonGoods for $48 or from the Colossal shop.

4. Escher's Mirrorkal Brainteaser Puzzle

An M.C. Escher 3D puzzle game
Recent Toys, Amazon

M.C. Escher's mind-bending visuals make for an equally challenging puzzle experience in the Mirrorkal Brainteaser Puzzle. Developed by puzzle designer Ivan Moscovich after he met Escher in 1964, the set contains five different 3D puzzles based on the artist's sketches. "Made beautifully with slanted mirrors, this puzzle is a joy to work with and to display on the coffee table for guests to admire," the product description promises.

Get it on Amazon for $25.

5. Game of Thrones 9-inch 3D Globe Puzzle

A 3D puzzle shaped like a globe
4D Cityscape, Amazon

Bring Westeros and Essos to life with this Game of Thrones-themed puzzle from 4D Cityscape. Its 540 slightly curved pieces come together to form a globe that, with the included display stand, is the perfect addition to any fan's house. It comes in 3-inch, 6-inch, and 9-inch sizes, but as puzzle fanatics ourselves, we obviously recommend getting the biggest version.

Get it for $42 on Amazon.

6. Bob Ross The Joy of Puzzles

A Bob Ross landscape painting featuring a snowy mountain and a lake
Wellspring, Amazon

Piece together some happy little trees with this jigsaw puzzle inspired by one of Bob Ross's famous landscape paintings. The 500-piece puzzle will give you time to chill out without requiring you to break out the paint brushes. Just try to remain as calm as Ross himself if you encounter any happy little accidents along the way.

Get it for $17 on Amazon.

7. Pop Art 500-Piece Puzzle

Showcase your love of art with this 500-piece Pop Art puzzle. At just 18-by-18 inches, it's designed for people who don't have massive table space in their apartment to work—perhaps because their coffee table is already filled with art books.

Get it from W&P Design for $20.

8. Pencil Collage 1000-Piece Puzzle

An image of dozens of pencils laid side by side
White Mountain, Amazon

White Mountain Puzzles's 24-by-30-inch pencil collage provides a true challenge in the form of an image of dozens of different pencils in different sizes, colors, and conditions. According to White Mountain, "This incredible collection of advertising pencils was created by artist Maureen Rupprecht, who literally glued hundreds of pencils into a frame. Talk about a challenge!"

Get it on Amazon for $17 or at these other retailers:

9. The Infinite Galaxy Puzzle

The Infinite Galaxy Puzzle provides the ultimate puzzle experience: a puzzle you can never truly finish. Featuring a NASA image of the Milky Way’s galactic center, it has no fixed shape or edges, and the pieces are double-sided so that users can flip them and rearrange them in any configuration. "Topologically, the Infinite Galaxy Puzzle maps to a Klein bottle, an impossible 3D shape where the inside and outside are mathematically indistinguishable,” its creators write. "Just like a Mobius strip has only one surface, the puzzle has no up or down side. You can start the puzzle anywhere on any side, making it extra challenging." There are currently two versions of the puzzle you can work on, in case you get tired of the endless options of the original puzzle and need yet another infinite challenge.

Get it at Nervous System for $120.

Plus: Ravensburger Giant Stow and Go

Hands rolling up a puzzle in a puzzle-stowing sheet
Ravensburger, Amazon

Working on a massive puzzle might take days, and you can't always leave your unfinished work in the same place. Whether you need your table back for non-puzzle uses or want to take your partially finished puzzle on the road with you, the puzzle experts at Ravensburger have your back. The company's Giant Stow and Go system lets you roll up and transport both unfinished and finished jigsaw puzzles safely so that you don't undo any of your hard work.

Get it on Amazon for $21.

