Thursday, March 23, 2017

Quite Puzzling

TigerBlog is a big fan of puzzles.

He plays a game on his phone called "Word Streak," where the object is to take four rows and four columns of letters and use those letters to make as many words as possible up and down, side to side and diagonally in two minutes. There are three rounds, and in the second and third rounds, some of the letters become more valuable.

TigerBlog also likes the Jumble. You've seen that one. Unscramble four words and then use the bonus letters to solve the riddle. And he plays Guess My Word, in which the player enters a word and then is told if the answer word is either before or after that word alphabetically. The goal is to keep entering words until you zero in on the correct one.

TigerBlog always starts with the same word. Hilarious. No, it's not hilarious that he starts with that word. Hilarious is the word he starts with each time. He's not sure how he picked that one.

There are also two good puzzles on the USA Today puzzle page. There's Seven Little Words, in which clues are given as to the word and how many letters it is and then there are either two- or three-letter blocks that are then combined into words. The other one is Up And Down Words, which is sort of like a mini-crossword puzzle.

The point of the puzzles is that they're fun, but it's also been proven that playing such puzzles helps with long-term memory issues. TigerBlog is all about that.

In the area of things that TB is not all about, by the way, he got two emails this week that were a bit startling. One was advertising a product called the "germ-zapping robot," which of course TB wanted to immediately order. The other was an email from Miss TigerBlog's school, with the subject line "Important Health Notice." Nothing good was going to follow that, so TB simply deleted it.

Anyway, back at the whole memory thing, TigerBlog feels like he has a pretty good memory. He can remember scores and details of games from decades ago, going back to the first high school games he ever covered, which was a long time ago.

He can remember movie lines, song lyrics, even entire children's books. Seriously. He can recite the entire "The Cat In The Hat" from memory, and he does so every few months just to make sure he still can - "but i like to be here, oh i like it a lot, said the cat in the hat to the fish in the pot."

This is spring break at Princeton. There are teams all over the place, with tons of events. In fact, there are almost as many events today and tomorrow (15) and there are Saturday and Sunday (18).

As TB began to think about it, he couldn't help but remember that, for all the things in his life he can remember, he has absolutely no memory of what he ever did during spring break when he was in college. And not in the "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" way. In the "no idea, but whatever it was, it couldn't have been that exciting" way.

As for Princeton Athletics this week, the big event of spring break is the end of the winter season.

The men's and women's fencing teams are in Indianapolis for Day 1 of four of the NCAA championships. It's a co-ed championship, and teams earn points for each match in each weapon for both men and women. There are also individual championships for each weapon, with qualifying for the semifinals based on how each fencer does in the team competition.

Princeton will be looking for a top four finish for the sixth straight year. The Tigers won the team championship in 2013, and both the men's and women's teams won Ivy League titles his year.

Princeton has qualified 11 fencers, one short of the maximum. For much more information on the event from TB's colleague Andrew Borders, click HERE.

The fencing championships will mark the end of the winter sports season at Princeton. 

As for spring teams, this weekend will be the start of rowing season, with the men's lightweights and heavyweights and the women's open team all on Lake Carnegie Saturday.

The rowing, and the men's lacrosse game tomorrow against Yale (it's possible TB will have more on that tomorrow), are the only home events for the weekend. In fact, Princeton has as many teams, four, in California as in Princeton.

Those four are softball (who will go from California to New York for games this weekend), men's tennis, women's tennis and women's water polo. There's a huge game in women's water polo tonight, as Ashleigh Johnson and the Tigers are at No. 1 Southern Cal. The game can be seen on the Pac-12 Network.

The men's volleyball team is also on West, with matches at Grand Canyon tonight and tomorrow.

So to sum it all up, if you want to see Princeton play this weekend, your best bet is to either stay in town or fly 3,000 miles away.

But hey, it's spring break. Why not get away?

TigerBlog did when he was in school. Maybe. Or maybe not.

He can remember this: "then we saw him pick up all the things that were down; he picked up the cake and the rake and the gown" - but not what he did for spring break.

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