Saturday, October 12, 2013

Keep your sweater untucked (Sunday brunch: October 13, 2013)

One of the other NHL rule changes taking effect this season is a delay of game penalty for players who tuck their jersey into their pants.  Some smart fans think this is a precursor to teams selling advertising on the bottoms of the jerseys, the way they do in European leagues.  In fact, their refs have advertising logos on their sweaters too.

Of course, there was one player they never would have dreamed enforcing such a rule on: Wayne Gretzky always tucked in the right side of his sweater and left the left side out.  So on Gretzky’s sweater, the manufacturers would move their logo from the bottom right (where the logo is on everyone else’s) to the bottom left.  And the day Gretzky’s number was retired, I wore a Flyers turtleneck to work and left the left side untucked in his honor.

Also on the equipment front: goalie’s pads are going to have to be a little shorter (about two inches), which the league hopes will increase scoring.  Their sticks are going to be a little smaller too.  Those changes could be more than a little annoying to some goalies: it could mess up their balance while making them get rid of their favorite old pads and break in new ones.

It’s the weekend, and we don’t care whether your shirttails are tucked in or not, or even if you’re still in pajamas.  Get comfortable and solve some puzzles now.  

The new Harper’s is out and timed just right to illustrate the comment I made at Word Salad about clues in verse.  The format is one we’ve seen before, where the grid has four-way symmetry and answers are clued in groups of four: you have to figure out which of four spaces each answer has to go in.  This makes for a good level of difficulty: challenging but not impossible.  If you get two or three answers from a couple of intersecting sets, you can eliminate most of the possible locations until you come up with the right one, or at least a good guess.  Since this is a prize puzzle, this is the only tip you’ll get.

I don’t think I’ve linked Kevin Wald’s Oscar-watching puzzle yet: it’s called “16 Changes” because the alterations to the answers are somewhat themed to the Best Picture nominees.

The Wall Street Journal puzzle is a Labyrinth by Mike Shenk.  Right in the sweet spot of difficulty level.  I got a few of the acrosses, had a guess at the first winding, and then stalled a little.  I had some guesses, but I wasn’t trusting them enough to write them in.  So I got a pencil, filled in the guesses, and they were all right!  That got me around to the halfway point and then some, where I got stalled again.  I trusted my guess again, got a little further, and one more guess later got to the end.  Nice grid: the average answer in the winding is 8.4 letters long.  Even Patrick Berry would be proud of an grid like that.

If you’re still having difficulty, I’ve created a hint grid that shows where each of the boundaries between Winding words is.  Look below the fold.

The weekend’s New York Times puzzle (behind the paywall) is a diagramless by Fred Piscop.  Deb Amlen blogs it (spoiler warning) at Wordplay.  I’ll have the solution posted here (I’ll stick it below this Sunday brunch post) between games on Sunday.

Falcon is on vacation, but he’s posted the National Post cryptic for us, though the solution and annotation may be late.  The grid looks interesting: Hex have put six(!) fifteen-letter answers in it.

[update] Nathan Curtis’s weekly variety puzzle was also from the “puzzle potluck”: it’s something called a Nurikabe.  These are tesselation (tiling) exercises like the four-color map problem, only in black and white.  You are given a grid and a set of instructions: you must color (or not color) every polygon so the final result will meet all the restrictions set up in the instructions.

No comments:

Post a Comment

If you're responding to a hint request, please remember not to give more information than necessary. More direct hints are allowed after Monday.