## Monday, August 09, 2010

### Off-Day Puzzle #10: James And The Yellow Crayon

(With apologies to Crockett Johnson.)

EK is letting Sax take the reins here, on a puzzle that he promised to EK about a year ago but failed to deliver. (Sorry about that, EK!) So cross your fingers that this works out with a minimum of bloodshed...

James Loney has always been a quiet, thoughtful, reflective chap. But that’s not to say that he doesn’t have a lot of friends. When he was a young child, he used to play with his friends a lot outside on the baseball diamond; and even on those inclement days when it was cold and rainy in frigid Houston, he was able to take out his set of crayons and use his imagination to "play" with his friends.

One day, James decided he would draw a picture. He took his yellow crayon and marked a central point on his graph paper, which was the only paper he had lying around on which to draw. And then he moved five steps to the west, and stopped. Then he moved seven steps to the north, and stopped again. Then he moved eleven steps to the east, and stopped. Then he moved southeast two steps, and stopped. Then he moved east four steps, then south three steps, then west four steps again. Then south west two steps. And finally, six steps west.

James looked down at his picture, which was now an enclosed loop. It was a neat shape—frankly, it reminded him of a shape that would be familiar to readers of a certain blog—but it wasn’t as much fun to draw on this graph paper if he didn’t have his friends with him. So he pretended that he’d draw a bit more and “pick up” his friends along the way. But James pretended he only had eight seats available for his friends on his adventure, so sometimes, his friends would have to displace others.

He kept drawing with his yellow crayon, going one step west. And then he changed crayons, switching from the yellow crayon to a light blue crayon, and moved three steps north, and stopped. “Hello, Shawn!” he said, to no one in particular since (he was pretending). “Want to come with me and find some more friends?” Shawn of course agreed, so they kept going with the light blue crayon and moved four steps to the northeast, where they stopped again.

“Time to pick up Tommy!” James pretended Tommy joined them, and continued on with the light blue crayon: one step to the northeast, then two steps to the east, where he stopped again. “And now we pick up Clyde!” said James. But James made Clyde take Tommy’s seat, so Tommy had to leave the adventure. It was difficult to break this news to Tommy, who noted that there were gaps of open seats, but it was hard enough drawing with the crayons than to have James mind those as well. So Tommy left the group.

By this time James was tired of his light blue crayon, so he changed to a black crayon. He moved one step south and one step east and then stopped to pick up Mr. Pena. (Mr Pena must have had a lot of cereal with him on which to snack, as he shouted the cereal's name upon joining the group.) Then he continued with his black crayon, one more step east and four steps south, crossing his yellow path (from earlier) along the way.

James stopped again, switched to a red crayon, and moved one step west and one step northwest, and stopped to pick up Mr. LoDuca. Mr. LoDuca had to take Mr. Pena’s seat, so Mr. Pena left the adventure. Then he continued on, two steps west, and stopped again to switch to a dark blue crayon.

James liked this dark blue color a lot so he wanted to draw with it for quite some time. He mobbed one step northeast, then one step north, then stopped to pick up his friend Bill. Then he moved one step north (he was now back at his yellow path) and moved six steps to the northeast and stopped. He then switched back to the light blue crayon, and moved one more step to the northeast, then four steps to the east, and stopped again.

Orange! James needed an orange crayon, but all he could find was an orange pencil, whose nub of a tip didn’t leave a solid line like his crayons; in fact, the broken tip seemed to leave two thin lines instead. No matter, he would make do. James moved one step to the northwest and then six steps to the west, where he picked up his other friend named Bill. This Bill, however, had to take Clyde’s seat, forcing Clyde out of the adventure. Then he moved quite a ways with the orange pencil: two steps to the southwest, six steps to the west, two more steps to the southwest, and three steps to the west.

By this time, the orange pencil was spent, so he switched to a light gray crayon and moved three steps to the southeast, then one step to the south. Even though James had been at this point before with his yellow crayon, he realized he could pick up his friend Dusty here (he was so sorry he had missed him the first time through!), before moving three more steps to the south. Dusty's pick up allowed them all to start singing that Sneaker Pimps song together, which was fun.

