SOOPOO
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April 1st, 2022 at 4:23:08 PM permalink
Tomorrow starts the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, the de facto World Championship of such for English. Of course it is mostly American/Canadian.

My son, David Plotkin, has come in third place the last 3 years. Each year, the top 3 finishers after 7 qualifying puzzles get to compete in a ‘puzzle off’ in front of maybe 1000 onlookers at the Stamford, Connecticut, Marriott. David is the only competitor to have been in the money each of the last 3 competitions, but has not gotten over the hurdle to win the final puzzle.

He says there are a few new kids on the block who are legitimate title contenders, so around 6 could win without it being a big surprise.

I’ll update the forum on his performance as the competition goes on.

For those who haven’t been here from the beginning, David attempted the ‘WoV triathlon’, which was running two miles, doing two NYT crossword puzzles, then eating 100 McNuggets in under an hour. He made it to 88 McNuggets before giving up.

Let’s wish him luck!
MrV
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April 1st, 2022 at 4:31:48 PM permalink
Question: are the puzzles really, really difficult, or are they not terribly difficult?

Obviously they'll be more difficult than average.

I assume they race each other to see who finishes first, second etc.?

If you could post a link to or a copy of one of the puzzles they use I'd like to solve it; I enjoy crosswords.
"What, me worry?"
SOOPOO
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April 1st, 2022 at 5:05:49 PM permalink
Quote: MrV

Question: are the puzzles really, really difficult, or are they not terribly difficult?

Obviously they'll be more difficult than average.

I assume they race each other to see who finishes first, second etc.?

If you could post a link to or a copy of one of the puzzles they use I'd like to solve it; I enjoy crosswords.
link to original post


There are 7 qualifying puzzles. Traditionally puzzle number 5 is the one that eliminates the pretenders.
The final on stage puzzle is interesting. They have 3 tiers of competitors. All solve the same puzzle answers. But have different clues!
The A level clues are so esoteric that it is unbelievable that anyone can solve them.
I think puzzles 1-3, 4 and 6 are ‘easy’, but you are timed. I may be able to solve puzzle 1 in 9 minutes. My son will be done in 3….
ThatDonGuy
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April 2nd, 2022 at 11:36:55 AM permalink
I notice that there is separate scoring for the "in-person" and virtual particpants, in part because the scoring system is slightly different - the virtual ones get 1 point for every 2 seconds under the allowed time, rather than 25 per full minute.
DRich
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April 2nd, 2022 at 11:44:19 AM permalink
Quote: SOOPOO



For those who haven’t been here from the beginning, David attempted the ‘WoV triathlon’, which was running two miles, doing two NYT crossword puzzles, then eating 100 McNuggets in under an hour. He made it to 88 McNuggets before giving up.

Let’s wish him luck!
link to original post



Knowing you and David's abilities at crossword puzzles made me assume that he is smart. Why in the world would he try to eat 100 McNuggets? I wish him the best of luck this weekend.
At my age, a "Life In Prison" sentence is not much of a deterrent.
SOOPOO
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April 2nd, 2022 at 12:40:25 PM permalink
Quote: DRich

Quote: SOOPOO



For those who haven’t been here from the beginning, David attempted the ‘WoV triathlon’, which was running two miles, doing two NYT crossword puzzles, then eating 100 McNuggets in under an hour. He made it to 88 McNuggets before giving up.

