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The 2015 Times Crossword Championship Final - RTC3
Random Thoughts on Crosswords Cryptic and Concise + Recherché Times Crossword Clues Considered
tony_sever
tony_sever
The 2015 Times Crossword Championship Final
Here are the results of the final of the 2015 Times Crossword Championship. The figures in parentheses are competitors' scores out of 90, where 1 point was awarded for each of the 90 clues solved correctly.

1 Mark Goodliffe (90)
2 Neil Talbott (90)
3 David Howell (90)
4 Chris Williams (90)
5 John McCabe (90)
6 Helen Ougham (90)
7 Richard Jacks (90)
8 Mike Davis (90)
9 Richard Grafen (90)
10 Simon Hanson (90)
11 Alan Dorn (90)
12 Roger Crabtree (90)
13 Toby Brereton (90)
14 Matthew Marcus (90)
15 Michael Wareham (89)
16 Peter Brooksbank (89)
17 Shane Shabankareh (89)
18 Marcos Fernandes (89)
19 Tony Sever (89)
20= Simon Chillingworth (89)
20= David Webb (89)
22 Nick Petty (88)
23 Tony Thorpe (87)
24 Jonathan Carter (85)

Congratulations go - as usual - to Mark Goodliffe, who finished in under half an hour, and (I believe) a good six minutes ahead of Neil Talbott (who had won the first preliminary, with Mark winning the second). This was Mark's eighth consecutive Times Crossword Championship title, a feat now officially recognised as a Guinness World Record. Congratulations also to Marcos Fernandes, the only first-time finalist this year.

After the comparatively easy set of puzzles we were faced with last year, this year's were generally agreed to be harder again - as befits a Championship final. For my part, I felt fortunate to reach the final at all as I was (and am) feeling stressed out from loss of sleep - the result of continuing efforts to move house - and was not in a good crossword-solving frame of mind. Not for the first time, I had to rely on others' mistakes, as I finished only 15th fastest in the first preliminary but with four of those ahead of me getting at least one answer wrong.

Exhaustion took its toll in the final, and at one point I was feeling so out of sorts that I feared I was going to finish with only about half the clues solved. However, I kept plodding away and eventually even had enough time at the end to spend a couple of minutes trying to fathom a pair of particularly dodgy homophones. Unfortunately, about half an hour in, when I was at my lowest ebb, I'd bif'd what I thought was the correct spelling of a word but which turned out to be quite wrong! I've still no idea why I ever thought it was right, and since my solution clearly didn't match the annoyingly simple wordplay, this was a particularly galling unforced error. As a result, I not only failed to achieve my usual target of reaching the final AND solving all the puzzles correctly, but I also wrecked what was becoming quite a decent run of all-corrects, since the last time I made a mistake in the Championship was in 1995. (Deep sigh!)

Current Location: Ealing (still north)
Current Mood: disappointed disappointed

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Comments
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 18th, 2015 05:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Well done Tony. That is some record in having no mistakes in 20 years; I had a complete meltdown in the second semi with 12 mistakes or omissions. Hope your move works out. Tom Stubbs
tony_sever From: tony_sever Date: October 18th, 2015 10:49 am (UTC) (Link)
It was good to see you again yesterday, Tom. I'm sorry you had such a disappointing day. I can truly sympathise, as I was quite well placed after the first two puzzles in the 1987 final, but then had a similar meltdown in the third puzzle and failed to solve four clues, all of which, looking back now, seem quite extraordinarily easy. I'm sure you'll bounce back next year, as I did in 1988 (4th in the final).

PS: It's only 14 years rather than 20, as there was no Championship between 2001 and 2005 (and I made mistakes in both 1995 and 2015). Also, to be precise, my solutions to the puzzles in the 2007 and 2013 finals weren't independently verified as I missed the cut in both those years (my 13th place in 2013 being especially galling), though I did check them carefully myself.
topicaltim From: topicaltim Date: October 18th, 2015 09:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Congratulations, Tony. I was in that first heat as well, and although I haven't seen the full results yet, I have a strong suspicion that I finished in the usual annoying hinterland of being one of the 18 all correct in less than an hour, but not quite quick enough to make the Grand Final. One thing is for sure, I won't forget MYOPE, having stared at M_O_E for at least 5 minutes with increasing brain-freeze...
tony_sever From: tony_sever Date: October 18th, 2015 10:54 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm sorry I missed seeing you yesterday, Tim. Unfortunately (as I've explained in the past) I have terrible difficulty conjuring up images of people, and I can't form even the vaguest impression of what you look like. I do hope I didn't cut you dead at some point.

