Monday, June 15, 2009

Off-Day Puzzle #7: The Staff Member

Special thanks to SoSG Eric Karros for letting me take the reins for today's off-day puzzle, Puzzle #7 in the PCS Season II. Today's puzzle, The Staff Member, concerns some spare papers I found flying around Dodger Stadium the other day.

After returning to my car after yet another Dodgers victory last week, I came across a couple of spare sheets of paper that had obviously been ripped out of a book, before being blown across the vacant lots of Chavez Ravine and ending up near my fine automobile. The book's pages appeared to have pictures of former Dodgers in it*, but it was the ordering of the particular Dodgers which caught my eye, as they seemed odd and random at first glance.

The first page of Dodgers looked like this:

I stared at these two rows of Dodgers for a while, not knowing why the players were ordered in this fashion on the page. It would have helped if the players' names hadn't been obscured by muck and splotches (faithfully reproduced on this page with neat and tidy white rectangles). Unable to determine the ordering rationale, I went to my yoga class--and somewhere in the middle of the meditation session, as I was repeating the names of the players over and over to myself, it triggered an old memory of mine that sounded pretty familiar. And then, with these echoes in my mind, I realized what was going on here.

This epiphany really helped, as I also found this second page--which followed the first page, but not directly afterward--and had also blown near my car. And on this page, it had a big question mark at the end of the row:

Using the same methodology as on page one, name the Dodgers staff member whose picture belongs in the final box. As a kickoff hint, I will add that this person is no longer on the Dodgers' staff.

(*) Puzzle construction note: Yes, I understand that some of the players I've used are not Dodgers. This is hard work, dudes! I will say that on page 1, second line, the players on the third and fifth cards do have a Dodgers affiliation (and can be found here). The player on the first card in the second row has no affiliation with the Dodgers, though he did play us including at least once in the postseason. As for the second page of players, the player on the second card has a Dodgers affiliation (and can be found at the above link); the player on the fourth and last card does not.

Oh yeah, one more thing: on the first page, the second card in the second row was a deliberate choice.

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Puzzle Rules: The answer to the puzzle is the name of the Dodgers staff member. Comment freely in the thread, but if you have the solution, please don't give it away to everyone in the comments section. Instead, do the following:

  • Email us with the name, along with your reasoning (submitted answers with the name alone, sans explanation, will not be accepted. Likewise, correct answers arrived at via luck or the wrong reasoning count for participation credit only). And please include your screen name somewhere in the email; and
  • Post a comment simply saying you have emailed your solution attempt. I may not be able to reply to your original email promptly, so please be patient and check back on the comment thread for the latest news; I will try to confirm correct answers there.

You have until midnight PT tonight to submit your answer. Good luck!

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Hint #1 (10:02a): Added some words to the fourth paragraph (in the yoga session), which may make things easier. Identifying the players is the first step...

Hint #2 (12:20p): It sounds like most of you are having trouble identifying the players. As a hint, here are the sets used in this puzzle (ordered chronologically): 1961 Topps, 1972 Topps, 1975 Topps, 1976 Topps (2x), 1982 Topps, 1984 Topps, 1987 Topps, 1990 Leaf, 2002 Upper Deck SR, 2002 Upper Deck Authentics Retro Star Rookie Jerseys, 2006 Topps Allen and Ginter, 2008 Topps Heritage Chrome Refractors, 2008 Topps Update.

Hint #3 (2:25p): The vertical positioning of the cards is relevant. (So too is the vertical positioning of the final rectangle.)

Hint #4 (4:30p): Got your list of players? Well, don't just stand there looking at the list. Make it your mantra! Scream it from the mountaintops! Echoes, baby!

Hint #5 (9.30p): Why don't you try to be an American Idol?

Not familiar with SoSG's off-day puzzle competition? Read up here. And join the madness!

60 comments:

Eric Karros said...

Hmmm. Just got back from yoga, it didn't help. I'm gonna try spinning class now, we'll see...

fanerman said...

This one requires some work.

DanGarion said...

I refuse to do this off day puzzle due to the lack of Jose Gonzales Mexi-fro.

Steve Sax said...

I'll post hint #1 by 11a PT. Keep chugging, SoSG puzzlers!

Ubragg said...

Wow, maybe this one should have been a Grand Slam puzzle. I've identified all the players, but am completely stumped. I guess I should head off to yoga class now, hopefully there is hint hidden under my yoga mat.

Mike Scioscia's tragic illness said...

I've got most of the guys, but I'm having a bit of trouble with the "rookie" Marlin who looks like he's 40.

rbnlaw said...

I think I recognize 3 of the cards, including the "deliberate" choice who faced us a loong time ago.

Steve Sax said...

Hint #1 posted. Ubragg, if you've identified them all, you're halfway there.

fanerman said...

I haven't even identified them all yet...

QuadSevens said...

Knowing the players is half the battle, but I've never meditated. Maybe I'll try praying for an answer instead.

Mr. LA Sports Fan said...

The trouble is finding all the names

fanerman said...

I'm frustrated!

J. Steve said...

I just sent in my answer! I can't believe I figured this one out...

