This Day in History Entry #94

November 30th, 2010 by Wordsman

Joltin’ Joe hit in fifty-six straight
Dolphins with their champagne bottles wait
Ken did not have to strain
As his thumb and his brain
Got his name onto lists of streaks great

Event: Ken Jennings loses to Nancy Zerg, ending his record-setting Jeopardy! winning streak at 74 games
Year: 2004
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Know Your Picture Characters Entry #33

November 29th, 2010 by Wordsman

A. 愛国者 B. 海賊 C. 巨人 D. 侵略者 E. 聖人 F. 族長 G. 荷造り人

Responses were somewhat sparser than usual this week.  It was almost as if some sort of major event was going on that required a considerable amount of time to be devoted to travel and other activities.  Oh well.  As they say, if life gives you lemons, make lemonade, and if life doesn’t give you very many lemons, make watery lemonade.

Dragon was back this week in her usual role of “First to answer, Last to still be making comments about last week’s puzzle.”  She quickly identified the symbol of the cross in A and assumed it must be the symbol of the saint, but only in that particular instance, because she also noticed the exact same character in D, and they couldn’t both be right . . . or could they?  No, they couldn’t, because neither one of them was right.  The cross-bearing character simply means “person,” so it’s no surprise that it shows up in multiple answers on this quiz, just as the last character in C, E, and G does (this, too, means person.  Why do they need two?  Well, why does English need two different ways to pluralize the word “person”?)  The New Orleans Saint is letter E, with characters meaning “holy person.”  The “holy,” naturally, is a kanji that consists of parts meaning ear, mouth, and king.  New Orleans is a nutty place sometimes.

Theoman may be shocked to discover that his persistence is actually paying off this week.  A is indeed the (New England) Patriot, or “loves-country person.”  Kudos on spotting a kanji you recognize and not being tripped up by the many different ways these things can be interpreted, as has happened so many times in the past.

Now, you could say that, because the Japanese word for Viking (and also for all-you-can-eat buffet-style cuisine) is baikingu and does not appear on this list, Shirley was technically wrong with her guess of C.  But we’re going to go out of our way to convince ourselves that she was actually secretly correct.  While baikingu does not make an appearance, two other words with strongly related meanings do: “pirate” (or, in the football sense, Buccaneer) at B and “Raider” at D.  By picking C, directly in between, Shirley was in fact attempting to indicate a blending of these two meanings.  In addition, as we all know, Scandinavian people tend to be tall, which is why she selected the word that means Giant.

F, by the way, is the Chiefs, hailing from one of America’s most lamentable sports towns, Kansas City, and G, appropriately enough, is the Green Bay Packers.  Perhaps the inclusion of both the Packers and the Vikings on this quiz proved to be too much for A Fan to bear, hence his decision to abstain.

But that’s enough sports for a while.  It’s time to bring back the ever-popular (at least with me) KYPC Homophone Challenge!  This week’s words are all pronounced touji, but their meanings cover the following range: chief brewer at a sake brewery; clay; hot-spring cure; lady, matron, mistress; libertine; rule, reign, governing; and winter solstice.  Theoman, fresh off his recent victory, can see how much he rules at this game, while the rest of you may be reminded of the upcoming shortest day of the year.  Or that you need to make a pot for Christmas.  Whatever works for you.

A. 刀自 B. 冬至 C. 杜氏 D. 湯治 E. 統治 F. 蕩児 G. 陶磁

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The Jenoviad Entry #94

November 26th, 2010 by Wordsman

They sat out on the highway ledge
And watched the fair sun rise
Eventu’lly they had to stop
It really hurt their eyes

“What should we do?” Tifa asked
When no pursuit appeared
It seemed Shinra’d run out of guys
Which felt a little weird

“I say we chase Sephiroth”
A voice declared aloud
Some were just a little shocked
To hear it come from Cloud

“But he killed old man Shinra”
Barret said.  “Ain’t he our friend?”
Cloud said, “If you think like that
Our doom will soon impend”

“Cloud is right,” said Tifa
“Sephiroth is no one’s bud
He likes to plan calamities
That rival Noah’s Flood”

Aeris said, “I’ll go with Cloud
He is my bodyguard”
“I’ll tag along for now,” said Red
“As far as my own yard”

“Ah, what the hell,” said Barret
“I signed up to save the world
Mako?  Shinra?  Sephiroth?
In my mind they’re all swirled”

They took one last look at Midgar
What did leaving portend?
Then set off on their noble quest
“Uhh . . . how do we descend?”

