Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Off-Day Puzzle #10: Solution

Two and a half seasons of PCS before Jeff Kent is the solution to a puzzle. Who, incidentally, would not displace anyone on the adventure, as he would take an unoccupied seat.

The first thing step is to grab your graph paper and follow the instructions on the grid with the different colors. The first two paragraphs of the puzzle should give you an enclosed loop like so:

Continuing to all the steps of the puzzle, including the stops to pick up people (which are numbered with circles starting with James Loney himself at #1, one gets a final design that looks like this (click on image for greater detail):

The colors and the direction of the paths overlap with segments from the central map of the London Underground subway system, affectionately referred to as "the Tube" (with the yellow being the Circle Line; that yellow bottle should have been the givewaway, before the grid got more cluttered with the other lines):

As an aside, I apologize that my memory failed me here; I really thought that there was an actual Absolut Vodka advertisement called "Absolut London" which had the Circle Line as an Absolut bottle. It appears I was misled. The concept was actually bootleg (though the vodka is not bootlegged moonshine):

Once the London Underground system is recognized, one can map all of James' stops to specific Underground stations ("tube stops"), each of which has a stop name which corresponds to the name of a person who has played for the Dodgers (position they played most frequently during their Dodgers tenure, as per baseball-reference.com, is also relevant):

Stop #
Tube stop
Dodger player
St. JAMES Park
James Loney
Shawn Green
Tommy Warren
KING's Cross
St. Pancras
Clyde King
Angel Pena
St. PAUL's
Paul LoDuca
Bill Russell
Bill Crouch
BAKER Street
Dusty Baker
EARL's Court
Earl Robinson
KENTish Town
Jeff Kent

The position they played most frequently as a Dodger is relevant, because James only has eight other seats, one for every other position in the field (James of course is on the 1B seat). Clyde King (Stop #4) is the second pitcher to join the adventure, so he displaces Tommy Warren (Stop #3) to occupy the pitcher's seat; King is later displaced by Bill Crouch at Stop #8. Similarly, Paul LoDuca displaces Angel Pena at Stop #6, as LoDuca takes the catcher's seat.

The 11 Dodger-relevant stops on the Tube.

Jeff Kent is the player at Stop #11, and it's natural for Loney to be frightened given Kent is kind of a surly lot (Kentish Town must be a place where old guys with pornstaches yell at the young kids in the neighborhood while washing their trucks in their driveways). What's worse, as Kent would be the first 2B to join the adventure, he would indeed take an unoccupied seat.

(Many of the correct solvers--and EK, too, prior to publishing--noted that it should have been more clear that it was the London Underground. I thought that the different-colored lines would have signified a subway line pretty obviously, however I did end up shoving in three oblique references to London or the Underground at the last second: (1) "minding" the "gaps of chairs" --> "mind the gap"; (2) Mr. Pena shouting the name of his cereal --> "Cheerio!" (okay, I admit that was a stretch); (3) the Sneaker Pimps' song --> 6 Underground.)

Congratulations to ubragg, Golem, Mr. Customer, Jason, J Steve, and Josh S.

News to follow shortly about how the tickets will find their eventual home (correct solvers, if you know you are unable to use a pair of reserved level tickets for the August 18 7p game vs. the Rockies, please let me know in an email as soon as you can). Thanks!

Updated rankings to be posted soon. Next puzzle Monday, August 23, 7am!


Fred's Brim said...

What's funny is that the London Underground is closer than LA Metro to having a Dodger Stadium stop

Nostradamus said...

Only unrealistic in that Dusty would have asked to be dropped off at Fulham Broadway for the match.

Josh S. said...

I pretty sure we had had enough of Kent's ish by the time his career was over.

Eric Karros said...

It would totally suck if the London Underground had a stop at Dodger Stadium and you were a random British guy riding it from central London intending to go to Heathrow but were napping and missed the last stop before it crossed the Atlantic.

Anyhow great puzzle Sax!

Nostradamus said...


It's not so bad. Just switch over to the Cyan line when you get to Reykjavik.

Eric Karros said...

Mr C - that station is still closed due to the volcano.

Steve Sax said...

@EK 9:59a: That trip to Heathrow can indeed take FOREVER to get out there. But you can't beat the price (relative to a taxi)!

(And yes, I know Heathrow Express is another option.)

Steve Sax said...

Josh S and Mr C: Better start your training. Tomorrow's Dodgers-Phillies game, you'll both want to be watching....

Josh S. said...

*is confused, but intrigued*

Nostradamus said...

Well, that's usually the case, so...

Steve Sax said...

(Tomorrow's GT goes up at 1p. And both Josh S and Mr. C should be watching...)

Kyle Baker said...

Of all god damned days I couldn't spend enough time on the PCS, the puzzle involves one of my favorite things (the Tube) in my favorite city in the world. And damned if I don't have like three separate iPhone apps related to London transportation system and the Tube at the ready.

@Mr C

There's only one team in Fulham!

Steve Sax said...

I hear you, Dusty. I too LOVE the Tube. And I love the simplicity of the map and how it was one of the first subway maps to be applied spatially rather than geographically...