Live from the ACPT

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Hello, patient readers,

We are currently on our lunch break at the tournament, with puzzles 1, 2, and 3 in our rear view mirrors, and 4, 5, and 6 looming just ahead. Our lunch break is not long, so I have only about ten minutes to describe to you what the hell has happened already. First, last night, there was a large, multi-part, puzzle by Eric Berlin, which we solved in teams of 3 (it's possible that a fourth person might have dropped by and helped out our team, but I won't say). My team was me and wife Sandy, and then a very nice man named Russell Brown from Picton, Ontario. He has crossword-themed jewelry on hand, which he made himself, but that's another story. Anyway, all I can say about the puzzle was that we finished, and the answer was FUHGITABOUTIT or however you spell that "word." Brooklynese, apparently.

This morning I took Dave Sullivan to IHOP (pictures to follow). Emily Cureton is here selling her wares - tshirts and notecards, mainly - and people are snapping them up, so good for her. She is adorable and cool and charming and shmoozed the whole room like nobody's business, putting wallflowers like me to shame. She even got an audience with His Shortzness. Anyway, she's a lovely woman, tons of fun.

The first three puzzles were brutal. Well, puzzle 1 was easy (a fun puzzle by Andrea Carla Michaels, who is a riot), but 2 was a disaster for most of the room (it seemed that more than half the room was still working on it when the clock ran out). Mike Shenk wrote that one, I think, but I don't remember. It involved a word ladder ... the purpose of which was not clear to some even after the puzzle was over. There were also some tough, tough crosses, and a couple of words/phrases I'd never heard of. Ditto the easier but still rough third puzzle (a Merl Reagle construction). I stared at one blank square for over a minute, wondering what the hell letter could go in. In despair, I threw in the least ridiculous-seeming letter (though the resulting two words were unknown to me). And ... I was right. Total, hail mary guess, and I nailed it. Dumb dumb luck. If I am perfect so far (and unless I made stupid mistakes, I should be), then it's only because I dodged some serious bullets.

But perfection may be short-lived. I'm off for my second dose of puzzle action now. More write-up and pictures tonight, I hope.

Best wishes,

PS Almost forgot - was totally taken aback when Will publicly introduced all the bloggers (!) who were there: Amy, me, and JimH (whom I still haven't met - there are over 700 people here). Very cool to see so many of my readers in person. OK, bye.


ArtLvr 2:25 PM  

Wow, sounds hair-raising! Looking forward to more news...

Meanwhile I've managed to do only the lower half of today's puzzle, plus a few bits I think should go in the upper part. However, it's not coming together up there and I really can't spend the rest of the day working on it. What other website is there to see the answers?

Thanks, and good luck to all.


ArtLvr 2:49 PM  

Answered my own question: solution is at

Anyone who wants a hint before giving up -- I was right about PEROT (about 22A), but had "hairnet" instead of HAIRGEL..

It's still not a snap from there! ∑;(

bill from fl 3:08 PM  

My last problem was the cross of "deralte" and "window." When I finally saw it, I laughed AND groaned. There were some other really clever crosses in this one.

Sorry to be missing the fun in Brooklyn, but this one was some consolation.

Anonymous 3:08 PM  

Good luck to Rex and everyone at the tournament.

Kim 3:25 PM  


Thanks for keeping those of us who can't attend the tournament informed! Hope you have a wonderful time and that you return home (at the very least) the 165th greatest crossword puzzle solver in the universe!

Phineas 4:41 PM  

Good luck to everyone in Brooklyn.

Still struggling with the NE and don't think the looming cocktail hour is going to make it any easier.

Michael 4:59 PM  

I'm glad that I didn't encounter this puzzle at a tournament. When I saw that the constructor was BEQ, I knew that I would likely have a challenge and was not surprised when this turned out to be the case. In the end, the NW corner stumped and even with some googling, I couldn't get the whole thing

Jason 5:20 PM  

My first experience at the ACPT has been fun to say the least. As for my performance it's nowhere near anything worthy. But since I'm from Canada, hopefully my "foreign" counterparts are struggling so I might actually have a chance at one of those nifty trophies. I'll definitely come back.

Jason from Vancouver
P.S. Can't wait for Rex's review of Puzzle #5 although I'm sure I know some of the words he'll say

Kathy 5:49 PM  

I'm doing the puzzles on line, just to see how lame I actually am, and I was really glad to see the rating Rex gave on the second puzzle. I just hit the I'm Done button with three minutes left, since I was stuck. Seemed like there was some gimmick I would never get.

