Saturday, January 25, 2014

Cold! (Sunday brunch: January 26, 2014)

Definitely not like this.
The word of the day is “unremitting.”  No, I’m not talking about the University of Pennsylvania and referee checks (but I could).  It’s been really [stinking] cold the entire week.  And I’ve got games at an outdoor rink this weekend.  Somehow though, I usually don’t get too cold on the ice.  I might wear an extra t-shirt under my striped sweater, and my face feels it more than it used to, but it’s not uncomfortable.  Besides, there are some indoor rinks that are unusually cold.  After a season or two, you get to know the different facilities and prepare accordingly.

Most importantly, if you’re moving enough, you can get an equilibrium between sweat and chill, so as long as I stay dry, I’m fine with the cold.  I’ve always been that way.  In my playing days, I didn’t wear long johns, and sometimes I’d have just a cut-off t-shirt under my shoulder pads.

Here are the weekend’s puzzles to curl up in front of the fireplace with.

The Wall Street Journal puzzle is a variety cryptic by Hex called “For Starters.”  The solution has been posted elsewhere on the blog.  Hex also have their regular cryptic in the National Post, solved and blogged by Falcon.  He says you should use your imagination with it.

Your other weekend cryptic is from the Globe and Mail: in a Java version or a print version (try it at 90% scaling to make it all fit a single page).  It’s harder than the National Post puzzle, and closer to a British style.  We still need a blogger for this puzzle: want to do it?  I’ll be glad to help you get started.

The New York Times puzzle (behind the paywall) is a Hex acrostic.  Deb Amlen thinks it’s somewhat harder than usual.  Speaking of the Times, they have a couple of notes in the blog that you should pay attention to.  They say the Thursday puzzle is better in PDF or print form than the Java version, and there was a sequencing error in the print paper.

That sequencing error involved a very special collaboration: the organizers of the MIT Mystery Hunt enlisted Will Shortz as a confederate, and Hunt participants had to figure out that one of their puzzles would be founs in the Times.  Much of the Hunt (which did not include any cryptics) is now online: see for the announcement, and for the puzzles themselves.  Congratulations to the winners: a team called “One Fish Two Fish Random Fish Blue Fish” won in a time of 38.5 hours.


  1. There was in fact at least one cryptic in this year's Mystery Hunt: A Puzzle with the Answer NOWHERE MAN -- in that particular round, you are ostensibly given the answer to the puzzle and tasked with finding out the title, but structurally, that's not far removed from the question-answer reversal on Jeopardy!

    For my part, I haven't disappeared entirely; I just got thrown off course by an editing project and then the Mystery Hunt, and hope to have new puzzles up starting this Saturday. Perhaps I should just give myself a break and declare the month of January a vacation from posting new puzzles on my site.

  2. So it is. Excellent puzzle. Were you part of Team Atlas Shrugged?


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