Monday, July 13, 2015

Testing, 1, 2, 3 (Sunday brunch: July 12, 2015)

[Apologies for the late post: I got called for a fill-in referee job.]

The codes for each step of this ice dance
you what edge to be skating on:
LFO is 
left skate, forwards, outside edge
Congratulations to Bangle, who passed two figure skating tests yesterday.  When she resumed skating after her concussion last winter, she wasn’t cleared to do jumps and spins until well after she was fully recovered.  So instead, she worked on ice dance, which requires precise and strong skating skills more than the speed and power for jumps and spins.

Competition is one way of proving your skills, but skating also has a series of tests, where you aren’t competing against other skaters: you’re trying to skate well enough to earn a passing score from the judges.  The tests come in a series of levels: from pre-preliminary to senior for freestyle, and from pre-bronze to gold for ice dance (which for testing purposes does not have to be skated with a partner).  Each successive level has harder and harder required elements, and a higher standard of skating needed to pass.  In order to skate in competition at a particular level, you have to pass the corresponding test.

Since Bangle hadn’t done much dance before this season, she started with the beginning-level tests a couple of months ago, and has been racking up nice comments from the judges along the way.  On the right is the pattern for one of the bronze-level dances: the Fiesta Tango.  The lines show the pattern that should be traced on the ice, and numbered steps detail how each step should be skated.  Skate the pattern twice, and would be right back where you started: two times around and the dance is finished.  

Now test your mind against the weekend’s new puzzles.

Stickler is back from his winter R&R (it’s midwinter Down Under) and has two new puzzles: numbers 85 and 86.  Glad to see them!

Other weekly block cryptics are in the National Post and the Globe and Mail, as usual.  Falcon is getting his R&R (I think he’s in the lake country of Ontario, but he’s blogged the National Post for us.

Meanwhile, it’s time for a couple of periodic variety cryptics by Sondheim-inspired constructors: the Tom Toce puzzle in Contingencies and the Mark Halpin puzzle unveiled at a special event at the Arden Theater Company here in Philadelphia recognizing Sondheim.

The Wall Street Journal variety puzzle is Changing Directions by Patrick Berry.  Another one of those ones where getting a toehold is the hardest part, so I have a hint grid up for you as well as the solution.

The New York Times variety puzzle is a Hex acrostic, blogged (with spoilers) by Deb at Wordplay.

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