Thursday I had dinner at Indus Valley with Liz, who lives relatively nearby but I never see outside crossword events. The restaurant was so dark I couldn't read the menu but the waiter brought over a tiny flashlight on a key ring. If I hadn't been able to see, I would have just asked for something non-spicy. I had paneer kulcha (cottage cheese-filled bread) and chicken zafrani (cashew nut sauce). The sauce was so good I ate the rest with a spoon like soup. There are more places in the neighborhood I've been wanting to try (one in particular is said to have horrible delivery service, so I need to go in person), so we'll have to do this again.
Friday was the Pleasantville crossword tournament. I thought of going up early to work (and thus using my off-peak 10-trip ticket), but never got it together to suggest that so aimed for the 5:01 or 5:27 train. The escalator from the 7 subway was not working, and the walk up was grueling. I could never survive on anything like "Amazing Race." Because I took my time going up, I just missed the first train.
There was a line for the automated ticket machines and when I got to the front saw the leftmost machine was empty, punched in the info which seemed somehow off, and realized when the ticket came out that I'd just bought a one-ride MetroCard instead of a MetroNorth ticket. Duh. It had to be used within 2 hours and I asked if anyone needed it. They looked at me blankly so I lay it on top of the check-your-card machine. I should have written "Good until 7:15 pm today" but didn't; no idea if anyone used it.
I went back to the head of the line and said I'd just waited on line and accidentally bought the wrong ticket, and used the train ticket machine this time. I didn't see anyone on the train, but found jeffurrynpl and cazique on the Pville platform, and we took the long way around (southern end of the platform) to Magic Wok as I kvetched that we were going the long way around. The large tables were full so we joined toonhead_npl along the side. pauer and Tony Orbach must also have been on our train, since they went to another table right behind us.
My tablemates wanted spicy food, but I didn't mind having my own almond-crusted chicken. I looked through all my Chinese delivery menus and no one around here makes it. Strange that Pleasantville has this culinary highlight. We shared steamed dumplings.
The walk to the church always seems longer than I remember, but the rainy trek wasn't bad with umbrellas. The church was crowded with familiar faces as well as locals. One couple won the event and Will's party in a charity auction which doesn't really seem worth it. I heard later they were too shy to meet me - oy. After elainetyger came by and talked about the need to go really fast without checking due to the "first correct goes to the finals" format, she then was first and incorrect on puzzle #2 (the mistake was MANIC/RIMPLE for PANIC/RIPPLE - sorry). Nancy thought the boards were too high - welcome to the finals. I really can't say that's why I almost never win in the finals; it's because the puzzle is too hard.
Over to Will's. No one was already there, but he soon sent people over with the key. The refreshments are never overwhelming (there are tons of baked goods at the tournament), and I had a carrot. I'd noticed Blanket's name while scoring (he won top Pville rookie) and hadn't seen him, but he and Ann were at the party so we got to talk then. We wanted to make the 11:49 train back, and left some people taking the tour (Will was giving a detailed explanation of the artifacts in the living room cabinet), but they ended up abandoning the tour, and made our train. The train back was packed - they weren't using all the cars - and we couldn't find seats together, or any seats, until North White Plains.
A few people had mentioned ericberlin's reading the next day and I woke up in time to make the late lunch afterward but not the reading itself. Books of Wonder seems like a nice store. Went to 'wichcraft with a bunch of people for lunch, as documented by ennirol. The butternut squash soup looked good, but I decided on grilled gruyere with caramelized onions on rye.
Hibernation will end Thursday when I process the puzzles, and I'm eating lunch with some people Friday so I'm not a total hermit.