Saturday, January 18, 2014

Fraser and Fraser (Sunday brunch: January 19, 2014)

Hot and Trazom’s chat with Fraser Simpson points out to me that I’ve overlooked one of the regular North American cryptics.  So starting this week, I’ll add the Globe and Mail puzzle to our weekly brunch menu as well.  This week’s is here.

Second, we need a Fraser Simpson/Globe and Mail cryptic blog.  There apparently was a Saturday Globe Cryptic Blog a few years ago, but the cat must have gotten the unknown blogger’s tongue.  Here’s a great opportunity for someone to get into crossword blogging.  Interested?  Send me or Falcon an e-mail and we’ll lend you a hand.

Kerry Fraser at the Winter Classic in Philadelphia: 2011
In the meantime, here’s another Fraser blog to follow.  If you watched NHL hockey in the 80s, 90s, or 2000s, you’ll recognize Kerry Fraser, and even if you didn’t remember his name, you remembered his hair.  He was one of the last officials to work without a helmet (they’re required now), and he was one of the refs you could count on seeing in the Stanley Cup finals.  After working more NHL games than anyone else in history plus the Nagano Olympics, he retired in 2010 (and is living in South Jersey), wrote a memoir, and does some analysis for TSN (Canada’s version of ESPN).
His blog is titled “C’mon Ref!” and it’s notable because he’s quite willing to second-guess today’s officials and point out missed calls.  Plus Fraser shares some anecdotes from his own experience (we call it “pit” because it’s the kind of stuff refs talk about around the Zamboni pit after the game).  I don’t always agree with him, but I read him regularly.    

Good week for cryptic solvers.  Besides the regular Hex puzzle in the National Post (Falcon says it’s tricky), we have another straight cryptic in the New York Times (behind the paywall). Daniel Raymon is a constructor I haven’t heard of before, so I’ll be looking forward to Deb Amlen’s post at Wordplay.  Solution will be posted Sunday afternoon.

Harper’s is out this week. Prize puzzle, so no hints, but I got this one without too much trouble.  No post from Erica yet, but I expect she’ll have her take on the January puzzle very soon.  I thought this month’s is a better puzzle than usual, though some will find it particularly hard because of all the unclued entries.  But stick with it: once you get the theme, those answers will fall in quickly.

And on top of that, the Cryptic All-Stars crew have finished and mailed their print books for those who pledged accordingly.  Electronic copy is in progress, and will be provided in Puzzazz format.

The Wall Street Journal puzzle is a Rows Garden by Patrick Berry.  See elsewhere on the blog for hints if you need them.  If you like Rows Gardens, have you tossed some $$ in for a subscription from Andrew Ries?

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