Let’s wish him luck!
link to original post



Knowing you and David's abilities at crossword puzzles made me assume that he is smart. Why in the world would he try to eat 100 McNuggets? I wish him the best of luck this weekend.
link to original post

. First two puzzles have been graded. Three way tie for first. David, Dan Feyer and Tyler Hinman. I believe Dan and Tyler have each won around six times each. The movie ‘Wordplay’ was based on Tyler Hinman’s feat of winning 5 times in a row. I’m stoked!
SOOPOO
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April 2nd, 2022 at 12:51:30 PM permalink
After third puzzle tied for lead with Dan. This is the best he has ever been this early.
DRich
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April 2nd, 2022 at 1:56:34 PM permalink
Quote: SOOPOO

After third puzzle tied for lead with Dan. This is the best he has ever been this early.
link to original post



Awesome!!! Are the finals tomorrow?
At my age, a "Life In Prison" sentence is not much of a deterrent.
SOOPOO
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April 2nd, 2022 at 2:27:28 PM permalink
Quote: DRich

Quote: SOOPOO

After third puzzle tied for lead with Dan. This is the best he has ever been this early.
link to original post



Awesome!!! Are the finals tomorrow?
link to original post



They have already finished the 6 puzzles on day 1. The first four have been graded. David is in a two way tie for first. He ‘thinks’ he will still be tied for first after puzzles 5 and 6 are graded.

Tomorrow morning they do puzzle 7, and after that one the top 3 are determined, and those three do the ‘big puzzle’ in front of the audience. The competitors wear gizmos that prevent them from hearing the announcer or any screaming audience member (my ex wife!). I think it is around 1pm that they do the on stage final puzzle.
SOOPOO
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April 2nd, 2022 at 2:43:06 PM permalink
I’m just a stupid father…. He’s in first place ALONE after puzzle 5! I’m going to be insufferable!
ThatDonGuy
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April 2nd, 2022 at 2:46:10 PM permalink
Quote: SOOPOO

I’m just a stupid father…. He’s in first place ALONE after puzzle 5! I’m going to be insufferable!
link to original post


That Paolo Pasco kid would be taking on all comers - well, he'd be 1 minute ahead of David - except for what appears to be a one-letter miss in the first puzzle.
DRich
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April 2nd, 2022 at 6:22:53 PM permalink
Quote: SOOPOO

I’m just a stupid father…. He’s in first place ALONE after puzzle 5! I’m going to be insufferable!
link to original post



A proud father and rightly so. Go David.
At my age, a "Life In Prison" sentence is not much of a deterrent.
SOOPOO
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April 2nd, 2022 at 7:30:09 PM permalink
Quote: DRich

Quote: SOOPOO

I’m just a stupid father…. He’s in first place ALONE after puzzle 5! I’m going to be insufferable!
link to original post



A proud father and rightly so. Go David.
link to original post



Still in first after puzzle 6! Tomorrow at 9 they do puzzle 7. By around 11 they have the results. If David doesn’t make a mistake he is odds on favorite to make the top 3. He’ll be a big underdog to Feyer and Hinman in the final. But you never know…
DRich
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April 3rd, 2022 at 7:22:39 AM permalink
Quote: SOOPOO

Quote: DRich

Quote: SOOPOO

I’m just a stupid father…. He’s in first place ALONE after puzzle 5! I’m going to be insufferable!
link to original post



A proud father and rightly so. Go David.
link to original post



Still in first after puzzle 6! Tomorrow at 9 they do puzzle 7. By around 11 they have the results. If David doesn’t make a mistake he is odds on favorite to make the top 3. He’ll be a big underdog to Feyer and Hinman in the final. But you never know…
link to original post



I am actually anxious to hear the results. I am not sure why since I personally have no interest in crosswords and my linguistic skills are rather poor. I guess I am just rooting for the proud papa. My daughter was a world class quick draw shooter as a juvenile but that hasn't translated to adulthood.
At my age, a "Life In Prison" sentence is not much of a deterrent.
ThatDonGuy
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April 3rd, 2022 at 10:29:53 AM permalink
Looks like Tyler and Dan were on their game in the final, while David seemed to be stuck on one answer in particular
...and he missed one? That's extra nuggets on the next challenge.

