Sunday, August 3, 2014

Boy among men [and women] (Sunday brunch: August 3, 2014)

We have a good young fencer at the club, whom I don’t see very much of since his weapon is foil and my son’s is saber.  Like my son, he’s also been encouraged to do some refereeing, and the coach decided to have him work the tournament at the club last Sunday.  One important difference: he’s 10 or 11 years old.
[continued below the fold]

You’re never too young to try a new puzzle though, and there are lots to choose from (see Kegler and scroll to the bottom for a pair of cryptics created for middle schoolers).

The new Harper’s is out, with a Richard Maltby variety cryptic called “4 Across.”  No hints since it’s a prize puzzle, but I will say it makes up for what Erica thought was a shortfall of tackiness in June.  See her blog for a rundown of last month’s Sixes and Sevens (and Twelves).

In the Wall Street Journal, we have a Double or Nothing by Patrick Berry.  Each space in the grid is filled with either two letters or none: never one.  Enumerations are not given so you have to figure out the length of each answer and which spaces have to be left blank as you fill it in.  It actually isn’t as hard as you think.  Getting the first few words in is tough, but once you have that, the rest is very satisfying.  Give it a shot, and if you really can’t hack it, I’ve posted a hint grid and solution elsewhere on the blog.

Also on the blog is the solution to this weekend’s New York Times variety puzzle, a diagramless by Paula Gamache.  Solve it (puzzle is behind the NYT paywall) and then click over to Wordplay for solvers’ notes from Deb Amlen.

Weekly straight cryptics are in the National Post (by Hex) and the Globe and Mail (syndicated).

I’ve skated with a few hockey refs that age before, but it was in games for the very youngest age groups. This tournament was a B-rated open, with high schoolers, some college athletes, and adults.  I wouldn’t have put him in that spot, but if ever a young ref had a good support system, this was it: with our coach as tournament director, me as bout committee making the ref assignments, Charles (who is a great mentor to young refs) alongside, and his father nearby.

All in all, it went pretty well for him.  I didn’t see a lot because I was at the desk much of the tournament, but in the parts I saw, his work was sound and he looked to be in pretty good command.  Charles thought he did well too.  But in the elimination rounds, there was a bout where one of the higher seeds went down, and he blamed it on a call by our young ref.  The fencer stormed off and tried to vent his frustrations at me, but I wasn’t having any of it, especially since most of the griping was about the ref’s age and not about any rule he had misinterpreted.

After we got to the quarterfinals and our young ref’s day was done, he came into the office and replayed that bout for me a few times.  I know the feeling, since it happens to all us officials after we get through with a close playoff game, after dumping a coach, or some other tense situation.  It’s a sign you care about the job you’re doing, so I listened and helped him decompress.  I later heard from Charles that he’d gotten the call right, while the fencer might have been accustomed to other refs giving him that call.

No comments:

Post a Comment

If you're responding to a hint request, please remember not to give more information than necessary. More direct hints are allowed after Monday.