Archive for the ‘Brooklyn’ Category

News and Olds

October 14, 2009

Thoughts on This Week’s Puzzle:

My boy is in bed, the bills have been paid, and I have a little time to reflect and look ahead

This week I was able to post my fourth word pyramid, and I am finding some interesting things in constructing these puzzles.  Some of the answers come fast, especially the two through six letter answers, but for every pyramid there is a seven letter or up answer that just won’t come for a looooong time.  This week it was the eight letter answer AL LETTER, and believe me I was not thrilled with having to go with that the first place.  This answer is a prime example of “puzzle speak”.  It is two words that make sense together, but let’s face it, this is just terrible syntax.  Very unnatural sounding.   I was very pleased with the other nine answers.  I wanted to use one of the single letter stock ticker symbols and ideally a letter that appeared in the words WALL STREET.  It was great serendipity that the Loews Corporation has the “L” stock ticker symbol and that the company has ties to New York City.  The rest of the answers are all familiar phrases.

These word pyramids provide me with a second challenge, and that is either coming up with New York-centric clues or finding the New York angle to more common phrases.  In this puzzle, I was more than pleased to be able to get New York Ranger great Jean Ratelle into the puzzle.  Ratelle is a just fantastic New York-centic answer.  I am a huge hockey fan (albeit not a fan of the Rangers, but we’ll just leave it there, OK?) and Ratelle was one of the all time greats.  Sadly, Ratelle’s career is kind of forgotten now, as most of Rangers history revolves around the 1994 Stanley Cup Champion team.  This is really a shame, because there are many great players in Rangers history that are overlooked because of the 54 year Stanley Cup dry spell before the ’94 championship.  Players like Ratelle, i.e. broke in with the team and/or played most or all of their careers with the Blue Shirts are punished for the team’s failure to win it all, while players who had much shorter careers on Broadway are exulted for finally bring home Lord Stanley’s Cup.  I guess this is understandable, but take a second to go to the link about Ratelle above.  He was quite a remarkable player.

Common phrases like TALLER and TALE easily lended themselves to New York themed answers.  Bob Costas was born in Queens, so his talk show LATER was in.  I never could find out through my research if that show was shot in New York.  Does anybody know?  Anybody?  Is this thing on?  I used Sunset Park for NYC kite flyers because I live right across the street from it, and there really is a lot of kite flying here in the summer and fall.  Now about AL LETTER…  I suppose I could have used Roker for Al, but Al Hirschfeld had just a bit more flair for me.  Sorry weather dude!

Heinz Dept.

Still ketchin’-up.  The very fist word pyramid that I did for this blog was inspired by the intersection of two Avenues in Brooklyn, Avenue N and Coney Island Avenue.  I wanted to use a street intersection to bookend the pyramids starting and ending answers, and I also liked the symmetry of starting with Avenue ___ and ending with _________ Avenue in the clues.  I chose this intersection purely because starting with N and ending with CONEY ISLAND made constructing the middle clues easier letter-wise.  I literally had no idea what was at this intersection.  So this summer, I took a little field trip there.  I was a little worried that the corner of N and Coney Island Ave. would be just completely nondescript, but I went with the nothing ventured nothing gained philosophy and checking out the location.

I took a pretty long walk up down Ocean Parkway and across Avenue N to get there.  I passed through predominately Jewish neighborhoods to get to the corner and when I got there I found…

AND MY PHOTOS WILL NOT UPLOAD.  GRRRRR.  I will have to get back on this one.

A Night at Rocky’s

June 18, 2009

For those of you that didn’t know, this week’s puzzle of riddles was also used as the guest round of the world famous (in Red Hook) Rocky Sullivan’s Pub Quiz, and I got to be the MC for the round!  I had a blast doing the honors and the rest of the pub quiz, and I encourage anyone with the means to get out to Rocky’s this or any other Thursday to do so!  I had a team of four friends come out to support me, and we had a grand time.  I then could not wait to blog about it and had:

A. Computer issues – then

B: Time crunch.

So much for striking while the iron was hot.  I can’t even upload the picture of me at the MC’s desk just yet…  grrrrrrrrrrr.

I must admit I was nervous about doing the quiz round.  Would I be boring?  Would I be unintelligible?  Were riddles too esoteric?  Turns out no on all accounts, although the fabulous host Scott M.X. Turner did tease me about the “game show host voice” I had used, and yes Scott I was practicing that voice for weeks.

