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Coffee 101

Coffee: What You Need to Know

In recent years the coffee game has been taken up a notch. The brewing. The grinding. The farming – it’s a science.

The days of picking between regular are decaf are done. The world of Coffee has gotten a much needed facelift, no longer just the the choice of stock traders on tenterhooks – now it about culture, the process; the concept.

While we are not complaining – it has made everything a whole lot harder for the average Joe just to get a cup of coffee.

You have to worry about bean “indigenousness”, brewing style, fair trade status, foam or not; where and how you are drinking it.

Drip Coffee

Coffee: the Basics

Coffee is brewed: the brewing can be done in one of three ways; drip filter, French press or an espresso machine.

All coffee drinks are based on either coffee or espresso. All-slow brewing methods generally result in a coffee; fast brew in a machine result in an espresso.

Drip of Filtered Coffee:

A hipster would not be seen dead with this, unless it becomes so uncool – it’s actually cool again.

Drip brewing or filtered: where hot water passes slowly over roasted ground beans. The water then seeps through the ground coffee, absorbing its oils and essences, solely under gravity, then passes through the bottom of the filter.

The used coffee grounds are retained in the filter with the liquid falling (dripping) into a collecting vessel. Not for the connoisseurs.

Grind Coffee

French Press

Also known as a coffee plunger requires courser round, a fine ground will seep through the filter.

You must boil water and leave it to settle with the round for approximately 4 minutes. At which point you can pull the plunger and separate the coffee from the water.

Espresso Machine

Does exactly as it says on the tin. Forcing a small amount of nearly boiling water under pressure through finely ground beans.

The leaves a highly concentrated, small dosage off coffee – an espresso.

The Beans

The first rule there are two varieties of Coffee tree, Arabica and Robusta – Arabica are the divas of the partnership – generally needing more pampering and costing more to maintain and coting more to buy.

Robusta on the other hand is high yield low maintenance – these contain a lot of caffeine and little flavor, these are used as inexpensive fillers in soft drink and powders.

If you are going uber hipster, and fancy a shot at growing your own – you’re going to need a throw a ton of shade on those bad boys. The slower the bloom the better the taste.

Coffee grows on a shrubs as a cherry-like fruit with a bean in the center. It’s a crop, like a fruit and grows on trees. The cherries, when mature, are picked, sorted and processed. Processing methods include sun drying (natural); partially pulping then sun drying (honey processing) or wet fermentation.

What is Coffee Bean Roasting?

We don’t really know who first roasted beans. All we do know is that we think, it’s a really, really, good idea.

Roasting a coffee bean is in fancy terms – chemically breaking down green coffee beans by heating.  

Things are both lost and created during the coffee roasting process. A green coffee bean changes in 3 ways during heating or the three cracks. Maliard reactionstreckers degradations and caramelization.

The Maillard is a browning reaction – it’s what makes toast taste different than stale bread.
Caramelization is the breakdown of sugar molecules under high heat, which unearths an array of sweet bitter and nutty flavor molecules.

Typically you should roast for between 7 and 20 minutes.

There several Roasting Levels:

Roasting Grades

Cinnamon Roast: light roast, light cinnamon tone a nut-like flavor, high coffee and acidity
American Roast: Medium roast, chestnut hue, pronounced caramel like flavor
City Roast: Medium roast, medium roast, medium brown with no surface oils, Full coffee flavor, with some loss of acidity.
Full City Roast: Chestnut brown, lightly darker than the City Roast, Full coffee flavor, good balance of acidity and sugar.
Vienna: Dark brown, with traces of oil on the surface, Dark roast flavor.
French Roast: Dark brown, nearly black, oily on the surface, bitter smoky taste ad pungent aroma.
Italian: Dark chocolate brown, oils on the surface, burnt flavor
Espresso: Dark roast, used specifically for espresso machines, burnt flavor that is strong and sweet.

What is the Grind?

Coffee Grinder

The grind is another critical element of the brewing process, this is where you break the beans down before boiling.

Fresher is always better: freshly ground coffee is unparalleled. The minute you grind your coffee it starts to oxidize and accelerates – you must grind within 15 minutes to get the best results. If you wait too long the coffee becomes stale and bitter.

You need the burr.

Burr grinders chop the beans more evenly, giving you a more even grind and a more balanced brew. Having a range of element sizes will lead to a wide variation in flavor in both over and under extraction.

Grind sizes influences the surface area of coffee that is exposed to water – we use the term “extraction”: to describe this. Smaller particle will have more contact with water, and thus extract more quickly. Basically, if you extract too much from the coffee (grind too fine or brew too long), the coffee may taste bitter and chalky, like aspirin. Extract too little (grind too coarse or too little brew time) and you’ll get a sour taste.

Your choices:

Affogato: Literally means “drowned” – a delicious combo of a single shot espresso poured over vanilla ice cream or gelato.

Americano: The Lungo or the Long back – dilute two shots of espresso with hot water to the texture and density of drip coffee.

Breve: An Italian espresso made with half and half light ream instead of full fat.

Cappuccino: One  of the most popular espresso drinks, a cappuccinos should be equal arts milk, espresso, steamed  milk and foamed milk. Traditionally a stronger drink with a small layer of foam on top. Typically similar to a latte or white coffee, with a thicker layer of micro foam.

Cappuccino is a coffee drink which today is composed of espresso and hot milk, with the surface topped with foamed milk. Cappuccinos are most often prepared with an espresso machine.

Mocha: With 60 ml of espresso, 60 ml of chocolate and 30 ml of steamed milk, a mocha is a the right choice if you want something sweet.

Latte: Traditionally a combination of espresso and milk – a premium milk coffee experience usually without steamed milk and served in a tall glass. 

Café Noisette: The noisette is on step between the macchiato and the latte. It’s a big shot of espresso with about half that amount in milk.

Macchiato: With a macchiato you get a shot of espresso, with a dot of A ristretto is the coffee choice for those who like to get straight to the pint. It’s a very concentrated  espresso shot – only 22 ml.

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The Basic Rules for Suiting and Booting from Generic Puzzles:

So you need a suit.  Whether it’s for your graduation (congrats!), a wedding (good luck) or attending your beloved half-aunt’s funeral (our sincere condolences), you’re going to need to add to your repertoire of suits and find one that looks and fits great.

Remember, a badly fitting suit can make you look less dressed up than no suit at all.

Rule number 1. Fit is everything – even the world most expensive suit will look a potato sack if it isn’t tailored to the contours of your body.

If you can’t afford a tailored made suit, then grab a great looking suit from the rack at a local department store and then spend a few extra bucks on custom tailoring. Even when buying a suit from the store a few extra dollars will got a long way to giving your suit the “wow” factor you desire.

If you are going to buy a suit online to save a buck or two, you should really be going to your local department store and try it on pre-purchase. This guarantees that you will have at least something to work with, when it comes to fitting. When buying a suit off the rack, the most troublesome and important element to fit is the shoulders; shoulder are incredibly hard to fix, if they don’t fit initially.

A well fitted shoulder lies flat, with the seam on top of the shoulder lying un-rumpled and should be the same length as the shoulder under it.  The arms should have no divots or arm wrinkles – this is the sign of a bad fit.

A great suit fit should give the full range of motion, both buttoned and unbuttoned – you should be able to rotate and stretch your arms without restriction.

Suits are styled on clean lines, you should be able to fit one finger between the collar of your shit and your neck, but no more than that. Your shirt collar should also follow the lines of your suit’s lapel.


As a rule of thumb: If you are standing and wearing a suit you should have the jacket buttoned, while sitting, it should be unbuttoned, unless you are wearing a double breasted suit. When testing your suit in the store you should test the closure on your jacket to see how it wraps. 

A bad fit on jacket closure is easy to spot as you will get an ‘X’ across the fabric where it is pulled tightly across your chest, causing the suit to warp as it strains.


A half-inch of linen – just like grandma used to say. The time-honored tradition for the relationship between a suit jacket and the shirt – this is not some cryptic code. It refers to the amount of shirt you should be able to see underneath your suit sleeve. This is terminology could be slightly old hat by modern standards and does not need to be followed to the letter, more a general guideline, so put away the measuring tape.

For sure, the sleeve should never hide the shirt completely and a small band of cuff should always be visible. Once again, this is a very easy adjustment for the tailor to make – so focus on the shoulder primarily.

A good suit or jacket should fall just past the waist and drape over the buttocks. An ideal fit will cover your rear and stop before the top of your leg. Your hands also give a good marker, with your hand relaxed the base of the jacket should come to around your knuckles – of course this is purely subjective as different men have different arm lengths, but once again a good outline.


It’s easy to tell a well fitted collar from a poorly fitted one. Tight fits are very bunched around your neck and loose fits will mean the suit pulls away. Remember contours, you need to make everything smooth and sleek.

Your jacket collar should rest against your shirt collar which in turn lies on the back of your neck. These elements should only barely touch without any significant gaps between them. If the collar is too loose it’s a very easy spot – there will be a gap where it is flopping back off your neck.


The fit on the trousers is also important: and befall a handful of critical rules. One: trousers should fit only on your waist, never on your hips and one finger should fit into your waist band – no muffin tops.

By pulling your trousers up just a bit you are going to look vastly more refined, It looks sleeker and slimmer you want to avoid tight or loose fabric. The back of your trousers should be a smooth drape over the shape of your rear – the fabric should not be baggy or taut.

You can spot a bad suit in the seat of the pants, when there are wrinkles, or loose u-shaped sags across the thighs. If you just need marginal changes, this can be done my tailor.


The trouser break is the small wrinkle caused when the top of your shoes stops your trousers cuff from falling its full length. This usually, should be a small subtle feature – one horizontal dimple or crease is usually ideal. The cuff should rest on the top of your shoe – the back of the trouser can sit slightly lower than the from resting just above the heel is appropriate. This is one of the easiest adjustments to make.


1. The shirt cuffs should not slide up when you stretch your arms

2. This is the failing of many a man: Don’t ruin your custom-made suit with 2 dollar shoes. Do. Not. Wear. Trainers.

3. Always unfasten your jacket buttons when you sit. Absolutely, no exceptions. Make sure your socks are long enough, so that no skin on your leg is shown when sitting down – also.

4. The finish is everything – don’t go all sloppy and have a white undershirt poke through above your dress shirt neck. This is especially true if you are prone to sweating a lot. If you must wear under shirt, generic recommends that you go with a deep neck or v-neck vest.

6. Suits are a game of inches: so here’s the numbers.

When you are standing ensure that at least ¼ inch of a shirt collar is exposed above the suit collar. When you sit, the suit jacket collar will ride up and drown your shirt collar. Measure the jacket sleeves so that 1/2 an inch is exposed.


The rule of 3 “sometimes, always, never’ rule applies to the top, middle and bottom buttons of your suit jacket. Never wear all three buttons.

Single breasted suit: The most common type, and a staple in the most wardrobes – if you don’t have one, get one. The single breasted suited can be dressed up with a Peak Lapel.

The double breasted suit: The double breasted suits is a statement piece, if  you are vertically challenged or skinny, double breasted suits are probably not for you. Everyone should stay away from loud patterns and think pinstripes – always keeping your jacket buttoned – even when sitting.

Slim fit: Does exactly what it says on the tin, it means that it is closer to the body without excess fabric – this doesn’t mean you have to be tailored with an inch of your life, slim fit can be worn by a lot of different body types.

Classic fit: is comfortable and easy to wear, it is generously cut around the chest and waist which means  less constriction but it still maintains a clean body shape.

Modern fit: This style falls between both the slim and the classic – this is designed for the guy who don’t want the boxy classic fit but don’t think they can pull off a slim fit suit.

Lapels: lapels are the tell-tale sign of a dated suit. A good rule of thumb is that your lapels should be about the width of your site. For the moment skinny ties are in, as are skinny lapels or more accurately fat ties.

Notch Lapel – The Notch Lapel looks good at work, in meetings and for job interview, but is not too stuffy for date night or social event, a very balanced suit.

Peak Lapel – a Peak lapel is used primarily for double breasted suits, however now the Peak lapel is featured on a single breasted suit is now considered a sharp accent.

Shawl Lapel – The Shawl Lapel is almost exclusively is almost exclusively seen on tuxedos and dinner jackets at weddings and black tie events. A Shawl Lapel on jacket adds graceful lines. 

Buttons: The most common style today is a two-button suit. If you only have a three-button suit it’s time to go shopping.

Vents:  The darts and pinches at the back of the suit jacket can dramatically change the fit of a suit and how it falls on your body.

Center Vent:
As the name implies, the cut goes up the middle of the jacket. A Center Vent should lie closed when you are wearing your jacket or the jacket fit is not right.

Side Vent:
Side Vents let you put your hands in your pants pockets without the jacket bunching up and allow the jacket to lie smoothly in the back when seated. Side Vents can also make a jacket appear slimmer.

Accessories: like pocket squares can add another level of sophistication to your suiting. If you are wearing a light suit a dark pocket square can provide a visual anchor. As a rule you should never match the color or fabric of your tie or suit to that of your pocket square.

Never wear a sports watch with a suit, if this an “a-ha moment” for you then its time to get yourself a proper watch.

For accessories, less is more – you shouldn’t be seen with a pocket square, a tie bar and a lapel all at once.


When picking a suit the fabric choice is super important, there are only a handful of fabrics designed for suiting – which is good, but there are still a lot of factors to picking the perfect one.

In summer you’re going to need a breathable fabric to war against the sweaty back – in winter you’re going to need a thicker jacket.

Fabric softness is a second factor, who wants to be engaged by itchy suit pants? Or feel trapped tight and unable to move because of an over starched jacket.

Wool is probably the most popular fabric choice for men due to its versatility and refined look. Wool is a fully organic material which means that it breathers well and can be worn in summer and winter – in day or night. It is super soft wrinkle free but can be seen a clumpy, and unflattering.

Cotton is the second most popular fabric for suits and is derived from plant fibers. Cotton suits move and breathe well but are easily creased which make the suit look sloppy. They are satisfactory when it comes to softness but lag behind in the luxury department when compared to wool fabrics.

Linen suits are super lightweight and maintain their coolness in soaring temperatures. However, linen wrinkles easily and stains even easier, meaning it requires regular dry cleaning to maintain a fresh, crisp look.

Cashmere, on its own or as a blend, is rather luxurious but can give an unwanted shine to a suit. Depending on whether you want something fancily European or not, cashmere may not be suitable for work. But for pleasure? Always.

  • 7oz – 9oz: Lightweight. Ideal for the peak of summer here. Think African plains hot.
  • 9.5oz – 11oz: Light to mid weight. Perfect for moving from spring to summer and late summer to autumn. Cause we all love awkward transitions.
  • 11oz – 12oz: Mid weight. Perfect as the go-to fabric weight for most days. Choose this for your first suit purchase.
  • 12oz – 13oz: Heavier mid weight. A satisfactory choice for daily wear, though maybe a little too hot to handle in the peak of summer.
  • 14oz – 19oz: Heavy. Great on a cold autumn or winter’s day. Warmth made easy.
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The ELEVEN most dastardly, deviant and inspirational mustachioed men – past and present; fact or fiction. It isn’t Movember, but we just needed a midway-point-tribute-moustache article.


The Low Down: In many ways at the epicenter of the Generic Universe. The King, The Main Man, The Legend….. If we are honest he is a muse among a plethora of superlatives. He loves his scotch, his leather bound books and the smell of rich mahogany. But then again, who doesn’t?

It’s no secret that we love “The Ronald”. His mustache is close to The Selleck, but we couldn’t leave either out of the list. They are both such sturdy gents.

Acquisition Lead Time: 4 Months.

Style Requirements: Be Ron.


The Low Down: To Nietzsche god may well be dead but the but his mustache is alive and kicking – we actually think it may be some sort of rodent. Freddy genuinely felt that this prize mustache gave him supernatural powers – finding the Ubermensch indeed.

Acquisition Lead Time: 
6 Months

Style Requirements: 
A nihilistic, depressive out-look and receding hairline.


The Low Down: Although one the premier and influential figures in history – very little is known about Genghis Kahn. Though paintings have given Genghis Khan’s facial hair different looks, one thing that’s certain is that he always looked stylish, no matter which version was true.

Do you really think opposing armies would have feared a clean-shaven military man facing off at them across a battlefield? 

Acquisition Lead Time: 
Unknown – Genghis grew a new beard daily. Only mortals abide by time.
Style Requirements: 
Mongolian Deels.


The Low Down: Rumor has it the “M” in E=MC ² stands for mustache. Einstein’s mustache was as formidable as his mind.

Acquisition Lead Time: 
6 Months.

Style Requirements: 
One of the greatest minds of all time and a Nobel prize.


The Low Down: Where would we be without Teddy? He is a mascot for us at GenericPuzzles, in fact we’re convinced his mustache alone is so manly it could out judo chop Bruce Lee.

Acquisition Lead Time: 4 Months

Style Requirements: Fantastic vocab, bullet dodging abilities and great one liners – “It takes more than that to kill a bull moose.”


The Low Down: Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn – there I said it. I needed to get it out the way. The Gable – is sleek, sophisticated and 100% nonchalant. Although a formidable actor, Gable is arguably best known for the trademark mauser.

Acquisition Lead Time: Under a month

Style requirements: A good call for those without copious amounts of facial hair, like a Hollywood actor the mustache is regarded as high maintenance – requiring a safety razor to cut a ‘stache that floats above the upper lip.


The Low Down: The man likes milkshakes, he’s an oilman and straight capitalist. He also haunts dreams. There will be beard!  Nothing flashy or manicured about the mustache. It is strong, immoveable, sturdy as steel. It is ruthless, savage, bold and, at times, charismatic enough to seduce you into doing whatever it wants. If it promises to find you, wherever you’re sleeping, and slit your throat, you can count on it.

It will drink your milkshake. It is, in short, the greatest cinematic mustache of all time.

Acquisition Lead Time: 5 months.

Style requirements: Wool suit, white shirt – monocle or pocket-watch optional.


The Lowdown: The epitome of surrealism coupled with ridiculousness – you need to be mad as a hatter for this one, simply be Dali. This moustache is legendary; and not for the squeamish or those who lack gumption and dedication. This mustache stands tall among due to sheers panache and gravity-defying creativity.

Acquisition Lead Time:  7 Months.

Style Requirements: Shave it below your nostrils, like Clark Gable’s Pencil – this is like similar to monopoly mustache, except the hair is twisted and lifted, not combed out.


The Low Down: Okay, okay, they are cartoon characters but Super Mario is from a computer game and his moustache is rocking. This is a sweet as brushed out, ‘petite handlebar’. In order to do this right you need to start off with a super awkward tooth brush – think Chaplin – that way you may persevere.

Using the length of hair from center brush it out from the center. Sadly, between beginning and godliness – you’ll look so ridiculous you’re going to need the monopoly man’s bank balance to put it off.

Acquisition Lead Time: Five to six months.

Style Requirements: Top Hat, Cane, Coat Tails and Money Clip. During the 17th century male footwear was dominated by boots – often going up to knee length – which seems outrageous today, I know. They were also super-tight fitting with buttons instead of laces (what a drag). More often than not these boots featured rather high heels, a style that was popularized by King Louis XIV due to his small statue. At that time France was defined as the epicenter of the fashion world and as such most European gentleman aligned themselves with the choices of the French establishment.


The Low Down: Mmmm, very few can hit the iconic heights of mustacheary quiet like Tom. From Magnum Pi to Friends (do you remember his stint here)– The Sellick has been the ultimate for decades. Always the avid gardener Tom, has not been without controversy, especially the alleged stealing of public water for his California – as he wanted to keep his lawn green. The Man is either Dorian Gray or a fine wine – reports indicate that he’s 70 – he hasn’t aged a day since the in 1957.

Acquisition Lead Time: Five months.

Style Requirements: You need thick, moppy hair to pull of this bad boy. We’re talking ‘windswept and interesting’.


The Low Down: Not technically a mustache, but the man here needs an honorable mention, if not a senior honoree role in this establishment we’re trying to organize here.

Acquisition Lead Time: One month.

Style Requirements: Dubbed “The Revolutionary” or the “Inverted Chaplin” this is here for the men without a thick growth – we didn’t want to leave you out. Take Che’s lead – although the moustache doesn’t define him, it certainly characterizes him. This style is a god given honor, it needs to come 100% au natural, if you shave this in – you will look ridiculous in the extreme.

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Explaining the finer points of men’s shoes is a sticky situation. The nuances often come down to the smallest detail on a strangest part of the shoe. We’re here to help you understand these variances and #UPYOURSHOEGAME

Take for example – the difference between a Derby and an Oxford – where the eyelet tab is stitched into the shoes, instead of the tabs sitting on top of the shoe. GenericPuzzles is here to help you unravel the brain bending world of shoes.

Traditionally there are 6 varieties of shoes – we’re here to explain them all.  Time to get you style game on form.



The characteristics of a loafer – a completely laceless shoe, low cut with ankle exposed, separate sole, low heel and usually upper vamp (where the laces would be).  Classically the loafer has a moccasin, which is frequently of a contrasting fabric or color across the vamp.

Loafer shoes are unique as they have developed on different continents. Loafers in their earliest incarnation are believe to have developed from Native American moccasin style by a Norwegian designer.

The contemporary loafer style we know today, dates back to the 20th century, where they were made to be a casual take on the Oxford shoes – consisting of a basic Oxford design, without the laces – et voila the Wildsmith loafer was born.

Many people confuse a slip-on with a loafer – however they are not the same. Slip-on shoes do not require a moccasin seam on the upper (which a loafer most certainly does)– and can look like an oxford or brogue.

Due to its heritage, a loafer will never be a formal shoe, it’s regarded as an inappropriate shoe to wear with a classic 3 piece as it’s simply too casual. For an informal and moderately formal situations loafers are appropriate, and are ideally worn for garden parties, with light and summer suits they can be complementary. You can sometimes wear a summer suit or casual suit with classic style darker loafers or with tassels.


Many men in the US call all laced dress shoes an Oxford, it has become a branded term – like Kleenex or Wrigley’s – technically however this is incorrect. An Oxford is characterized, by the eyelets being stitched into the shoe, as opposed to sitting on the shoe. It also possesses a tightly intertwined lacing system, low heel and exposed ankle. There is a pretty clear distinction between the Oxford and a Loafer, as opposed to a Derby or Brogue – which is more nuanced.  Essentially the Oxford’s design is meant to give the impression of a sleeker, classier shoe tailored to formal situations.

Oxford’s first originated from Scotland and Ireland, where they were called Balmoral’s. Stylistically they were plain, formal shoes, made almost exclusively from leather. In modern times designers got more exotic and creative with their design work and Oxfords are now made from calf leather, patent leather, suede and canvas.

It may seem bizarre, but the idea of wearing Oxford’s initially was rebellious – they were the Doc Martens of their day. Yes on the mean streets of Oxford University a rebellious shoe was designed.

During the 17th century male footwear was dominated by boots – often going up to knee length – which seems outrageous today. They were also super-tight fitting with buttons instead of laces (what a drag). More often than not these boots featured rather high heels, a style that was popularized by King Louis XIV due to his small statue. At that time France was defined as the epicenter of the fashion world and as such most European gentleman aligned themselves with the choices of the French establishment.

Slowly England became the trend setting hub of the universe, much to the disdain for the French.

