Contestants left to right: Doug, Anne, Peter
Anne has a 25-second head start over the other 2 contestants. "These are the new winter headphones, from J. Crew," jokes Merl Reagle. All three contestants are now at work. Doug is tackling the middle of the puzzle first. Peter already has a misspelling in his puzzle. Anne is working the UR quad of the puzzle. We'll try to pass along some of the hosts' bon mots. It's Merl Reagle and Grant Barrett this year; Neil Conan sends his regards. On his knees now, Doug is tackling the LL corner. Great joke... too bad I can't share it because it would give the puzzle away. Peter is doing scattershot solving, now with three wrong answers. Anne is working the UR still. Doug got 2-D correct, which Peter still has a mistake in. 18-Across is one of the toughest words, if not the toughest, in this puzzle. They've now been working for about three minutes. Anne has about half the puzzle done so far. Merl's found another expression in the puzzle that has all the vowels, once. Anne's doing the UL from the back end in, which is said to be very tough. Doug now has the LL done. Anne doesn't yet have 5-Down completed, because she hasn't done the UL yet. 39-D may be a problem. Peter is still pretty much throwing darts at the puzzle. Anne is now finishing the UL. Still has the LL to do, now on her knees. Doug is now working up to the top, but still hasn't done the UR. Peter is now going for the harder words. Anne still has a few squares to fill. Now she's signaling done. Peter is now fishing for more answers, while Doug is now checking the LR. Doug is now done. Peter still working. "What do we do to speed this up?" says Grant. Peter's still got the UL to work on. More great jokes I can't share! About 10:00 left now. He is milking his third place moment, but you gotta keep going! Peter is now taking a drink. I think he knows his place now. "Nine friggin' minutes," grumbles Merl. Now, Peter has fixed one of his errors. "I know my Henry Gibson, but I don't know my Henrik Ibsen", jokes Merl. (Wow! Finally one I can share with you.) Peter has fixed his another error, and is now making some headway. Peter's last mistake is corrected and he'll "whip them right in" - and after a looooooooooooooong idiot check ("he's an editor", notes Merl), and we still wait. (You never know - he might be the only one right... But we know better.) Peter takes a big gulp of his water. We still wait. And wait. And wait. At 5:21, Peter FINALLY signals "Books for sale! Done!"
3rd place - 14:35 - Peter Gordon
2nd place - 8:42 - Doug Peterson
B Division Champion - 7:42 - Anne Erdmann