Ubragg said...

answer sent!

Steve Sax said...

J Steve, you nailed it. Answer is correct. Nice work!

Steve Sax said...

Ubragg, you are so close, you can taste it. Methodology is right, but you're missing the last piece...

Ubragg said...

Argh, it looks like the hint was posted seconds after I packed up and left for work -- I thought it was coming out at 11am. It only took me about a minute longer with the hint, but my 20 minute drive to work cost me... Nice work, J Steve! I'll get in there first one of these days...

Ubragg said...

Well, I'm not even right... never mind then. :)

Ubragg said...

and now a new and better answer has been sent...

Ubragg said...

Very cool puzzle, Sax!

J. Steve said...

Yes... definitely a cool puzzle. I have no idea where you guys come up with these things!

Steve Sax said...

Ubragg, my fault for the posting of the hint an hour early...sorry.

As it is, your second answer is spot on. Well done.

Ubragg said...

No worries, you technically said "by 11am", and 10:02am definitely qualifies. :)

Awesome said...

i have no idea who second row 5th card is!

Dusto Magnifico said...

too much work for me... I'd love to spend the rest of the day working on this, but I have to actually get some work done today.

QuadSevens said...

Hmmm...I have all the names, but I'm still missing something. Maybe some food will help my thought process along.

Steve Sax said...

Hint #2 added.

fanerman said...

Getting all the players right took a lot of time, but wasn't too bad. I'm completely stuck on what to do next, though.

Steve Sax said...

Hint #3 posted. Fanerman, this should help you out a lot.

Steve Sax said...

Wicks, just sent you an email reply.

Josh S. said...

I've got the names now, thanks to the second hint (and the watermark on the images), now to get crackin' on the rest.

Josh S. said...

Emailed my player names, still working on the second half.

Wicks said...

Second player guess is in........

Josh S. said...

Ugh. I can't even read my own notes. I sent two emails in about the player order. I think the order is right in the first email, but my notes contradict it.

Brain: Fried.

Steve Sax said...

Josh S, your IDs are correct. Now just figure out what to do with them--consult hint #3.

New hint posted before 5p.

Steve Sax said...

Fourth hint posted. Wicks, Josh S, this should help--

QuadSevens said...

Feeble attempt sent in.

Josh S. said...

I'm applying hints 2 and 4 to the list and nothing is jumping out at me! Not giving up yet, though.

Steve Sax said...

Josh S, keep the recitation going...

Quad, just emailed you back.

Awesome said...

i have the players down just trying to figure out this second part!

fanerman said...

I think I've gone delusional, but I sent you guys an email.

Steve Sax said...

Fanerman is in with the third correct answer. Again, well done. Clearly, all those years muttering to yourself aloud have paid off!

So far we've got J Steve, Ubragg, and Fanerman all in...

fanerman said...

Yay! I'm not insane!

Steve Sax said...

...actually, I didn't weigh in on that issue. I'm just saying, you got the correct answer.

Gotta hop, kids. Email me before midnight in order to be eligible. Thanks!

J. Steve said...

For this puzzle, a little insanity helps!

Mr. Customer said...

Answer in.

Any puzzle that causes you to have to mumble insanely to yourself shouldn't really be considered a safe-for-work activity.

That's all I'm sayin'.

Unless some late answers come in, UBragg is going to make up a ton of ground today.

Mr. Customer said...

Also, I believe I've now developed a speech impediment.

You're the best, Sax!

Steve Sax said...

Mr Customer is indeed right. That is the fourth correct answer.

I'll post one more hint in a second. Remember, correct answers need to be submitted by midnight!

karina said...

Answer sent in.

karina said...

I won't ever recognize an American Idol hint. Now i'm nervous.

Steve Sax said...

sorry karina, that isn't correct--you are right by identifying what to hum, though...

QuadSevens said...

When American Idol is a clue, I'm dead. Participation credit will have to do tonight. I'll read the answer in the morning.

karina said...

Another try sent in.

Josh S. said...

I think I got it!

Answer and poorly-worded explanation sent!

Steve Sax said...

q7, karina, sorry we've stumped you. I've gotta call it tonight...answers before midnight still count

Steve Sax said...

Josh S, you got it. Well done. Fifth correct answer in!

Josh S. said...

Yes!!!

Steve Sax said...

Okay, now I'm REALLY out. Again, any correct answer received before midnight will count.

Solution posts at 7am. Thanks everyone!

LLCoolL said...

Damn, too late. I just needed a good night's sleep to figure it out. I still don't know who that last Marlins' pitcher is.

berkowit28 said...

I am glad that I did not have the time yesterday to spend on this, as I would never have got it in a million years either, Karina. As I'm pretty new to the Dodgers and don't know players, or what they look like, from the 70s, 80s, 90s, I soon realized I was never going to get the player names, probably not even with more time for research than I had.

But even if I had got them, and figured out the first name-last name thing from the vertical position, that would have been it. I can't begin to imagine how anyone thought of these names "sounding like" the words of the national anthem. May I ask the winners how they thought of that? Just pooped into your head(s), just like that? Did any of the clues or hints put you on the right track? How?