The 2023 Questionist Gift Guide

The latest and/or greatest for the discerning nerd in your life

Published December 13, 2023


We start with the printed word – trivia folks love it! – and specifically with the good old Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader, now in its 36th volume ($19.99). We know it can be a little hard to get past the dad-joke conceit (not that we didn’t indulge in some ourselves, when we covered it back in September) but it’s undeniably a fun, fascinating book, and a perennial testament to just how much interesting crap information there is in this crazy world. Again, they’ve made 36 of the things! Perfect for your giftee’s next toilet trip, no matter how long it takes.

Meanwhile, our crossword columnist Chris King has highlighted several books over the past few months: David Bukszpan’s Crosswordese “examines all the little words that make up our world and the crossworld,” King wrote, and the effusive cover blurb is by none other than New York Times honcho Will Shortz. But if your giftee would rather solve puzzles than read about them, go for one of the two new collections of Vox puzzles: Vox Pop Culture Crosswords ($12.99) and Vox Mega Book of Mini Crosswords ($11.99). The books “feature lots of great constructors and puzzles, some of which have been featured on this very blog,” King wrote. And the man knows something about crossword books.

Finally, Donnie Edgemon started Triviappolis Treasures as an app for quiz and travel enthusiasts back in 2020, when it was way harder to do either. He’s now turned those games into a series of trivia books on 51 cities across the U.S. and Canada. Written almost exclusively by Jeopardy! alums, the questions range from easy gets to stumpers that might teach readers something about their hometown. Good for bathrooms or coffee tables, it’s an easy stocking stuffer for anyone who wants to find out, say, how Austin and Tokyo have a Godzilla connection. (For a hot minute, Austin had the world’s largest HD screen: the Godzilla-tron, manufactured in Tokyo.)


The safe play is the Jeopardy! calendar ($17.99), which has been giving people low-effort gift-list wins since Ken Jennings was in short pants. It’s a classic, for the same reason the show is a classic: The clue writing is great, and the format is comfortingly familiar (you don’t really get $600 for answering the Wednesday question though).

If your giftee has more exotic tastes, go for the Everyday Q&A calendar ($24.99, or $19.99 for multiples), a labor of love by Kit Sekelsky of The Inkling and Jonathan Oakes of Trivial Warfare. They can get away with just a little bit more than a product of Sony Pictures can – as Sekelsky told us in an outtake from our recent interview, “I will say that April 20 always has a fun themed question.”

Either way, rejoice: 2024 is a leap year, so you’ll be getting 0.27 percent more pages than last year’s edition!

Home games

For the friends-and-family party planner, Geeks Who Drink (hey, that’s us!) offers House Party home quiz packages ($24.99). Currently there’s “Seasons Geekings,” chock full of holiday trivia goodness, and “End of Eras,” celebrating Time’s 2023 Person of the Year, Taylor Swift. Both come with 40 questions, including audiovisual rounds; printable answer sheets, and full instructions – and because it’s all digital, you can buy it up to the very last minute! (we wouldn’t mind selling it to you right now, though.)

If you’d rather prod at a gadget for your home-party needs, Jackbox has switched up its trivia format yet again with Timejinx, included in Jackbox Party Pack 10 ($34.99). This one’s all about history: You’re a time traveler who must use trivia to avoid screwing up our present timeline. In classic Jackbox fashion, the game can take up to eight players – and the gallery can chime in too. Party Pack 10 is available on Steam and all consoles.


Remember 2015 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions winner-slash-pro poker player Alex Jacob? Well, five days a week he puts out the Substack trivia newsletter-slash-quiz league called School of Trivia ($8/mo. or $88/yr.) Each day he writes about a trivia topic that leads into a themed five-question quiz, due at the end of the week, with results shared thereafter. “I find it a quick read, a nice way to be rewarded for things I already know,” says our resident triviaholic Diana, “and learn new things I can take into other trivia competitions.”

Meanwhile, L.A. trivia maven Lynn Yu has her own Substack, Yu Oughta Know ($5/mo. or $40/yr.). Concentrating on current events and pop culture, she emails out a set of five questions every day. “It’s more diverse and dynamic than many traditional news sources,” says one reviewer. “Best of all, it’s fun.”

If Substack freaks your giftee out, there’s always the good old Games World of Puzzles magazine ($29.99 for 9 issues). Not all of them are strictly knowledge-based, of course, but they’re all “far better than the standard supermarket Word Search Bonanzas!!” according to our fact-check columnist Mark Gartsbeyn. He adds that even though you can save money by going for the $17.99 digital-only subscription, “I think it’s gotta be played with a pencil (or pen if you’re bold).”

Clothing and other merch

The New York Times store has goodies relating to all their puzzle properties, but nothing is cuter (and more on-brand for trivia buffs) than its crossword smile tote. Reprinting an actual puzzle constructed by Alex Eaton-Salners in 2018, the tote has a happy little face that… well, kinda gives Kool-Aid Man, if we’re honest. But Kool-Aid Man is cool kool too.

If your giftee is a fan of nice wooden decorations that can also be used to play tic-tac-toe – wow, they really do have exotic tastes – then one of Wikimedia’s latest merch offerings is exactly that. While some of their new gear tends toward a kinda ‘90s-retro, squiggly-line computer drawing vibe, the tic-tac-toe game ($18) sticks to the classic serif W and puzzle-piece globe logo. Classy!