Sunday, March 20, 2011

Things, ACPT and otherwise, in handy bullet format

  • First good omen of the trip: when I arrive at LaGuardia and put my MetroCard in the machine, I have more money on it than I thought meaning I don't have to put any money in for the weekend.
  • Second good omen of the trip: when I step outside, there is a bus already there.
  • Early check-in worked again despite me not bothering to tell them, so hooray for the Brooklyn Bridge Marriott.
  • Nap time! before the mingling (or in legal terminology "loitering").
  • The loitering was made more difficult by the fact that the rent-a-cop seemingly couldn't decide where we weren't supposed to be, so every so often he'd clear us out of wherever we had congregated from the last time we moved. Eventually he did decide that we shouldn't be in front of the escalators or around the big table in the lobby, although by that point we were numerous enough that there was always someone in front of the escalators or around the big table in the lobby.
  • Although by that point it was dinner time. This year I wandered off with Peter Gordon et al for Indian food and a very good chicken tandoori (which was not the only item of the menu that I was sure to recognize when it arrived, as they also had kebabs).
  • Friday night festivities. I don't know (and I doubt that Wz will ever tell) the paid attendance here; my not-very-good estimating sense guesses 250. I was surprised how many people were there while still maintaining a sworn conviction that they didn't like cryptic crosswords, since the main event was a US/UK cryptic crossword tournament -- not that they had never done them, but that they had done them and didn't like them.
  • For the Saturday main event, I do what I always do, which is get there a fair bit early, sit two seats in from the aisle, and see who shows up. This year I was around two rookies, an retiree who has been doing puzzles for a while (and was actually more of a cryptic fan, as he had entered many (and won several) of the English newspaper puzzle weekly contests) and who came back for Sunday, and a younger office manager from Brooklyn, who didn't (but insisted she was having fun on Saturday).
  • I made many errors (as in six or so) over the last three puzzles (5,6,7) ranging from "understandable" to "I wasn't even thinking of that letter how did it get in my puzzle", which made for a very disappointing day all told.
  • There was a one-act crossword-"themed" play presented, that had originally been done for some sort of playwright's playhouse/community theater organization in upstate New York. My reaction at the time was negative. Upon further review, I guess that any one sub-piece of the play was good; however, they were all mutually inconsistent so stringing them all together led to a not-very-good sum total.
  • And then there was the "ACPT-zing [pronounced 'amazing'] race", which was a puzzle fest put together by Pliska'n'Chaneski. It appeared to be a very amazing piece of work, although I had volunteered to be a "judge", also known as "Canada", so I only got to see a very small portion of the thing as it happened. It was fun to see people looking for some flag they didn't really know (like Tanzania, or Nigeria, or the Marshall Islands), realizing that I was a country and scooting around to see my flag, and then saying "Oh. Canada." How they made a national anthem out of that I'll never know.
  • Speaking of, I thought being a country would be rather restful, but I was just as excited as the players were watching them scurry around.
  • The variety show was certainly varied, with a blues theme.
  • The B finals had a really very interesting finish -- you should go look for it to watch.
  • Dan smoked through the A finals as expected.

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