The pub quiz consists of teams that work together on answers and then quietly confer and write ’em down, so I knew I was OK when there was much conferring going on after the first few riddles.  When it was all said and done, most teams got 5 of 8 riddles.  One team got 6.  My team, sans my help, got 5.  I think the riddles were tough, but fair.  My friends said I did a heck of a job, and a couple of other players were hoping that the riddles would be posted on the blog so friends of theirs could play as well.  That was the first feedback I have gotten from a non-friend or relative and that made me feel pretty dang good.  Scott has also invited me to come back and guest again and that is also heartening.

Finally, there is a tradition of giving out a point to answers that make you laugh, and I got two answers that indeed made me LOL as the kids like to type for this riddle:

I have two Davids, two Marias, four Jameses and dozens of Bills.  What am I?

“A bunch of people looking for a rent controller apartment”, and “My sisters lovers.”

Both received points.  See y’all tomorrow for another puzzle.  Trivia tomorrow, just soes you knows.

I am a Guest Quizzer Tonight!

June 11, 2009

Late breaking news everyone!  I will be the guest quizzer for a round at the Fabulous Rocky Sullivan’s Pub Quiz!  Scott M.X. Turner, designer of the equally fabulous banner for this sight is the host and had graciously allowed me to do a round of riddles.  If you are free tonight 8-ish, like a good time then come on out to Brooklyn and answer questions for drinks and bragging rights!  Follow the above link for directions.

Reflections of a Neophyte Puzzler

May 12, 2009

I have to admit that I had a blast creating the puzzle that launched this blog.  I like the goofy anagrams that sprinkled through the puzzle.  For example,  “played the PR kazoo” is not a good anagram puzzle-wise.  I mean the letters of “zoo” are not rearranged at all, and an experienced puzzler more than likely had no trouble getting “park” from PRKA.  I just love the phrase, played the PR kazoo.  Hell, I want to work that phrase into everyday life:

“Brittany just had another meltdown.  Whelp Bob, it looks like we have to play the ol’ PR kazoo for this one.”

I don’t even care that I am not sure exactly what that would mean.

All in all I am happy with the wordplay, and I am also surprisingly OK with some of the half-assed unfinished parts of the post.  I wanted to post my own pictures of all nine sights, but only got seven.  I wanted to have a really juicy tidbit about NYC in this post, but I only have the beginning of one.  I guess this should bother me more than it does, but really… not so much.

No one wants to hear about time constraints, and kids, and illness etc.  I am supposed to be the obsessed blogger who frets over every last detail, and is crushed by the tiniest of flaws.  I have found that by doing this blog, I just am not that guy.  I had fun doing this.  I want people to have fun solving puzzles, and as long as the puzzle is good, and on time then I am happy.

I guess every blogger wants to have a professional looking operation up and running from day one, and I am just more interested in the process.  I truly enjoyed going around Brooklyn to photograph the sights for this puzzle.  I saw new things, and reaquainted myself with some old favorites.  I passed by the Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden while getting shots of Grand Army Plaza and the Brooklyn Museum, and it felt good to watch some many people enjoy a lovely blue sky day at the Gardens.  It was also a trip to see folks dress up as there favorite anime characters, ’cause well it is a Japanese theme festival so why the hell not.

I also realize that I should have taken photos of these anime devotees as a perfect example of cool stuff in NYC.  I am still new at this, and did not.  I hope to grow in my creativity with this blog as I get more comfortable with new (to me) technologies, and getting more comfortable with just getting out and experiencing this great city again.  I’ve been inside myself for a while and I’d like to get back out and poke around a bit.

And so, this imperfect blogger has one more puzzle for you.  Do you know what this is?

JFK Memorial

This is the JFK Memorial at Grand Army Plaza.  There is a small problem with it.  It has no bust of JFK anymore!  I found this out when researching another puzzle that will be ready in the not too distant future.  So what happened to Jack?  The Wall Street Journal Reported on this in November of 2008.  It is all about aesthetics and cash, or the current lack thereof.  Isn’t that the  story about all public art?  Now, this is where I had hoped to delve a little deeper in this story, but I have not found any updates.  I know a guy who might know I guy, so I will dig a bit to get more info in the fate of JFK’s bust in the future.

BTW, Brooklyn is the only borough to have both a JFK and RFK memorial.  Bobby’s bust is in front of the court houses at borough hall.  This is more than a touch ironic since Robert Kennedy unveiled his brother’s memorial in 1965.

See everyone Friday for the next puzzle!