I was thinking about the tournament next year, but now I'm not so sure. Oh, well, best of luck to Rex and Orange!

Today's puzzle--oy.

Kathy the Klueless

Fergus 6:23 PM  

Saturday puzzle toughest of the year so far, I found. Very good test, but no question that some of the clues were border line. I was glad that Rex didn't post the solution, because in a moment of weakness, I thought, screw it, I'll just cheat and be done with it. Soldiered on in that tough stack in the NW but reached no epiphany when the answers finally appeared. There are some great clues, though.

Norm 7:11 PM  


Not sure Rex wants comments on the ACPT puzzles here, but he can delete us if he doesn't. I never got the theme for #2 either. Said it was a word ladder, but even that didn't help much. Managed to finish it with two errors, but I can't even see my mistakes, so I'm with you in bafflement. #3 was fun (I love Merl Reagle), and #5 totally chewed me up and spit me out. I'm AboutTheSame -- and that's about where I am today.

jae 8:00 PM  

Some of us are doing the ACPT puzzles by mail around Mar. 8 so please no specifics in the daily blog until then.

Today's BEQ was indeed challenging. I finished last night with one error at the CANDID/DUENA crossing (had an S instead of D.) I even discussed whether DUENA would be correct with my spanish major wife. She thought DUENA was an elder female person who was in charge of the household/children. Her Spanish dict. does give mistress as second definition. Of course, there is no entry for SUENA which sounds a little like SWAIN and really seemed to fit! CANIS on the other had is an appropriate (but not correct) answer for 28d. Ah well, on to Sunday.

jae 8:01 PM  

Rats!!! that should be "other hand"

Norm 8:07 PM  

Point taken, Jae. We shall be silent. I don't think (hope) the generalities thus far have done more than prepare you for the struggle. Good luck.

Norm 8:07 PM  

Point taken, Jae. We shall be silent. I don't think (hope) the generalities thus far have done more than prepare you for the struggle. Good luck.

Name 8:09 PM  

And why am I there twice? I do not know. I shall go hide my head (username?) in shame.

JC66 8:41 PM  

Toughest puzzle so far this year. Took over an hour, with Googling, and still had a couple of mistakes. Overall, once the answers reluctantly revealed themselves, thought the cluing brilliant. Great job, Mr. Quigley.

Fergus 9:17 PM  

Typical of this puzzle was the trigonometry clue. Scribbled in TANGENT of course, then got increasingly unsure about about the entries as I recalled the proper meaning of domain and range with respect to functions. If the clue included Range, and not Domain, then TANGENT would be fine, but it didn't. Ah, dear old ARCSINE ...
But then I had PULSARS instead of QUASARS. You think you've pulled out a nifty answer, only to be crestfallen. Confoundingly impressive construction.

My best errors were WRINGER for the Mop holder? clue, and PAVLIAN for the Conditioning system. PAPA DOC and RADII were my most revelatory, and spent a long time trying to find an alternative spelling for HUARACHES to fit in where UGG BOOTS stood.

Anonymous 9:21 PM  

I'm glad others are struggling with today's puzzle, because I'm REALLY struggling. It's also showing me that I'm no where close to going to the tournament.(Even though I'm jealous.)

Joe in NE

emjo 9:34 PM  

oh my- my ego is going to burst and leave slimy green goo in its wake.
thank you for all your support and kindness!

Dan 11:26 PM  

All the scores from Day 1 are on the tournament website (see the sidebar). Rex is going to be way, way better than 166th. And I'm 10 points ahead of him! :) If only I hadn't tanked Puzzle 5 so badly...

But the best news is that Howard B is in 2nd place! Go Howard!

Laura 12:36 PM  

Thanks for the update. Wish I was there...oh, well, maybe next year

Dave 6:29 PM  

"all the bloggers that were there"


douggarr 9:13 AM  

Fugitaboutit is spelled a zillion different ways -- it's really all about the pronunciation, and yeah, it's about dem and dese guys from Bklyn. A friend of mine, Lisa Foderaro, a Times lady and terrific writer from Westchester, once wrote a feature story where fugetabouit was prominently part of the piece. She told me she did the legwork on the spelling -- I think she may have settled on a novelist's first use, but I'm hard pressed to remember who. It's a tough word for a crossword puzzle because nobody really agrees on the correct spelling. That's what makes it a Brooklyn coinage, I guess.

Bill D 10:30 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 5:53 PM  

Thank you for today and all the others. It would be a puzzling day without your help.

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