Link Updates

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I took some time this morning for the long overdue task of cleaning up my Links page. I fixed addresses and deleted dead links. I also deleted links to blogs with no updates in more than two years.

I deleted the Games section, which mostly contained links to old Flash games that have been retired or converted into apps. I added new sections for Conventions and Tournaments, Puzzle Hunts, and Podcasts. The Podcast websites often refer visitors to iTunes or mobile applications and may not feature extensive media content.

I’d love some suggestions for the Links pages. Are there any current links that need revisions? Are there some other crossword/puzzle blogs I should check out. Are there other events or podcasts I can include?

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Lollapuzzoola 11 (Brief Recap)

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I just got home from a four-day trip to New York and wanted to express my appreciation to Brian Cimmet, Patrick Blindauer, and all the tournament volunteers and puzzle constructors for Lollapuzzoola 11. The tournament drew nearly 400 attendees and the new location accommodated the solvers very well. The group games were fun and the snacks were tasty … while they lasted. I enjoyed mixing puzzle friends who I don’t see at NPL or MIT, though I regret not getting to say hello to everyone I wanted to.

The puzzles are still available for at-home solving at the tournament website.  I’ll discuss the puzzles in a later post but for now I will observe that they were all fun and well-constructed. If you couldn’t attend the tournament in New York, please support these talented constructors by picking up the puzzles for solving at home!

Anti-Match Game: Announcer’s Test RESULTS

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I’m pleased to announce that 37 people submitted entries to the quiz. In the results the entrants’ names are abbreviated as:

AB – Andrew Bradburn
AE – Andrew Esten
AJ – Alex Jeffrey
AM – Alan Matson
AS – Al Sanders
DA – Derek Allen
DG – David Greenebaum
DK – Dan Katz
DMK – Debbie Manber Kupfer
DR – Dee Ruttenberg
EB – Eli Barrieau
EM – Eric Maddy
HS – Hollie Schmidt
JA – Jackie Anderson
JB – Jason Brown
JC – Joanna Cheng
JG – Jenny Gutbezahl
JK – Joshua Kosman
JMS – Joanne M Sullivan
JSz – Jeffrey Schwartz
JSi – Jim Siirola
KH – Katie Hamill
KS – Ken Stern
MJ – Matt Jones
MN – Myles Nye
MSp – Marc Spraragen
MSy – Michael Sylvia
MW – Max Woghiren
PB – Peter Broda
RK – Ronnie Kon
SaW – Sandor Weisz
ScW – Scott Weiss
SK  Steve Kinsky
T! – Joe Cabrera
TP – Trip Payne
VG – Victoria Golden
WZ – Wil Zambole

An asterisk (*) indicates an incorrect answer.

1. One hen
Choose a boldface 11C entryor explicit, boldface inflected form of an 11C entrythat has exactly six letters and fits the cryptogram pattern 123432. In other words, the answer must have exactly four different letters with the second matching the sixth and third matching the fifth. Answers may contain capital letters, apostrophes, hyphens, and spaces. Answers that appear in 11C as parts of multiword entries but are not stand-alone entries/inflected forms in 11C are not acceptable.

acidic (1) – ScW
brewer (3) – AB, EB, MSy
gnomon (1) – HS
greyer (1) – RK
heinie (1) – AM
O level (1) – TP
petite (4) – DA, JK, KH, WZ
plagal (2) – MJ, PB
potato (4) – AE, DMK, JSz, T!
prefer (11) – DG, JA, JB, JC, JG, JMS, JSi, MW, SaW, SK, VG
revive (5) – AJ, AS, DK, DR, KS
torero (1) – EM
uneven (2) – MN, MSp

Greyer is not explicit in print 11C but is in online 11C. Other acceptable answers include la-di-da, La Nina, and Osiris.

2. Two ducks
The lettered list below contains phrases from Disambiguation pages on the Internet site Wikipedia. In each case, the phrase describes a term that can also be the name of a traditional children’s game. For example, the phrase “A steamer captured by the Union Navy during the American Civil War and used as a hospital ship” appears on the Disambiguation page for Red Rover, which is also “a children’s game.” All the games in questions are featured on the Wikipedia page List of Traditional Children’s Games. Terms may have slight spelling variations between the game name and the sense described in the lettered list. Choose one of the phrases and identify the related children’s game name. Your answer must contain the phrase letter followed by the game.

