Saturday, November 15, 2014

Hall of Fame (Sunday Brunch: November 16, 2014)

This weekend is the annual Hockey Hall of Fame induction in Toronto.  Canton has its bronze busts, and Cooperstown its history, but the Hockey Hall of Fame is the best of all.  It’s in a former bank building in downtown Toronto, and you walk into the bank vault to see the Stanley Cup.  Unlike the HOFs for the other major sports, the Hockey Hall of Fame has welcomed great players and coaches from outside North America like legendary Soviet goalie Vladislav Tretiak, along with female champions like Cammi Granato.  Referees and linesmen take their place alongside the players too, which obviously I agree with: no sport is more demanding on its officials than hockey.

This year’s class features Bill McCreary, who for a decade was the finest referee in the NHL (no offense to Kerry Fraser though).  There’s no greater honor for an official than to be chosen for the seventh game of the Stanley Cup Finals, and McCreary got that call several times.  Also in the class of 2014 is Sweden and NHL star Peter Forsberg.  He had the same shoulder operation I had, the same week that I did, but the opposite side.

Some Hall of Fame constructors have puzzles for us this weekend: let’s start with Hex, who have an acrostic (spoiler alert) in the New York Times along with their weekly straight cryptic in the National Post.

Kevin Wald posted two new birthday cryptics this week.  I managed to finish the first of them in one sitting, including the ending pieces—that doesn’t happen very often.  Remarkable how Kevin can tie up so many loose ends in a puzzle so neatly.

Richard Maltby in the new Harper’s?  I managed to finish that one pretty quickly too.  Can’t say more because it’s a prize puzzle, but I’ll share some notes once the entry deadline passes. Meanwhile, Erica blogs the November puzzle at Tacky Harper’s Cryptic Clues.

Mike Shenk set the acrostic in this weekend’s Wall Street Journal, Stickler has his weekly Australian cryptic, and our friend Anonymous has the weekly Globe and Mail cryptic.

How about something different?  If you solve sudokus, you should try Thursday’s Samurai Sudoku (hit the link and then select November 13--Evil).  These puzzles are five interconnected grids, and when they’re on, they really have a lovely rhythm where you have to move from one grid to the other to get the missing answer.  Once you figure out the logical key to the November 13 one, it goes down very smoothly.

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