I love the Times’ mini crossword puzzles, and I love analyzing statistics, so I combined the two. See them here.
Not really sure why that one puzzle took over one hour and 15 minutes. I’d like to think that I fell asleep before finishing it and it kept counting, but then it really should be four or eight hours.
James Barron profiles Nina Rochelle for the Times’ Grace Notes column.
Ms. Rochelle never lost a coat. But she had one close call, when she worked at Sfuzzi, a rather loud cafe that opened on West 65th Street near Lincoln Center in the 1980s and, like Hawaii Kai, has long since closed. The mix-up came at the end of a long evening, and involved a regular customer, his nephew and their coats, which looked alike.
“We finally figured out the uncle showed up with the nephew’s coat,” Ms. Rochelle said. “The switch was made by them, right? Not by me. But they delayed my getting out of there when the uncle said, ‘This is not my coat.’ No, it’s not, it’s your nephew’s coat, but I didn’t realize that. The nephew had already left. I don’t remember whether the nephew called and said, ‘You’ve got my coat and I’ve got yours,’ but it was resolved in my favor.”
She seems to really like purple.
Astronomers from Texas State University and Iowa State University analyzed the iconic V-J Day in Times Square and pinpointed the exact time the photo was taken.
“Every tall building in Manhattan acts like the gnomon of a sundial,” the authors explain in the article.
By working out what structure caused the shadow, the scientists could compute the sun’s position, and thus the time the photo was taken. With a topographical analysis of Manhattan’s layout at the time, they concluded that the shadow was cast by a sign atop the Hotel Astor and across the intersection from the Loew’s Building.
I like to imagine that the astronomers were wearing a deerstalker and smoking a pipe while working this out.
Lens, the NY Times photo blog, brings us the final days of The Subway Inn by Timothy Fadek:
“This is representative of everything that depresses me about New York City,” Mr. Fadek said. “The loss of Times Square, all the great bars, CBGB’s, independent diners. All gone and replaced by chains.”
I used to live not far from The Subway Inn, and it’s neon sign was welcoming when coming out of the subway late at night.
The Times tackles the important question of why using a treadmill seems more difficult than exercising outdoors or on a track:
In a 2012 experiment, runners were asked to jog on a track while rating how difficult the exercise felt. Then they hopped on treadmills without speed displays and were told to set the machine to a pace that felt the same as what they had just run. Almost all chose a speed that was much slower. On the treadmill, this gentle pace felt as difficult as swifter running on the track.
For me, it’s the combination of having the same scenery and the lack of a finish line that makes it so tedious. It feels like work.
The NY Times, having finally given up on the Knicks, asked its readers to suggest better basketball for their Knicks beat reporter:
So the Sports department’s editors feel it is only merciful to give our Knicks beat writer, Scott Cacciola, a break from such woeful basketball. He deserves to see the game played at a higher level. For the next month or so, we would like to point him to some good, quality basketball, wherever it may be. Any suggestions?
Why only a month or so? It’s going to take years to fix this mess.
Coming off Madison Bumgarner’s impressive complete game shutout on Sunday night, the Times looks at the best World Series pitchers.
Bumgarner now holds the record for lowest career earned run average (0.29) in the World Series among pitchers with at least 30 innings pitched. The mark is impressive by any standard. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that Bumgarner is the best World Series pitcher ever.
That distinction belongs to Christy Mathewson, who also did his pitching for the Giants (when they were in New York). It’s not even close, either.
Don Larson, who pitched the only perfect game in World Series history, didn’t even make the list. Who’s that Babe Ruth guy?
The Times attempts to calculate the total number of swings that Derek Jeter has taken in his entire baseball career.
Need a rest from all these swings? So did Jeter. He took Novembers and Decembers off, and he never practiced at home. “You would have a hard time finding a baseball at my house besides one that’s got writing on it,” he said.
I absolutely love the way the Times presented this.
The Times profiles Hyman Strachman, a WWII veteran who, at 92, copies bootlegged movies and sends them to troops overseas:
Originally, Mr. Strachman would use his desktop computer to copy the movies one tedious disc at a time. (“It was moyda,” he groaned.) So he got his hands on a $400 professional duplicator that made seven copies at once, grew his fingernails long to better separate the blank discs, and began copying hundreds a day.
In February, Mr. Strachman duplicated and shipped 1,100 movies. (“A slow month,” he said.) He has not kept an official count but estimates that he topped 80,000 discs a year during his heyday in 2007 and 2008, making his total more than 300,000 since he began in 2004. Postage of about $11 a box, and the blank discs themselves, would suggest a personal outlay of over $30,000.
Let’s hope that the MPAA and studios leave this guy alone.
The Times looks at how many people Manhattan could hold:
The night’s calculations revealed that packing Manhattan as tightly as Kowloon Walled City, river to river, would mean jamming in 65 million people. That’s if every surface was built on. If the current streets and parks were left intact? About half that many, or nearly the population of California.
While that may not be ideal, expanding Manhattan by a mile might be.