September 19th, 2007


That looks familiar

I bought myself a copy of How to Conquer the New York Times Crossword Puzzle: Tips, Tricks and Techniques to Master America's Favorite Puzzle a couple of weeks ago, and I've been working my way through it. I'm already reasonably good at solving the NYT puzzles; I would rate myself a solid Thursday solver, meaning that I can fairly consistently solve puzzles at a Thursday level of difficulty (NYT puzzles increase in difficulty throughout the week) without too much trouble. I can usually struggle through a Friday puzzle, but rarely in one sitting. Saturday is almost always beyond my grasp. But hey, that's why I bought the book, right?

Anyway, like I said, I've been working my way through the book, and I'm in the Thursday section right now. And the last two puzzles I solved were, in fact, puzzles I had already solved. That is, I remember them from the paper. I have mixed feelings about that. On the one hand, it's sort of irritating -- how can I get better if I'm practicing on puzzles I've already solved? On the other hand, doing the puzzles a second time demonstrates how far I've come in the last year as a solver. The last one I did (which appeared in the paper on August 2, 2006) caused me fits the first time I saw it. This time was much easier, of course, in no small part because I rememered the gimmick and was thus able to fill in most of the theme answers right away, but the rest of the fill came a lot easier than before, and I didn't remember any of that. Still, I think all things being equal, I'd rather practice on puzzles I haven't already solved.

Ten random things: Reader Request Month, day 19

Ten fictional intelligence agencies:

  1. SPECTRE (SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion, from James Bond novels and movies)
  2. S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Hazard Intervention, Espionage and Logistics Directorate, from Marvel Comics)
  3. H.E.A.T. (Hemisphere Emergency Action Team, from telelvision show Acapulco H.E.A.T.)
  4. ISA (International Security Alliance, from the television series Days of Our Lives
  5. R.C.X. (Resources Control Executive, from Marvel Comics)
  6. T.H.U.N.D.E.R. (The Higher United Nations Defense Enforcement Reserves, from the comic book T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents)
  7. C.L.A.S.H. (Consortium for Law-Enforcement Action for the Security of Humanity, from the comic book of the same name)
  8. C.A.P.E.R. (Civilian Authority for the Protection of Everybody, Regardless, from the television show The Kids from C.A.P.E.R.)
  9. V.S.S.E. (Vital Situation, Swift Elimination, from the video game Time Crisis)
  10. U.N.C.L.E. (United Network Command for Law and Enforcement, from the television series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.)

Today's list is for marinwood, who wanted to see some acronyms. Did you know that CONTROL and KAOS apparently don't stand for anyhting? Very disappointing.