Saturday, December 15, 2012

It's a skating game (Sunday brunch: December 16, 2012)

As we were getting dressed for a game last Saturday afternoon, my partner informed me that the visitors were a team of ten-year-olds while the home team was made up of twelve-year-olds.  We reminded each other of the mercy rule in their league, expecting we'd need to apply it.

Sure enough we did.  It was 6-0 in the first period, but it was the visitors doing all the scoring.  A couple of breakaways, a couple of wraparounds.  The home goalie wasn't all that good, but the game really was that one-sided.  The visitors all skated faster than the home team, so they got the loose pucks, they got out on odd-man advantages, and they even chased their opponents down on defense better.  They fully earned that lead.   The younger kids couldn't carry on that pace the whole game, so it got more even by the third, but it still finished 10-1.  

Lesson?  Hockey is a skating game, first and foremost.  The visitors' coaches must have focused on teaching the kids to skate well, and to use that advantage to play the game the right way.  I had a situation in the second where one of the home players was carrying the puck across the blue line, with a visitor in hot pursuit.  I watched the stick and the skates, anticipating a possible hooking situation, but the defender just kept skating first, got position on the puck-carrier, and tipped the puck off his stick.  As easy as a no-call will ever get.

On to more sedentary pastimes...  Falcon is getting ready for Christmas with Hex and their National Post cryptic.

It's another two-acrostic week, so if you want more cryptic crosswords, have a go at the Financial Times.  I'm catching up on last week's puzzles, but look for the In the Pink tags for some British cryptics that are approachable for American solvers, or at least have some rewarding answers to get even if you can't get more than halfway through the puzzle.

Be warned that you'll need a dictionary to solve the Wall Street Journal acrostic this week.
The New York Times acrostic is online with the new Java app.   It's by Hex, so the clues may clock for you faster than for other solvers who don't do cryptics.

Meanwhile, cryptic solvers might find the New York Times Sunday puzzle (in syndication next Sunday) enjoyable.  Deb Amlen (warning: spoilers) tells us its full of puns.

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