A – A 13th-century Italian explorer
B – A 1963 novel by Kurt Vonnegut
C – A 2004 American sports comedy film starring Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller
D – An afterlife condition hypothesized by Medieval Roman Catholic theologians
E – An American television series starring Robert Culp and Bill Cosby
F – An educational toy company
G – An episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone
H – A fictional character, one of Snoopy’s siblings from the comic strip Peanuts
I – A form of graffiti signature
J – A single by alternative metal band Godsmack
K – A social networking website
L – A soft drink
M – Various small, oily fish in the herring family

A – Marco Polo (2) – MN, ScW
B – cat’s cradle (3) – AJ, EM, JSz
D – limbo (5) – AS, HS, JA, JC, JMS
E – I spy (5) – DA, JB, JK, RK, T!
F – Leapfrog (1) – KS
G – button, button (1) – PB
* G – I spy (6) – SK
G – kick the can (5) – AB, AE, EB, KH, MSy
H – marbles (1) – WZ
I – tag (5) – AM, JG, JSi, MW, TP
K – four square (4) – DR, MJ, MSp, SaW
L – seven up (2) – DG, VG
M – sardines (2) – DK, DMK

Kick the can was the intended answer for G (the episode was recreated in Twilight Zone: The Movie), but I accepted “Button, Button” as an alternate answer for meeting all the question criteria: Button, button who’s got the button? is on the traditional children’s game list, “Button Button” is the title of a Twilight Zone episode in the 1980s incarnation of the series, and both are included on a “Button, Button” disambiguation page. I could not find a Twilight Zone episode, in any incarnation, with the title “I Spy.” The answer for C is dodgeball. The answer for J is keep away.

3. Three squawking geese
The lettered list below contains bird call transliterations that appear in David Allen Sibley’s Field Guide to Birds of Western North America. Choose one of the calls and identify the bird associated with it in Sibley’s guide. Your answer must include the letter of the call followed by the name of the bird. As a solving aid, the initials of the bird names appear (in a separate order) after the list of calls. Some modifiers of the bird names are in parentheses and do not need to appear in your answer. For example, if the list included “Atsip klseewi ptik” and the bird name initials included “(P-S) F”, you could answer “A – Flycatcher” rather than “A – Pacific-slope flycatcher.”

Abru-u-ooo / p-p-p-prooo
Bcaaw / cahrrr
Cchika dzee dzee
Dg-prrip prrEE / pwip
Eho hoo hoo hoododo hooooo ho
Fhronk
Gjaaaay / toolili
Hku-ku-ku-ku-kddowl-kddowl
I ooEEK ooEEK
Jraaaaaaaak
Ktyeeeeee deew deew / teewdew / didideeer / didideeer
Lwoit woit woit chew chew chew chew chew / pichew pichew tiw tiw tiw tiw tiw tiw tiw tiw

B J / (A) C / (M) C / (N) C / (Y-B) C / (R) D / ( W ) D / (C) G / (H) H / K / (G H) O / W-P-W

A – (rock) dove (1) – MSp
* B – condor (12) – JSz
B – (American) crow (4) – AJ, EM, JSi, MN
C – (mountain) chickadee (4) – AB, AE, JA, T!
D – whip-poor-will (1) – JB
E – (great horned) owl (7) – AS, DG, JK, KH, KS, SaW, ScW
F – (Canada) goose (11) – DA, DK, DMK, DR, HS, JC, MSy, PB, RK, SK, TP
G – blue jay (1) – MW
* H – owl (12) – MJ
* I – blue jay (12) – WZ
I – (wood) duck (1) – EB
* I – whip-poor-will (12) – VG
J – duck (12) – JMS
K – killdeer (1) – AM
L – (Northern) cardinal (1) – JG

H is the (yellow-billed) cuckoo and J is (Harris’s) hawk.

4. Four limerick oysters
The image below is taken from Edward Lear’s 1846 poetry collection A Book of Nonsense. Each colored rectangle conceals one word in the verse. Identify one of the concealed words. You do not need to reference the image in your answer.

