Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sprained whistle (Sunday brunch: November 17, 2013)

Hockey can be as rough on whistles as it is on the players and officials.  I had a really good AA pee wee game Sunday morning, and in the third period we had a scrum for the puck right on the blue line, so I had to get up on the boards to get clear of the play while keeping a good view of the puck and the line.  Moments later, the puck got shot on goal, and when I put the whistle in my mouth for the stoppage, I felt cold brass instead of the rubber mouthguard.  The mouthguard got knocked off in the fray and was lying on the ice back at the blue line. One reason some guys prefer tape.

There was similar situation in a men’s league game once, when a couple of players took advantage of the jam-up to crunch me and my whistle into the boards.  I came out of it OK, but one of the welds of the fingerclamp got loose and made the whistle wobbly.  Not a fatal injury, but career-ending (for the whistle, not me...).

Then there was the time last season I had a routine offside, and when I blew the whistle all it went was ‘tithhh.’  The pea had gotten jammed in the chamber.  I shook it, blew again, and got the right sound.  “Sprained whistle,” I explained with a smile to the coach.

Do your stretches, prevent injury.  Stretch your brain now?

Cryptics first.  There’s a new Harper’s out this week, and the Richard Maltby puzzle in it is called “Hex Signs.”  Some of the same strategies for getting a toehold on the puzzle apply here as with the Seven Sages last week.  No further hints, since it’s a prize puzzle.  With the new puzzle up, Erica ought to have her annotation of the November puzzle up soon, but it wasn’t posted, last I checked.

Meanwhile, Hex have their regular straight cryptic in the National Post.  I thought it was a little more difficult than usual.  Both Falcon and I were groping to find a theme in the puzzle: Falcon with more success than me.

And it’s time for the quarterly Mark Halpin opus.  The title: “Here’s to the Ladies Who Lunch” is a reference to a song from Sondheim’s musical Company.  It’s not too hard, and there’s a fun ending.

The Kevin Wald puzzle I did this week was called Multiples of Pie.  Another great medium-sized theme cryptic.  I’ve figured out half the meta, but not the last bit.  

Two acrostics this weekend: the Wall Street Journal puzzle by Mike Shenk has a seasonal theme, and some interesting bits of information in the clues as well as in the quotation.  The New York Times puzzle (Java puzzles at both links) is by Hex as usual.  Thomas Gaffney fills in for Deb Amlen blogging at Wordplay this week.

No new puzzle yet from LizR, but her fans are waiting in eager anticipation for a puzzle to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Doctor Who: which premiered November 23, 1963.

Come back for an update when the Nathan Curtis variety puzzle is posted.

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