Saturday, October 22, 2011

The other L-word.

Let it be said, I never win anything.

The advantage of having your books published in November or December is that you can force your friends to give them as Christmas gifts.

The disadvantage is that they come out too close to the deadline for nominations for many mystery awards -- actually, past the cut-off date for that one-time-only Edgar for first novel. It doesn't give readers time to get to my book in the TBR pile, realize they're in the presence of genius, and form noisy tent cities outside the homes of the Agatha nominating committee. (The coveted Agatha is the top literary award for my kind of mystery, the "cozy.")

Will Shortz. Very nice man.
But yesterday evening, I went with my friend Cindy for the first time to the Westchester Crossword Competition, organized by Will Shortz, crossword maven for the New York Times, in his home town in Pleasantville. And I got a runner-up prize as the second-fastest "rookie" -- and the winner in this category was only a second ahead of me. (In fact, I might have beaten him had it not taken a moment to sink in that I had, in fact, completed the competition puzzle when I thought there were still a couple of clues left.)

Mind you, that particular round was my best score, and I was still only thirteenth overall. The winners were polishing off a Thursday Times crossword (i.e., moderately challenging) in just over three minutes!

People in England used to boast that they used the London Times crossword -- generally a fiendish English cryptic type -- to time the cooking of their breakfast boiled eggs. If that were me, even though I'm quite adept with cryptics, those eggs would still be pretty hard boiled by the time I took them off the stove.

("Hard-boiled," "cozy" -- see what I did there?)

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