If you’re a habitual crossword solver or a puzzle enthusiast in general, odds are you’ve got a good head for trivia.
Many of the puzzlers I know are vast storehouses of information, cobbled together in an incomprehensible mishmash of disorganized, dusty filing cabinets, containing endless wonder and factoids galore. They might not be the tidiest minds, but they’re invariably the most interesting.
And whether you exercise your voluminous knowledge with games like Trivial Pursuit, puzzles like crosswords, or online trivia associations like Learned League, you should know of yet another avenue to explore to satisfy your thirst for random facts and obscurities: the pub quiz.
Pub quizzes and trivia nights have been around for a long time now. While I was on vacation in Alaska, I participated in two nights of pub trivia shenanigans courtesy of Geeks Who Drink, wherein I performed admirably and represented PuzzleNation with honor, dignity, and no small amount of self-congratulatory cheering.
But did you know that puzzles are also quickly becoming prime entertainment options at bars and pubs worldwide?
Oh yes! The folks behind Puzzled Pint are the best known purveyors of pub puzzles these days, offering first a location-based puzzle for solvers to unravel (in order to discover where the next puzzle event will occur), then more puzzles to enjoy when solvers arrive!
Now, puzzles and pubs are hardly strangers to one another. Local blacksmiths often tasked their apprentices with creating mechanical puzzles like the one above (known as disentanglement puzzles) because forging the intricate pieces was excellent practice of various blacksmithing skills. These puzzles often found their way into nearby taverns, becoming popular pub activities and challenges.
As it turns out, you can find puzzles anywhere these days. And there’s nothing trivial about that. =)
Welcome to a marvelously musical edition of PuzzleNation Blog’s interview feature, 5 Questions!
We’re reaching out to puzzle constructors, video game writers and designers, writers, filmmakers, and puzzle enthusiasts from all walks of life, talking to people who make puzzles and people who enjoy them in the hopes of exploring the puzzle community as a whole.
And I’m overjoyed to have The Doubleclicks as our latest 5 Questions interviewees!
The Doubleclicks are Laser and Aubrey Webber, two Portland-based siblings who spin musical magic with cellos, guitars, and catboards (keyboards that meow). Advocates for science education, geeky self-esteem (especially for girl geeks), and the joyful fusion of cats and Netflix, their relentless charm has made them a favorite at conventions and game stores alike.
Great question! Some choices are obvious when it comes to arrangement: if we write a Christmas song, for example, it’s likely there will be some jingle bells. We try to mix up our style, and fortunately with a cello there are a lot of options: from a Tango to a rock song, depending on whether we are trying to go for a parody of style (like the Freebird song) or a genuine take (like our lullaby).
2.) You have a strong connection to the board game community, with your signature dice, your collaborations with creators like James Ernest, and your recent appearance on Wil Wheaton’s internet board game show TableTop. Since music and board games are both very cooperative endeavors, are they worlds that mesh well together, or is there something in particular about the Doubleclicks that invites such synergy?
Shortly after starting our band, we released a music video for our song about Dungeons & Dragons, and after that we started being invited to play at conventions. We’ve always been game fans, but going to these cons as performers afforded us a new opportunity: to actually meet the people who make these games, which is really, really, super, awesome. I think the subject matter of the songs and the content of our hearts makes us want to hang with game designers. And we are super serious about making a Doubleclicks card or board game sometime soon.
(Check out this fun Doubleclicks song about playing board games
to prepare for their appearance on Tabletop!)
3.) During your recent Google Hangout when you discussed your Kickstarter campaign, you mentioned you don’t have a lot of time for puzzles, but you enjoy them. On the rare occasion you do get to indulge in some puzzle fun, what are your favorites?
We were introduced to the puzzling word properly thanks to Team Snout, puzzle creators of amazing quality here in Portland. They’re involved in an event called Puzzled Pint which is like EXTREME pub trivia (except puzzles), and that is just a huge awesome fun time. They also involved us in a big event called WarTron a couple years ago in which they actually embedded a puzzle in our setlist, which was awesome.
4.) What’s next for the Doubleclicks?
We just wrapped up a Kickstarter that will keep us busy for at least a year. We’ll be releasing an album this spring as well as new songs and videos every month all year, and we’ll have a season of weekly songs during the summer. It’s going to be a really busy year and we are excited.
5.) If you could give the readers, writers, aspiring musicians, and puzzle fans in the audience one piece of advice, what would it be?
Make great friends and be involved in interesting things: if you’re a musician, play games. If you’re a game designer, get super into cooking.
Also, the LEGO movie is really good.
Many thanks to Laser and Aubrey for their time. Check out their website for all things Doubleclicks, and be sure to follow them on Twitter (@thedoubleclicks) and Facebook, sample their music on Bandcamp, and subscribe to their YouTube channel for videos and other treats! I cannot wait to see what they create over the coming year.