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all (1) – TP
beard (2) – EM, JA
feared (7) – AJ, AM, AS, DR, JMS, KS, VG
four (1) – JC
just (8) – AB, DA, DK, EB, JSi, JSz, ScW, SK
* made (9) – KH, T!
* much (9) – JB
nests (1) – WZ
old (3) – AE, MN, MW
their (2) – DG, MJ
two (3) – PB, RK, SaW
wren (6) – DMK, HS, JG, JK, MSp, MSy

The full limerick:
There was an OLD MAN with a BEARD,
Who said, “It is JUST as a FEARED! —
TWO OWLS and a HEN, FOUR LARKS and a WREN,
HAVE ALL BUILT THEIR NESTS in my BEARD.”

5. Five corpulent porpoises
U.S. News & World Report publishes an annual ranking of the best diet plans. The 2018 list ranks 40 diet plans, with some identified as commercial brands (e.g. Zone) and others as generic descriptions (e.g. glycemic-index). In each of the 18 images below, the name of the pictured food combined with the superimposed string of letters will anagram into the name of one of the diet plans on the list (not including the initial article “The” or the word “diet”). The images appear left to right and row by row based on the alphabetical order of the pictured foods. Choose one of the diet plans represented by an image. You do not need to indicate the image corresponding to your answer.corpulent_porpoises.jpg

Body Reset (3) – JG, JSz, SK
Eco Atkins (1) – PB
Fertility (2) – DA, JA
Flat Belly (2) – AM, JC
Jenny Craig (4) – DG, DMK, JSi, WZ
Macrobiotic (3) – EB, KS, MJ
Mediterranean (2) – JMS, MSy
NutriSystem (3) – HS, MSp, TP
Paleo (4) – AJ, DR, SaW, T!
South Beach (8) AS, DK, JK, KH, MW, RK, ScW, VG
Weight Watchers (5) – AB, AE, EM, JB, MN

I normally require exact spelling for this type of question but neglected to mention it in the question wording. As a result I accepted some answers with minor spelling errors. The other acceptable diets are Biggest Loser, Mayo Clinic, Medifast, Slim-Fast, SparkSolution, Vegetarian,  and Volumetrics. The pictured foods are cashew, date, feta, lobster, malt, manioc, McRib, mint, olive, oyster, pea, rice, steak, taco, tamarind, trifle, turnip, and vinegar.

6. Six pair of Don Alverzo’s tweezers
The image below displays a fully-expanded SwissChamp Swiss Army knife manufactured by Victorinox/Wenger. The SwissChamp has 33 functions annotated in the image.

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Some of those functions,  numbered per the annotated image, appear in the list below as blanks representing enumerations with the letters A E I O and U properly placed. Choose one of the listed functions and identify its complete description by adding the consonants. You do not need to include the corresponding number with your answer.

3 –   _ O _ _ _ _ _ E _
4 –   _ A _     O _ E _ E _
8 –   _ I _ E     _ _ _ I _ _ E _
9 –   _ E _ I _ _     A _ _
12 –   _ O O _ _ _ I _ _
16 –   _ I _ _     _ _ A _ E _
17 –   _ O O _     _ I _ _ O _ _ E _
18 –   _ U _ E _
20 –   _ A I _     _ I _ E
24 –   _ _ I _ E _
26 –   _ _ I E _ _
29 –   _ A _ _ I _ _ I _ _     _ _ A _ _
30 –   _ _ E _ _ U _ I _ E _     _ A _ _ _ O I _ _     _ E _
33 –   _ _ I _ _ I _ _     _ _ _ E _ _ _ I _ E _

* auger (12) – AS
can opener (2) – DMK, ScW
corkscrew (1) – JSi
fish scaler (1) – DG
hook disgorger (1) – JB
magnifying glass (1) – MSy
nail file (3) – JG, VG, WZ
Phillips screwdriver (1) – SK
pliers (4) – AB, DR, JA, MN
pressurized ballpoint pen (4) – JK, MJ, MSp, PB
ruler (6) – AJ, DK, JC, JMS, JSz, SaW
toothpick (1) – DA
wire stripper (11) – AE, AM, EB, EM, HS, KH, KS, MW, RK, T!, TP

The other acceptable answers are sewing awl and chisel.

7. Seven thousand Macedonians in full battle array
Choose one of the military actions in the lettered list below and identify the modern-day country that is home to the action site. Please include the corresponding letter with your answer.