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This Day in History Entry #93

November 23rd, 2010 by Wordsman

There once was a man named Warbeck
Who caused King Henry all kinds of heck
Said he was Ed Four’s son
Tried to fool everyone
But he was caught, and hanged by the neck

Event: Execution of Perkin Warbeck, pretender to the English throne
Year: 1499
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Know Your Picture Characters Entry #32

November 22nd, 2010 by Wordsman

A. 海豚 B. 雄羊 C. 熊 D. 獅子 E. 猩猩紅冠鳥 F. 鷲 G. 渡烏

Before we get started, I feel it’s only fair to point out that these are not the words the Japanese actually use to refer to American football teams; they just call them by versions of their English names pronounced Japanese-ily: the shikago beaazu, the barutimoa reibunzu, etc.  But those aren’t nearly as fun.

Theoman once again attempted to put his knowledge of Japanese to use, and once again he was about two-thirds correct.  The second character in D does in fact mean “child,” and the word for colt does contain that character.  But that’s not what we have here.  D, in fact, has nothing to do with children or youth (that second character appears in many compounds unrelated to the meaning “child”).  Theoman unfortunately decided to cast his lot with the hapless Detroit Lions, and, unsurprisingly, they let him down.

It may appear at first glance that A Fan did not make a guess at all, but closer inspection reveals that this is not in fact the case.  His claim that the Bears “rule” was obviously a subtle reference to the fact that he noticed that the second character in B looks like it may be a modified form of the kanji that means “king.”  It actually means “sheep,” however, which means that B is the St. Louis Rams (it’s interesting that the incorrect guesses seem to mostly fall on teams that aren’t very good).  The real Monsters of the Midway are located at C, and that “bear” of a kanji is about as good a one for a team name as I’ve seen; the top four parts form a character meaning “talent, ability” and the four dashes on the bottom are a representation of “fire,” which you need to keep from freezing to death playing games next to Lake Michigan in December.  Also, I can only assume that his reference to the Vikings “sucking” was intended to indicate that he thought they were character F, which sucks to write because there’s a lot to fit in such a small space, but this was another classic Favresque errant throw: F is the Philadelphia Eagles.

As usual, Dragon and Shirley had the same guess, but this time they claimed it meant different things.  Dragon, sensing complexity in the 5-character compound, saw the Bengal Tiger, while Shirley, empathizing with the toughness involved in writing such a word, saw the gritty, determined Bear.  Neither guess was correct, for the last character, the one that appears as a part of F and in a slightly modified form in G, means “bird.”  E is the Arizona Cardinal (another clunker), with the last three characters indicating a “red-crowned bird,” and the repeated first character meaning, for no reason I can figure out, “orangutan.”

Our two wide outs basically got ignored this week as guessers focused on stopping the run game up the middle.  A is the Miami Dolphins (or, as the characters would indicate, the “sea pigs”).  And the last choice, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting, and shall be guessed–nevermore!

Now it’s time for part two, covering the less animalistic half of the NFL.  Your options this time are the Packers, Vikings, 49ers, Buccaneers, Saints, Cowboys, Giants, Redskins, Steelers, Browns, Raiders, Chargers (arguably), Chiefs, Titans, Texans, Patriots, Jets, and Bills.  And, because that’s a lot of choices, I’ll go ahead and say that the following are not included for the sake of political correctness or because they’re just weird: Redskins, Browns, Chargers (because I don’t know if the name refers to war horses or just people who charge), Texans, and Bills.  Identify whatever you want, but I will say that, unless we get some unexpected participants, anyone looking for their hometown team is probably out of luck.

A. 愛国者 B. 海賊 C. 巨人 D. 侵略者 E. 聖人 F. 族長 G. 荷造り人

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The Jenoviad Entry #93

November 19th, 2010 by Wordsman

Barret’s hands flew round the wheel
He steered just like a fiend
Dodging Cloud’s mad hail of blows
As he ‘cross street careened

His riders were no better off
Some near at mouth did foam
Tifa regretted her great plan
Red wished he was back home

Finally, there came an end
To their crazed escape route
They fell prey not to the guards
But to a sign: “BRIDGE OUT”

‘Fore they could know how to proceed
A foe surged from behind
Shinra had one final way
To keep its pets confined

Now they faced the Motor Ball
A giant robot tank
Equipped with twin flamethrowers
Programmed their butts to spank

But they had had enough of this
They would not be held down
No damn robot was stopping them
They were ditching this town

Blade Beam, Sled Fang, Somersault
A Grenade Bomb or two
Aeris tossed on Healing Winds
To have something to do

The robot blew, the road was rent
With a resounding CRACK
Cloud, who’d learned his lesson well
Took four or five steps back

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This Day in History Entry #92

November 16th, 2010 by Wordsman

Mozart had his Rondo alla Turc
But a plumber’s this man’s best known work
Plus a donkey named Kong
(Or did I get that wrong?)
And a boy, a princess, and a jerk

Event: Birth of Miyamoto Shigeru, creator of some of the most successful video game franchises in history, including Mario, Donkey Kong, and The Legend of Zelda
Year: 1952
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Know Your Picture Characters Entry #31

November 15th, 2010 by Wordsman

(no post today.  The Wordsman is taking a holiday.)

