Monday, September 30, 2013

“E” is for Eric (Solution No. 3,296)

The US Fencing Association awards ratings A through E to athletes based on their tournament performance.  Earning a rating was Sabers’ goal this season, after a successful spring in local youth tournaments (which usually are not rated).  As mentioned here, he fell one touch short of getting that rating last week, finishing ninth out of 22 in a strong Philly Cup tournament (rated C2).  Sabers’ teammate Jeremy was the one who got the last touch and won the E, so it wasn’t all bad for us, and teammate Paolo from Temple University got a well-earned D for finishing second.

Philly Cup event number 2 this past Sunday was a real contrast: a smaller field and no rated opponents.  Because of that, it was an E1 tournament and the only rating awarded would be to the winner.  The fencers were all also a lot closer together in skill than last week, with no obvious favorite.  You had Sabers, coming off a tournament where he upset a D and an E; Nathan, the big prep school junior that Sabers staged a remarkable comeback against for the silver at the Lehigh Valley Sportsfest; and Charles, a cagy veteran and very friendly rival who already holds a E in epee.  Last time they met, Charles beat Sabers in the eliminations of last season’s Philly Cup final.

Charles beat Sabers in the pool round (both beat Nathan), and they ended up 1-2 seeds for the elimination round.  Sabers once again got Nathan in the semifinal.  This time Sabers got the early lead, held an 8-6 advantage after the first period, and kept it the rest of the way, adjusting well to the referee’s calls.  Meanwhile, Charles had an easy ride to the final after Storm was upset in the quarters.

Sabers vs. Charles, with a rating for the winner.  It wasn’t a particularly dramatic match: Sabers got the early lead with clean attacks and Charles kept it close with patient point-in-lines and pouncing on Sabers’ mistakes (Charles is really good at that).  But Sabers is half a year older and wiser than last time they met (not to mention an inch or two taller), so more of his attacks landed while he gave Charles fewer opportunities. Getting to 14-10 not only gave Sabers a little more margin for error, it also gave him a chance to anticipate the win.  After Charles scored on a good parry, Sabers got around his line in a clean one-light attack, so he knew immediately he’d won the match, the tournment, and the E.

As earlier mentioned, this was an easy puzzle, even after I mixed up the order of the clues.  Because the clues weren’t numbered in the published puzzle, I’m posting both the grid and the solved clues below the fold.



Solution to The Nation Puzzle No. 3,296


1
*ACCOMPLICE
*COMIC PLACE (anagram indicated by “strangely”)
11a
*ARCS
*SCAR (anagram indicated by “ugly”)
9
<_ARSENIC_<
<vac_CINES RA_rely< (reversal indicated by “in hindsight,” hidden word indicated by “contain”)
13
*CADEN | CE
^C^halleng^E^ (first and last letters indicated by “on the margins”) following (“following”) *DANCE (anagram indicated by “irregular”)
12b
CAR | R
CAR (“wheels”) + ^R^otated (first letter indicated by “originally”)
3b
~CASH
~CACHE (“hord,” homophone indicated by “is rumored”)
3a
~CEDE
~SEED (“strong competitor,” homophone indicated by “sounds like”)
11b
COG <NAC<
COG (“part of a machine”) + <CAN< (“container,” reversal indicated by “overturned”)
7
*COLLA | R
*LOCAL (anagram indicated by “criminal”) + ^R^obbery (first letter indicated by “start”)
5a
CON | _IC_
CON (“prisoner”) + h_IC_k (omission of first and last letters indicated by “naked”)
19a
COS | T
COS (“company’s”) + T (“time”)
10
CROSS ~CHECK
CROSS (“irritable”) + ~CZECH (“Slav,” homophone indicated by “in conversation”)
18
C_Y | CLONE
^C^it^Y^ (first and last letters indicated by “limits”) + CLONE “(reproduce”)
12a
_DE COR_
ru_DE COR_sican (hidden word indicated by “in”)
20a
*ETHICS
*TECH IS (anagram indicated by “shifting”)
2
HARI}C}OT
}C}HARIOT (“ancient vehicle,” relocation of first letter indicated by “relocated”)
14
_ICES
_v_ICES (“bad habits,” omission of first letter indicated by “lacking leadership”)
6b
IN CAS_
IN CAS_e_ (“as a precaution,” omission of last letter indicated by “don’t wind up”)
16b
I | ON | I | C
I (“one”) + ON (†) + I (“one”) + ^C^hat (first letter indicated by “to begin with”)
17
_LICK
_s_LICK (“oily patch,” omission of first letter indicated by “take top off”)
8b
*LOCO
*COOL (anagram indicated by “far out”)
15a
MA(GI)C
MAC (“buddy”) containing (“protects”) GI (“soldier”)
19b
N A A C P
^N^arrowly ^A^gainst ^A^dvancing ^C^orporate ^P^lutocracy (first letters indicated by “faces”)
8a
<NA(R)C<
<CAN< (“fire,” reversal indicated by “back”) containing (“around”) R (“republican”)
6a
_OR_CA
_c_OR_si_CA (“Mediterranean island,” omission of three letters indicated by “obliterating nearly half”)
Some solvers will consider this clue unfair because the omitted letters are not consecutive.
16a
P(R)IC | Y
abb^Y^ (last letter indicated by “ultimately”) following (“comes after”) PIC (“snapshot”) containing (“stifling”) R (“resistance”)
20b
ROCK
Double definition: Jesus called Peter “the rock” on which the church would be founded.
15b
S(C)ANS
SANS (“without”) containing (“concealing”) ^C^hagrin (first letter indicated by “at first”)
4
SC *ENIC
*NICE (anagram indicated by “mess”) following (“after”) ^SC^rewups (first two letters indicated by “pair of”)
5b
~SYNC
~SINK (“capsize,” homophone indicated by “in the sound”)




2 comments:

  1. "Some solvers will consider this clue unfair because the omitted letters are not consecutive."

    We wouldn't consider that fair either. Try a different island :) In fact, you have two to choose from.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Indeed. And we were warned...

    ReplyDelete

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