A – Battle of Bitter Lakes (925 BCE)
B – Battle of Nineveh (612 BCE)
C – Battle of Megiddo (609 BCE)
D – Siege of Tyre (332 BCE)
E – Battle of Ephesus (258 BCE)
F – Battle of Utica (238 BCE)
G – Battle of Ebro River (217 BCE)
H – Battle of Tao River (205 BCE)
I – Battle of Alesia (52 BCE)
J – Battle of the Teutoburg Forest (9 CE)
K – Battle of Watling Street (61 CE)
L – Iwai Rebellion (527 CE)

B – Iraq (3) – DG, EB, JA
* B – Israel (8) – KS, SaW
* B – Jordan (8) – VG
* B – Syria (8) – MSy
C – Israel (1) – PB
D – Lebanon (3) – DMK, EM, JK
* E – Greece (8) – DA
E – Turkey (7) – AB, AJ, AM, DR, JG, JSz, TP
* F – Greece (8) – AE, JMS, MSp, SK, T!
* G – Italy (8) – DK, HS
* G – Portugal (8) – ScW
G – Spain (3) – AS, KH, MJ
H – China (2) – JC, MN
I – France (1) – RK
* J – Austria (8) – JSi
J – Germany (1) – JB
K – United Kingdom (1) – WZ
L – Japan (1) – MW

I misjudged the overall difficulty of this question and perhaps threw some players off by not including any battles set in Greece or Italy. Utica, the site of many ancient battles, is in Tunisia. Battle of Bitter Lakes took place in Egypt.

8. Eight brass monkeys from the ancient, sacred, crypts of Egypt
The image below contains excerpts from definitions in 11C. Names of chemical elements have been replaced by emboldened letters in brackets. Some element names appear more than once in the excerpts; an element appearing multiple times is represented by the same bracketed letter. Choose a bracketed letter and identify the corresponding chemical element. Please include the both the letter and element in your answer.  Note that letters are assigned by an element’s first appearance in the image and are NOT meant to suggest element names or symbols.

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A – iron (4) – JSi, KH, MN, SK
B – nickel (2) – DK, DR
E – copper (3) – JMS, MW, T!
F – titanium (1) – RK
G – zinc (2) – AB, AM
H – tin (8) – AS, EB, JA, JSz, KS, SaW, ScW, WZ
I – manganese (3) – EM, TP, VG
K – gold (6) – DA, JB, JG, JK, MJ, PB
L – silver (3) – AE, DG, DMK
N – lead (3) – AJ, HS, JC
O – carbon (2) – MSp, MSy

The other acceptable answers are C – aluminum, D – cobalt, J – magnesium and, M – sulfur.

9. Nine apathetic, sympathetic, diabetic, old men on roller skates, with a marked propensity towards procrastination and sloth
Women’s Flat Track Derby Association has 416 leagues headquartered in cities around the world. The logos below represent 15 WFTDA leagues, and the logos are arranged left to right, row by row according to an alphabetical list of their home cities. Identify the home city of one of the leagues depicted below. You do not need to reference the logo or include a country, province, or state in your answer. Some of the logos have been modified to conceal city name information.

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Baton Rouge (7) – DG, DK, EM, MJ, MN, MSy, SaW
Essen (1) – MSp
Honolulu (2) – JG, JMS
Knoxville (6) – AS, JA, JB, JSi, KH, VG
Las Vegas (8) – AB, DA, DR, JC, KS, MW, RK, TP
Paris (3) – AJ, HS, WZ
* Pittsburgh (9) – AM
St Louis (7) – AE, DMK, EB, JK, ScW, SK, T!
Vancouver (2) – JSz, PB

The other acceptable answers are Buenos Aires, Cardiff, Hamburg, Hamilton (Ont., Can.), Helsinki, New York, and Santiago.

10. Ten lyrical, spherical, diabolical denizens of the deep who all stall around the corner on the quo of the quay of the quivvey, all at the same time.
The images below feature characters from the 1989 animated Disney film The Little Mermaid. Choose a character and identify the character by name. You do not need to reference the image in your answer.

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Ariel (4) – AB, JSi, KS, MN
Carlotta (1) – T!
Flounder (7) – DK, JB, KH, MSp, MSy, MW, PB
* Grimms (8) – VG
Grimsby (2) – AE, RK
King Triton (6) – AM, AS, EB, MJ, SaW, TP
* Little Mermaid (8) – SK
Prince Eric (3) – DA, JA, JC
Scuttle (2) – DG, WZ
Sebastian (3) – JK, JMS, ScW
Ursula (6) – DMK, DR, EM, HS, JG, JSz
Vanessa (1) – AJ

The question asked for character names so “Little Mermaid” was not accepted.