ThinkGeek Is Merging With GameStop, and Everything is 50 Percent Off Right Now

ThinkGeek
ThinkGeek

ThinkGeek, that beloved destination for nerdy goods like Star Trek bathing suits, Game of Thrones doormats, and astronomy-themed jewelry, is moving. While the site isn't going out of business, it is merging operations with its parent company, GameStop, and shutting down its website in the process. "After this move, you will be able to shop a curated selection of unique items historically found on ThinkGeek.com via a ThinkGeek section at GameStop," the site explains. And that's good news for you, if you're looking for a bargain. 

ThinkGeek is clearing out inventory by offering 50 percent off everything on its website. That includes 20-side-die-themed waffle makers, constellation lamps, unicorn wall sconces, and more. There are whimsical goods and apparel designed for fans of everything from Doctor Who to The Avengers to Star Wars to J.R.R. Tolkien to Harry Potter to Firefly to Pokemon. Love Funko POP! figurines? ThinkGeek has you covered. What about Super Mario Bros.? Heck yeah. This would be a great time to search for a Halloween costume.

Here are a few things that we would buy if we were you, but there are more cool designs available than we could ever highlight here. 


This 34-ounce TARDIS French press coffee maker is just $20.


ThinkGeek has a bunch of pop-culture themed wallets, but this Star Trek one is extra cool. And it is now just $10. (The NASA one is also great.)


This constellation backpack is out of this world. It's just $24 with the discount.


For $7.50, it's hard to resist this Mario-themed soap dispenser. Add a Mario-themed toothbrush holder to really make getting ready in the morning fun. If you're all about that bar soap, there's also a soap dish.


Wrap yourself in happiness with this Bob Ross-themed blanket that is just $17.50.


If you want to wear your fandom, this Harry Potter Deathly Hallows necklace set is an attractive choice. They're just $7.50 for two.


This handsome Mars watch doesn't have typical hour and minute hands. The moon Phobos orbits the Red Planet as the minute hand, the moon Deimos is the hour hand, and a miniature Mars rover takes the place of the second hand. It's a steal at just $20. 


When it's filled with hot liquid, this Game Boy mug changes from a blank screen to an image of Mario rescuing Daisy. It's only $7.50.


Several '90s cartoon-themed lunch boxes with puzzles are on sale, including ones celebrating Rocko's Modern Life, Hey Arnold!, and Rugrats. The puzzles that come inside the tin lunch boxes are 500 pieces. At less than $5 each, you should go ahead and buy all three.

Shop the sale here using the code MOVINGDAY until July 2. Unfortunately, because of the nature of the sale, all purchases are final, and you'll have to pay for shipping.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and 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!

10 Surprisingly Cheap Items Everyone Should Have in Their Kitchen

iStock.com/4kodiak
iStock.com/4kodiak

When shopping for certain kitchen gadgets, sometimes paying a little extra is worth it. But there are plenty of supplies that can greatly improve your cooking skills without hurting your wallet. Some of the most essential tools to have in your kitchen are available from quality brands in the $10 to $30 range. If you want to take your food to the next level on a budget, these are the products you should own.

1. Wooden Spoon; $15 for Three

Three wooden spoons
OXO, Amazon

There are many fancy kitchen utensils available to home cooks today, but the best type of spoon for cooking is one that’s been around for centuries. Wooden spoons have several advantages over spoons made from metal or plastic: They don’t conduct heat well, they won’t scratch the bottom of your expensive pan, and they won’t leach chemicals into your food. They’re also just as durable as they are versatile. Wood is naturally antibacterial, and if you care for your spoon properly, it will last you through countless meals. OXO sells a set of three different wooden spoons for under $15. (We also like OXO's single corner spoon, which is sold out on Amazon right now—but you can still get it from Bed Bath & Beyond for $6.)

Buy it: Amazon

2. Silicone Mat; $25

Silpat with macarons.
Silpat, Amazon

Neater than cooking spray and less wasteful than foil or parchment paper, silicone mats are essential for home cooks and bakers. These reusable mats turn any surface into a nonstick surface. When a baking sheet is lined with a silicone mat, temperamental items like cookies slide off in one piece. The mats are also easy to wipe down and can survive thousands of baking sessions. They can also make cleanup easier when roasting savory items like vegetables and chicken wings.

