Sunday, October 26, 2014

Pits (Sunday brunch: Oct. 26, 2014)

Monday, I groused about the ice at one of my home rinks and the management’s ongoing problems. It’s been like that as long as I’ve been skating there, and I’ve been skating there since Ian Walsh was working Pee Wees.   But there were some years I didn’t skate there.  Around 2000, they fully enclosed the rink (it used to be partly open-air) and reconfigured the boards, moving the benches from one side to the other.

Not surprisingly, they cheaped out on the job.  Instead of buying new glass or at least some replacement panes for the relocated bench doors, they transferred the glass from one spot to another, cutting where the panes were too big.  That left two spots with gaps in the glass about six inches to a foot wide: just enough to catch an arm.  And when the put up protective nets behind the end glass, the eye bolts they bought were too long, and stuck out into the playing area.  If I put up my hand for a penalty in one of those spots, I could cut it on the bolt.  And then the bottom of the Zam door was worn, and if it wasn’t shut tight enough, a puck could slip under.  

All accidents waiting to happen.  If a player got hurt on one of those danger spots during a game I was refereeing, the family would probably sue everyone in sight.  We refs get liability insurance from USA Hockey, but even if it didn’t hit me in the bank account, a lawsuit would be a real pain in the tail.  So I reported the situation to the Risk Management department at USA Hockey, and when the rink didn’t do anything about the problems.  I told my assigner not to give me any more games there. About five years later they finally replaced the boards and glass, and I resumed skating there.  But the place is still a pit.

Much better quality in the puzzles, as always.  First off, don’t forget the annual NYT crossword contest.  You need the solutions to all six of the week’s puzzles to get some kind of meta.  Answers are due at 6:00 tonight, New York time.

The new Harpers is out, and this month’s Richard Maltby cryptic is too.  That means it’s also time for Erica to take apart last month’s Playfair Square.   Even though she and her Sweet Vladimir were winners (again: good for you!), her blog brings the smack from the get-go.  “This was some real bulls***” she says.  But Erica and Vlad were smart enough to pull out a bag of Scrabble tiles to solve the cipher.    I got partway through the cipher (the puzzle wasn’t unduly hard) but never got around to finishing.  I’ll try Erica’s trick.  Bonus in her post: her mom makes an appearance.

The Wall Street Journal variety puzzle is a Rows Garden by Patrick Berry.  It was the easiest Rows Garden I’ve ever solved.  But there are hints elsewhere on the blog if you need them.

Likewise, the Fred Piscop diagramless (Wordplay link: spoilers!) in today’s New York Times posed little difficulty as well. I’ve posted a solution in case you’re stuck on anything.

For your straight cryptic pleasure, there are three weekly puzzles by Hex, Stickler, and the syndicate for the Globe and Mail.  These will be harder than the WSJ and NYT puzzles.

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