As you guessed, you were placed firmly in limbo, coming 19th out of the 30 all-corrects (according to the list I have). If it's any consolation, you finished between Michael Macdonald-Cooper (champion in 1991) and Neil Robinson, a six-times finalist who spent around 15 minutes on MYOPE. Andy Wallace (linxit) came one place lower down. I was perhaps lucky with MYOPE as I wrote down E‑O‑M and spotted EPO(N)YM just quickly enough to scrape through in 11th place.

On the positive side you made the top 25 so you won't have to qualify next year. See you then (DV).
topicaltim From: topicaltim Date: October 18th, 2015 11:38 am (UTC) (Link)
I am both unsurprised and quite happy with that (since I started attending again after a break, I have had 7 competitions, broken down into: 1 meltdown where I finished about 40th, 1 over-achieving year where I made the Grand Final, and 5 finishes between 16th and 22nd). So, basically anywhere above 25th is a decent result for me, and at least I wasn't 13th, which, as you say, is easily the worst place to finish.

And no, you didn't unintentionally ignore me (and I note the organisers have finally taken on board how useful name tags are on these occasions). I went to pub for an hour after the heat, and spoke to a few people, but couldn't stick around after that, so I presumably missed a lot of people I know on-line.
crypticsue From: crypticsue Date: October 18th, 2015 02:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
All the best people have one letter wrong despite the wordplay being so clear it could just as well have been in 10 foot high letters. I am still grumpy at being so stupid as to miss the obvious.

I've promised to give 'getting all the words right' and 'making the final' another go next year so hopefully I'll see you then.
tony_sever From: tony_sever Date: October 18th, 2015 03:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm still grumpy about a similar mistake I made in the 1974 London B regional final which cost me a place in what would have been my first final. The clue was "Old island church - only rough sort (6)" with checked letters C‑Y‑O‑ in the answer, and I stupidly bunged in CHYLON, hoping there might be some ancient Greek island with that name - even though I had an uneasy feeling it would probably have been called CHYLOS.

Yesterday, like you I had an A where an E should have been, so you have my heartfelt commiserations. See you next year - or more problably before then at some crossword get-together or other.

Edited at 2015-10-18 03:25 pm (UTC)
verlaine From: verlaine Date: October 19th, 2015 12:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
I am firmly of the belief that I only do as well as I do by standing on the typos of giants. It was brilliant to see both yourself and Sue again on Saturday, and I hope it won't be a whole year until the next time!
tony_sever From: tony_sever Date: October 19th, 2015 11:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
It was great to see you too, though sadly I don't think any of us were at our solving best.

I'm hoping to be at the TftT 10th anniversary celebrations, so with luck we'll all meet again there.
From: lickert Date: October 19th, 2015 12:26 pm (UTC) (Link)

Championship results

Well done Tony, and congratulations also to Helen Ougham, for being the only woman in a sea of maleness. Do I gather that you have access to the results of the heats as well? Where can we find those? I'd quite like to know where I ended up.
Anne
keriothe From: keriothe Date: October 19th, 2015 07:57 pm (UTC) (Link)

RE: Championship results

I'm sure someone will post them somewhere at some point but I was in the same heat and I can tell you that you came 21st with all correct, so you get a free pass for next year!
tony_sever From: tony_sever Date: October 19th, 2015 11:40 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Championship results

It was good to meet you briefly on Saturday - and to find out how to pronounce your pseudonym. Better luck next year.
keriothe From: keriothe Date: October 20th, 2015 09:26 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Championship results'

Thanks Tony, likewise. Although I'm not entirely sure how to pronounce it myself!
I was very pleased with my result actually: as we discussed when we met, I think it would require an unusual degree of luck for me to get to the final. However it remains my ambition: I'm still improving, so the amount of luck required reduces with each passing year!

Edited at 2015-10-20 09:26 am (UTC)
tony_sever From: tony_sever Date: October 19th, 2015 11:37 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Championship results

It was good to see you on Saturday, Anne, even if only briefly. According to the list I have, you finished 21st, so at least that's nicely inside the top 25.

The women seem to have had another bad year. I thought either you or crypticsue (or more likely both) would make it through to the final, but it was not to be. And there was no sign of Hilary Marchant either, so Helen was once again out there on her own.
jon88 From: jon88 Date: October 19th, 2015 10:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
I know exactly how you feel (for reasons that can go without saying). Congratulations are in order regardless. I'm so proud of you, my friend.
tony_sever From: tony_sever Date: October 19th, 2015 11:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks, Jon. You'll have to put in an appearance yourself one year, though judging from some of the times you post on the Times Crossword Club leaderboards, I've an alarming feeling you might show us all up.
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