Sunday, September 29, 2013

Don’t overthink the test (Sunday brunch: September 29, 2013)

It was a few weeks ago now, but I’m still steamed at myself over how I did on my closed-book rules exam this year.  I haven’t gotten my score yet (I’m sure I passed), but I blew three questions because I broke my cardinal rule of rules exams: “don’t overthink the test.”

What do I mean by that?  Here’s an example.  There was a question that asked whether the teams switch ends before overtime.  In almost every league or tournament, overtime (or lack thereof) rules are set by the organizing authorities, and very rarely coincide with what is in the rulebook (which explicitly grants local governing bodies the authority to set overtime rules).  It’s a habit of mine that whenever I work a tournament, or in a league I haven’t worked before, I check what the OT procedures are, because they’re all different.  While they’re all different about how long OT is or how many players are on ice or what do do if the game is still tied after OT, nobody changes ends.  And if you put me at center ice after three periods of a tied game, I’d always put teams on the same sides they were in the third period.

But the exam question included the words “game to be played to completion.”  Ignoring lessons learned from past exams and all the OT games I’ve ever worked, I let those particular words take over my brain.  I thought about multiple OT (which I’ve never had a league do even in playoffs), thought about the epic Stanley Cup games I’ve watched, and answered “change ends.”  Idiot.  In USA rules, nobody changes ends even for multiple OT.

I was so sure I [fouled] up that question that as soon as I turned in the exam I opened my rulebook to confirm I was wrong.  Of course I should have simply corrected my answer before turning in the exam but I stubbornly clung to my brilliant piece of logic instead.  Idiotic.  Brilliant, but idiotic.  Rest assured I will never change ends for OT in a real game though.

Want to see the rest of a typical rules exam?  Click here (Georgia Ice Hockey Officials Association).
Want some puzzlers not related to hockey, plus some fun videos?  Read on.

There’s some really fun fill in the weekend’s Wall Street Journal puzzle: a Patrick Berry Rows Garden. I guessed 2B right but turned out to be wrong with the reference to a hit song: the song I was thinking about was recorded in 1966, not 1961, but the folks I mentioned it to all had pleasant memories of the wrong song, so I’ll embed a video of it anyway.  The other answer I really liked is at the end.

The New York Times variety puzzle (behind the paywall) is another Ring Toss by Mark Halpern.  Deb Amlen (spoiler alert) was glad to see it, and I like all of Halpern’s work.  We saw one of these about a year ago.  I’ve posted some hints below the fold, and the solution will be up shortly.

The National Post cryptic by Hex was a little harder than usual, but still not more than a “moderate.”  Much anagramming and a nice pair of complimentary 14s in the middle.  Falcon has the solution and annotation for you.

Nathan Curtis apologizes for a late post of his Spiral, as well as for two easy puzzles in a row, but I don’t think he needs to apologize for offering us interesting stuff to solve even if it is late in the weekend instead of early.

Back to the WSJ after the fold, since a spoiler is below.  The New York Times hint is there too.

How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?  They thought the world would never know, but leave it to intrepid college students to seek out the answer.

Hints to New York Times variety puzzle Ring Toss by Mark Halpin: September 29, 2013

Hint set number 1: enumerations of the row answers

Select the text for the number of the row (click and drag) to see how many letters are in each answer

1:   7 / 5
2:   4 / 8
3:   5 / 3-4
4:   7 / 5
5:   5 / 7
6:   6 / 6
7:   4 / 8
8:   8 / 4
9:   7 / 5
10:  7 / 5
11:   6 / 6
12:   8 / 4

Hint set number 2: locations of rings

Select the text for the first word in the ring clue (click and drag) to see what row the ring is–rings in each row are further labeled A, B, C, D from left to right.  Keep dragging to see the direction (+ clockwise, – counterclockwise)

Undertake:    2   C   +
Like:   11   A   +
Where:   5   A   +
Kind:   8   C   +
What:   2   A   –
Ridiculously:   5   C   +
Filled:   8   A   –
Promotion:   11   B   +
Blood:   8   B   +
Tiles:   5   D   –
Least:   2   B   –
Collections:   11   C   –
‘Tis:   2   D   +
Like:   8   D   –
Circus:   5   B   –
Acts:   11   D   +

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