05.03 XWLA

Crosswords L.A. Puzzles Available

Puzzles from this past weekend's Crosswords L.A. tournament are now available for a measly $5. And the $5 goes directly to a great charity (Reading To Kids). This, my friends, is what's known as a win-win situation. You get eight (eight!) awesome puzzles and the tiny little bit of money you have to spend on them goes to a worthy cause.

And the best thing about it is, all you have to do hop on over to Alex Boisvert's website. (See what I did there?) The puzzles will be sent directly to your inbox (both .pdf and .puz versions). One tip for those of you taking advantage of this great offer: I understand that you must read the instructions for Tyler Hinman's "Mix & Match" puzzle or you won't have any idea what's going on. The instructions are included in the notepad of the .puz version as well as in a separate text file that comes with your puzzles.

I got mine last night and can't wait to dig in. Have fun!


*David* said...

I suppose this is as good as place as any to write up a bit about the tournament, my first ever. I got there about 10 and registered, most people there knew somebody and had paired off in conversation so I found a corner table and waited unti they let us in the main room.
We started off with a game with four letters and hints as to what the abbreviations stood for like 19th Century inventor for TEMP which was Thomas Edison Menlo Park. It seemed like Eric Maddy dressed in bright racing colors raised his hand for every answer. After 10-15 minutes of warm up and breaking the ice it was time for the puzzles.
The 1st was by Alex B and was a nice warm-up puzzle and I noticed that my speed was sorely lacking compared to many. Fortunately they segregated the experts to the front so you wouldn't get completely demoralized. I vowed to not look up from my paper at the monster clock or at people walking out after finishing.
Puzzle #2 was next and this is where the customization of the puzzles for the tourney really kicked in. Cool puzzle by Blindauer, probaly my favorite but many didn't figure out the trick, I found out later. We got 30 minutes for this and I completed it in the middle of minute 29, good timing.
Puzzle #3 was my scorcher and the easiest which for me was 6 minutes. I remember next to nothing about it, sorry Susan, I just wanted to finish as fast as I could!
Then it was to lunch and actual socializing. I once again picked a table away from the crowds since I don't like to intrude. However next thing I knew I was surrounded by a bunch of puzzlers like Mr. Mehlman and it was 30 minutes of non-stop puzzle talk. It felt kind of surreal since I always have to avoid talking too much about puzzles with regular folks. We got into a dissertion of why out of all sports, golfers get the shaft as far as name recognition other then the obvious crosswordese ones like ISAO AOKI (who was in two puzzles). I then got a chance to talk to Elissa as I hunted for those mythical bathrooms somewhere upstairs and she was as sweet as advertised.
It was then on to the beast Puzzle #4 by Tyler which got way too much publicity of how bad it was. Bring it on already! I got 95% of the puzzle figured out and the concept behind it but it left me a bit cold maybe because I ran out of time.
Puzzle #5 was a breezy beauty by Liz Gorski that was fun and a classic Sunday puzzle, coming in a close 2nd in my preference category.
We then got a break for scoring and a chance to play a variety game with different puzzles that needed to each be figured out to get a total theme idea. I had a lot of fun at that table expecially talking to Richard Kalustian who as humble as he makes himself out to be seems to be a top competitor. Our table ended up winning the variety challenge where I spent my whole time translating letters on a phone key pad into cities in the US, give me geography any day.

The final was fun to watch as opposed to participating. The highlight was Jordan finishing the puzzle is his hand up, no, yes, maybe, yes he is done whew! I quickly ran for the door as I had a dinner date but finally recognized a regular in Andrea Carla Michael and introduced myself as I left and she was thoughtful enough to take my raffle ticket and would e-mail me if I won another prize. Oh yes I came in 2nd in the Rookie division and won a set of NY Sun Crossword puzzles by Peter Gordon. I've done four already, these are something special.

Overall I would say I'm not a big fan of competition, I'm just not into speed. It gets me jittery and I don't enjoy the solving process. I did however love being around people that enjoy doing what I do, so more time socializing and less time competing works for me. Regardless its something everyone into puzzling should do at least once, OK twice.

CoffeeLvr said...

thanks, David, for sharing your experience. Again, I want to go to a tournament, but am far away from both coasts.

JaxInL.A. said...

David, thanks for a great account of the first part of the contest, especially your impression of each of the puzzles as they went by.

I look forward to coming back here to write about the puzzles when I get them done (does anyone object to using this space to talk about them, or is that a potential spoiler?). Thanks, PG, for making this space, and to DougP for pointing it out.

@CoffeeLvr, what about the recent one in Chicago? I forget where you are, though I have the impression that I should remember. Just as David describes, it's quite wonderful to be among people where you don't have to censor yourself about puzzles and things. Maybe someday? I will definitely go next year.