Wall Street Journal, 5/7/10 and Crosswords LA recap (2)

“Capitalist Pig”  by Dan Fisher – 10:45

Last weekend, sandwiched by visits to Disneyland, I attended the Crosswords LA 2010 Tournament. Eric Maddy gave a recap here, and the puzzles have been reported as they appeared in the New York Times all this week (with one more coming on Wednesday), so I’ll just fill in some of the gaps. Keep in mind, all this cost only $30 to attend.

Here’s a summary posted on the tournament site, with my annotations in square brackets:

  1. 93 competitors
  2. 17 paid spectators
  3. 29 volunteers
  4. 6 puzzles, all by California constructors (4 of whom were in attendance) [five puzzles appeared in the New York Times this Monday-Friday, with the sixth appearing next Wednesday]
  5. 1 broken puzzle clock (= ~15 minutes of sheer panic on the part of the tournament organizer) [So that’s why I took 8 minutes on a Monday puzzle!]
  6. 81 prizes from 9 corporate donors (not including the Pentel mechanical pencils and the “Kencils”) [including huge wine and food baskets, custom-made crossword lamps(!), puzzle books, t-shirts, movie posters, DVDs, Wii games, scavenger hunt passes, a chocolate tower…]
  7. 120 lunches and beverages (for competitors, spectators, and all-day volunteers) [as per pre-ordered preferences]
  8. 192 BigMouth chocolates (used for one giant, chocolate crossword puzzle) [yummy!]
  9. 288 OREO cookies (the mascot cookie of the crossword world) [including an entire box of mint Oreos for me after a casual Tweet about lack of Oreo variety in Canada]
  10. 2 group games (emceed by NPL members Todd McClary and John Suarez)
  11. 3 giant boards (used by John Beck, Jon Berman, and Eric Maddy)
  12. 2 fantastic finals announcers (Thanks, Andrea Carla Michaels and Tyler Hinman!)
  13. 1 champion (Congratulations, Eric!)
  14. 5 seconds of difference between the champion and the second and third place winners
  15. 1 semi-automated scoring system that worked pretty well (and will work better at the next tournament)
  16. ~$1,400 to be donated to Reading to Kids (still an estimate as all bills haven’t come in) [all that stuff and still half the money was donated to charity!]

I finished fifth in a field where I was around the seventh seed based on ACPT results. I came home with (or consumed)  a KenKen giant pencil, a Pink Pentel Fiesta II 0.5 pencil, a box of mint Oreo cookies, a “Robin Hood” t-shirt , a “Crosswords LA 2010” t-shirt (only $8), a laminated nametag and lanyard (with my name on one side and “Crosscan” on the other), a Happy Face slide puzzle, chocolates, several regular Oreos and lunch.

All this was organized and run by a “noticeably” pregnant Elissa Grossman. Unbelievable. I’ll be back next year. You should be there too.

Oh yeah, Elissa also arranged discounts for post-event drinks and food at a Mexican restaurant in Marina del Rey. Is there anything she can’t do?

Shout outs to PuzzleGirl, PuzzleSister, Doug Peterson, Andrea Carla Michaels, Alex Boisvert, Rex Parker and other friends, old and new.

On to today’s Wall Street Journal Puzzle, “Capitalist Pig” by Dan Fisher.

wsj may 7 10The non-kosher theme gives us some financial pig expressions:

  • 22A. [What the capitalist pig will do by working] – BRING HOME THE BACON
  • 36A. [What the capitalist pig did in his first job] – GRUNT WORK
  • 43A. [What the capitalist pig’s financial clout gives him when shopping] – THE PICK OF THE LITTER
  • 69A. [What even a capitalist pig can’t make] – SILK PURSE FROM A SOW’S EAR. Never heard of this expression, but it appears genuine.
  • 88A. [How the capitalist pig enjoys his wealth] – LIVING HIGH ON THE HOG. This was one of the mystery foods made at the 2009 ACPT banquet as part of the “Dinner Impossible” taping.
  • 99A. [What the capitalist pig was earlier in his career] – PEN PUSHER. I know this as pencil pusher.
  • 115A. [What the capitalist pig embraces when elected to office] – CONGRESSIONAL PORK

Other stuff:

  • 20A. [Cleaning brand that “hasn’t scratched yet”] – BON AMI. It took my American born mother many years of living in Montreal to figure out this was actually French for “good friend”.
  • 21A. [His #4 jersey was retired in 1979] – ORR. Boston Bruin Bobby.
  • 62A. [Hit for Vic Damone and the Righteous Brothers] – EBB TIDE
  • 64A. [Makes sole meuniere] – SAUTES
  • 80A. [Milton who composed “Hard Hearted Hannah“] – AGER
  • 93A. [The cops, in street slang] – POPO. Which street?
  • 104A. [Is in need of defrosting] – ICES UP/66D. [Emulate the iceman] – COMETH. Ice squared.
  • 109A. [Architect known as “The Father of Modernism”] – Alvar AALTO, first entry  in the crosswordese dictionary.
  • 126A. [Gator’s home] – SEWER. I hope not.
  • 1D. [Molly’s hubby] – FIBBER McGee and Molly. Some old time radio for you.
  • 10D. [Nickname of Dirk DeJong in a 1924 novel] – SO BIG. Edna Ferber wrote it. Did you know?
  • 45D. [Rock beater] – PAPER which is beaten by scissors, which is beaten by rock…
  • 46D. [“Muncha buncha” brand] – FRITOS
  • 83D. [Kruger National Park sight] – HIPPO. It is in South Africa.
  • 86D. [“When My Baby Smiles ___”] – AT ME
  • 98D. [Quidditch player who tries to catch the Snitch] – SEEKER. Gimme for Harry Potter fans. For others, huh?
  • 116D. [“___ Como Va”] – OYE

More travelling means I’ll see you again in three weeks.

Today’s post is dedicated to my oldest brother Mark, who died 15 years ago today.

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8 Responses to Wall Street Journal, 5/7/10 and Crosswords LA recap (2)

  1. joon says:

    hey, our tournament is (slightly) bigger than that. glad to hear it went well, though. you guys certainly had more swag.

  2. Elissa says:

    The Harvard / Boston tournament is definitely bigger. Sorry, Joon. My webmaster posted that note last night, but I didn’t notice it until this AM. I thought I’d caught it before anyone else would spot the error, but I was wrong …

  3. Gurth says:

    – I think the clue to 104A should be [emulates the iceman].(Trust a Virgo to be a nit-picker!)

  4. Eric Maddy says:

    Another LA note —
    One of the competitors entered under the name “VIC BONEKRUSHER CHAO”. (Seemed like a nice guy when we met, but I didn’t shake hands with him….)

    I may enter next year with a nickname, or under a pseudonym. Assuming I can come up with something more clever than Eugene “Boy ‘n’ the Hood” Varshavsky.

  5. Jeffrey says:

    I plan to enter as Eric.

  6. Amy Reynaldo says:

    Jeffrey, better hedge your bets. Enter as Eric Jo(h)n Jordan.

  7. Vic BONEKRUSHER Chao says:

    Hey folks–

    Eric, congratulations again, and Elissa, thanks again for hosting such a fun tournament! Yes, I hope everybody enters next year with nicknames–although mine did not seem to carry the intimidation factor that I was hoping. Either that or Eric/Jon/John/Everybody Else are really good at containing their fear.

    Next year, I recommend that we include a physical component to the finals: three finals, three markers, and only one grid. Each contestant only gets credit for whatever answers he fills in. Let the combat begin.

    Also, I’d like to see a Competitive Eating element (preferably chicken wings) added around the third puzzle.

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