Friday, January 3, 2014

I’m not an epee referee, but I play one on the hockey rink (Puzzle No. 3,308)

The Nation Puzzle No. 3,308

Link to puzzle

Degree of difficulty (by standards of this weekly puzzle): easy

Hozom’s comment: Happy New Year, in which Hot and Trazom share the virtues of resolving and re-solving.  Most of the time, I strive to parse out and understand every clue I solve, and I have to with the The Nation puzzles so that I can blog them comprehensively.  In my case, the re-solve resolution ought to address the unfinished Kevin Wald cryptics on my clipboard: in most of them the grid is completely or almost completely filled, but I haven’t been able to figure out the secondary puzzle and answers.  Those are always rewarding to get, so after the hardest work is done, I ought to go back and get the payoff.  

Since there were nine epee fencers in the Christmas Eve tournament, the director decided to have everyone in one big round robin instead of dividing into two pools.  Thus there were a lot of bouts to be fenced.  After the foil event was over, we took over the strip they were using so three bouts could go at a time instead of two.  But there were only two referees.  The director calls the next bout, looks at me and asks, can you ref them?

Now my entire epee experience consisted of about four or five bouts, but I knew that in most respects, epee is less complicated than saber to ref.  The director’s seen me ref saber, so I figured he knew what he was getting into.  So I went over, found the weight and the shim and checked the weapons, and then let instinct take over.  Fortunately, there was nothing out of the ordinary in the bout.  The only significant call I had to make was when one of the fencers went off-strip, and I knew what to do with that.  I worked a couple more bouts when I wasn’t competing, and they went just as smoothly.

When I got through with the event, my first thought was “I think belong here now.”  It was nice to be treated as just one of the competitors and not a sideshow or someone who wouldn’t know which end of the weapon to hold.

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