Hozom's comment: "Puzzling Resolutions" in which Hot and Trazom share their New Year's resolutions. Let me add one more: everyone bring at least one new solver into the fold this year.
This week's puzzle from Hot and Trazom has an appropriate collection of equipment, so it's an appropriate time to dig into my equipment bag. Besides the striped sweater, skates and helmet, we refs wear a protective girdle, shin guards, and elbow pads. While I don't wear contact lenses any more, I've kept the little bag I used to store them in. It's handy not just to keep the small stuff from getting lost in my equipment bag, but also to carry it out to the scorer's table in case I need it. What's there?
- Spare whistle (the most important item: sometimes your whistle freezes up or the finger-clamp gets bent; I've also lent that spare to rookie partners who have a cheesy-sounding whistle instead of an Acme or a Fox 40).
- Spare skate laces, plus cut-up pieces to fix the nets.
- Skate sharpener, in case one of my blades loses an edge.
- "Riot pad" and pencil (we call a little notebook a "riot pad" because it's needed when a brawl breaks out and we need to record who did what when so we can remember it for our post-game report).
- Ibuprofen (headache pills are the next thing you need after you use the riot pad).
- Tape measure (mine has a little paper taped on the side with all the equipment limits printed on it so I don't have to memorize them).
- Safety pins.
- Lock and key for the referees' dressing room.
- Tissues and lip balm.
- The Nation cryptic: red felt-tip pen (so I can solve while I'm on a walk)
- National Post cryptic, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, other block puzzles: blue gel pen
- Variety puzzles, Samurai Sudoku: mechanical pencil (I'm partial to the cheap little Cadoozles from Zebra Pen*) and a big polymer eraser.
- Financial Times cryptic: purple gel pen (for some reason, this stands out a little more against the pink paper and black ink)