March 13th, 2006


Work is caught up, so it's puzzle time

Today I brought 3 completed jobs over to Dell. I also just sent in a batch of LA Times. So I'm pretty much caught up on work, with a few odds and ends left to do.

I need to finish updating my financial records (I did a big chunk in January, but since then I've gotten more year-end statements), and then do taxes. I might hold that for after the tournament.

There are always magazines and books to read, and TiVo and videos to watch, but for the next several days I want to do as many crosswords as possible. Doing too many hurts my hand, and we don't want that (I got Handeze gloves, but I'm not sure they help). I've already gone through several books (including the Stan Newman 100th and Patrick Berry's great Dummies puzzles), and will continue those. I'm also keeping up with the usual online puzzles, and catching up on Creators' Syndicate which I get through Puzzle Society (I don't have a printer, so I do these online). And I've made a small dent in the backlog of TV Guide (which have exceptionally obscure trivia) and New York Magazine (you can count on a Maura puzzle at Stamford) crosswords.

So yeah, I've been training. I have to admit that I really want to get back in the top 10. Since winning in 2001, my highest finish was 5th in 2003. The competition seems more brutal than ever. How I managed to make 13 ACPT finals (still the record!), I'll never know. My abilities have deteriorated with age (to the extent I'll probably solve in glasses), and I can never win a speed race with the whippersnappers. But I'm still very competitive on harder puzzles. It's difficult to accept a lowered standing gracefully. After all, Doug won at age 56. But he's Doug; I seem to be about equal to him right now (we were tied last year), even though he's almost 10 years older at 62.

Once the tournament and taxes are done, it looks like there will be some "Wordplay" activity as the movie travels to various film festivals. We aren't all being whisked all over the country for this, but will attend screenings in our local areas. For me, that means Tribeca, where I plan to buy a daytime weekday pass and actually attend the festival. My main regret at Sundance was not seeing more movies, so I can make up for that here. I also hope to support the film in nearby cities reachable by train. And later on will be premieres and press in New York and LA. And reading the reviews (Eek!). But that's getting ahead.

In the immediate future, I need to see Ron and get a haircut. He was on vacation before Sundance, and my hair was somewhat scraggly. Can't have that happen again, or the Hair Police will find me.