Sunday, May 25, 2014

First to intervene (Sunday brunch: May 25, 2014)

Scroll down below the video for the weekend’s new puzzles.

[update: Link to NYT solution added]

I think I’ve mentioned it before, but the hockey rulebook and related publications have a rather peculiar language.  We wear trousers rather than pants, players get into altercations rather than fights, and the “third man in” rule actually penalizes the “first to intervene.”

Third man in rightly is one of the most serious offenses in the book.  One of the others is physically abusing or interfering with an official.  It so happens that the latter most happens in the process of preventing the former, and that was the case in the Stanley Cup game this week between the Canadiens and the Rangers.  There was a fight between two other players during the first period, and Carcillo appeared to be looking for a chance to join in.  Scott Driscoll, who’s one of the top linesmen in the league, saw the situation developing, and smartly placed himself in between Carcillo and the fight.

Carcillo then threw an elbow at Driscoll to try and get free and get into the fight.  That earned him a ten-game suspension.  That’s a long suspension, in line with what the league hands out for a high hit that injures an opponent.  Kerry Fraser explains the story behind that rule over at his blog “C’mon Ref.”

Some of the TSN viewers who responded to Fraser’s explanation didn’t buy it, but if you’ve ever refereed men’s league, you know exactly why the penalty is so stiff.  Fights happen occasionally, and scuffles happen a lot more.  But there are a few players who go absolutely bonkers when one of their teammates gets into a scrap.  We had a couple of them in the Penn league a few years ago.  If you don’t stop them, they can turn a routine pushing and shoving incident into a full-blown brawl involving all the players on the ice.  So league commissioners usually issue long suspensions for these incidents. The ones that don’t?  That’s a story for another day.

How about doing battle in a much less violent way with these puzzles?

The Sunday New York Times (behind the paywall) features a cryptic by Richard Silvestri.  The solution is posted below.  Deb Amlen blogs it (spoiler alert) at Wordplay.

There’s a Hex cryptic in the National Post, but Falcon is on vacation and you’ll have to wait to see it.  I’ve already solved it, and it was hard.  You can get the Globe and Mail puzzle by Fraser Simpson right now.

The Wall Street Journal weekend puzzle is a Labyrinth by Mike Shenk.  It’s definitely hard.  Lots of solvers are having trouble with the top four rows, so they’re not finding a toehold.  Try and get the rows below that, and see if that gives you enough of a hint at a “winding” answer that you can get some letters extending into the top rows.  If not, I have a hint grid posted elsewhere on the blog, and the solution is up if you want to check your answers.

Good news if you own Puzzazz (and if you liked that Labyrinth, the new e-book of variety puzzles: “Mike Shenk’s Variety Show” is a pretty good reason to download the app).  Version 3.3 was just released this week.  I was glad to see that the app now allows you to delete puzzles from your download folder once you’re through with them.  Next I’d like to see a way to create different download folders so cryptics can go in one “book” and Puns and Anagrams can go in another.

Puzzazz has also finished the e-book version of “Cryptic All-Stars.”  I’ve been working my way through the book over the last couple of months, and while the standard isn’t as uniformly high as we get from the top constructors like Hot and Trazom, the variety of variety puzzles and constructing styles has been entertaining.

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