Tiebreaker
At the 2016 International Association of Memory European Open, Katie Kermode set a record for memorizing random words from a list after 15 minutes of study. How many words did she memorize? Tie scores will be broken by the guess closer to the record.

72 – AE
87 – JSi
92 – DMK
94 – DG
99 – MN
100 – KS
104 – JSz
111 – AB
125 – DA
125 – SaW
127 – JK
141 – JG
150 – MSy
157 – TP
200 – ScW
204 – JA
212 – VG
232 – JMS
243 – AS
255 – HS
318 – Correct
340 – WZ
400 – AJ
436 – RK
477 – EB
777 – DK
778 – T!
801 – AM
854 – EM
1000 – JB
1000 – KH
1003 – JC
1200 – DR
1500 – SK
2152 – MW
2400 – MJ
9582 – PB
300000 – MSp

FINAL SCORES

Rank Q 1 Q 2 Q 3 Q 4 Q 5 Q 6 Q 7 Q 8 Q 9 Q 10 Total
1 2 2 4 3 5 4 2 4 7 4 37 MN
2 2 1 11 3 1 4 1 6 2 7 38 PB
3 2 4 1 6 3 4 8 2 1 7 38 MSp
4 4 1 12 1 4 3 1 8 3 2 39 WZ
5 11 2 7 2 4 1 3 3 7 2 42 DG
6 5 3 4 7 4 6 7 3 3 1 43 AJ
7 1 3 4 2 5 11 3 3 7 6 45 EM
8 11 5 4 2 2 4 3 8 6 3 48 JA
9 4 2 11 6 4 2 3 3 7 6 48 DMK
10 2 4 12 2 3 4 3 6 7 6 49 MJ
11 11 5 1 6 3 3 7 6 2 6 50 JG
12 3 5 4 8 5 4 7 2 8 4 50 AB
13 1 5 11 3 8 11 1 1 8 2 51 RK
14 1 5 1 7 2 11 7 2 9 6 51 AM
15 3 5 11 6 2 1 8 2 7 7 52 MSy
16 4 5 4 3 5 11 8 3 7 2 52 AE
17 11 5 1 9 5 1 1 6 6 7 52 JB
18 11 5 11 1 2 6 2 3 8 3 52 JC
19 4 5 7 6 8 4 3 6 7 3 53 JK
20 1 2 7 8 8 2 8 8 7 3 54 ScW
21 3 5 1 8 3 11 3 8 7 6 55 EB
22 11 5 4 8 4 1 8 4 6 4 55 JSi
23 4 5 11 8 2 1 8 6 8 3 56 DA
24 1 5 11 1 3 11 7 3 8 6 56 TP
25 4 5 4 9 4 11 8 3 7 1 56 T!
26 1 5 11 6 3 11 8 3 3 6 57 HS
27 5 4 11 7 4 4 7 2 8 6 58 DR
28 11 5 1 3 8 11 1 3 8 7 58 MW
29 11 5 12 7 2 6 8 3 2 3 59 JMS
30 4 3 12 8 3 6 7 8 2 6 59 JSz
31 5 1 7 7 3 11 8 8 8 4 62 KS
32 5 2 11 8 8 6 8 2 7 7 64 DK
33 11 4 7 3 4 6 8 8 7 6 64 SaW
34 4 5 7 9 8 11 3 4 6 7 64 KH
35 5 5 7 7 8 12 3 8 6 6 67 AS
36 11 6 11 8 3 1 8 4 7 8 67 SK
37 11 2 12 7 8 3 8 3 6 8 68 VG

Congratulations to all participants for navigating some tricky questions and producing a tight range final scores. Well done, Myles Nye for topping the leaderboard (I understand he chose his answer while killing time in the Palm Springs airport). Apologies in advance for any errors in this report; please report anything you find and I will fix it as soon as I can.

Thank you for the kind words you included with your submissions. I enjoyed reading about your familiarity with Announcer’s Test or how you learned it when you were younger. This quiz had been sitting on my hard drive, half-written, for almost a year, and I was so relieved to get it completed and posted. I promise you won’t have to wait that long for the next one.