Video of the final puzzle:
gordonm888
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April 3rd, 2022 at 2:49:01 PM permalink
Ooof. I was really rooting for David. What place did he wind up in?
So many better men, a few of them friends, are dead. And a thousand thousand slimy things live on, and so do I.
gordonm888
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April 3rd, 2022 at 2:49:07 PM permalink
Ooof. I was really rooting for David. What place did he wind up in?
So many better men, a few of them friends, are dead. And a thousand thousand slimy things live on, and so do I.
gordonm888
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April 3rd, 2022 at 2:49:07 PM permalink
Ooof. I was really rooting for David. What place did he wind up in?
So many better men, a few of them friends, are dead. And a thousand thousand slimy things live on, and so do I.
ThatDonGuy
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April 3rd, 2022 at 3:29:29 PM permalink
Quote: gordonm888

Ooof. I was really rooting for David. What place did he wind up in?
link to original post


Third. They mention the result at the 13 minute mark of the video, although it's a little hard to hear.
SOOPOO
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April 4th, 2022 at 8:00:00 AM permalink
David finished in 3rd for the fourth consecutive competition. Making it to 'the stage' is the big goal. Then winning of course. The announcer mentioned it has been around 20 years that at least one of Dan, David, or Tyler has made the top 3. Of course the other two having won 13 of them sort of helps....
David believes that there is a relative newcomer, Paulo Pasco, who will be the new contender. He won the "B" division this year. Sort of the same trajectory that David was on.
You can get Pasco at 16-1 on the futures on DraftKings for next year. Good value.

David did win $1k for 3rd this year. I asked him if he was going to buy anything special with the dough. He said the money basically covered his expenses to get there!

When he was under 25 he won the "Junior" title I think 5 years. He wins the "South" crown every year. He gets a trophy for every top 10 finish. He won a "C" crown, and maybe a "B" won as well? He has around 30 trophies from this event.

Can't wait until next April....
DRich
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April 4th, 2022 at 8:05:13 AM permalink
Quote: SOOPOO

David finished in 3rd for the fourth consecutive competition. Making it to 'the stage' is the big goal. Then winning of course. The announcer mentioned it has been around 20 years that at least one of Dan, David, or Tyler has made the top 3. Of course the other two having won 13 of them sort of helps....
David believes that there is a relative newcomer, Paulo Pasco, who will be the new contender. He won the "B" division this year. Sort of the same trajectory that David was on.
You can get Pasco at 16-1 on the futures on DraftKings for next year. Good value.

David did win $1k for 3rd this year. I asked him if he was going to buy anything special with the dough. He said the money basically covered his expenses to get there!

When he was under 25 he won the "Junior" title I think 5 years. He wins the "South" crown every year. He gets a trophy for every top 10 finish. He won a "C" crown, and maybe a "B" won as well? He has around 30 trophies from this event.

Can't wait until next April....
link to original post



Congrats to David. Has David considered having Dan and Tyler disabled before the competition? That would probably cross my mind.
At my age, a "Life In Prison" sentence is not much of a deterrent.
SOOPOO
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April 4th, 2022 at 8:11:57 AM permalink
Quote: DRich

Quote: SOOPOO

David finished in 3rd for the fourth consecutive competition. Making it to 'the stage' is the big goal. Then winning of course. The announcer mentioned it has been around 20 years that at least one of Dan, David, or Tyler has made the top 3. Of course the other two having won 13 of them sort of helps....
David believes that there is a relative newcomer, Paulo Pasco, who will be the new contender. He won the "B" division this year. Sort of the same trajectory that David was on.
You can get Pasco at 16-1 on the futures on DraftKings for next year. Good value.

David did win $1k for 3rd this year. I asked him if he was going to buy anything special with the dough. He said the money basically covered his expenses to get there!

When he was under 25 he won the "Junior" title I think 5 years. He wins the "South" crown every year. He gets a trophy for every top 10 finish. He won a "C" crown, and maybe a "B" won as well? He has around 30 trophies from this event.

