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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in The National Puzzlers' League's LiveJournal:

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Thursday, February 3rd, 2011
9:28 pm
Ralfish misspelled...

Our president's a million times better than Egypt's...
=TAHNAN, Arlington MA
Sunday, January 31st, 2010
7:29 pm
Silicon Valley Puzzle Days

This weekend was the third annual Silicon Valley Puzzle Days, a benefit for the Morgan Hill Library Foundation. It was held at the Morgan Hill Library, and this was the first year I wasn't traveling and was able to attend. Saturday was all seminars about crossword puzzles, sudoku, cryptics, and the fascinating Japanese puzzles found on Nikoli's web site. I purchased a book of variety sudoku and had it signed by the authors, Wei-Hua Wang and Thomas Snyder, both of whom gave excellent presentations. There was also a panel discussion on crossword puzzle construction led by Andrea Carla Michaels, who has had a number of early-week puzzles published in the venerable New York Times and who co-authored today's puzzle with Tony Orbach.

Today was the day of the actual tournaments, sudoku in the morning, which I skipped, and crosswords in the afternoon. We did three crosswords from next week's New York Times, donated by Will Shortz, and though I came in only two minutes behind the third finalist, I had two errors in puzzle 2. This surprised me somewhat, but I haven't really been at the top of my game lately with all the cat troubles and Amy being gone for so long. I'm hoping to turn in seven more perfect puzzles at the ACPT next month, even if I don't better my times.

The final puzzle, which will be published in the Times on Friday, was not all that difficult, and I finished it (sitting in the audience) only a couple of minutes behind the first-place finisher, Eric Maddy. Considering that he had about a one-minute head start before the puzzles were handed out to those of us in the cheap seats, I was pretty pleased. Eric won the Alameda tournament in 2009 and consistently places in the top 3-4% at the ACPT, though I don't think he's ever been a finalist. He's also the first person to register for the Alameda tournament (which I run) this year, having handed me a $20 bill this afternoon. Thanks, Eric, and congratulations on another well-deserved victory!

Monday, September 14th, 2009
10:43 pm
Fun game text from chat
The text I post here is from a chat game from, well, just now. Note that AIM IDs have been cut, so as to cut down on spam, etc.
Read more...Collapse )
Sunday, August 2nd, 2009
11:25 am
Bay Area Crossword Tournament less than six weeks away!
The Second Annual Bay Area Crossword Puzzle Tournament is just 41 days away. Five-time ACPT champion Tyler Hinman has finished the grid for the custom puzzle he's creating for this year's tournament and is working away on the clues. There's still time to register by visiting the web site, printing out a registration form, and sending it in with a check for $25. All proceeds go to benefit the California Dictionary Project, and you might win a $100 Amazon gift certificate.
Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009
7:42 pm
con photos
I finally got around to uploading photos from Con.
Friday, July 17th, 2009
1:09 am
There aren't many, but there are some photos from the Con at my Flickr page.
Thursday, June 4th, 2009
12:41 pm
Second Annual Bay Area Crossword Puzzle Tournament early registration deadline fast approaching!

As most of you know, the second annual Bay Area Crossword Puzzle Tournament will be held Saturday, September 12, at 10:30am at Alameda High School. Last year's Tournament was a rousing success (we raised almost $1,000 for the California Dictionary Project), and with double the prizes and a custom puzzle created for the Tournament by five-time ACPT champion Tyler Hinman, who will also be appearing at the tournament as our celebrity judge, this year's promises to be even better!

Early registration is just $20, but you have to have it in the mail by June 30. You can read all about the tournament and print out a registration form at the official Tournament web site. After June 30, registration goes up to $25, and at the door it will be $30, so it pays to register now.

I hope to see many of you in September!

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009
8:38 am
new issue of Wired
Members of this community may enjoy the new "Mystery Issue" of Wired magazine, which is guest edited by JJ Abrams and contains many puzzles by myself and several other members of the NPL, including Willz, Wombat, and Spelvin. There's also a new puzzle by Martin Gardner, his first in quite some time. Many of the puzzles are also online, and the magazine contains a hidden puzzlehunt-style puzzle series which you may find some clues for at the Wired Puzzles website. I'd love to hear any comments folks might have about this.

Monday, March 23rd, 2009
10:44 am
Second Annual Bay Area Crossword Puzzle Tournament now open for registration!

The Second Annual Bay Area Crossword Puzzle Tournament, to benefit the California Dictionary Project, will be held on Saturday, September 12, in Alameda, California. Registration before June 30 is just $20. This year's Tournament features a Sunday-sized puzzle created specially for the Tournament by five-time ACPT winner Tyler Hinman, who will also appear in person.

This was a great event last year with 53 contestants. This year the prizes have doubled to a $100 Amazon gift certificate for the winner, a $50 Amazon gift certificate for second place, and a $25 Amazon gift certificate for third place, and we hope to attract 100 contestants of all different skill levels. This is already the premier crossword-only event in the Bay Area, so register early and we'll see you in September!

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009
6:11 pm
Jeopardy! called

I've been invited to an audition in Culver City for people who passed the Jeopardy! online test. Until today, I had no idea I'd even passed the test, which IIRC was given almost a year ago. I'm flying to LA on March 11 for an audition on March 12. They originally invited me February 11, but I'll be in Hawaii that day, so I asked to reschedule, and fortunately they said yes.

