Using the Sinatra Scaling System


“…to produce a consistent, reliable methodology for the determination of the coolness quotient of any particular idea or product, it must be evaluated in contrast with an ideal representation of cool: therefore, any such measurement will be quantified with the most precision by calculating the number of Sinatras it contains.”

Quantified Cool, John Maynard Keynes, Chairman of the World Bank Commission, 1944


Sinatra Grading: How and Why

This may come as a shock, but there’s no such thing as the Sinatra Scaling System….. I know I try to maintain a spoiler-free zone, but that’s only for puzzles and my secret identity.

Keynes was an economist, true, but Frank Sinatra was 11 when he died, so only Frankie’s mom knew how great he was at the time.

The name “fivesinatras” was something I spontaneously came up with when choosing my first online name as a teenager – a random and impulsive joke of the vaguely ironic “what’s cooler than one Frank Sinatra?……” Yes I do think Ol’ Blue Eyes is cool, but no, there are things cooler than he (as evidenced by my review of Secretum Cista, to which I gave the coveted Presley). Obviously, puzzles are cooler, or else I might be writing a blog called Five Puzzle Boxes, in which I used a puzzle-based rating system to talk about various Sinatra songs.

Eventually, I got into mechanical puzzles, and began seriously collecting them a couple years ago, relying frequently on the excellent puzzle blogs that have been around for years (particularly as there were far fewer puzzle YouTube channels at the time). Since I already spent so much time reading about them and working on them and had no one to talk to about them, beyond the occasional, “that’s nice, babe,” from my wife, I thought it might be fun to write about them. As I was already familiar with the name, “fivesinatras” seemed like an obvious choice (and now millions of puzzle collectors throughout the world regularly use the rating system).

So, basically, the name was a bit of an inside joke with myself, impulsively invented and used to create a blog; I’ve kept writing because it is fun and because I’ve had a person or two tell me that they found it useful, which I think is pretty cool.

You may have noticed that the “rating” system is a bit random. That is by design. If I didn’t think a puzzle was great, I wouldn’t write about it. I have not written about the majority of great puzzles I have done, as I select them randomly and impulsively, but these are some of them.

Oftentimes, I will change whatever aspect of a puzzle I am specifically rating to focus on whatever it is I find compelling about that specific puzzle; a few times, I think I forgot to include a rating at all. Quite possibly, I could now look back and feel like some don’t really make sense, as I have applied it totally inconsistently. Please don’t compare one rating to another and take it to mean that I think any particular puzzle is better than any other; the rating is intended to humorously praise and acknowledge and not to seriously critique or condemn.

Since it has been around for a while now, I figure I should throw some sort of standard at it, so I will continue to use it as an extremely brief TL;DR, using 4, 4.5, and 5 Sinatras, and perhaps the rare Presley. If ever a puzzle disappoints me so terribly that I cannot bear to keep it a secret, it might then have bestowed upon it the dreaded Bishop (we shan’t even mention the shameful Lawford). Hopefully, this clears up the ongoing debates about the nature and scope of the rating system currently taking place in numerous town hall meetings and University classrooms across the globe.

Thank you to my tens of imaginary readers, to the excellent puzzlers whose writings have inspired and directed me, and of course to the amazing and ingenious puzzle designers and creators whose work makes it all possible. And thank you most of all to the large, fiery ball at the center of the solar system whose ongoing existence allows us to enjoy puzzles: we couldn’t do it with you!

Overall Existence Grade: Four and a Half Sinatras

“[D]espite the justified reliance on the Sinatra as the coolness quotient upon which said methodology is based, there must simultaneously exist an indicator to be used should a commodity’s value be calculated such that the Sinatra be rendered insufficient; in this event, the Presley is the more apparent and precise control to represent the coolness being commodified insofar as it exists in excess of the standardized Sinatra metric.”