While in social isolation ...

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ChrisKochmanski
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While in social isolation ...

#1

Post by ChrisKochmanski » Wed Mar 18, 2020 12:47 pm

While in social isolation (actually, not that isolated; staying in touch with family, chatting with neighbors, running errands, still getting an occasional freelance writing task, etc.) ...

I've been doing old MGWCCs. I came to the puzzles somewhere in the low 400s, as I recall, so there are lots of good early MGWCCs still to solve. Number 252 -- "The answer is a European capital" -- was positively diabolical. Finally had to peek ahead for a clue at the solution.

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Al Sisti
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#2

Post by Al Sisti » Wed Mar 18, 2020 2:13 pm

ChrisKochmanski wrote:
Wed Mar 18, 2020 12:47 pm
While in social isolation (actually, not that isolated; staying in touch with family, chatting with neighbors, running errands, still getting an occasional freelance writing task, etc.) ...

I've been doing old MGWCCs. I came to the puzzles somewhere in the low 400s, as I recall, so there are lots of good early MGWCCs still to solve. Number 252 -- "The answer is a European capital" -- was positively diabolical. Finally had to peek ahead for a clue at the solution.
I have all his Mental Floss books, which I used to improve my meta-solving skills. Having entire books of metas, one after another, was awesome. That said, knowing I had a whole book, I didn't take the 2, 3 sometimes 4 days I would have spent on one of his weekly metas, choosing rather to sloppily guess an answer and flip to the back (especially with no streak on the line).

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ChrisKochmanski
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#3

Post by ChrisKochmanski » Fri Mar 20, 2020 9:46 pm

Oh, wow, I didn’t know about the Mental Floss books. Great name! How many are there? Do they collect early MGWCCs? With the quickest, quickest search on “Amazon books Mental Floss Matt Gaffney”, I see one — four copies left! Thanks for the tip!

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Al Sisti
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#4

Post by Al Sisti » Sat Mar 21, 2020 12:59 pm

ChrisKochmanski wrote:
Fri Mar 20, 2020 9:46 pm
Oh, wow, I didn’t know about the Mental Floss books. Great name! How many are there? Do they collect early MGWCCs? With the quickest, quickest search on “Amazon books Mental Floss Matt Gaffney”, I see one — four copies left! Thanks for the tip!
I've got like 3 of Matt's Mental Floss/Double Layer books and 6 or so of Peter Gordon's Blazingly/Diabolocally/etc.ally Hard Crossword books... double of most, actually, since I won a Fireball contest once. They really have helped me a lot.

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ChrisKochmanski
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#5

Post by ChrisKochmanski » Sat Mar 21, 2020 7:35 pm

I did several of the Peter Gordon books, then subscribed to his service and stopped doing his books. I probably missed a few good puzzles that way. Alas.

I’ll order the Gaffney books tonight — especially while we still have Amazon Prime.

Thanks, Al! Have a Guinness!

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Al Sisti
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#6

Post by Al Sisti » Sun Mar 22, 2020 12:06 am

ChrisKochmanski wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 7:35 pm
I did several of the Peter Gordon books, then subscribed to his service and stopped doing his books. I probably missed a few good puzzles that way. Alas.

I’ll order the Gaffney books tonight — especially while we still have Amazon Prime.

Thanks, Al! Have a Guinness!
Will do (the things I do for my friends).

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ChrisKochmanski
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#7

Post by ChrisKochmanski » Mon Mar 23, 2020 2:07 pm

We weren't Guinness drinkers -- until we went to Ireland about a year and a half ago. So beautiful!

Somehow, though, the Guinness tasted much better there. (Or was it just the setting?)

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Hector
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#8

Post by Hector » Mon Mar 23, 2020 2:58 pm

Our former President says it does taste better in Ireland:

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/201 ... es-it.html

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Al Sisti
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#9

Post by Al Sisti » Mon Mar 23, 2020 3:27 pm

It is different, and it definitely does taste better. That said, I'm not sure it was a good idea to start our tour in the Guinness Brewery'. You do get a free Guinness in the Gravity Bar at the end of the tour, but when some of your tourmates don't drink beer and when some who are don't want to start drinking at 11 AM... well, I didn't want to start an international incident, so I volunteered to take them.

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MajordomoTom
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#10

Post by MajordomoTom » Mon Mar 23, 2020 10:38 pm

you are a good team member, taking them all for the team.

as long as it wasn't a bicycle tour, I'm sure you managed.
"Lots of planets have a North", the Ninth Doctor.

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TMart
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#11

Post by TMart » Tue Mar 24, 2020 9:14 am

My trip to Dublin and the Guinness brewery is (still) scheduled for June. I’m holding out hope that in three months the craziness will be over by then. Maybe if I drink a Guinness every day until then the beer gods will hear my prayers.....

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ChrisKochmanski
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#12

Post by ChrisKochmanski » Tue Mar 24, 2020 1:41 pm

My two cents re: Ireland (as if anyone is asking) ...

