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Down to six for the semi-finals - Many a mickle maks a muckle

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October 16th, 2004


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11:54 am - Down to six for the semi-finals
1118: We're not much with the concept of having a gap between rounds here - pack the puzzles in and get the action over quickly. The semi-finals work in much the same way as the quarters, 13 minutes to solve as many puzzles as possible with seeding breaking ties, but this time there are four puzzles to crack in thirteen minutes, not three. Ley, Horvath and Barkan are underway.

1120: Your semi-final puzzles are: Multiplication Table, fill in a 1-to-5 Latin Square so that when you multiply the contents of certain 2x2 squares within then you get specific products; placing seven tetaminoes in a hex grid so that there are certain numbers of cells filled in in each row; filling the missing squares of a 14x10 noughts-and-crosses grid in to produce no lines of four consecutive noughts or crosses and a very nice puzzle about drawing a path through a grid so that it goes through exactly one square of each of a number of 2x2 blocks.

1124: Zoltan Horvath has flipped the page but left the bottom left square blank when it needs to be filled in! Will he spot this later? Will he have time to check? Will this lose him the semi-final?

1129: All four contestants have left the multiplication table for last. These aren't big puzzles, but I doubt that I could do all four in less than an hour - the nice-looking path-drawing one might defeat me altogether. 13 minutes is right out.

1130: A minute to go and Horvath hasn't left the multiplication table for last, he's working on the hexagonal tetraminoes instead. This will be a real race against time.

1131: Stop! ...aaaand they're all shaking their heads, but at least they're doing so pretty evenly. The scuttlebutt is that Roger Barkan might have won it, but 3/4 would be a very good score on this round.

1132: Or has Michael Ley done enough? We shall see, really very soon. Trying to build up suspense between lines of a blog entry, lines posted a minute apart, is possibly a little strained.

1134: Barkan 3/4, Horvath 2/4, Ley 1/4. Scuttlebutt, you're sacked. Scuttlebutt reading over my shoulder... perhaps these things are harder to call after all. Barkan advances, Voigt needs 2/4 to advance, his opponents need 3/4 to advance.

1135: Semi-final two is underway and all three solvers have leapt to different puzzles. Gary Sherman, Canadian team captain (and an old friend dating back to Stamford in 2000) is capturing the action on a tiny little camcorder.

1138: Roest may have finished the noughts and crosses and seems to be the first to flip a page, with Ulrich Voigt in hot pursuit. I suspect the contestants are all concentrating far too hard to have time to listen out for their competitors turning pages.

1139: Leroy flips, a minute behind the other two, but Nick Deller behind me (who is very kindly letting me use his computer and wireless card for this live blogging) suspects the puzzle wasn't completed.

1141: Voigt and Roest flip again, but we can't be sure that either have correct answers yet. The noughts-and-crosses and Latin Squares definitely seem to be being solved before the other two.

1142: I hope nobody minds too much that I'm not <lj-cut>ting this. Puzzlers for years to come will read this, maybe. In which case, I'd like to thank all the organisers at this point for a fantastic championship; if you weren't there, you missed out.

1143: Voigt has two good-looking complete solutions and seems to be making quick progress on the multiplication tables. Nobody has touched the tetraminoes yet.

1145: Probable third solution for Voigt, possible third solution for Roest, and they're both onto the tetraminoes. Sebastien Leroy looks out of it, but that's what we said last time in a comically incorrect fashion.

1146: The two front-runners look like they're struggling with the tetraminoes just a little, but Ulrich Voigt has been on outstanding form over the championship and must surely be hard to oppose. (There, that's the kiss of death...)

1148: Into the closing seconds. The organisers have done a fantastic job at producing just the right amount of puzzles to discriminate amongst the very best solvers. Really it's just a comparison of speed at this level, which is probably as it should be.

1149: There's an awful lot of ticks (US: check marks) going on Ulrich's pages. David McNeill in front of me has just finished one of the quarter-final puzzles in about 29 minutes, and he came top of the British team. Mmmmm.

1150: We think the score is 3-3-1, to make it a Roest-Barkan-Voigt final, but we shall see.

1151: Spot on, and Roest, Barkan and Voigt all take 3/4 records into a #1 seed - #4 seed - #9 seed final, squarely enough.

1152: Finals start at midday - nay, high noon. Good, that'll give me a few minutes to upload this.
Current Mood: busyenjoying this!

(6 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


(Deleted comment)
From:mr_babbage
Date:October 16th, 2004 03:43 am (UTC)
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Glad you're having fun.

Is this your first LJ post ever to be posted from a train? GNER now have wireless internet access on some of their swankier trains.

D
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 18th, 2004 10:11 am (UTC)
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Nope - that was posted inside the competition room at the Hotel Ambasador itself.

I did travel up and down on GNER's Mallard trains (yay!) which have wireless access, but (a) I have no wireless card and (b) the wireless access is charged at a pretty hefty rate in Standard Class - £3 for 30 minutes + 5 minutes, £ 5 for 60 minutes + 10 minutes, £ 8 for 120 minutes + 10 minutes, £10 for 180 minutes + 10 minutes - so even if I could've posted, I probably wouldn't've done. Besides, I was rather distracted by Civilization II in both directions. :-)
From:mr_babbage
Date:October 18th, 2004 10:23 am (UTC)
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>> Is this your first LJ post ever to be posted from a train?
>Nope - that was posted inside the competition room at the Hotel
>Ambasador itself.

There was a train running through the Ambasador? Okaaaay....

>(a) I have no wireless card

Neither had I, then I realised my laptop had one built-in and the one I usually use was purchased because, umm, well, I'm an idiot.

>(b) the wireless access is charged at a pretty hefty rate
>in Standard Class

Ah, didn't twig that. It's free in First. I did the Weekend First thing, so for £15 I effectively got £10 of access for free, free orange juice/nibbles/biscuits, a power socket for the laptop and more space. Not bad!
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 18th, 2004 10:55 am (UTC)
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Confusing use of "that" on my part, there, but I'm sure you know what I mean.

Does this mean that you have a spare wireless card going for a song - or, perhaps, for a puzzle? :-D

Can you do Weekend First as an add-on to Apex tickets? Evidently not. I don't imagine I'll be travelling with any sort of Saver again in the foreseeable future unless someone else is paying for it, though there's always the Evening Gazette fifteen quid return offers &c to save me from the coach. ("I know it's not very comfortable, but this is National Express, not the Orient Express...")
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