Sunday, April 27, 2014

Valencia (Sunday brunch: April 27, 2014)

Continuing the wine theme, let me tell you about how I found a soccer allegiance.  When Sabers started German in seventh grade, the teacher had an exercise where each of the students was given a Bundesliga team to follow.  It gave them something to read about and to talk about in class, and played into the sports interests of the typical teenager.  Sabers’s team was Hoffenheim, and I still keep an eye on their results each weekend.

That’s nice, but I should have a team too.  But I don’t any direct connections to Europe (the other Doctor Mitchell was born in Ingolstadt); how do I pick one?  Go with the herd and buy a Barcelona or Manchester United jersey?  How unoriginal.  Then I found an inspiration.  In my wine cellar is a collection of mourvèdres: mourvèdre bring a flavorful but somewhat uncommon grape of the Rhône. There aren’t any big-time soccer teams in Châteauneuf-du-Pape or Contra Costa county, but there are in eastern Spain.  So I picked up a map of La Liga teams, located Jumilla, and saw that the home team there is Valencia.

Anyone else have some soccer stories to share?  Are there any teams out there with jerseys that could pass for a crossword grid?

Erica has blogged this month’s Harper’s and also introduces us to the mercenary she brought in to win the Chicago bedbug wars.  On top of that we learn that Erica likes anagrams almost as much as she likes salads.

Trip Payne has announced his annual Extravaganza; ten bucks gets you a dozen puzzles, a meta, and a crack at a $100 prize to be awarded to two solvers who submit correct solutions by the deadline.

Also vieing for your puzzling dollar is Peter Gordon of Fireball Crosswords, who’s announced another Kickstarter project for a series of bi-weekly crosswords filled with answers ripped from the headlines, or as Peter puts it: “All the News That Fits Symmetrically.”  Subscriptions start at six bucks for twenty crosswords, and the funding is open through June 15.

The weekday cryptic in the National Post is syndicated from the Daily Telegraph (London), running several months behind.  So on Tuesday they ran DT 27,367: their puzzle commemorating the 100th anniversary of the crossword, and Christmas fell on Wednesday (links are to Falcon, who shares Big Dave’s posts and adds some notes on degree of difficulty).  Even if Brit cryptics aren’t your cup of tea, this is worth trying.

Patrick Berry fans, raise a glass. Your favorite constructor is at work in the weekend Wall Street Journal, with a Section Eight.  Hints are posted.

Regular service resumes north of the border.  After two weeks of harder-than-usual puzzles, this weekend’s National Post puzzle (blogged by Falcon) is fairly easy.  The Globe and Mail puzzle by Fraser Simpson is hard.

The New York Times variety puzzle (behind the paywall) is a Split Decisions.  I get the impression that Deb Amlen isn’t a fan either.

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