Just kidding!  Sure would have been ironic, though, wouldn’t it?  (NOTE: please don’t overload the comments with debate on the definition of “ironic.”  We’ll be here all night.)

A. 敬老の日 B. 建国記念の日 C. 憲法記念日 D. 成人の日

E. 体育の日 F. 天皇誕生日

This week Theoman, who had the hardest task ahead of him, bravely set first foot into the fray.  He correctly identified the two characters forming the compound kinen, which means memorial or remembrance.  This narrowed his intimidating field down to two choices, and, as generally happens in KYPC, he picked the wrong one.  Instead of finding his way to C, when everyone celebrates the Constitution (which the Japanese love for some reason even though the Americans wrote it for them), he ended up at B, the ever-controversial National Foundation Day.  Depending on whom you talk to, it commemorates the day when the fictional Emperor Jimmu–who was a symbol of State Shinto, which, er, was rather a problem around the middle of the 20th century–first came to the throne in 660 BC.  But some people like controversy, so I guess I can’t argue with his choice.

At the other end of the controversy spectrum we have E, Health and Sports Day, identified by Scott (we’re going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume his finger slipped when he typed “D,” because we’re pretty sure he knows better).  Ping-pong is an excellent sport because you don’t need a lot of fancy practice or expertise to play it (you just need these things to play it well).  This means that E is not Coming of Age Day, as Shirley thought; you don’t have to be a certain age to play sports.  Nor is it A, the Respect for the Aged Day that so alarmed her.  And the only answer up there that has to do with a birthday is F, the Emperor’s Birthday.  Kind of like Presidents’ Day in the U.S., I guess, except that it changes every time there’s a new emperor.  Also, there probably aren’t as many used car sales.

It seems I can’t write a paragraph this week without mentioning controversy.  When A Fan identified D as Coming of Age Day, he aroused a certain amount of debate regarding the difference between “cheating” and “research.”  While the Wordsman chooses to withhold definitive judgment on the subject, I will say that if you’re going to make the argument that you did research, you’d better go the whole ten yards.  For example, at what age to the Japanese come of age? (It’s not 18 or 21).  When is Coming of Age Day?  What can you do once you’ve come of age?  Come back with that, and then we’ll talk about research.

But anyway, on to a topic which everyone can always agree on: football.  Now that we find ourselves in the midst of the football season, I felt like doing a puzzle on NFL teams.  Since there are 32 teams we’ll split it up into two puzzles, with this one being about teams that are named after animals.  For those of you not up on your football, the possibilities are as follows: Bears, Lions, Rams, Seahawks, Cardinals, Panthers, Falcons, Eagles, Ravens, Bengals, Broncos, Chargers (arguably), Colts, Jaguars, and Dolphins.  A Fan, I think you already know what to look for.  Everyone else is on their own.  And if you want to do any “research,” be prepared to turn in an essay.

A. 海豚 B. 雄羊 C. 熊 D. 獅子 E. 猩猩紅冠鳥 F. 鷲 G. 渡烏

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The Jenoviad Entry #92

November 12th, 2010 by Wordsman

Outside, a Shinra man on break
Was feeling none too swift
Somehow he’d once again got stuck
With the late-late-night shift

He glumly sipped his coffee
Not sure that he could go on
They say the darkest hour
Is the one just before dawn

What he needed was excitement
For he was so very bored
Too bad he didn’t see the bike
As o’er his head it soared

As soon as his bike hit the deck
It to the left did veer
Cloud thought, “If I want to live
I need to learn to steer”

There’s nothing in the world that turns
Exactly like a bike’ll
This was, of course, Cloud’s first time e’er
Riding a motorcycle

In pursuit were Shinra goons
The bikes came two by two
With one hand, Cloud drew his sword
this thing I can do”

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This Day in History Entry #91

November 9th, 2010 by Wordsman

In the coup of the Eighteenth Brumaire
Bonaparte took the country with flair
At the first he would be
One of the consuls three
But it turned out that he couldn’t share

Event: The coup of 18 Brumaire ends the French Directory and replaces it with the Consulate
Year: 1799 (or 8 by the French Republican Calendar)
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