James stopped, changed back to his red crayon, and moved four steps to the west. He stopped here and changed to a dark, sea-green crayon and moved four steps to the south—all four of which matched steps he had already marked with his yellow crayon. Then James moved one step to the west and picked up his friend Mr. Robinson. He moved three more spaces to the west, and stopped.

James was pretty tired by this point, having “picked up” nine of his friends with his scribbles (though only seven friends were on the bus along with James), so now he wanted to see where his path would lead him, if he just started wandering around a bit. He changed to a pink crayon and moved five steps north, two steps northeast, and five steps east. Then he changed to a light brown crayon and moved two steps southeast, one step south, and three steps southeast. Finally, in his last color switch, he changed to a black crayon and moved six steps north, one step northeast, three steps north, and one step northeast. But before he could move that last step to the northeast, he stopped, frozen in place. A chill went down James’ spine, when James saw whom he’d have to pick up.

“No way,” said James. “No way am I going there.”

Who was it that scared James from going that last step? And would this new person take an unoccupied seat, or displace someone already on the adventure—and if so, whom would he displace?

Hint #1 (10:21a): If you've drawn the first step (the yellow enclosed loop) correctly, you should absolutly (sic) recognize the basic shape. **note 4:59p: I thought this was an actual absolut vodka ad but in fact it appears I'm mistaken. Suffice it to say the yellow loop should trace the outline of a bottle.**

Hint #2 (1:47p): If you've drawn the whole thing and you don't know what you've got, you may want to reference other previous PCS puzzles (prior to this season). I confess this puzzle is a little derivative...take a look back for context.

Hint #3 (3:10p): Apparently many of you have an eye for color. But you're not an artist. You're a cartographer.

Hint #4 (4:32p): Particularly for those of you who have sent in drawings for me to verify: if you're getting an image that looks gnarly, look again; it's probably better described as "totally Tubular."

Puzzle Rules: The answer to the puzzle is a current or former Dodger, and one has to explain (a) who it is as well as (b) whether the person would take an unoccupied seat or displace someone else already on the adventure (and if he would displace someone, whom he would displace). 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 first and last name of the Dodger player who is the answer, as well as whether he would displace someone and who that displaced person would then be. Please also include your reasoning (answers arrived at via luck or the wrong reasoning, even if correct, count for participation credit only). And please include your screen name somewhere in the email; and

You have until midnight PT tonight to submit your answer. Solution will be posted tomorrow. ALSO, as a special bonus, all correct solvers for this puzzle will be entered into a random contest for two reserved-level tickets to the August 18 game vs. the Rockies (7:10p). Good luck!

*New to SoSG's PCS Puzzle Series? Here's how it works. Join the fun, all are welcome!

Josh S. said...

@___@

Steve Sax said...

Wow, you hit the suites and now you don't have time for such triflings, eh Josh?

Come on, no muppet face here. Draw it out...

Steve Sax said...

edited to add one sentence to the end of a paragraph. 7:58 a

Dusty Baker said...

Good thing I still have my handy directional map that I was able to produce during last year's finale puzzle.

ubragg said...

I think I've got it... tentative answer sent.

ubragg said...

Now, a slightly better answer sent. Pretty sure I've got it this time.

Mr. Customer said...

I haven't seen Berko around for a while, but he's probably shaking his fist at the heavens right now.

Steve Sax said...

Ubragg is in and correct! Well done (the second answer, that is)!

I need more graph paper and crayons stat!

Josh S. said...

Oh no, the muppet face wasn't me not wanting to do the puzzle. It just looked very imposing on my iPhone at 7 in the morning. I'm going to take a crack at it for sure.

Josh S. said...

This site may help those without graph paper. You're on your own for crayons.

Golem said...

I'm at the "tentative answer sent" stage. Which, judging from ubragg, means I'll get it for real in 5 minutes!

Golem said...

Revised answer sent. Only a bit slower than anticipated!

Steve Sax said...

Golem is in and correct as well!