But it from Amazon

3. Kitchen Shears; $20

Kitchen shears.
Apogee Culinary Designs, Amazon

Quality knives are vital in the kitchen, but no collection of cutting tools is complete without a good pair of scissors. A home cook needs kitchen shears for butchering jobs, like spatchcocking a chicken. Kitchen shears are also useful for trimming pie crusts, snipping herbs, and even cracking open lobster claws. And unlike decent chef’s knives, a great pair of shears can cost as little as $20.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Digital Scale; $18

Digital kitchen scale.
Etekcity, Amazon

If you’re serious about baking, invest in a kitchen scale. Baking is all about precision, and it’s hard to be precise when working with measuring cups and spoons. A digital scale, however, can measure your flour and sugar down to a fraction of an ounce. It’s also great for making recipes written in metric units. (Say, if you're cooking from Great British Bake Off recipes.)

Buy it: Amazon

5. Mortar and Pestle; $25

Mortar and pestle.
Fox Run, Amazon

A bulky mortar and pestle may seem antiquated in today’s modern kitchen, but it’s necessary if you want to take your cooking to the next level. Some spices—like fennel seeds, cardamom, and peppercorns—taste much better freshly ground than they do out of the jar. Using a mortar and pestle is also the key to making professional-tasting sauces and condiments, such as aioli, pesto, curry paste, hummus, and guacamole.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Box Grater; $12

Box grater.
Cuisinart, Amazon

Think of a box grater as more than a basic cheese grater. Each of the four sides serves a special purpose, from slicing to zesting. You can use it to shred potatoes for latkes, grate nutmeg for desserts, or slice zucchini for ratatouille. Of course, the cheese-grating capabilities alone are worth it if you like to make mac and cheese at home.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Instant-Read Thermometer; $27

Instant-read thermometer.
Lavatools, Amazon

There are many tricks you can use to gauge if your meat is cooked properly, but none are as foolproof as an instant-read thermometer. The tool makes cooking steak, chicken, and roasts much simpler and less stressful. It’s also essential for deep frying food or making candy like caramel at home. Sometimes an extra minute of heat is all it takes to push an ingredient from perfect to inedible, so the time it saves you compared to analog thermometers is definitely worth the price.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Citrus Juicer; $15

Citrus hand juicer.
Zulay Kitchen, Amazon

Fresh citrus juice is superior to the packaged stuff, but squeezing halved fruits by hand can get messy. With a manual press juicer, you can add bright, acidic notes of lemon and lime to your meals without stinging your fingers. This tool also catches the seeds for you, making squeezing citrus juice over your food almost as easy as squeezing it from a bottle. Even if you don't use it often while cooking, it's an essential component of any good bar cart.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Locking Tongs; $13

Pair of locking tongs.
OXO, Amazon

Bare hands are underrated tools in the kitchen, but some jobs just can’t be done without tongs. If you’re flipping hot meat on the grill, tossing wings in buffalo sauce, or serving pasta, you’ll need a decent pair of locking tongs to keep your hands clean and unburnt. Fortunately, durable, stainless steel tongs with smooth, pinch-free locks are easy to find for less than $15.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Cast Iron Skillet; $15

A cast iron skillet
Lodge, Amazon

Cast iron skillets seem like they should be expensive. They’re heavy, long-lasting, and they make food taste amazing. Steaks, potatoes, and hamburgers all benefit from the material’s unique heat-conducting properties. But you don’t need to blow your paycheck to own this tool chefs swear by: Some of the best cast irons available cost less than $25. As long as you care for it properly, buying a cast iron skillet is one of the cheapest ways to improve your cooking.

Buy it: Amazon

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and 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!

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER