Last weekend was my 10th time at the ACPT and my 7th championship. As always, I had a great time seeing friends, catching up, playing games, and solving some outstanding crosswords.
Once again I'm going to write this up in the cliched FAQ format. But this time, most of these questions actually were frequently asked of me!
My lovely wife hadn't missed the ACPT since we started dating in 2009, but the theater she runs had a big benefit performance last Friday. (Next year's benefit will be scheduled around the tournament, I've been assured.)
What happened to your official nametag?
I wasn't wearing my nametag for the finals on Sunday, not because everybody should know me by now, but because I left it in the room in my haste to pack up and check out.
Why did you keep fiddling with the Walkman during the finals?
The tape ran out! Four or five minutes into the finals, the cassette filled with delightful white noise stopped playing. In retrospect, I should have ignored it and kept solving, because the announcers' voices were not really audible, more like the “wah wah” of “Peanuts” adults. Instead, I quickly hit Rewind and then Play, but that only bought me 30 seconds or so before the tape ran out again. All told, I stopped solving three separate times to deal with the technical difficulty. It's a good thing I'm old enough to be very familiar with the Walkman layout! And it's a very good thing that the final results were not close, because if I'd lost by 10 or 15 seconds I wouldn't be laughing about this.
Did you think you'd lost when Tyler finished the puzzle so quickly?
No, I suspected he had a mistake. I definitely heard a hubbub and saw Tyler step away from the board. A moment later there was an ovation, but it didn't sound like the “Yay, you won!” ovation I heard for Howard last year – more like “That sucks, but we love you!” So I figured I was still in it, but because I had so much of the puzzle yet to solve, I was nervous that Joon was going to finish any second.
What does the laser-engraved prize from Noteworthy Chocolates look like?
|Click to enlarge (SPOILERS FOR PUZZLE 8)|
Are you going to eat that?
Did you get any congratulatory emails that would impress your Hamilton-loving puzzle friends?
What were your solving times?
These are approximate, because I tend to check the clock before I'm finished, to see how much time I'm going to have to mop up and look over the puzzle, or whether I need to race through the final corner. For the second straight year, I was lucky to be far from the “:00” delineator on any of the puzzles.
#1 - 2:25
#2 - 3:35
#3 - 5:25
#4 - 2:40
#5 - 6:45
#6 - 3:45
#7 - 6:15
#8 - 8:14
Wait, did you ever post solving times last year?
No I didn't, because I never wrote a wrap-up post, because I was a sore loser and busy that week anyway. For the record, here are my times from the 2016 ACPT:
#1 - 2:35
#2 - 3:15
#3 - 3:40
#4 - 2:50
#5 - 6:30
#6 - 4:30
#7 - 6:20
#8 - 8:44
See you next year?
That's the plan.