It’s Twelve O’Clock Somewhere


Caleb with The Clock

By Mary McMullen


Caleb Trelford, LHHS senior, is more than a star student. Trelford is a master at Clock puzzles, and he was able to achieve a world record average this past summer.


“I wanted to get a WCA record, so it was surreal to actually get it,” he said. 


The Clock, also known as the Rubik’s Clock or Magic Clock, is a two-dimensional puzzle with only two sides. Each side has nine clock faces and four pins. Four wheels lay along the edges of the puzzle, and turning these wheels will influence the puzzle in various ways depending on the orientation of the pins. The ultimate goal is to orient all 18 clock faces to 12. 


“Clock solvers make up a subset of the broader cubing community, which is made up of people interested in twisty puzzles similar to the Rubik’s Cube,” Trelford explained.


Trelford first gained interest in Clock after seeing it in a variety of YouTube videos. 


“About eight years ago, I received my first Clock as a present from my parents. However, I only really got into Clock during the lockdown,” Trelford added.


Similar to chess or cup stacking, there are Clock competitions and they’re sanctioned by the World Cube Association (WCA). People of all ages compete, and the participants that perform the best in one round move to the next. 


“Competitively, Clock is very intense, especially when you know a possible record is just seconds away,” Trelford said. “You need more than just speed to do well in competition; you also need to have a good mindset and know how to handle nervousness under pressure.” Trelford mentioned that he tries his best to recapture the mindset he has when practicing at home, and this leads to his successful performances. 


In Clock, there’s a “no-flip” technique, a method in which you memorize the moves to solve the other side of the Clock to avoid needing to flip it. Although Trelford wasn’t the creator of this technique, he was the first to ever prove it possible during competition.


“Over the past few months, I have been working with an Australian computer genius and the current world record holder for solving a Rubik’s Cube blindfolded to create a revolutionary method for Clock called 7 simul, which solves the Clock in just seven moves,” Trelford explained. “Development of this method has very much been a group effort where all of us feel open sharing our ideas and theories, no matter how esoteric they may seem.”


Trelford created a YouTube channel for the purpose of posting his record times. However, it’s evolved to be a learning resource for Clock solvers of all skill levels.


Trelford plans to attend the University of Texas at Austin to major in Plan 2 and Statistics. Lucky for him, UT has the Longhorn Cubing Club.


“I have talked to multiple members and have a guaranteed spot for myself. In the future, I hope to help organize a cubing competition at UT with the Longhorn Cubing Club,” Trelford concluded.


He encourages anyone who’s interested in Clocking to reach out to him. It’s a fun hobby that anyone can pick up.