Saturday, March 21, 2020

Virtual Update from Crossword From Your Couch tournament

Hey everyone! Bonus post from myself. Horace, Frances, and I have all participated today in the Crossword From Your Couch tournament. It was organized by Kevin G. Der, with a lot of assistance from Finn Vigeland, and featured two warm-up puzzles and then four tournament puzzles, with a finalist puzzle for the top three finishers in each category.

Hosted by Brian Cimmet and Ryan Hecht, who have a crossword podcast, which I had never heard about before. It's called "Fill Me In," and I will definitely be checking it out. They capably filled in spaces between puzzles with banter, interviews with crossword puzzle constructors, and explanations of tricky clues and themes.

I am happy to say that I finished all four puzzles with no errors, which was satisfying. I had the most difficulty with the third puzzle. Although I got the theme pretty quickly, I thought the revealer was going to be much more tricky than it turned out to be, and that entire corner was therefore challenging. I think I lost a couple of minutes, maybe even as many as four, figuring out that section. In fact, the fourth puzzle, which stood in for the infamous puzzle #5 from the ACPT, was easier, because you could solve without figuring out the theme at all, which is what I did.

So, finishing in 193rd place out of over 1600 participants is certainly really awesome. When you see the times on some of these participants, you just have to shrug and say, well. I'll never get to that speed. I've finished one Monday puzzle in under 3 minutes in my life, and there are people here who are finishing puzzles in under 2 minutes and a Sunday-sized puzzle in under 4 minutes.

I want to give a shout out to all of the amazing people who are in fact using the Internet the way we always hoped it would be used: to bring people together, to participate in events at the same time, to remind us of the fun we can have together, the odd quirky activities we share. Speaking of which, my daughter is currently doing a ballet class on Zoom with friends from college.

Fun times had by all, and congratulations to Tyler Hinman, who won by a nose!

- Colum


  1. Thanks for doing this, Colum! We both had a great time. I, too, finished all the puzzles without errors (including the last one, but I had to switch over to the Futon clues), which was very satisfying. Frannie was very upset about making one silly error, but I keep telling her that, in a way, she out-did ACPT champ Dan Feyer, who made three errors in one puzzle! :)

    The whole thing was just so lovely. It was great to see all the familiar names, and some familiar faces. It was just exactly what we all needed at just the right time.

    Congratulations again to Kevin Der, Finn Vigeland, and everyone else who helped to pull this together in less than a week. Incredible.

  2. I made two dumb errors (in two different puzzles), but still at my level to have all the puzzles with one or fewer errors is better than my typical ACPT showing. And the whole event was quite fun. The technology mostly worked (although most of us are getting a crash course in that sort of thing these days), the familiar faces were there (a few who know me, a far greater number that I know), there was the usual wordplay, jokes, etc. A fun time.