Hint posting in the next hour.

Mr. LA Sports Fan said...

I should focus my energy on the VORP Classic finale.

Steve Sax said...

Hint 1 posted.

rbnlaw said...

Where the hell is the animation of two bears gettin it on?

Steve Sax said...

EK is still holding onto that one, rbnlaw. And I don't have latex gloves, so I'm not touching it.

Mr. Customer said...

I've gotten myself stuck on a particular line of thought, and I really doubt it's correct.

Josh S. said...

Looking around my office for a reasonable facsimile of orange and brown...

rbnlaw said...

Anyone seen the new LFP shirt designs?
The Drysdale Fear Factor looks strong.

Dusty Baker said...

Unfortunately I don't have the supplies or time to mess with this today. Made tentative try on cocktail napkin at Starbucks.

Searching for the bears humping instead. Or any Loney/Kemp celebration.

I have a lot of colors on my page, I recognize the shape, I had to draw out a compass, I'm stuck on a particular line of thought, I don't have an answer, and I want a drink. Damn Mondays!

Mr. LA Sports Fan said...

We interrupt your puzzling pleasure for this breaking news:

RT @dylanohernandez: Ramon Troncoso optioned to triple-A. Clears the way for the activation of Ronald Belisario, who is traveling with #Dodgers to Philadelphia.

rbnlaw said...

Reds acquire Jim Edmonds. Love to see him do some damage to St. Looie.

J. Steve said...

Drawn a bunch of colored lines and now, but don't recognize the yellow shape...

Steve Sax said...

New hint posting at 2:30p

Paul said...

Why did I take a day off work to clean house and wash my dog?

I might give this puzzle a shot in a few hours but might get hooked on this Murakami book instead.

Steve Sax said...

I couldn't wait. Hint #2 posted.

Mr. Customer said...

SHIT, I get it now.

Josh S. said...

My lack of colors is killing me. I actually wrote "LB" to indicate light brown. I used red for orange and pink.

At least I figured out the Sneaker Pimps song, even though I don't know what it means in the grand scheme of the puzzle.

Jason said...

Steve Sax said...

Josh S: it's going to be a lot easier if you look at the colors...black and white won't do it justice.

Josh S. said...

Fuck it. I'm going to Rite-Aid to buy crayons.

Steve Sax said...

Jason, you are perilously close but just a little off. Check your email...

Steve Sax said...

Hint #3 posted.

Mr. Customer said...

Josh S. said...

Didn't buy crayons. I realized I have until midnight, so I can go home and pilfer a box from the two dozen boxes of crayons we bought for Luke's birthday party.

Steve Sax said...

Mr Customer is indeed right.

Ubragg, Golem, Mr C are the only three correct answers to date...

Steve Sax said...

Steve Sax said...

@____@

Jason said...

Eyes uncrossed and the correct answer sent.

rbnlaw said...

>__<

My "D'oh" face.

Mr. LA Sports Fan said...

!___!

Josh S. said...

Progress sent.

Steve Sax said...

Jason is correct!

In the words of the Minions from Despicable Me, "Ah poop!"

Steve Sax said...

Fourth hint, which might be the last one, is up.

Steve Sax said...

J. Steve said...

Steve Sax said...

J Steve, you are so close... Check your email

drewdez said...

Waving the white flag on this one. Participation points, please.

Steve Sax said...

J Steve is in with a correct answer!

To recap:
1 ubragg
2 Golem
3 Mr. Customer
4 Jason
5 J Steve

2.5 more hours. I'm on email for the next 60 mins if anyone has questions.

Steve Sax said...

Josh S, just sent you an email.

Josh S. said...

Just got the email. Redrew it. Still got nothin'. Alas.

Steve Sax said...

last hail mary clue...what kind of map would need different colors like that?

Josh S. said...

Sorry Sax, my brain and drawing hand aren't getting together on this one. Thanks for the help. I look forward to smacking myself on the forehead in the morning.

Steve Sax said...

No worries, Josh. Eat fresh!

Josh S. said...

Oh...god damn it. I hate you.

Josh S. said...