Saturday, November 8, 2014

Warm spot (Sunday brunch: Nov. 9, 2014)

The rink where I had a came a couple of Sundays ago is one of the nicer places I skate.  The ice is kept in good condition (they have a well-regarded figure skating club), the referees’s dressing room is spacious and even has a hot shower (so I can be presentable when I get to church), and the place is well-lit.  I also like it because there’s an area near the blue line on the far boards where the ventilation system blows warm air.  It must be misadjusted, because the warm air is supposed to be aimed at the bleachers, but I’m not going to complain.

The rink is not that cold otherwise (the one up north from me is very cold), but the warm spot still is a very comfortable place.  It’s calming in a tense game, but it can also get my attention as I skate through and keep me alert in an easy game.

We haven’t had a new Kevin Wald puzzle in a while, so maybe it’s a good thing that the grid of “Many a Day” is pretty easy to fill (by standards of Uc’s puzzles, which are pretty darn hard).

The WSJ variety puzzle is a new type (right?) by Mike Shenk.  It’s called “Alternation” and it reminded me of a Nathan Curtis puzzle.  It’s probably easier to construct than a straight crossword, and quicker if not easier to solve.  With that in mind, I posted a challenge grid as well as the usual solution and hints.

The New York Times has a cryptic this week: it’s by Richard Silvestri. Among the spoilers (read her post after you solve) Deb Amlen has a good description of the attraction of cryptics: “The reshaping of our train of thought is what makes cryptic crosswords so much fun.”  She also informs us that the Times is preparing to make some of their cryptics available in their mobile app.

Regular weekly straight cryptics are found at the Stickler, the National Post, and the Globe and Mail. The Stickler was hard: I haven’t had time to solve the others yet since I need to be Mr. Mom this weekend (more precisely, to do figure skating and orchestra taxi service).  

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