It seems that the Oxford shoe is actually a descendant of the “half boot” Oxonian – from around 1825. The Oxonian slowly shortened to the  ankle as people got more and more ‘rebellious’– and the laces, which were on the side, initially moved up to the instep – there is some debate about if all these changes  took place on campus, of course it seems highly improbable, but it makes a neat story.

During the 1800’s men wore the oxford for formal and social gatherings – the toes could be rounded, square and decorated with stamped leather – which we called wing tips or cap-toes.

They were exceptionally popular as early as the mid-1800s with the upper crust at Oxford University. They were notably popular with rebellious young people who wanted a change from ankle boots and knee-high boots that were popular at the time. Some claim that the oxford shoe emerged from Scotland and Ireland and are referred too as the Balmorals, after Balmoral castle. However what is clear is that gentleman were looking for a comfortable, fashionable shoes that could be worn for walking.

Joseph Sparkes Hall, the inventor of the Chelsea boot, when referring to the Oxonian noted that it is the best shoe for walking. From there it was a short step to being acceptable as the premier choice of men’s footwear, replacing boots that were now relegated to specialized activities such as horse riding. Ironically the Oxford shoe – although it has a history assigned to the campus, is probably too formal to be considered and everyday shoes for campus wear today.

Oxford’s form the base for derby’s, wingtips and brogues and come can in cap toe on wing tip tops. They are very flexible shoes – suitable for casual and formal events. It should be noted that Oxfords are not always Brogues and brogues are not always Oxfords.


Chelsea Boots: you know the one – close-fitting, ankle-high boots with an elastic side panel. They often have a loop or tab of fabric on the back of the boot enabling the boot to be pulled on.

Chelsea boots are considered an iconic element of 1960’s Britain, particularly in the mod scene and rock scene, they resemble renegades of a generation. The boot actually has deeply regal roots Joseph Hall who designed them for Queen Victoria.

The Chelsea boot we know today however, owes much to the invention of vulcanized rubber by Charles Goodyear’s. With the advantage being the development of elastic – the corner stone of a Chelsea boot. Joseph Sparkes Hall on filing his patent in 1981 claimed that Queen Victoria walks in these boots daily – giving his boots the social proof of the highest kind. They were initially called “elastic side ankle boots” which is a bit more wordy than the current branding – we’ll get more on that later.

According to Chelsea boot’s inventor they were popularized as walking boots, tailored to both men and women. Indeed ankle boots were the dominant style of shoe worn at day time.

The style remained a staple up until WW1 – where it fell out of fashion. By the 1950’s Chelsea boots renaissance was now under the wing of a plethora young artists, film directors and socialites that started to frequent the King’s Road area in London – the group was dubbed the “Chelsea Set” by the media. This group was well known and fashion forward including icons such a Mary Quant and Jean Simpson.

Angello and Davide re-interpreted the Chelsea boots in the 1960’s fitting with the Cuban heel. This was known as the Baba Boot – which was popularized by the world of rock and roll, where it was plugged enthusiastically by the Beatles, where predictably the popularity skyrocketed. This was then followed by the image conscious mods, who considered them the height of mod fashion, wearing tailored suits on customized scooters.

It is not hard to ascertain why the Chelsea boot was so popular- wearers included a who’s-who of fashion icons. Not only did well known rock bands, such as the rolling stones wear them but also French & Italian cultural influences fused for the popular American greaser look.

As a style, Chelsea boots are popular due to their versatility and classic look. They can be dressed up, down and then back again very easily. Chelsea boots are a timeless look with a nod to the past. Their simple clean lines compliment virtually any outfit – they have been featured by designer across the spectrum from high-end couture to low-end budget fashion.

Chelsea boots have 7 standard characteristics:

1. Ankle Length
2. Rounded Toes.
3. Low Heels
4. They are made from two pieces of leather and meet near the ankle.
5. The vamp and the quarters meet near the ankle where they are joined by a strip of vulcanized rubber or elastic.
6. The strip of elastic extends to just below the ankle but not all the way down to the sole (just above the welt).
7. The vamp and quarters are not sewn one on top of the other. Instead, they are sewn together in one plain below the ankle.


Modern Brogues’ trace their origins back to a rudimentary shoe, originating from Ireland and Scotland where they were made from untanned hide. Far from exotic, the initial perforation (those dainty dots) were designed as a drainage system allowing water to drain from the shoes when the wearer walked across bogged terrain – lovely.

There was nothing romantic about the brogue back then, the name is derived from the Gaelic “brog” which means ‘ a rough or stout shoe’ – the world Merriam-Webster dictionary describes ‘broguing’ as an ornamentation of shoes employing heavy perforations and pinking. A true union of fashion and function!

Of course at that time the brogue was not considered an appropriate style of shoes for casual or formal situations. How time flies – the ugly duckling turned into the beautiful swan, from Irish farmers to the red carpet. Nonchalant!

Although Brogues are similar to the “Oxford shoe”, they are two completely different types of shoe and are not to be classified into the same family, just so you don’t get it twisted.

Brogues are most commonly found in one of four toe-cap styles (full or “wingtip” brogues, semi-brogues, quarter brogues and long-wing brogues).

The brogue is a super versatile shoes and can be worn in a variety of occasions – it is also ultra in trend and has remained a classic style for decades.


Before the advent of the modern boat shoe, sailors and boatmen alike struggled to maintain a firm foothold on the slippery decks of their wave engulfed boats. The shoes available to them were simply not up to the arduous task of assisting sailors to keep balance on deck, of course this led to frequent accidents, not to a mention a regular stream of hilarious and embarrassing situations.

In the early 1930’s, Paul Sperry, an ardent sailor and boater was struggling with this problem in his everyday life. Luckily, he came across as very unlikely muse in his dog. Here’s how the story begins:

One winter day in Connecticut he took his dog, a Cocker Spaniel by the name of Price, where he was amazed at his dogs ability to grip the ice while running.

