Hello from Stamford, Connecticut, where we got us a real barn-burner! Last year's champion must have made a mistake in the first puzzle, because he dropped like a stone on the leaderboard. But he's been powering his way back up - un-bettered in the next five puzzles - and now stands in fourth, just 45 points off the podium. It will take something special for him to get into the finals tomorrow, but I wouldn't count him out just yet. On top, and uncatchable without an error, is seven-time champ Dan Feyer.
How am I doing, you might ask? Well, Dear Reader, I really thought this was my year. I completed the infamous "Puzzle Five" with a couple minutes to spare. But did I take those two minutes to look it over and make sure everything was perfect? Even knowing (somewhere deep down) that doing so would only cost me a possible 50 points, while just one error would set me back 175? No. No I didn't. And I had one error! Gaaahh! And it was on maybe the first word I entered in the puzzle - correctly! - that I later took out, and then modified with a cross without ever going back to it.... ugh. Well, at least I "finished" puzzle five, and the error is my only error so far across six puzzles, and that's much better than I've done any previous year, so really, I'm happy. Really. I promise. I am. ... I'll get 'em next year! :)
Tonight we will hear from Matt Ginsberg about his crossword solving computer program, "Dr. Fill," who is standing in 13th place after six puzzles. I think it's especially hard for poor old Dr. Fill, because he's getting attacked from both sides - the other competitors, and the constructors, who must have him in the back of their minds as they create their trickiest puzzles. I think he's made at least a couple mistakes thus far, so in a way, I'm beating him. But in another way, he's 1,730 points ahead of me in the tournament (which is more than I've scored on any single puzzle so far), so it all depends upon your perspective, right? :)
In all, another fun year here at the A.C.P.T. There are more competitors than ever this year, and there has been some talk about maybe having to move the whole thing to another venue - possibly all the way down to N.Y.C! Nothing is final yet, however, and the town of Stamford is making a big pitch to keep it here. A proclamation from the mayor was read this morning naming tomorrow "Crossword Puzzle Day" in Stamford, or something like that.
Whatever you decide, Mr. Shortz, we want to thank you again for putting this on. It's been another great weekend at the A.C.P.T.!
Now, on to puzzle 7!
p.s. Dr. Fill made about 10 mistakes this year! The lesson there is - if I can get my solve times down under a minute, I can make many more mistakes and still finish in the top twenty! :)