## Tuesday, June 24, 2008

### Off-Day Puzzle #4: Solution

Here, dear readers, is the solution to yesterday's puzzle:

Gold star goes to Loney Fan who was the first to solve it. Following Loney Fan with the correct solution were SoSG Orel, Benjamin Pratt, and stolenmonkey86. Congrats guys and many thanks to all who participated.

General puzzle note: I really appreciate everyone's participation in these puzzles. I truly hope you enjoy them. You may have noticed in my puzzles I often state 'if you think you have the answer but aren't sure, you don't have the answer'. I say this because I think this characteristic is critical for a proper puzzle, that the solution can't be open to various interpretations. Which brings me to this note - via email we received a number of solution attempts, almost all of which can be divided into two categories (the actual solution turned out to be a combination of the two):

• Wordplay-driven - These solution attempts tried to determined the Giants player to attack based on various 'wordplay devices' - the alphabetic sequence of the names, length of the names, starting letter, etc. While some of our past puzzles (and to some degree this one) are indeed based on wordplay devices, a general rule of thumb is this: if the wordplay device has greater than approximately 1 in 1,000,000 chance of happening by coincidence, it won't be the basis of a strictly word-play puzzle solution. For example, there are only 120 sequences in which 5 names can be ordered, so a puzzle will never be based solely on the alphabetic order of 5 names (if it were, say, 20 names, well that might be a different story).
• Metaphor-driven - These solution attempts tried to draw a metaphor between Loney's predicament and another situation. The rule of thumb here is if your solution requires broad stretches of subjective interpretation to complete the metaphor, or if your metaphor is based on a single metaphorical comparison concept, you are not on the right track. Any metaphor-driven puzzle will contain several metaphorical concepts tying back to the same greater metaphor so you can cross-verify your interpretation. In this case, there are several: the white and black jerseys, the premise of Loney heading from his safe haven to the opposite dangerous side of town, the names of the Giants invoking the chess pieces (which almost certainly won't occur by chance), their movements in 'distinct and indirect paths,' the use of the 'King' nickname, the fact that Quiñones and Patterson were in position to strike and not the other two, etc. None of these concepts alone would be compelling enough to drive the metaphor, but taken together I feel they most definitely are.

Anyhow, these are general rules I try to abide by, though of course the rules themselves are subject to some degree of interpretation. As with everyone, I do the best I can. Anyhow, thanks again and see you next off-day!

Mike Scioscia's tragic illness said...

I definitely spent a lot of time trying to figure out a Cubs/White Sox tie in, since you so clearly stated that he was coming from the South Side in his home whites towards the hostile North Side..

Good puzzle EK. I think if I wasn't craving some of those White Castle burgers, then I might have been able to see the chess metaphor.

karina said...

Excellent, Eric!. No wonder i couldn't quite solve it, in my mind, chess just doesn't exist!.

Orel said...

I love the enemy expressions when the queen is struck down.

Eric Karros said...

Thanks guys. The N/S side thing is of course a reference to SF/LA. And the White Castle reference is pretty inconsequential, but I liked the movie and it can also be seen as a reference to the white rook. And Karina, it was your 'King' James references which in part gave me the idea to begin with!

And lastly Orel, I had the video locked and loaded without the enemies' final expressions, but added them at the last minute. I even had a version where they run away after the Queen is killed but that technically would have disrupted the integrity of the metaphor so I canned it.

Steve Sax said...

I think it's awesome that Benjamin Pratt likes your puzzles, EK. Maybe Julia Goberts will chime in for Puzzle #5!

cigarcow said...

Where's the solution? Why don't I see anything? Is this another youtube clip? Whatever.

Eric Karros said...

It is indeed a youtube clip. You should change jobs to somewhere that doesn't block YouTube.

cigarcow said...

I like the way you think, EK. I think I'll take it one step further...Unemployment line, here I come!

karina said...

It's so flattering to be part of your inspiration. Maybe someday i'll be able to solve one of your puzzles.