The traction he managed to generate on slippery surface intrigued him – how did he manage it? Paul figured that it had something to do with the pads on Price’s feet.  Upon closer examination of his dog’s paws he realized that Price’s feet had formed herringbone-like pattern that allowed him to grip wet surfaces remarkably easily. With this brain wave he started upon his million dollar idea.

In 1935 the Sperry Top-Sider shoe with mid to calf-brown leather upper and white rubber sole, with herring bone mold were introduced to the market and quickly gained prominence among sailors. By 1939 the navy had recognized the benefits of the boat shoes and started to manufacture it for its sailors. 

The style and manufacturer has become some what of a heritage brand and they are still worn today, on the boat and off the boat.

For obvious reasons the boat shoes should be avoided during winter, unless you live in a hot tropical climate. They are best paired with slim, clean lined jeans or shorts.

Dark denims provide the best combination for boat shoes, especially when accompanied by with a polo shirt or oxford button down. Boat shoes are informal, casual footwear – so don’t go wearing them with a suit, sports jackets or blazers. Similarly, you should never wear these to dinner parties – these should be reserved for days relaxing in the park.


Chukka Boots are ankle-length leather boots with suede or leather uppers. Chukkas are usually made from calfskin or suede, although thy have been made by more unusual materials like crocodile skin. The style first became popular in the late 1940’s through the 1960’s as casual wear and were worn by British forces in the Western Desert Campaign of World War II.

Nathan Clark, was an officer in the royal army service corps, posted to Burma in 1941 with orders to help establish a supply route from Rangoon to the Chinese forces at Chongqing whilst also launching series of offensives throughout South East Asia. Although he did all this work you probably won’t recognize him from his military days, but instead from his shoes – Clark’s – in shopping malls around the world.

The desert boot has success in Italy and France and which was later released in England and US. In the US the desert boots became popular with the beatnik culture and was later adopted by the 1960’s mods. The mod look is still strong today; Paul Weller and Liam Gallagher sport desert boots regularly. In its 60 year history Clark’s deserts boot has sold more than 12 million worldwide.

Chukka boots are always casual, and should never combined with dress pants or suits. Suede Chukka boots with crepe soles should only be worn with denim or chinos.


Monk strap shoes are becoming increasingly popular with the style set, year-on-year and its heritage comes from exactly as you might imagine. The monk strap shoe found popularity with monks in Europe because it was more protective than the sandals that were traditionally worn. They were hard wearing and long lasting, making them a solid choice as a work shoe and durable for heavy walking.

The obvious hallmark of a monk strap shoe is the lack of lacing – the shoe itself is very similar to a standard brogue shoe, traditionally, monk shoes are ranked as a middle of the road for shoes – they are considered too informal for suits. However, it is the detail that sets – the incarnations of the monk shoe are endless, single strap or double – made from suede or leather and can be worn with socks or without.

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Beyond the fact whiskey is Golden brown and burns when you drink it – how much do you really know about this popular liquor? Can you maneuver your way round the various differences, what makes a scotch? How does this differ from an American blend? Do you like rye? Do you like bourbon? Are you angling for a neat pour? If you’re unsure about any of the above, we’re here to help.


Whiskey is a spirit made from grain – usually with a wheat, rye or corn base. For the most part whiskey is aged in a barrel, but not always leading to a whole spectrum of whiskeys running from brown (with casks) to clear (without casks). On a basic level whiskey is for all intents a distilled beer – to turn beer to whiskey you must concentrate the beers volatile elements and age it in oak barrels until it matures – sometimes this can take several years.


Admittedly, whiskey isn’t the easiest drink to embrace – it has an alcohol level that far exceeds that of wine or beer – leaving it out of the mainstream as well as being a traditional “man drink”. If you’re new to the whiskey game we recommend that you start at a lighter whiskey with a lower proof.

We recommend that you stick to a local brand: it’s always good to support your local distillery, also you are likely to get a better value whiskey on a budget. Don’t go straight for the top shelf stuff – the top level stuff is expensive, higher in alcohol with stronger flavor – and like most great things, one must develop a palette.

The major difference between a bourbon, rye and scotch?

The key difference between these two styles of whiskey is dependent on the kind of wood the cask is made from and the whiskey was matured in. Bourbon whiskey traditionally has an American oak blend – this will lead to the whiskey having a wide assortment of flavors.

Rye whiskey tends to be lighter and doesn’t need to be matured in new casks – meaning it has less woodiness. When you get into scotch whiskey the flavors that are evoked tend to be quiet pronounced – there is less flavor coming from the wood when compared to the bourbon.

Bourbon: according to U.S federal regulations bourbon must be made from 51% corn, aged in new charred, white oak barrel and bottled at 40% alcohol. Bourbon is distinguished by its sweet caramel and vanilla flavoring as well as its reddish tone.

Rye: this must be made with at least 51% rye mash and also aged in new charred oak barrels. Straight ryes are aged for at least two years – the rye grains typically spicier, fruity note.

Scotch Whiskey: Scotches are made in Scotland, most of all from malted barley and must be aged for a minimum of at least three years. Single malt scotches are made from only barley and water, and must be distilled in pots at a single distillery.

The difference between the American whiskey and a scotch whiskey

This once again realies to the cask – with a bourbon you he first instances will be off fruity flavored notes – which come from the maturing of the whiskey  – then there is a very flavorsome woodiness. If you were to do a similar test with Scotch there is more of a dominant smokiness – a Johnny walker blend for example will consist of a variety of fruit and you wouldn’t get a smoky flavor instead of a woody one.

How do you test for flavors?

Take a small drop of whiskey in the palm of your hands and then rub them until the liquid evaporates – the scents that are left behind will give you an idea of the flavors’ and ingredients that were used in making them.

What is a blend?

Blended whiskey means exactly what it says – it is a blended whiskey from multiple distilleries, different barrels and a variety of grains. Good blended whiskeys taste – like a good single malt – and are known for their reliability, as distillers can combine multiple barrels consistently across bottles. Most of the top brands are famous for their blends; Johnnie Walker, Dewar’s, Jameson and so on.

Single Malt: a scotch whisky refers to whisky that is made solely from malted barley and is produced at a single distillery.

