Sunday, September 15, 2013

Moon pie (Sunday brunch: September 15, 2013)

Actually, I’m making Belgian waffles Sunday morning, not marshmallow-graham cracker sandwiches, but you know you lead a blessed life when the answer to the question “how do you spell the name of that city anyway?” is right there on the wrapper of the snack you’re eating while you work on a puzzle between segments of referee training camp (about which more below the puzzles).

The puzzle was Patrick Berry’s “Border Crossing” in the Wall Street Journal and the answer was a particular city in Tennessee (which itself is a spelling challenge--how about a puzzle with hard-to-spell place names like Poughkeepsie, Rensselaer, and Cynwyd?).  My knowledge of useful facts (and my appreciation of junk food in moderation) is such that when I hear the name of said Tennessee city, my first thought is “moon pie.”

So besides the aforementioned WSJ puzzle, for which both solution and hint grid are now posted, there are lots of other good puzzles to work on this weekend (but please, only one moon pie per day).

Hex have cryptics in both the New York Times (behind the paywall) and the National Post.  In the interest of traffic, the NYT solution is now posted to the blog, while Falcon will solve and annotate the National Post cryptic: a puzzle themed to Fashion Week.

The October Harpers with Richard Maltby’s latest puzzle is out.  It’s called “Alphabetical Inserts” in which 26 of the answers are modified before entry.  You can figure out the rest of the modification, but I won’t help since it’s a prize puzzle.

Nathan Curtis’s Pathfinder is a tribute to a great poet now deceased.

I like the title of Xanthippe’s puzzle this week: “London Underground is Not a Political Movement” (though it’s decidedly a movement movement).  Even if you don’t solve Brit cryptics, go over for the beautiful picture at the top of the blog this week.

How was camp?  I had to go to Lehigh this year, since I have other commitments for the day the Philadelphia camp is scheduled.  So I didn’t see many of my regular partners.  The program also wasn’t as all-encompassing as last year’s in Philadelphia.  But the on-ice session was more productive.  We did a lot more advanced stuff than just dropping pucks.  It included edge exercises, drills where we skated on one foot to improve our balance and edge awareness, a bump-out drill, and an altercation drill in which instructor and ex-NHLer Harry Dumas called out your humble blogger as an example for everyone (yes, a good example).

Most of the guys just stayed quiet and immediately jumped into the fray to try and separate the instructors who were playing at fighting, which is the wrong thing to do in a bunch of ways.  But this is one place where my particularly vocal approach to the job helps.  First, as the instructors were spinning around looking for an opportunity to throw a “punch,” I yelled at my partner to stay out.  Linesmen shouldn’t intervene in an altercation while the players’ arms are still free, because they’d be at risk of getting punched out themselves, and keeping you and your partner safe is always the first priority.

Next, as the players got into a clinch and we could move in, I called out “I’ve got red! You get black!”  This matters since you want one official on each combatant.  If you both go for the same guy, you end up controlling him while giving his opponent an opportunity to take a few more free whacks (nailing you or your partner in the process).  Finally, once we got their arms wrapped up, I talked to the players to tell them the fight was over and we’re skating them to the penalty bench.  Most of the time, the players stop fighting as soon as they know both they and their opponent have been neutralized.

So instead of watching the players in a hockey fight and debating who won it, watch the officiating crew sometime to see the teamwork and leverage they use to defuse a dangerous situation.

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