Just got back from this year's crossword tournament -- and am trying to get myself off the day's emotional roller coaster. On day 1 of the tournament, I solved all six puzzles perfectly and had excellent times on all but one (the brutal puzzle 5 by Byron Walden, which took me just under 21 minutes to hack my way through, eight minutes slower than my traditional next-door neighbor, Ellen Ripstein). I figured my crap showing on puzzle 5 would have left me somewhere around 12th-15th, which is where I've finished the past few years I've competed.
But then this morning I woke up to discover that I was actually in 7th place going into the last puzzle! This was my best placement ever (my best tournament finish was 9th place in 1999). I was super psyched! Aaaaaaand then when the top ten finishers were announced at the awards banquet, I was not actually among them. Apparently I made a careless error in puzzle 7. I checked the answer grid and didn't see anything other than what I thought I had written in, so apparently in my haste I wrote a different letter in one square than what I thought I was writing. This sometimes happens when I'm writing in one answer and reading ahead to another clue -- I'll write in a letter from the next word I need to write in -- but I thought I had checked all the crossing words. Apparently not.
So anyway, I'm quite ticked off at myself for not solving more carefully, since if I had finished without an error I would have ended up in 6th place, instead of 13th. The thing that's stupid about this is that if I had woken up to discover I was in 13th place after 6 puzzles and then stayed there, I'd be perfectly content, instead of very very very very very discontent. At least I've come down from my original position of hating everyone and wanting them all to die, and have returned to my usual level of mid-range misanthropy -- so that's something.Posted by Francis at 05:04 PM