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Monday, March 03, 2008

Speed vs Accuracy musings

I did the seven "at home" tournament puzzles. The scoring goes like this: for each puzzle, you get 10 pts for each correct letter, 150 pts bonus for a perfect score, and 25 pts for each minute that you finish before time is called. If you turn the puzzle in early with a mistake, you get 25 pts subtracted for each WRONG letter.

I aced four of the easier puzzles with time to spare (3, 4, 6 and 7). Puzzles 2 and 5 were, as always, the tough ones - especially 5, which was a killer. In each of those I was left with pretty much an entire corner unfinished when the clock ran out.

Then there was puzzle 1. This was another easy one, but I made a careless typo.

Checking my score (including this mistake), I had a total of 9150. This would have placed me at #238 had I achieved the same score among the 699 "live" competitors. Had I NOT made the mistake, I would have gotten the 150 point bonus, and not had the 25 pts subtracted, adding 175 pts to my score for 9325. Then I would have been #217 overall. Hmm. Not such a tremendous difference, actually. Still...

All but a very few of the competitors are there to try to achieve some personal goal and to have fun. To actually win, or even place in the top 50-100 you have to be some kind of amazing crossword-solving machine. My goal, had I attended in person, would have been to place in the top 40%. As it turns out, #238 would have put me in the top 34%. I'd have been quite happy with that, actually. Well, maybe I'll go to Brooklyn next year and see if I can do it there!

The overall winner was Tyler Hinman, for the fourth straight year. He is still one of the youngest competitors, just a year or so out of college. How he does it is anyone's guess.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Very impressive! - H

5:28 AM  
Blogger AlexanderTheGreat said...


Surely there must be a way to become incredibly (insert life dream here) with all that vocabulary skill.

Life did just begin at 65 after all.

10:12 PM  

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