Blended Malt: Blended malt whisky is a blend of two or more single malt Scotch whiskies from different distilleries.

Blended Grain: A blend of two or more single whiskies from, differing distilleries.

Blended Scotch: A blend of one or more single malts with one or more single grains.
How to drink it?

Flavors are best revealed when there’s water present. You can either add water or of course add a bit of ice termed “on the rocks”. If you are a drinker of neat whiskey, have a glass of water on the side and on your palate will help release the flavors as you sip.

Whiskey, ideally should only be served at room temperature in a tulip-shaped glass, which allows the whiskey to be swirled without spilling.

How can you tell what’s the great stuff?

What defines a great whiskey is pretty much down to personal taste. If you are unsure we recommend you stick with a premium label – Johnnie Walker for example has 200 years of heritage, with a thorough understanding of how to produce and make great whiskey. All this experience goes into every bottle they make.



The Ron Burgundy favorite. Of course, located in Scotland with a generally spicy, smoky and peaty flavor. The recipe is predominantly malted barley, fused with corn and wheat. Scotland produces an abundance of rain slicked peat land leading to 5 regions producing different flavors and notes: Highlands (dry, heavy), Lowlands (grassy), Speyside (light, fruity), Islay (smoky) and Campbeltown (salty).

Scotch requires to be matured for a minimum of 3 years, although is usually settled for 6-8 years inside white oak casks. The barrels are generally former sherry or bourbon vessels, though some innovators are using port, cognac and even beer varieties.

Irish Whiskey

Home of whisky – the world itself come from the Gaelic “uisce” – meaning the water of life.  Irish whiskey is known for its Light, smooth flavor and barley hues. A unique recipe of malted and raw barley triple-distilled in pot stills for purity and extra alcohol content. Now get this, Irish malt is a real artisanal whiskey as it is kilned (dried in a brick-lined oven) over coal, and is matured for a minimum of 3 years in recycled oak casks. Only three Irish distilleries bottle a range of brands: Old Bushmills in the North, Cooley in County Louth and Cork’s Midleton – famous for Jameson.

apanese Whiskey

Japan actually distils, what is widely regarded as the finest whiskey in the world: the Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2013. Japan has a huge advantage in the whiskey distilling as they have more flavors to combine at their disposal. Japanese whiskey is noted for its fruity, floral and honeyed flavoring. The recipe consists of a malted barley mash (a combo of milled grains and water).

Japanese whiskey follows the Scotch method—the mash is dried in kilns fired with peat (though using less peat smoke) and double-distilled in large copper pots. Japan’s whiskey distilleries are scattered throughout the islands of Honshu and Hokkaido, many situated in the mountain regions where there’s a good water supply.


American twist on classic whiskey recipes bourbon is traditionally sweet, smoky, rich usually with hints of vanilla or caramel. Federal law requires that at least 51 percent corn (most are 60 to 80 percent), as well as wheat, rye and barley. No additive coloring, flavoring or spirits.

Other whiskeys mentioned are aged in old or recycled barrels, however by law – bourbon needs brand new barrels in white American oak – where it must mature for 2 years —the charred wood infuses the spirit with caramelized sugars, giving it that signature sweetness. Bourbons are usually from farm regions and corn-heavy states like Kentucky – often cited as the birthplace of the spirit, although they can be made anywhere in the U.S.,

Jack Daniels is technically Bourbon, however it is not processed in the same charcoal filter but is distilled in Tennessee. 

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At GenericPuzzles – we’re not here to spiel some psych 1-0-1, Freudian complexities.

We’re the laymen’s psychologists – located just below armchair psychologist in the psych-knowledge-league table!

But. We’re on the up…. Self-styled-pseudo psych came somewhat easy at the Generic Puzzles ‘laboratory’, amongst the tweed jackets, monocles and cigar smoke; it was a natural progression.  

So here we are, Neuroplasticity it is – fasten your seat belts, you’re in for a rough ride.

Before we begin…. It’s time for a shameless plug. You know what helps exercise brain plasticity – you guessed it…. beer.

*cough*! I mean puzzles!

First Rule – Your Brains are Plastic

You’ve probably heard that your brain is plastic, if you took this literally – then yours could well be and in which case, you’ll need more than a few puzzles to help straighten you out.

No, luckily your brain is not made of Tupperware, although many of Generics cohorts act as if theirs is.

Plasticity means the brain has the ability to change. Our brains constantly change as we learn new things – like it literally changes, both chemically and physically. By exercising your brain you can IMPROVE its functioning. I know, great right?


Much of “commonly held belief” is not factual – research shows that the brain can actually improve with age, and we don’t mean new age science or guys trying to shift puzzles – we mean real-life guys in lab coats and spec with resplendent beards – like the UCLA.

When Generic, was a young whippersnapper it was believed that your brain would never change, except for ‘critical’ periods– like when you were a young ‘un to your angry teenage years…

At which point you perpetrate an unfathomable amount of stupidity that the mere notion of intelligence is thrown out the window.

It was assumed (to assume makes an ass out of u and me) that the brain, which consisted of nearly 100 BILLION with a B, neural cells never generated new ones… basically each one of us was born with a finite number of cells – that we had to use as best we could.

We all knew better of course: despite what he media tells you, your brain is not “programmed” to shrink and fail as you age.

Good brain health comes down to a culmination of exercise activity and good diet and your brain can function at ever increasing standards.


We now know that intellectual and mental activity can induce brain activity when applied to healthy adults – (yes, you and me) and older adults. Another curious fact – the brain is amendable before birth. Studies have shown that pregnant mothers put in stimulating environments, are more likely to have intelligent offspring. The future depends on it!

Our complex reasoning skills continue to improve as we get older. Albert Einstein famously said:

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking as when we created them.”
Puzzles require a unique approach. The older brain is resilient and can be stimulated to innovate, create and contribute in phenomenal ways. Without the ball and chain of teenage chemicals.

