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Monday, January 24th, 2011

Time Event
1:20a
Crosswords Crosswords

 I still haven't talked about last year's ACPT and this year's is only 53 days away (as crosswordtournament.com informs us, getting me nervous as the days tick off). I might have to do a compare and contrast with the 2011 event. In any case, I have been doing puzzles (I'm always doing puzzles) and am up to date documenting solving times stored here. I continue to be about a minute behind Dan (though I shouldn't count the ones Dan did on paper and I did online - or should do those on paper myself for better comparison) and a minute ahead of Amy. At this age, I'm not going to get any faster, so can only hope for accuracy (or inaccuracy in others, or planes not getting here).

In the last few days, I flew through "Ever-So-Clever Crosswords" by David Levinson Wilk. Maybe it's because I know and worked with David, but I found these puzzles reflected his distinctive personality and even had some LOL moments. BEQ did a nice interview with David recently.

Before that, I went almost as quickly through Simon & Schuster Crossword Puzzle Book, Series #257 (2007, ed. John Samson). I still have a few of these pre-Mega volumes to do. I also finished the last S&S Mega I own, #4. I need to order some more, up to and including #10, which contains my first and only co-construction (with Joon Pahk). It's hard to really talk about crosswords (I don't know how the bloggers do it!), but I did note that #250 in Mega v. 4, "Four and Over" by Harvey Estes was a good themeless.

Since I'm weak in sports, I buy sports puzzle collections occasionally, and finished Stanley Newman's "Par 3 Golf Crosswords To Keep You Sharp" (previously issued as "Golf Crosswords"). I don't need to brush up on pop culture, but did People's "Celebrity Puzzler Superbook" anyway. I also did most of the non-crosswords in this book - even the word searches - but did not bother with "second look" (finding differences in 2 pictures). Finally, I finished Peter Gordon's Sit & Solve "Nice & Easy Crosswords," which were that.

I continue to always keep an old Dell Champion Crosswords on my dining room table, and am up to February, 1988. The Henry Hook centerfold puzzle about then-recent Emmy winners was harder than it would have been in 1988.

I've been proofreading the LA Times Sunday crossword for around 20 years, first working with Barry Tunick, and then with his co-constructor Sylvia Bursztyn who continued the puzzles alone after Barry's death in 2007. Sylvia and I have been working very close to deadline, and she pays me (from her personal account) every 4 puzzles. We'd just finished a cycle and I had a still-undeposited check from December when I read of her death on puzzle mailing lists. How sad. I never met her and don't know if she had any health issues. Meanwhile, I didn't know if the check was still valid. It was drawn on Citibank which wouldn't give me info over the phone and told me to bring it to a branch. Happily, there's one close by and they said the check was good, so I brought it across the street to my bank and cashed it Tuesday. Crossing my fingers that the account wasn't closed in the interim. RIP, Sylvia.


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