If you follow geek news, you probably heard about young whippersnapper Tyler Hinman's dramatic win at American Crossword Puzzle Tournament yesterday, in the division A finals. What didn't show up in most of the media coverage was the dramatic, come-from-behind, dark-horse, sneak-attack win in the lesser division B finals—by none other than yours truly. I won a whopping three trophies (pretty awesome, considering that I've won one other trophy in my life, and that was at a spelling bee 'cause I'm such a jock), capturing the Midwest region, top rookie, and B division finals titles. Plus a check for $200, signed by NYT crossword editor Will Shortz. I had to solve the final puzzle on a big board on stage before 500 people, with play-by-play commentary. (Thank god I lost that 8 pounds so I didn't have to wear fat jeans up there.)
A budding documentary filmmaker was there, hoping to spin the weekend's events into a movie along the lines of "Spellbound," the spelling-bee documentary from a couple years back. Man, I hope he edits the footage into a compelling movie (without placing me firmly on the cutting room floor) and lands a distribution deal so I can be in a movie.
A Chicago Tribune freelancer was also tailing the locals at the tournament and will be writing an article for an upcoming Sunday Trib magazine.
The weekend was really fun, if you consider meeting noted crossword constructors to be fun. (Hey! They're like rock stars in that microcosm. I'm totally serious.) I could have done without the tension headache, the broken-out complexion, and the scaly eyelid (brow-waxing mishap), but the puzzles were great, and the uninterrupted time for grown-up conversation—just imagine: no "Mom! Mom! Look how fast this car is going! Mom! Lookit!"—was welcome. Next year, I'll bring my dermatologist along. And buy a really cute jacket for chic layering.