Teesside Snog Monster (jiggery_pokery) wrote,
Teesside Snog Monster

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Saturday night's all right for puzzlin'

1) The Indian qualifying test for the World Puzzle Championship is taking place on Sunday morning, local time, but the distance between India and California means that Pacific Daylight Time is 12½ hours behind Indian Standard Time and so West Coast solvers might well enjoy having a go. The qualifying competition is held over four rounds between 11:00 IST and 15:20 IST (so 22:30 PDT to 02:50 PDT, or very silly times in the morning indeed in Europe) with breaks; rounds have individual time limits and some offer bonus points for fast responders. It's a very impressive set-up.

Previous Indian qualifying tests have been full of puzzly goodness, plus (rarely but usefully) have definitely been a shade easier than the US qualifier. Inventing a fake Indian identity in order to register and have your performance officially scored would be severely frowned upon, I think, but there's no reason why people can't play along at home - possibly time-shifting the puzzles to a more reasonable hour, and trying to guess whether your answers would have been quick enough to score the bonus points. The Indian puzzle set-up also have a very nice concept for a National Puzzle Week to provide people with highly accessible introductions to favourite WPC formats, but unfortunately they don't seem to have got the material out in time. I am convinced that the Indian team will eventually be giants, and I note they claim to have received interest from Maths Olympiad types, so perhaps they may make it quicker than I think.

2) Without wanting to be all Smashie-and-Nicie about it, I do the charity card thing to augment my giving through employer matching, Gift Aid and so on. (See? I'm really dead stingy, me.) However, I haven't seen a way to give towards relief of Hurricane Katrina using money from my charity card. One might have expected the Disasters Emergency Committee to be all over this, were it not for a limited element insisting on parochialism in such matters. Does anyone know of such a route, please?

3) Both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have released their winter fares now and dressed it up as a September Sale. (Delta have released at least some of their cheap winter fares now, without any such fanfare, and it's probably happened from all the big players.) It looks to me like there might be another ten or twenty pounds to come off at some point - but given how high the fuel surcharges are compared to this time last year, I can't imagine much more than that. Fuel surcharges, taxes and the like are coming perilously close to half the cost of the cheapest transatlantic flights as it is.

4) My new second-hand computer is up and running! It came back with XP Home and SP 2 installed, I sneaked ZoneAlarm and two anti-spyware things across from another computer before it got a whiff of the Internet, but since then everything has been both hunky and dory. Hurrah. It is very quiet, about twice as fast as the old machine, has eight times the memory and twelve times the hard disk. It is still, therefore, about two years out of date.

5) The cold mentioned in my previous post turned out only to be a 44-hour bug, hurrah, and I missed only one night shift from work, feeling OK enough to go in for the next one. However, since then, I have suffered an intermittent return of sneezing and gloopy nose, but really nothing to stop me - just to make me feel at about 95%. Tomorrow I have a haircut and a driving lesson before the England match, so let's get on with it!

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