Sunday, March 02, 2008

This Is IT! The A Finals!

Contestants left to right - Howard, Tyler, Trip

Tyler, followed by Trip and Howard, enter the ballroom. It's been a long wait for them (mostly thanks to Peter Gordon). This is the culmination of this pursuit's entire year. Tyler and Howard will have a three-second head start over Trip, due to their tie.

The clock begins and Tyler and Howard start together. Now Trip begins. All three contestants are wearing the same black t-shirts. Tyler is now working the UR corner. Trip is reading over the clues and writing a few things. The solving strategy is to build long words from the shorter threes spanning the longer columns. Howard is down in the LR corner. Tyler has the UR pretty much done. Only about 3 minutes down so far. Howard seems to be struggling a little, jumping around. Trip is now working down in the right but has made a mistake there. Tyler is now shaking his head a little. Trip has a mistake. He's working the LL corner now. Tyler is using good solving strategies for working this type of puzzle. Trip's made another mistake. Tyler is erasing some squares. Howard is working slowly and carefully. The A clues are particularly tasty. Tyler is now stuck a little. Trip has to fix his mistake. Trip has now fixed his mistakes. Tyler has yet to finish the upper left. The crowd gasps. Trip is clearly out in front. Trip signals done, but he has a mistake. 9 minutes down. Tyler still has a shot. Howard is still chugging along, still has a mistake in the LR. Tyler is now starting to make a charge. Tyler is not aware that Trip has screwed up his chances. Howard sort of knows he's lagging. This could still be anyone's game. It's very rare time runs out in an A finals, but this could be the year. About 7:30 left. It looks like the two remaining contestants are about even. Tyler still has a bunch of blanks, and just put BEATSME in one of the answers, to the amusement of the crowd. Howard is now starting to wake up a little and work on the LL. This could STILL be anyone's game! Tyler is shaking his head. This is a tough corner in the UL. Trip could still win this thing! Tyler has now broken through, and is starting to complete the UL. Howard has just a few words in that corner. Looks like Tyler is pulling away. Tyler is done with no errors. Howard still writing. Howard, now clearly playing for second, is writing with about 3 minutes left on the clock. Upper left completely shot. 2:10 left. Howard could still nab second. 1:20 left.... tick tick tick... time is running out for Howard. Now he's fixing some things up top. Less than a minute to go... desperation sets in. :30 left, he's figuring some things out... five... four... three... two... one... time's up.

3rd place - many errors, 20:00 - Howard Barkin
2nd place - 2 wrong letters, 9:52 - Trip Payne

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