Sunday, August 10, 2014


(Updated 8/11/2014)

Jon Delfin showed he can still run with the puppies when he proved victorious at the seventh installment of Brian Cimmet and Patrick Blindauer's Lollapuzzoola, held on August 9 (a Saturday in August) at the All Souls Church on the upper East Side of Manhattan.

Delfin, who will begin competing in the Sixties age bracket at next year's ACPT in Stamford (and who has won that tournament a record seven times), defeated the decades-younger Francis Heaney and Scott Weiss in the Express bracket. None of the three made any mistakes on the championship puzzle by Patrick Berry.

L-R: Scott Weiss, Patrick Blindauer (holding Weiss' clue sheet for him), and Patrick Heaney
In the Local bracket, Simon McAndrews finished first but had one void square. Patti Varol, who finished second, was crowned Local Champion and Sara Nies was third.

Rounding out the top 10 overall finishers in the Express division were Jeffrey Schwartz, Andy Kravis, Joon Pahk (who solved using only Down clues - the only other competitor to do so was Peter Gordon), Andrew Feist, Ellen Ripstein, Robert Mackey and Thomas Weisswange. Pahk also won the Worst Handwriting Award.

For the second year in a row, Marcia Hearst and Julian Ochrymowych won the Pairs title.

The only competitors to solve all five competition puzzles cleanly were Heaney, Delfin, Schwartz, Pahk, Ripstein, Weisswange, Elaine Lippman, Matt Sandler, Richard Hovan, Dave Mackey (who finished 25th, an improvement of 100 places from last year), Brendan Emmett Quigley, Patty Buethe, Amy Goldstein, Sasha Shapiro and Josephine Quinones.

The rest of the top 10 in Local was Rebecca Moody (who also won the Rookie award), Martin Davis, Vegavahini Subramaniam, Thomas Perretti, Finn Vigeland, Aaron Riggio and Amy Paepke.

The slogan of the tournament this year was "It Ain't Over Till It's Over", which was of course a phrase coined by Yogi Berra, the great baseball manager and coach, and some of the puzzles - including a very accessible meta by Blindauer - had a baseball theme. In fact, Blindauer (who probably has a closetful of St. Louis Cardinals jerseys) led TWO singings of "Take Me Out To The Ball Game", and at least one Puzzle Brother was familiar with the first rendition...

The finale version was the conventional singing, a la Harry Caray. Of course, the cheese ball snacks (joined by a blue Cotton Candy version) and other familiar trappings of Lollapuzzoola returned, surrounded by some great puzzles that included audio and visual clues and other tricks you would never think of. The puzzles, in order, were by Cathy Allis (14x16), Mike Nothnagel (17x), Tony Orbach (21x), Blindauer (15x) and Doug Peterson (21x).

More information and final standings are available at

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