Now that the dust has settled on the second Community Blood Services Crossword Tournament, it's time for me to publicly thank some people who make events like this the high points of my life.
BONNIE SIROWER: Our gracious, word loving presenter, whose tireless work organizing events like this for CBS is appreciated by not only the folks who help her but most importantly the folks who need the help with anything blood related.
WILL SHORTZ: His presence at these events ultimately give them weight and importance, and we couldn't have a more enthusiastic cheerleader for the formal and informal events he presides over.
NANCY SCHUSTER: One of the many examples of living crossword history we have, full of great stories of her battles with Farrar, her days at Dell, and the bad old days of the ACTP...and as we saw with the six puzzles this weekend, still one hell of a super editor.
HELENE HOVANEC: Though not as hands-on as she is at Stamford, we are comforted by her presence at Ridgewood as well.
ADAM COHEN, PAULA GAMACHE, LIZ GORSKI, PATRICK MERRELL and MICHAEL SHTEYMAN: For crafting a stellar set of first-round puzzles, each with their own winning personality and style.
STAN NEWMAN: For what turned out to be a particularly brain-busting finals -- so much so, in fact, that if you superimposed the three finals boards over each other there would still be letters missing.
HOWARD BARKIN: He was my odds-on favorite to take this thing, as his ascent in competitive solving has been particularly rapid...close to me minute by minute and just squeezed me out of the first-place spot in the finals by one minute. A job well done, Howard, and you will be one to watch in the future.
ELAINE LIPPMAN: Another fantastic solver and returnee to the finals, always brings it every finals. Congratulations on your second-place finish.
ERROL FLYNN: I needed you to unlock that top corner, still barren with two minutes left. Tally Ho, Robin.
THE FIELD: Too many to name by name, but a special huzzah to Barry Weprin for taking the B title.
BOOKENDS: I was not sure that this bookstore would be an apt place to hold this, but apparently it is a heavy hitter in the world of celebrity bookings and maybe one of the last great indie book sellers in the East. Thanks for giving us a nice place to solve.
And all the sponsors who supplied us with food, drink, wine, cheese, wraps.
Two special thank-yous end this thing. A big shout out to my fellow Puzzle Brother Dave, for notching his best-ever finish in a tournament, the first where he did not make an error on a puzzle.
And finally, big thanks to BLOODY, as we have called him, the omnipresent smiley-faced blood drop who pretty much symbolized the weekend and gave us plenty of opportunities for prop comedy. More importantly, he represented the real aim of this weekend: helping people who have had medical problems with their blood, which can often debilitate the entire body. We hope that Bonnie Sirower and her troops can stage this event again next late summer/early fall, because it's a good time for a good cause.