'Cubing' is back -- and local boy is thrilled

Courtesy photoGavin Cleary works on solving a Rubik's Cube.

A seventh-grader at Andover's Doherty Middle School is on a mission — a "cubing'' mission.
 Gavin Cleary, 12, wants to get more adults and kids interested in the Rubik’s Cube. He walks the talk, as he goes to Rubik's competitions around New England to keep motivated, keep up on Rubik's Cube trends (doing the cube blindfolded is hot right now) and, of course, to participate.
 Gavin is a thrill to watch as his best time is 16.68 seconds to solve the famous 3-by-3-inch twisty puzzle.
 The colorful cube has been around since 1974 and was invented by a Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture. The cube may not seem as popular as it once was, but there are Rubik's die-hards aplenty from around the world who pack competitions. As of January 2009, 350 million cubes had been sold worldwide, making it the world's top-selling puzzle game. The cube comes in different sizes, including 2-by-2-inch cubes and some up to 7 by 7 inches.
 Gavin most recently attended a competition at Quabbin Regional High School in Barre, Massachusetts, on Aug. 24 and will head to Vermont for a competition Nov. 2.
 Equipped with a timer and a cube, competitors took over the Quabbin school cafeteria, sitting at tables. Gavin was among them. He was not a top finisher, but had a great time participating.
 "I was excited but nervous and pretty happy with my time," he said of his first competition in Barre where he averaged 25 seconds to solve different-sized Rubik's Cube puzzles.
 Gavin, who has also been playing the cello since third grade, said cubing helps him to relax between homework assignments as he grabs the cube and quietly chills as he masters the puzzle.
 He started cubing around fourth grade, but was bored with it by sixth grade until a few friends started cubing and talking about it at school.
 His fingers move quickly when he solves his Rubik’s puzzles.
 "He is very passionate about his hobby,'' said his mother, Heather Cleary. "He is just over the moon that grownups are interested in his cubing activities, and I think he is excited to get more kids interested in the Rubik’s cube as well.''

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