Man oh man. When I saw the calendar had flipped to August, I nearly spat my coffee out. Then I realized that that caffeine would do me good, so I just continued drinking it instead. I need it, in fact, I need all the stimulants I can get if I'm going to hope to place at Lollapuzzoola this weekend. Lolla, in case you forgot, is now the only crossword tournament in New York City. It's a light and fun event run by two theater-cum-puzzle folks: Brian Cimmet and Patrick Blindauer. But damn it, they certainly take these puzzles very very seriously. Over the years they've run some real doozies. I'm thinking of Tyler Hinman's insane grid that wrapped back onto itself and was made of entirely 7 letter entries. Kevin Der's "Animal Magnetism" also jumps to mind. Who made the insane one this year is anybody's guess: Tony Orbach, Doug Peterson, Patrick Blindauer, Patrick Berry, or Cathy Allis (but if I were a betting man I'd go with Mike Nothnagel). Sign up already if you're in the neighborhood and can make it down. Or, at the very least, get the Play At Home version.
Since I came in second in the Local Division a couple years back, I think that means I'm placed in the "big guns" Express Division. Which means, that barring a series of unforeseen collapses, it's quite unlikely that I'll be up on the big boards competing in the finals. What's that? You're asking how my training has been going leading up to this? Let me tell you: non-existent. I solve the odd variety puzzle, test-solve the AV Club puzzles, and the rest are variety cryptics (and that includes the Maleska-era-crosswordese-heavy Listener). None of those are solved for speed. So, I think the ole' Biz Quig should be right around the top 1/3rd, for no other reason than because of inertia. We'll see. And, speaking of "seeing," I hope to see y'all there.
Share the puzzle. New one on Thursday.