Can't wait until next April....
link to original post



Congrats to David. Has David considered having Dan and Tyler disabled before the competition? That would probably cross my mind.
link to original post



There are a few others. Erik Agard, a past winner, who is the fastest but has been reckless at times chose not to compete this year due to Covid concerns. Then there is the previously mentioned Paulo Pasco.
Also, David preaches non violence in all Crossword Competitions.
DRich
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April 4th, 2022 at 8:15:17 AM permalink
Quote: SOOPOO


Also, David preaches non violence in all Crossword Competitions.



Pacifists never win.
At my age, a "Life In Prison" sentence is not much of a deterrent.
ThatDonGuy
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April 4th, 2022 at 10:43:57 AM permalink
Quote: SOOPOO

David finished in 3rd for the fourth consecutive competition. Making it to 'the stage' is the big goal. Then winning of course. The announcer mentioned it has been around 20 years that at least one of Dan, David, or Tyler has made the top 3. Of course the other two having won 13 of them sort of helps....
David believes that there is a relative newcomer, Paulo Pasco, who will be the new contender. He won the "B" division this year. Sort of the same trajectory that David was on.
You can get Pasco at 16-1 on the futures on DraftKings for next year. Good value.
link to original post


I think they also mentioned that, even though at least one of the three has been in each of the last 20, this is the first time all three made it to the same final.

Here is a video of the C and B finals - the B final starts at around the 29-minute mark; Paulo is the one in the middle. Note that he entered in the C division, but as he finished in the top three in the B division - in fact, he beat everybody in the B division (and except for his two misses, probably would have qualified for the A division final instead) - he competed in the B final.

I didn't know this before this year, but not only do all three levels' finals use the same grid, but the same answers; each one has its own set of clues, with the "A" clues being the hardest. This is similar to "The World's Most Ornery Crossword" that appears in each issue of Games magazine, with "hard" and "easy" sets of clues. Listen to the commentary during the B final (as well as the A final, in a previous link in this thread) for some insight.

gordonm888
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April 4th, 2022 at 12:34:16 PM permalink
Congrats on third place. Other than doing crossword puzzles, is there any specific training (trivia, tracking recent pop culture, etc?) that they do to prepare?

Has he ever tried to get on Jeopardy? Some overlap in skills, I would imagine.
So many better men, a few of them friends, are dead. And a thousand thousand slimy things live on, and so do I.
SOOPOO
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April 4th, 2022 at 12:45:12 PM permalink
Quote: gordonm888

Congrats on third place. Other than doing crossword puzzles, is there any specific training (trivia, tracking recent pop culture, etc?) that they do to prepare?

Has he ever tried to get on Jeopardy? Some overlap in skills, I would imagine.
link to original post



He is also a trivia ‘expert’, if there is such a thing. He does puzzles daily, and keeps some sort of data bank on questions he felt would be helpful to go over again. He has been in some national trivia contests for PhD students a few years back. He made the finals and got a free trip to Portland or Seattle?

He has applied to Jeopardy, and is theoretically on ‘the list’ to be called for the show. I know that use of ‘the buzzer’ really is (almost?) as important as knowledge, if he does make it onto the show I’ll be betting (with you guys!) on him being a multiple time champion.

When I was at the Crossword Finals two or three years ago they asked all former Jeopardy contestants to stand. Somewhere between 30 and 40 of the Crossworders had been on Jeopardy. So HUGE overlap.
ThatDonGuy
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April 4th, 2022 at 12:55:32 PM permalink
Quote: SOOPOO

He has applied to Jeopardy, and is theoretically on ‘the list’ to be called for the show. I know that use of ‘the buzzer’ really is (almost?) as important as knowledge, if he does make it onto the show I’ll be betting (with you guys!) on him being a multiple time champion.


