Thursday, March 23, 2006

Heading out

One more day and a night before I fly to Stamford, Connecticut, for this year's American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. Now, nobody's filming a Major Motion Picture of the documentary persuasion at the tournament this time—but there will be a sneak preview of said Motion Picture at the tournament, so I'll get to see Wordplay for the third time. Hooray! Will it ever get old, seeing a movie with people I know in it, with a few moments of me onscreen? I hope not.

I just bought a laptop today (I blame Lisa—she's a ba-a-a-ad influence!), so it's possible I will blog from the East Coast. It's also possible I'll be too busy—not because of the crosswords themselves (those will occupy only a couple hours of my attention), but because of the social whirlwind. Yes, word geeks have social whirlwinds, too. The tournament is a place where we can wield our $15 words and never be met with a blank stare. I know a ton of frightfully intelligent people, I do—but you get 500 crossword nuts together in a hotel ballroom, and the air crackles with synaptic connections.

Anyway, last year I placed in the top 20. I'd like to make the top 10 this year, but there are a number of determined individuals who will endeavor to fill those 10 spots themselves. If I stay in the top 20 and I have a grand old time, I'll consider the weekend a raging success. If I plummet in the standings but still have a good time, still a success. If I have a sucky time and don't do well in the competition, then, duh.

If you quit checking the comments on the nutty search post, head back and read the horrifying poem E. has crafted...

13 comments:

Mona Buonanotte said...

If Francis is there, tweak his hiney for me!

LazyLazyMe said...

Are we talking cryptic crosswords (Like The Times over here) or just synonyms?

Orange said...

Actually, Lazy, American-style crosswords are more than "just synonyms." My favorite clues tend to mislead people into thinking of different meanings of the words than what is actually intended. For example, today's New York Times puzzle used "it has a low bridge" as the clue for LUTE. Could be a nose, could be a river, but it's not. Another puzzle in the New York Sun has "un-PC purchase?" as the clue for IMAC, playing on PC = personal computer vs. PC = politically correct; there's also "it makes it hit" for AITCH—when the letter H is added to "it," becomes "hit."

I like cryptic crosswords, too, but not as much as I like standard American crosswords (and I like my crosswords hard).

Orange said...

(Minor correction: The clue is "What makes it hit?")

Midwestern Deadbeat said...

Orange, you're my kind of hero. Good luck to you.

I have all kinds of geeky crossword comments to make. First, misleading clues are also my favorites.

Second, the questions: Are you a crossword solver who ever uses a crossword dictionary, or do you consider that cheating? (Or, did you ever use one in the past and now find that you no longer need it?) How many crosswords do you usually do a day? Who publishes your favorite?

I could go on....

LazyLazyMe said...

I wasn't being contemptuous Orange dear, just curious.

I was once asked by an ex-colleague for help with the following clue: "Blue, bell shaped flower" (8)...

JT said...

Venture forth adjoined by recherché fortuity, oh colloquial queen!

Charlie said...

Good luck with the tournament. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.

Dharma said...

I {heart} geeks like you! I love crossword puzzles but I'm not that good.

Orange said...

Deadbeat, I've never been one to use a crossword dictionary. In a pinch, I'll turn to Google for a bail-out, but that happens only a few times a year. I do about 40 puzzles a week on a routine basis (puzzles I can access online), plus crosswords from selected magazines and books. In the weeks before the tournament, I was aiming to do about 25 a day, but only did that many a couple times a week. My favorite crosswords are those in the New York Sun (you don't have to read the paper to get the puzzle—it's online), later in the week in the New York Times, and the puzzle by Ben Tausig that's published in several independent weekly newspapers (including the Chicago Reader).

Lazy (Lazy? Deadbeat? You folks sound like you're down on yourselves.), no offense taken. If I should ever start doing a BLUEBELL-type crossword with crappy clues, I'll either stop wasting my time or continue to have a gaping-at-a-wreck experience.

JT, Charlie, Dharma, thanks! I just got 2.25 hours of sleep and the competition begins later this morning. (The Diet Coke, she is my friend.) I'm having a grand old time in Stamford and gossiped in the bar until 1:15 last night. Whooo!

Lisa said...

yaaaaaaaaaaaaay for trading sleep for gossip!!!! Can't wait to hear all about it---and good luck to you for the next round (as it's 1pm for you, I imagine round one is over)!!

Let us know how the first round went...

and yes, I'm a dreadfully bad influence...but you like it. :)

Deblogger said...
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Cricket said...

Hey! Thinking of you as you wrack your little brain out.