If anyone has been to a Jeopardy! audition at the Sony Studios in Culver City, what is the process like? What should a 40-something white male nerd wear? How should I try to differentiate myself from the scads of other 40-something white male nerds who will no doubt be auditioning that same day? I've been on one game show (the now-defunct Merv Griffin's Crosswords) a couple of years ago, but they were desperate for contestants (small money, lots of shows per season, no name recognition), so it wasn't hard to get on once I passed the written test. Jeopardy!, I'm led to believe, is much more selective.

Monday, September 22nd, 2008
1:50 pm
Equinox party silliness

Saturday was the 47th semi-annual Equinox Party in Berkeley. The theme was silver (the 47th element). One of the games was called "Go for the Silver," which involves participants organizing into "countries," choosing a fake country name, and competing in various word games whose object was to come in second.

One country was Elbonia (from the Dilbert comic). My country was Kleptomania. When Elbonia won an event, they started singing, "Elbonia, Elbonia, it's the national anthem of Elbonia!" I remarked to my team that those Elbonians aren't known for their songwriting abilities, to which one of my teammates responded that while that may be true, they're excellent at staying "on message."

Later, when Kleptomania won an event, we started singing, "Elbonia, Elbonia, we stole the national anthem of Elbonia!" It was very, very amusing.

Thursday, September 11th, 2008
4:03 pm
Just two days until the Bay Area Crossword Tournament

As I'm sure you all know, the first annual Bay Area Crossword Puzzle Tournament will be held on Saturday, September 13, in the lovely island city of Alameda. It's too late to register in advance unless you run to the post office, but walk-ins are extremely welcome. The entry fee is $20 (cash or check) at the door. For more information, visit the tournament web site. You can even download the registration form, fill it out, and bring it with you. You can also join the tournament Yahoo! group.

Monday, September 8th, 2008
1:13 am
Midwest Equinox Party
(Just in case any of you happen to be in town... we've got plenty of crash space, if you want to spend the night. Also feel free to forward to any of your KC/Lawrence friends and family.)

Announcing the Second Semiannual Heartland Equinox Party!

Are you the family Scrabble champ? Do you do the NYT crossword in pen? Are you an aficionado of anagrams? Come join your fellow wordplay fans for an evening of games and puzzles.

5-11 p.m., Saturday, September 20, 2008
9031 Booth Ave., KC MO 64138

More info and RSVP: mamagotcha@gmail.com, or (816) 456-9014

Tentative schedule of events:
5-7 p.m. Socializing, wall puzzles, informal board/card games and potluck dinner
7 p.m. Evening program
Mixer game (TBA)
Pencil & paper games (TBA)
Megagame: The Ice Cream Man Cometh, by Joshua Kosman
If time permits, we’ll finish up with a few performance games

Please bring a potluck dish to share. Plates, utensils, cups & drinks will be provided. The puzzles and games are probably not suitable for pre-teen children unless they really love wordplay (but we’ll have some Pixar movies playing if you can’t get a sitter).

Please RSVP so that we have enough chairs, copies, and materials for everyone. Feel free to forward this announcement.
Thursday, August 14th, 2008
11:56 am
Post We Never Finished Reading
HOMONYM (enumeration withheld)

One million blue, antlered heads on the wall,
One million blue, antlered heads . . .
Thursday, August 7th, 2008
10:08 am
Tyler Hinman to appear at First Annual Bay Area Crossword Tournament!

I have just heard from Tyler Hinman, four-time ACPT champion, who lives in the Bay Area now. Tyler first won the tournament in 2005 at the age of 20 and was the youngest-ever winner. He's also the only person ever to win four times in a row. Tyler has graciously volunteered to serve as a celebrity judge at the First Annual Bay Area Crossword Tournament, to be held in Alameda on Saturday, September 13 (just six weeks away!).

If you haven't mailed in your registration, now's a great time. It's just $15 in advance, and you can download the registration form here. All proceeds benefit the California Dictionary Project, a very worthy literacy-related charity whose mission is to get a free dictionary into the hands of every third-grader in California. I've seen the dictionaries, and they're excellent.

So if you're a crossword fan, or have always wondered how well your crossword skills compare to those of your peers, come to Alameda on September 13, meet Tyler Hinman, support a worthy cause, and find out!

Sunday, July 20th, 2008
7:11 am
Canon's talk
Some of y'all who were at Con were subjected to got to hear me discuss my thoughts on Canon's talk. (Apologies to Otherwise, nom nom nom, Rock*, and anyone else with the misfortune to be in earshot during the talk.) At any rate, I've written up my thoughts here, in a place you might not have otherwise seen it. So I figured I'd link to it, to give you the chance to actively roll your eyes and avoid it, rather than just missing it by accident.
Monday, July 14th, 2008
6:56 pm
eNigma flat
I should post a report of how wonderful the weekend was. But since I'm still recovering:

PHONETIC TRANSPOSAL (7, 4 4) (neither MW)

=TAHNAN, Philadelphia PA
Tuesday, July 1st, 2008
6:12 am
Con cryptic
Anyone out there want to testsolve a con cryptic? (Preference to non-attendees, of course.)
5:57 am
Well, that's a bummer
Contributed my first flat in maybe ten years to the gala July issue... and it didn't get in.
Tuesday, June 10th, 2008
1:08 pm
First Annual Bay Area Crossword Tournament now open for registration

The first annual Bay Area Crossword Tournament will be held on Saturday, September 13, in Alameda, California. Registration is just $15 in advance, and all proceeds benefit the California Dictionary Project. You can visit the tournament website to sign up today!

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