Saturday, June 7, 2014

Abuse of officials (Sunday brunch: June 8, 2014)

The last two hockey posts were about abuse of officials, which is an unfortunate but inevitable part of the referee’s job.  Aside from the garden-variety four-letter outbursts, I’ve only had two such incidents in my career: both of them were in the 90s.

One was a men’s league game.  I was the deep official, down in the corner as the puck was cleared out of the zone.  I started skating up-ice to follow the play when one of the defensemen who’d been there in the corner reached over as he passed and gave me a two-handed shove, but not quite a cross-check.

While he used the typical four-letter words as he was shoving me, I decided that the action was not intended to be abusive: the player was just upset that I was in his way.  But we can’t really tolerate that kind of physical abuse.  I was skating in my normal lane, and I was skating at my normal speed, letting the players get ahead so I could watch everyone from the trailing position.

So rather than giving the player a gross misconduct, the kind of penalty Dan Carcillo got for elbowing a linesman, I gave him a ten-minute misconduct for interference with an official (what you’d get for shooting the puck away when the referee is coming to pick it up).  He wasn’t happy with it, but I pointed out that all the other options would be a lot worse: he’d be back in the game later and his team wouldn’t have to kill off a power play. Not purely by the book, but I felt that justice was served.

How about letting some great puzzle constructors hit you with their best shots?

Patrick Berry is back in the The Wall Street Journal.  His puzzle is called Magic Cabinet.  Do it in pencil because it requires you to alter answers for entry in the grid and you’ll probably need to do some erasing on the way.  Do this and the The Nation puzzle, and you’ll be prepared to tackle a variety cryptic like the ones in Cryptic All-Stars.  I’ve got hints if you need them, and the solution elsewhere on the blog.

The New York Times has a vowelless crossword this weekend (behind the paywall).  It’s by Arthur Schulman.  Definitely a different test of your crossword skills.

Want to try some of Matt Gaffney’s metas as discussed over at Word Salad?  Click here for the Vulture.
Regular cryptic service resumes at the National Post Cryptic Crossword Forum after Falcon’s vacation, and the Fraser Simpson cryptic is its reliable self at the Globe and Mail.

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