82. Puzzling Thoughts…

marriott.jpgabout the 2008 American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. I’ll have this week’s cartoon up at some point, but it’s much easier to string together a few random (spoiler-free) thoughts than think up a cartoon:

• Tyler — another remarkable performance by Mr. Fourpeat. Actually, remarkable performances by everyone in the top 10… or 20… or 100 for that matter. Ah, what the heck, great performances by everyone in the top 699. Not so great by the 17 or so additional paying customers who didn’t show up for one reason or another.
• Trip’s trip-up on the final puzzle, an incorrect Down entry that made for two incorrect crossers, was as good as a mistake gets. All three incorrect answers made sense to varying degrees.
• Friendly. That’s a word that can’t be overused in describing the tournament, the contestants, and the judges. It’s just a fine, fun, and funny bunch of people to hang out with. I’m glad to have stumbled into this world six years ago.
• The rousing ovation for Maura Jacobson’s puzzle #6 didn’t make it through five sets of walls to her ears in the judge’s room, but she found out soon after and seemed quite pleased.
• Too bad Eric Berlin couldn’t be on hand for his Friday night puzzles. I helped a team at the back solve two of the puzzles, which were very fun, and heard only good things about them from others.
• I’ve added wall push-ups to my exercise regimen after seeing Ed Stein’s quirkily amusing film. In fact, I couldn’t wait and rushed out to the anteroom during Ed’s post-movie talk to try them out. Kudos to Ed for all the time and effort he put into writing and filming and editing his creation, Wordploy. Perhaps it will be nominated for an Oscor.
• One thing that doesn’t get much mention is Will’s yearly handling of his emceeing duties. He’s really quite good at it — relaxed, amusing, and smooth — and I think it’s as responsible as anything for setting the tone for the weekend, especially for the rookies who seem to make up a large percentage of the contestants every year.
• A hearty round of applause for Helene Hovanec, who seemed to be everywhere and had things flowing quite smoothly on all fronts, whether through preplanning or on-the-spot string-pulling.
• Perhaps other things will occur to me later after I’ve fully decompressed… including a cartoon.

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