Pretty much every time they get the "names" from Jeopardy! (Jennings, Rutter, Holzhauer, and a few others) together, somebody asks, "What's the most important thing?", and invariably they all agree: "Timing the button just right."
SOOPOO
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April 1st, 2023 at 3:47:13 PM permalink
It’s that time of year. David is in Stamford, Connecticut, competing in the Crossword tournament. After 5 puzzles he is tied for third with past champion Tyler Hinman, who the movie ‘Wordplay’ was based on. The first two are ahead by enough that they (Dan Feyer, multiple time champion, and Paolo Pasco, wunderkind) will almost certainly qualify for the Final Three. David has around a 50% chance. If he ties with Tyler on the 6th and 7th qualifying puzzle they would have had the exact same score on all seven puzzles and I don’t know what they use as a tie breaker.

Hopefully he qualifies and goes on to win it all.
rxwine
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April 1st, 2023 at 5:38:56 PM permalink
Quote: SOOPOO

. If he ties with Tyler on the 6th and 7th qualifying puzzle they would have had the exact same score on all seven puzzles and I don’t know what they use as a tie breaker.

Hopefully he qualifies and goes on to win it all.
link to original post



Maybe it will be McNuggets?
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ThatDonGuy
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April 2nd, 2023 at 8:47:48 AM permalink
Quote: rxwine

Quote: SOOPOO

. If he ties with Tyler on the 6th and 7th qualifying puzzle they would have had the exact same score on all seven puzzles and I don’t know what they use as a tie breaker.

Hopefully he qualifies and goes on to win it all.
link to original post



Maybe it will be McNuggets?
link to original post


He was one minute ahead of Tyler on puzzle 6, but one minute behind on puzzle 7, so they ended up tied for third, and from the looks of the results page, the tiebreaker is, whoever did better on the seventh puzzle.
SOOPOO
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April 3rd, 2023 at 10:14:21 AM permalink
Quote: ThatDonGuy

Quote: rxwine

Quote: SOOPOO

. If he ties with Tyler on the 6th and 7th qualifying puzzle they would have had the exact same score on all seven puzzles and I don’t know what they use as a tie breaker.

Hopefully he qualifies and goes on to win it all.
link to original post



Maybe it will be McNuggets?
link to original post


He was one minute ahead of Tyler on puzzle 6, but one minute behind on puzzle 7, so they ended up tied for third, and from the looks of the results page, the tiebreaker is, whoever did better on the seventh puzzle.
link to original post



Correct. It’s the scenario I was afraid of….. He will be credited as tied for third…. but the ‘third’ was more like fourth…. He is amazing….. just there were three people more amazing!
ThatDonGuy
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March 14th, 2024 at 3:52:42 PM permalink
Some early 2024 news: this year's competition will be sponsored by Games World of Puzzles Magazine
SOOPOO
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March 14th, 2024 at 7:37:59 PM permalink
Quote: ThatDonGuy

Some early 2024 news: this year's competition will be sponsored by Games World of Puzzles Magazine
link to original post



David will be back hoping to improve on his impressive string of Bronze medals. He told me that this year will have the most competitors ever. I’m guessing the sponsorship fee was not that much. But if it raises the prizes for the top competitors…. good!
MrV
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March 14th, 2024 at 8:40:32 PM permalink
Crosswords are my thing; jig saw puzzles are my wife's.

Opposites attract?
"What, me worry?"
terapined
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March 14th, 2024 at 9:19:54 PM permalink
Quote: MrV

Crosswords are my thing; jig saw puzzles are my wife's.

Opposites attract?
link to original post



Its just a forum. Nothing here to get obsessed about.
ThatDonGuy
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April 5th, 2024 at 8:00:16 AM permalink
It's that time again - Rounds 1-6 on Saturday, with Round 7 and the finals on Sunday
SOOPOO
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April 5th, 2024 at 10:18:59 AM permalink
Quote: ThatDonGuy

It's that time again - Rounds 1-6 on Saturday, with Round 7 and the finals on Sunday
link to original post




I’ll start 2024 thread.
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