Wild-eyed foreign loner (possibly) Professor Erno Rubik is, undoubtably, a genius - albeit probably only in the same manner that Albert Einstein is, y’know, a "genius" for inadvertently inventing a weapon which has, inevitably, doomed the human race to extinction. Having said that, not even in our most fevered moments would we ever contemplate Erno Rubik’s invention as being possible of genocide.

In fact, during the 1980s, the Rubik’s Cube temporarily distracted us all from our imminent radioactive demise. It was a three-by-three square, multi-coloured, cube-shaped puzzle, the aim of which was to twist and turn its individual sides until each of the surfaces of the cube were all one colour. Or different colours, if you catch our drift. However, the most popular methods of solving the cube were to peel the coloured stickers off, or smash the thing apart, and put it back together in the correct configuration. Nevertheless, there was always one geek, in your school (usually a prefect, and head of the maths class) who could complete the thing in ten seconds. Behind his back. With one arm. While being hit in the face with a geography textbook, and having dog shit smeared on his blazer.

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The Rubik’s craze reached fever pitch during the early to mid eighties, with the ultimate accolade being bestowed upon Professor Rubik: a tribute pop single which reached the lower regions of the Top 100. Who can forget the refrain of the chorus, which chanted "Mr Rubik, Rubik, Rubik", and was inevitably altered by schoolchildren to "Mr Pubic, Pubic, Pubic"?

Erno Rubik’s empire temporarily thrived, with non-cube spin-offs including the Rubik Snake (not a puzzle as such, but a segmented snake shape, which could be contorted into a ball, playing card, and, if you were really tedious, a dog - though most people managed only the "slightly bent stick"), Rubik’s Magic (some sort of spin on those sliding tile games), and the Rubik’s Revenge (an absurdly difficult four-by-four-by-four version of the cube). Unofficial spin-offs included a spheroid "cube", a pyramid, and a hexagon. By far our favourite was the all-white "Irish Cube" (which wouldn’t be allowed in this era of shamrock glasnost, when we are friends with the Irish, and not just victim to their bombs and explosives).

As they say, the flame which burns the brightest burns the shortest, and Rubik’s flame was well and truly doused by the piss of public apathy after two good years. He’s resurfaced of late, working for Hasbro in some sort of advisory capacity, still churning out endless dilutions of his original concept in the vague hope that someday one of them will click. Sorry, Professor, but these days kids just want PlayStation, cigarettes and alcopops.

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1. Which of these is not an Erno Rubik invention?

2. Who really invented the Rubik’s Revenge?

3. Where was Professor Rubik born?

4. What did Erno Rubik study at college?

5. Which Star Wars character features on a current special edition Rubik’s Cube?


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