Monday, September 22, 2008

Off-Day Puzzle #12: The Power of Five

With the Dodgers' magic number stuck at five going into the final week of baseball, the timing is opportune to bring up a (fictional) story of Joe Torre and Josh Rawitch, as Torre had a special shortened lineup to fill.

Torre had a unique situation in which he had to pick five Dodgers, past or present, to participate in a Dodgers community service event that involved them going to an all-girls high school. It wasn't a big commitment, just stand in front of the assembly in the school's multi-purpose room up on stage, and show a couple of game-typical maneuvers (like throwing, catching, and batting), and be done with the event in under two hours.

Torre toiled over this one for a while. Which Dodgers should he choose? These were the sort of lineup decisions that drove him (and Dodger fans) insane. Luckily, while procrastinating a bit, Torre found the the answer was right before him, as the puzzle strangely mentioned four Dodgers from past and present. Once he realized what these four Dodgers had in common, it was easy for him to decide the fifth and final Dodger needed to complete the group.

Unfortunately for Dodger VP of Public Relations Rawitch, who was trying to settle the details for this community service event, Torre wasn't able to tell him the five Dodgers he wanted to select. Instead, Torre left Rawitch the following crossword grid, with the following note scribbled in the margin:

Josh: This crossword grid reveals four of the five Dodgers that I have selected for my quintet. If you can complete this grid step by step, you'll figure out the theme the four Dodgers have in common, which should lead you to determine who the fifth Dodger must be. The fifth Dodger will fit the common theme, albeit a little differently from the other four, and as an extra hint, he's an outfielder. And, as one more hint to the theme that binds all four players and signals the fifth player, there are five blue squares which will anagram to an appropriate acronym.

Who is the fifth Dodger player that Torre has selected?

CLUES

ACROSS 1. Brooklyn Dodger 4. ______ Flux 8. Aid partner 12. Grow old 13. Chemistry term for "turning to the left" (obscure) 14. Granddaddy of Bowls 15. Chicken ____ King 16. Family 17. Social appointment 18. 411 20. Toy brick maker 22. _____ Now Or Never 24. Mai-____ 25. Preamble beginning 27. DODGER #1 31. Slow mover (no, not James Baldwin) 33. Poetic contraction 34. Though 36. Relaxation place 37. Eyelid tissues 40. DODGER #2 43. Radio wave 44. Abbreviation for "final" synonym (obscure) 46. Corn remainder 47. Implement 49. Sports award 52. Icky stuff from nose 55. Russian city 57. Slang for Native American territory (obscure) 59. Synonym for 1-across 60. Unit of land measure 61. Antlered animal 62. Robots took her medicine (see sidebar) 63. 365 days 64. To carry on

DOWN 1. Sheep sound 2. Tangelo variety 3. Average 4. Little Women author 5. Moray 6. Ellipse 7. Nine musical performers 8. DODGER #3 9. Snake 10. Extreme suffix 11. Golf accessory 19. Solve 21. Petrol 23. Chinese food sauce 25. Erase 26. Impetuous ardor 27. Test software version 28. 500 sheets of paper 29. Hockey's Bobby 30. Birth (maiden) name identifier 32. Gray 35. Sudden spasm 38. DODGER #4 39. UN labor group 41. What______ (in any way) 42. How I Met Your Mother network 45. Gecko type 48. Insects found in hair 50. Type of school 51. Scream 52. That girl 53. Neither partner 54. ___-Wan Kenobi 56. Pitching statistic 58. The heavens

Puzzle construction notes: As a warning, the crossword itself is almost as convoluted as my lead-in story (this is the first crossword I've ever constructed, and man! is it difficult to do!). There are a handful of reasonably obscure words which I've tried to indicate in the clues. Sorry about that. I can say that the payoff of theme is pretty good, so please hang in there if you're a crossword type of person and you're insulted by this admittedly weak attempt.

Puzzle rules: Comment freely in the thread, but if you have the solution, please don't give away the answer to everyone in the comments section. Instead, do the following:

Bonus! In addition to the prizes we're awarding to the Puzzle Championship Series (see the sidebar for top-five standings), we're also giving away a participation prize for this individual puzzle. Like our previous puzzles, all solution attempts submitted via email before the deadline--correct or not--will be entered into a pool (one entry per person regardless of number of submissions). From this pool, one name will be randomly selected in a transparent lottery. As long as the person drawn is willing to send us his/her mailing address, they will receive a wonderful Dodger-related prize item. As for this bonus prize...let's just say, you'll flip over it!

Deadline is midnight PT, and the solution will be posted at 12:01 AM tomorrow. Thanks, and good luck!

SoSG not responsible for items lost in the mail. Thanks to Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP for its generous underwriting of this bonus participation prize.

HINT #1 (9.15a): The blue letters do not anagram to a word; rather, they anagram to an acronym. This is key to determining the link between the five players, if looking at the four alone in the grid isn't enough.

HINT #2 (11.40a): The names of the four Dodgers in the grid matter, but it is not relevant to examine the first letters of their last names. (It is also not relevant to examine the last letters of their first names; you're getting confused with something else.)

48 comments:

Mike Scioscia's tragic illness said...

This may be completely off the map if it's not true, but it sounds like someone's been watching "Burn Notice".

