History – A Puzzling Tale by the Inventor

It was back in the early 1970’s, about four years before the invention of Rubik’s Cube, the puzzle that would make the 3x3x3 cube ubiquitous worldwide. I had just solved an older puzzle – Soma Cubes – by assembling the seven puzzle pieces to create a 3x3x3 cube.

Rubik's Cube

Rubik’s Cube

The “Aha Moment” occurred while I was holding up the cluster of cubes and admiring the elegance of this arrangement. I observed that one of the 27 smaller cubes was totally surrounded, like the core of an apple, leaving 26 exposed. I wondered: What would happen if you had 26 letter cubes – one for each letter of the alphabet, the same letter on all its faces – and you played the letter cubes into the cubicles of a 3x3x3 rack? Could you spell out words as a path between cubes that were adjacent on the surface of the rack? Thus the 3-D word game Quipto® was conceived.

Soma Cubes Assembled

Soma Cubes Assembled

I soon discovered that you can to spell out almost any single word in this way, and two players could compete to see who can spell the most words. But then I discovered an even more challenging puzzle: to spell out a whole sentence as one continuous path. While engaged in the process of developing a game rack that can securely hold Quipto® letter cubes, I created a two puzzle versions based on the game: Quip-Find™ and Quip-Bild™.


I have also worked with two friends to develop a mobile-friendly app version of the game: Quipzl™.