Taylor Small UCLA Dean says:  “Shake things up. Stay physically active. Keep doing different things. Challenge your assumptions. Become comfortable with ambiguity. Listen to differing points of view and develop the ability to accept differences. Travel. Learn different languages.”

It is no longer a matter of “losing” brain cells – the brain is more than a gas tank. These puzzle are a gift that keeps on giving.

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10 Ways to Keep the Kids Amused While Travelling



If one thing its certain it is lack of perpetration will lead to the relentless chanting of: “Are we there yet?!”; a whole number of tantrums from young ones and even greater number of strops from the big ones – time to get organized:

  • 1. STAY-AWAY FROM MOTORWAYS “I spy” possibilities are restricted, so is the personal space. The humor is centered round a heavy dose of schadenfreude – nobody likes the family sweepstake on “who can guess the length of the tailback?”.
  • 2. BUS AND TRAIN JOURNEYS OFFER A MAJOR ADVANTAGE, HERE’S AN EQUATION: Rule of thumb: The more opportunities for them, the less obligations for you. If you’re feeling particularly risqué – there is hide and seek – this is not recommended unless you’re travelling to the final destination directly, things could go south if little Jonny decides to get off in search of platform 9 3/4…
  • 3. TIME TO CRACK OUT THE PENCILS AND CRAYONS. Hangman, knots and crosses and even battleships (simple 10 by 10 grid marked 1-10 and A-J). Winner, winner chicken dinner. 
  • 4. MONEY IS AN EXCELLENT BARGAINING TOOL. A simple transaction of a quarter for every hour of good behavior; or get creative – a bonus for every Greyhound Coach they see – do your research and don’t pass a depot, this could end up costing you a small fortune… so a friend said.
  • 5. IF CASH PRIZES AREN’T FOR YOU – then how about candy on a rotation system say…. every 30 minutes. Make sure they only get one if they are being behaved – Pavlov’s dog and all that jazz.

    You need to sail a tight ship on this, dolling out sweets to appease badly behaved children will result in chaos and inter-car relations will be strained for the duration of the journey. You are a politician now, use your power astutely.
  • 6. PRINTABLE TRAVEL BINGO – It’s a classic for a reason: It ticks most of boxes – time consuming ✓, fun for all ages ✓, easy to set up ✓ and relatively mitigating the risk of tears…. ✓. However! It is demanding for you the chef, policeman, politician, gamekeeper and now bingo host – just a disclaimer, but it probably beats the 23rd “rendition of wheels on the bus”.
  • 7. TWO-BIRDS; ONE STONE: Now the ideal situation here is that 2,3 or even 4 kids can play harmoniously over a good game of connect 4 or checkers – the reality is probably somewhat different and the conclusion is normally the same, tears. BUT, When the going is good on this, it’s great – when it’s bad, it’s disaster – are you feeling lucky?

    For older kids – chess is a sure fire winner, backgammon too – just make sure to keep the steering wheel steady and avoid potholes or you will be at the sharp edge of their angst.
  • 8. WHEN YOU CAN; ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, DRIVE AT NIGHT – this is a sure fine winner all day every day. Driving at night is probably among the most tranquil and relaxing time you will ever spend as a parent.
  • 9. IF YOU’RE NOT IMAGINATIVE ENOUGH TO MAKE UP YOUR OWN STORY, LISTEN TO HARRY POTTER TAPES, THEY SEEM TO BE NEVER ENDING. Stay away from Roald Dahl though, The Witches may result in you guessed it… tears.
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GENERIC SCIENCE: #BeardMaintenance


There was a time when growing a proper beard required only one thing – the face’s owner to simply cease shaving.

These were simpler times, your choice between a beard or an arsenal of shaving tools: shards of flint, volcanic glass, scallop shells and a host of, what seems like, pocket sized medieval torture devices.

Today you have options.

Nobody wants you wandering round like you have a Weetabix strapped to your face – ambling through life like a time travelling Viking – so we have some beard 101 advice:

  • 1. If you’re just a young pup or abnormally hairless, shave twice-a-day for some time before dedicating yourself to beardom – no beard is better than half-assed one.
  • 2. Accessorize, it’s time for a top hat and cane, possibly pocket watch… at least a new scarf. You haven’t just grown a beard you’ve grown a new man, go get ‘em Heisenberg.
  • 3. If you’re overly hairy and intent on a developing a resplendent manometer, shave above your cheek line – no stragglers. As a rule, neatness is classy – stay classy.
  • 4. Invest in a reputable barber of some esteem, and a trimmer of equal quality – you’re in the major leagues now, son. No cheap fixes.
  • 5.  Invest in fine tooth comb, but no using it in public – you filthy animal.
  • 6. You must never tend to your beard; you must only nurture. He’s part of you now. With nourishment and boundaries in equal measure you two will be partners in crime.
  • 7. Trim to a shape that enhances your features – don’t go for the beard’s version of the comb-over. Follow there simple rules: if you’re brown give it the volume it needs; if you’re light cut it shorter.
  • 8. Treat your beard as if it were your scalp – that means soap and conditioner. Only these two in careful quantities can itch free relief be attained.
  • 9. If itchiness is proving to be a complication in your relationship, follow the Rugged Fellow’s Guide and choose a high neckline, close to the jaw and shave beneath it. Science.
Trimming A Beard Neckline

10. A ‘no-no’ roll call: Neck Beards, Goatees, The Horseshoe (sorry Mr. Hogan), the mutton chops OR the Chin Tuft & Mustache combo aka the ‘Colonel Sanders’.

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Xmas Gifts Your Husband Needs

An emblem of suave masculinity; a badge of honor for every boardroom table. Sleek. Sophisticated. Stylish. A truly formidable desk accessory. Perhaps the greatest gift a man could receive.

If these puzzles were hairstyles – they’d be the pompadour. This is what happens when Don Draper meets Elvis. We don’t deal in mullets.

Generic Puzzles, a bastion of understated cool, deserving of a Milano fashion line. As unique as they are creative, a challenging conundrum for everyone and anyone.