So, Lollapuzzoola. Who won? That would be Jeffrey Harris of Nashville, TN, with a fairly commanding performance at that. He was the only one to finish the final puzzle before time ran out. A boggling achievement when you see how nasty hard Doug Peterson clued that baby. (Click here to see all the puzzles.) While it's been a while since Jeffrey has competed in the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, he's owned the competition in the on-line solving category. Should he decide to compete in the senior tournament, look out. The log jam at the top might just be tighter.As for two and three: Joon Pahk of Somerville, MA, placed and Jon Delfin of Noo Yawk took show. Jon is no stranger to the big boards. He holds the record for most ACPT victories. Joon, however, pretty much sewed up the Rookie of the Year award (if there was such a thing in speed solving). After his impressive first-time showing of 16th overall at the ACPT this past February, on Saturday he managed to show he isn't slowing down, leaping over four other perennial top solvers: Amy Reynaldo of Chicago, Ellen Ripstein of NYC, Al Sanders of Fort Collins CO, and Francis Heaney of Brooklyn. Before we get ahead of ourselves, it should be noted that the top five solvers in the country weren't competing.
One of those top five would happen to be a Tyler Hinman of San Francisco, CA. I like Tyler. He's a stand up guy. We have a few beers whenever we're in the other's neck of the woods. He test solves my puzzles. It's all good. Well, it was all good until I did his puzzle he made for Lollapuzzoola. Going into that puzzle I was in second place in my division. But after Tyler's puzzle, I was eliminated. Kaput. Fini. Kayoed. I was so far out of it, I might as well have been in Tegucigalpa. It seems like I haven't gotten any better at speed solving in the four years I took off. I'm in the mix with the easy/medium puzzles, but with the very difficult ones I stand no chance. None. My brain is just simply not wired that way to solve difficult puzzles fast. So, yeah, enough of my yapping, go do puzzle number 4 in that PDF I linked to above and see why now Tyler Hinman of San Francisco, CA, has become my mortal enemy. Brutal puzzle.
So whatever happened to my previous mortal enemy Jared Hersh of Santa Barbara, CA? I made quick work of him almost immediately after I met him. (See the above photograph taken by Jared's lovely wife, Nicole.)
Still, the reason I go to these things is to enjoy the camaraderie with my puzzling family. Met up with Rex Parker the night before so we could do our Statler and Waldorf impersonations. Now that I think about it, we blew our chance to do that in the Statler and Waldorf hotels; next time. Good to talk shop with a few puzzle folks like Ashish Vengsarkar and Patrick Blindauer. And it was good to meet all of you who introduced yourselves as fans of the blog. Nice to put names to faces.
Okay. That's it. Share the puzzle. New one on Thursday.