Saturday, March 19, 2011

Puzzle #3, 2011--and an encounter with the Great One

And now a word about our puzzle brethren. The constructors (Merl Reagle, Brendan Quigley, Fred Piscop) are treated like film stars at Nice by the solvers. A wave of the hand, a shy smile, a brief nod from Merl--any could send us into a swoon. Glasses are prevalent, as are oddly-sized pants. Good folks for a Boggle marathon, but for a rave, not so much.

Puzzle 3 was mildly amusing. "Comment at a Halloween party about an Oscar Mayer costume in the back of the room?" (18 letters). THE WURST IS BEHIND US.
"VW Rabbit?" (8 letters). MEIN HARE.

ROFLMAO, I mean, really folks, Merl is killing me here.

For the home contestant:
--"Gomez Addam's pet name for his wife" (4 letters)
--"Exfoliate" (4 letters) _ E _ L
--"Language of South Africa" (5 letters) _ _ A _ I. [When I saw that one, I wished Laura Corb were here--Bantu didn't fit, and I wasn't sure if that was a language anyway.]

We had lunch after puzzle 3 (and just try finding a place in downtown Brooklyn where Liz will eat--tacos were vetoed, as were subs, hamburgers, pizza... we finally found a Hale and Hearty) and got back in time for a family photo with Will Shortz (editor of the New York Times crossword, as if you had to ask, and I know you didn't). (See the blog for the pix.) We were granted a short audience with the great man, and I was stunned--HOW THE MIGHTY HAVE FALLEN! Consider:
1) I asked Will if three from one family at ACPT was a record number, and he said he didn't know. I said I thought he had announced 4 sisters in a past year, and he said "from the same sorority?"
2) I mentioned my bemusement on the "La lollo" nickname (from puzzle 2) and mentioned that I had thought it was spelled Lollabrigida. Will paused for a moment and then said "isn't it?". Pretty sure he was serious, but with such a deep man (and one so lacking in affect), you never know.
Perhaps 34 years of running this tournament are taking their toll.

For the morbidly curious, here is where we stand so far:
--I finished the first 3 puzzles in 4 minutes, 15 minutes, and 12 minutes
--My dad did 4 minutes, 13 minutes, and 13 minutes--so he's a minute ahead of me.
--Liz did 6 minutes, 25 minutes, and 23 minutes. She thinks she got 1 and 3 all right, some issues with #2--so I'm guessing she's somewhere in the middle of the pack. (About 675 contestants this year.)



  1. My mother, brother, and I were all in the tournament this year, so if three is a record, we're tied. Maybe we three can touch base with you three in 2012!