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The 2016 Times Crossword Championship Final - RTC3
Random Thoughts on Crosswords Cryptic and Concise + Recherché Times Crossword Clues Considered
The 2016 Times Crossword Championship Final
Here are the results of the final of the 2016 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 Simon Chillingworth (90)
3 Roger Crabtree (90)
4 Neil Robinson (90)
5 Alan Dorn (90)
6 Peter Steggle (90)
7 Michael Wareham (90)
8 David Howell (89)
9 Helen Ougham (89)
10 John McCabe (89)
11 Toby Brereton (89)
12 Guy Haslam (89)
13 Chris Price (89)
14 Peter King (88)
15 Nick Petty (88)
16 Matthew Marcus (87)
17 Richard Jacks (87)
18 Tom Stubbs (86)
19= Phil Jordan (79)
19= Mike Davis (79)
21 Marcos Fernandes (77)
22 Jonathan Carter (75)
23 Angus Walker (67)
24 Sue Prout (65)

Congratulations once again to Mark Goodliffe, who claimed his 10th championship win, equalling John Sykes's record. Congratulations also: to Simon Chillingsworth, