From the Archive

Crossword Tournament Dispatch #4

February 20th, 2010 at 8:46 pm ET

The standings are up! More analysis to follow, but the quick verdict: I’m having a crappy year.

After puzzle #4, I’d dropped from #189 last year back into the 200s; after puzzle #6 (propelled down into the sewer by the horrific puzzle #5) I’m down even further, in the 220s, roughly where I was 2 years ago.

This is a disaster, awful, horrible, perhaps portending the end of the world as we know it!

Seriously — given that only a few hundred points are separating me from the 120s (squarely in B Division territory), there’s really nothing for me to be ashamed of. A slightly better time on all the puzzles I finished correctly, or an incrementally better showing on puzzle #5, would have put me up in the 150s where I was shooting for. (And a good #7 in the morning will pull ne up a little bit.)

I’m also cheered that I had a clean solve of #3 and (apparently, based on the scores) a clean solve of #6. So it mostly comes down to a few minutes of finish time — plus that devilish Brendan Quigley!

Meanwhile, my tournament buddy is crowing. He rose from the 120s last year all the way into the 80s after puzzle #4, and even after a rough #5 and #6 he’s still squarely in the 120s where he always seems to end up. (He just did the math — if he’d had a perfect solve of #2 as I did, rather than one error, he’d be alllll the way up at 103.)

I’m trying not to think about the fact that I’ve dropped from the top quintile of Division C down into the lower half, or that I’ve been outsolved by a whole mess of D’s and an E or two. Ugh.

More handicapping later — our pizza is here.

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