Eric Karros said...

I think I got 1-Down "sheep sound". Otherwise, I'm stuck.

Mike Scioscia's tragic illness said...

I am completely stuck here. I have hte 4 guys and the puzzle done, but the letters in the blue boxes don't anagram to anything, at least that I can figure out.

Also, dodgers #2? *Golf clap*

QuadSevens said...

My answer has been submitted.

Mike Scioscia's tragic illness said...

I still don't know the blue boxes clue, but I think I may have figured out the answer without it.

Emailed.

berkowit28 said...

I also got the crossword and the 4 Dodgers, but can't figure the anagram. I can take a wild guess at the 5th Dodger, but frankly would not dignify that as a "solution". There are several other alternatives along the same non-theme, and that's not good enough.

Eric Karros said...

I now have both 1-Down and 54-Down.

Steve Sax said...

Impressive, most impressive, Quadsevens. Your answer is correct.

MSTI, your answer is not correct..it looks like the blue letters are throwing you (and berk) off the trail. Hint to be posted shortly.

QuadSevens said...

Crossword puzzles are fun. The blue letters are evil. Just my opinion. =)

Mike Scioscia's tragic illness said...

I just figured out the blue letters. You're right, Q7. EVIL!

fanerman said...

I submitted an answer.

Daniel said...

I sent in an answer, but I'm not entirely sure it's right.

jose said...

Just sent my answer in

karina said...

"Learning English with SoSG Steve Sax". My first crossword in my life. In English. Sigh. Have no chance.

tody said...

DODGERS=CHOKERS!!!

Neeebs said...

I'm sending my guess.

Gil Gamesh said...

Answer sent.

Steve Sax said...

Wow, sorry I was out of pocket there. In order of response, I've got correct answers from quadsevens, MSTI, fanerman, _____, Jose, and gil gamesh. The blank is because I don't know the screenname of the guy who works at "the Y."

Neeebs, i don't think I've receied yours yet.

Steve Sax said...

berk, the path you're moving down is not the right direction. You do have the right four players, and the acronym is still eluding you. I'll post a new hint in the meantime.

Steve Sax said...

I should also add that, like our other puzzles, there are clues in the flavortext.

fanerman said...

What is flavor text?

Steve Sax said...

neeebs, thank you for re-sending. I never got your first one...

...you have the correct four players and you have correctly identified the acronym. Your fifth player, however, is incorrect...it's not a catcher (please read the flavortext)!

Steve Sax said...

fanerman, this is the best link I could find quickly to define flavortext; basically it refers to the lead-in to a puzzle which usually has clues to the solving mechanism and/or the solution.

Neeebs said...

Resent follow up email.

Steve said...

Just sent in an answer. I'm mad that I couldn't work on this in the morning...

I'm losing ground because I won the puzzle 7 weeks ago (I think) and it's coming off the board!

berkowit28 said...

Is the "girl's school" reference s red herring or a clue?

Steve Sax said...

neeebs, got your second answer, you are correct. The fifth player was "a little different" from the other four, as you had correctly surmised.

Steve Sax said...

steve, your answer is correct as well.

Steve Sax said...

berk, it's not a red herring, but alone it probably won't tell you the answer...

Neeebs said...

Berk: Your self-proclaimed "pop culture" challenged will put you at a disadvantage. Keep sorting through it, though. It might suddenly pop into your head.

Steve Sax said...

Neeebs, please leave the hints to us!

berkowit28 said...

Yeah, I figured my lack of pop culture knowledge might be a hindrance here. A lot of people seem to have got what looks like an awfully obscure acronym to me, so there may be more to it than that.

Steve Sax said...

berk, please check your email inbox...

Julie Hibbard said...

You must be the only person in the world who has more time to blog than me! I loved your comment...
I just posted it on my blog!

Mr. Customer said...

My guess is in the mail!

That was great, yet completely horrible at the same time!

karina said...

i emailed a doubt...i've been alternating my duties with thesaurus, cambridge advanced learner's dictionary, wikipedia, among other internet research...i gotta thank you made me learn a lot of stuff today.

Eric Karros said...

Whether or not I finish this puzzle, I've at least learned what a tangelo is.

cigarcow said...

I'm soooo close. I got three names and the blue letters.

Mr. Customer said...

EK:

Delicious?

cigarcow said...

Arrrggghhh I got all the names and the acronym and it still makes no sense! I quit. I'm sending in my answer, it's the best I can do.

Steve Sax said...

berk, your answer is correct. Well done.

Steve Sax said...

cigarcow, you've got the four + acronym...your answer however is wrong. You still are missing how they fit together --> which will lead you to the correct fifth player.

karina said...

Emailed my answer.

Steve Sax said...

karina, your four dodgers are right, but you'll need the acronym to get you over the hump, I'm afraid--your answer is not correct

Erin said...

Just got home from dinner after driving in from San Francisco. I don't like my chances of getting the solution in on time, but I'll do my best.

QuadSevens said...

My answer has been sent in. Oops, force of habit. I did email in some pics of the air freshener you guys sent me though.

Erin said...

I sent in my answer. That went better than I thought it would.

berkowit28 said...

First time we've had a submission *from* a clue.