I’m not a huge fan of doing crosswords on-line, since most of the time, I have issues with the interfaces. (The NY Times is an exception, as their interface doesn’t annoy me too much.) But Lollapuzoola has long been my favorite puzzle tournament, so I couldn’t resist giving it a go. Which is why I found myself spending August 15th (i.e. a Saturday in August) hunched over my computer solving crosswords.
Bottom line is that I was right to avoid doing on-line tournaments. There were some practice puzzles and I found myself frustrated enough with the interface during those. But I soldiered through and on to the actual tournament.
Puzzle #1 was by Brooke Husic and was straightforward enough. I managed to solve it cleanly in 8:06, which was not quite as quickly as I would have liked. At the end of that puzzle, I was in 267th place, out of something like 1250 participants.
Puzzle #2, by Sid Sivakumar, had a weird grid, of 12 x 25. That’s significant because I couldn’t see the whole thing on my laptop screen. Which means that I didn’t notice a stupid typo and ended up with one error, as well as being slow (16:57). I dropped down all the way to 976th place.
That might have been okay, had I solved the rest of the puzzles cleanly. On puzzle #3 (which had a cute theme by Rachel Fabi), I accidentally hit something that resized the grid, losing way too much time figuring out how to fix that. It took me 20:26 and, with the stress of that screw up, I missed a typo and slipped even further in the standings to 984th place.
Puzzle #4 was by Joon Pahk and I am fairly sure that it wasn’t the interface that made that one difficult for me. At least the one error I made on it was something I legitimately didn’t know, especially since grasped the theme about 30 seconds after I turned the puzzle in. I solved it in 29:55 (with one error). At least enough other people had trouble that I went up to 772nd place.
I did grasp the theme of Puzzle #5 by Stella Zawistowski quickly, but still managed to make an error, while solving it in 23:46. So I ended up in 716th place, which was decidedly mediocre.
Despite doing so poorly, I did enjoy the puzzles themselves, which were, in general, interesting ones. But I finished the day with a sore back and a sore ego. And, of course, I missed the social aspect of a real tournament. (There was an opportunity for conversation on a twitch channel, but that was too much for me to keep up with.) Can this pandemic please come to an end already? This entry was originally posted at https://fauxklore.dreamwidth.org/475337.html. Please comment there using OpenID.