March 26, 2006


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

Maybe there is a way you can blame this on snakes on a plane.

Posted by: Ellen at March 26, 2006 07:16 PM


Same thing happened to me the other night at a bridge tournament. We were in the top 5 and felt on top of the world...until the last board came in. Stupid mistake knocked us out of the top 10.

I feel for you.


Posted by: The Jeff Next Door at March 26, 2006 09:35 PM

Don't hate me because I'm fabulous...

I would've tried to write much faster in puzzle 7 if I'd been listed as 11th instead of 10th, but I just aimed at preserving my spot and writing oh-so-neatly. If I'd known Kiran had booted me out of the top 10 in the preliminary standings, I'd probably have raced through 7 and written a wrong letter or two myself. So I have ceded the disgruntlement I felt prior to the awards ceremony.

Anyway, it was great to meet you and Rose. Same time, next year?

Posted by: Orange at March 26, 2006 09:49 PM

aw, damn. and congratulations!

Posted by: gotcha at March 26, 2006 10:03 PM

i repeat my condolences on that - it sucks. As I often tell anyone who will listen, I mistaked myself out of the C finals a few years ago - I would have gotten in with a clean puzzle 7 or even one error, but I didn't see fit to stop there, so my four isolated errors dropped me to 6th in the division.

just remember - you proved without question that you CAN crack well into the top 10. and you will.

Posted by: Ken/Cazique at March 27, 2006 11:48 AM

Thanks, tho, for letting Orange pinch your butt for me. Rose was right, DO have nice buns!

Posted by: Mona Buonanotte at March 27, 2006 11:16 PM

Why would Rose lie?

Posted by: Francis at March 28, 2006 01:25 AM
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