Flying out to our (well, my) nation's capital on Saturday. Visiting a few friends in Ottawa, including a person who didn't exist when I was last there, and then off to bum around Montreal for a few days. Hopping a train to NYC on Thursday (because I've been late for the ACPT and cru dinner every year so far through no fault of my own), and then it's game on. I was a judge last year, which was fun, but I'll be competing this year, so you are all now officially my sworn enemies. Amazingly enough, since I rolled in 45 minutes late (I'd like to blame it on the time change but that had nothing to do with it) reeking like booze for the Sunday morning scoring session, they asked me back again this year, but I had to politely decline in favour of seeing how I've improved as a solver over the last two years. In 2012 I bagged an unremarkable 331st place finish, and I like to think that since then I've gotten better at solving than I have dumber in general. Only time will tell. Actually, speaking of time, I'm going to be taking a bit more of it on each puzzle this go-round. It turns out that I misunderstood or just didn't think about the scoring last time, and I raced to finish each puzzle at the expense of accuracy. I had pretty good times, mind you, but I made a lot of stupid little mistakes that cost me dearly. I'm hopeful that a more sensible strategy will help me rack up a few more points. Plus, I've hardly been solving at all in the last little while, so I'm a bit rusty and pushing myself to whiz through the grids is not going to end pretty.
For the second week in a row, I have for you a puzzle that I don't really think represents my typical style very well. It's a grid I filled some time ago with the intention of submitting it somewhere classy. The fill, while problem-free, imo, is decidedly non-risque. I'm pretty happy with some of the clues, though, so there's that. Anyway, I'm officially on holidays now and a midterm and a few gigs that were demanding a lot of prep time are out of the way, so I've got no excuse to step my game up for next week. Plus, I want to have something I'm proud to show off at the ACPT (I plan to have a stack of print copies to give out). Since I'll be on the road and not really sure where I'll be and when, the puzzle might go up a few days late, closer to the tournament. Don't fret, it'll be here.
More words, crossed and otherwise, next week.
Puzzle: Freestyle #29