I have been inhaling marker fumes all weekend. I haven't sniffed that much eau de Sharpie since, oh, I dunno, fifth grade? You see, us judges at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament graded papers by coloring in incorrect squares. Yellow means wrong, pink if you accidentally colored a yellow square you didn't mean to, blue for correct squares if it was easier to just focus on the right words. Hours and hours of coloring in little tiny squares. I think the beeping noises in my head are starting to dissipate. Let's do this write up, shall we?
To the surprise of, well, really nobody, "Steely" Dan Feyer won. This was a complete ass-whupping from the get go. Oh, to be sure, there was plenty of worthy competitors: Howard Barkin, Anne Erdmann, Tyler Hinman, and Trip Payne, second to fifth place finishers respectively. But let's face it, Dan was in "there is no fucking way I'm going to lose this" mode since Saturday morning. It's up for debate he's been in that mode since the end of last year's ACPT. Who knows? Total domination from puzzle number 1. Him winning this tournament was never questioned. I butchered an NBA metaphor for the Visual Thesaurus on my Saturday recap when I called Dan's stunning statistics of his 25+ puzzles-a-day training regimen for the last two years as practically "Wilt Chamberlain-esque." I opted out of butchering another NBA metaphor in my Sunday recap, but I'll do it here: Dan was like Larry Bird at the 1986 three point contest. Before the shoot around, the Celtics legend walked into the locker room, surveyed the competition and asked: "Who's finishing second?" The unspoken question in the Brooklyn Marriott seemed to be the same thing. </Grade Z Bill Simmons impersonation>
BEQ.com note: Dan, Howard and Anne regularly post their blinding speeds in that leaderboard over there to your right, Tyler's one of my test sovlers, Trip catches up on all the Hard ones monthly. Coincidence that they're the best of the best? I think not.
Thank you to all the regular readers who introduced themselves at the ACPT. It was a pleasure to meet you all. I may post some of your pictures, or at least some links to them on Facebook or Flickr, on Wednesday. I will also announce a winner in the "find my brother-in-law's father-in-law" contest. He finished 110th overall, and 8th-best in the Rookie division. Not too shabby, Stuart. Oh yeah, big ups to another one of my test solvers, Joon Pahk: winner of the B division, 16th overall. Okay, where was I? Yeah, for Wednesday I also plan on posting a "behind the puzzle" thing of my ruthless puzzle #5 as well. BTW: it's never too late to do the Tournament puzzles by mail.
Brief reminder: if you've enjoyed the puzzles for February, and you find have a little bit extra in your wallet, please consider hitting up the tip jar. One random donor from this week's drive will receive their choice of anything in the BEQ.com store. Thanks again for the support.
Congrats again to Dan, and all the contestants. Share the puzzle. New one and more wrap-up on Wednesday.