We liked Dublin, especially Trinity College, the Book of Kells, St. Stephen's Green, and the general walkability. The Guinness tour was fine, I suppose, but not really a brewery tour -- more like a multi-media walk-through in a big Epcot-like building. Though we're glad we did it.

We LOVED the Wild Atlantic Way. Wait, make that LOOOOOOOOOOOOVED the Wild Atlantic Way. That is: the lovely little towns and landscapes all along the West Ireland coast. Dingle, Kenmare, and Doolin were our main stays -- all great. After a water escapade off the Cliffs of Moher, we couldn't get on the water again, for the Aran Islands or -- gasp in wonderment! -- Skellig Michael, because the seas suddenly became too choppy.

On our next visit (it can't come soon enough), I believe we'll focus on Galway, Connemara, and Kinsale.

Whatever you do, DON"T MISS THE PUBS! Good food and beer, enchanting trad music, super-friendly people ... You can't go wrong!

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Al Sisti
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#13

Post by Al Sisti » Tue Mar 24, 2020 5:53 pm

ChrisKochmanski wrote:
Tue Mar 24, 2020 1:41 pm
My two cents re: Ireland (as if anyone is asking) ...

We liked Dublin, especially Trinity College, the Book of Kells, St. Stephen's Green, and the general walkability. The Guinness tour was fine, I suppose, but not really a brewery tour -- more like a multi-media walk-through in a big Epcot-like building. Though we're glad we did it.

We LOVED the Wild Atlantic Way. Wait, make that LOOOOOOOOOOOOVED the Wild Atlantic Way. That is: the lovely little towns and landscapes all along the West Ireland coast. Dingle, Kenmare, and Doolin were our main stays -- all great. After a water escapade off the Cliffs of Moher, we couldn't get on the water again, for the Aran Islands or -- gasp in wonderment! -- Skellig Michael, because the seas suddenly became too choppy.

On our next visit (it can't come soon enough), I believe we'll focus on Galway, Connemara, and Kinsale.

Whatever you do, DON"T MISS THE PUBS! Good food and beer, enchanting trad music, super-friendly people ... You can't go wrong!
Totally agree with all this. Dublin is fascinating (including the Brazen Head Pub, established in 1198!) but I much prefer the west (I also agree with your assessment of the brewery: my favorite part was the film on traditional coopering). The last time we went -- my fourth or fifth time? -- we spent entirely in Galway. And speaking of streaks -- which we weren't -- I am now up to 20 straight nights in Ireland having fish and chips for dinner. So far.

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ChrisKochmanski
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#14

Post by ChrisKochmanski » Wed Mar 25, 2020 10:41 am

Al, what has been your favorite time of year to visit Ireland?

We went in mid-September -- not great weather-wise, but maybe less crowded than in summer.

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Al Sisti
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#15

Post by Al Sisti » Wed Mar 25, 2020 11:00 am

ChrisKochmanski wrote:
Wed Mar 25, 2020 10:41 am
Al, what has been your favorite time of year to visit Ireland?

We went in mid-September -- not great weather-wise, but maybe less crowded than in summer.
I've been in May, October and November (lower prices in the off-season). You get what you get with the weather...I guess it's part of the allure of Ireland and the Irish experience. They don't seem to be particularly put off by the rain. In 2012, we were set to fly out of JFK and this thing called Superstorm Sandy hit. NYC was set to close all ground traffic at 7, so we got to the airport at 2, thinking that -- between bars and, okay, more bars -- we could certainly pass the time until our 9 PM flight. When we got there, everything in the airport was closed; every newsstand, every restaurant, every (gaa!) bar and every airline counter... except for Aer Lingus. We were sure they were going to cancel that one too -- they had already canceled all flights scheduled for the next day -- but sure enough, at 9 PM, our flight left and we arrived without incident. Gotta love the Irish.

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Hector
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#16

Post by Hector » Wed Mar 25, 2020 3:15 pm

It rained every day during our trip in August of 2015. The decision NOT to make it a bicycling tour was the smartest choice we ever made.

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MajordomoTom
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#17

Post by MajordomoTom » Thu Mar 26, 2020 12:12 am

yep, that would inhibit the Guinness and whiskey part of the trip.
"Lots of planets have a North", the Ninth Doctor.

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ChrisKochmanski
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#18

Post by ChrisKochmanski » Fri Mar 27, 2020 11:01 am

[/quote]

In 2012, we were set to fly out of JFK and this thing called Superstorm Sandy hit.
[/quote]

We were there just after Hurricane Irene, which made the Irish seas VERY wavy, and hence we could only get on the water one time. So ... no trip to the Aran Islands. (Next time!)

Speaking of Aer Lingus ...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJIz-XNLEn8

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BrianMac
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#19

Post by BrianMac » Mon Apr 27, 2020 3:00 pm

Interesting SF Chronicle article about the role of puzzles, especially crosswords, during this time of quarantine. Special mentions of Matt Gaffney and Crosswordfiend.

Puzzles take their moment in the sun during coronavirus pandemic

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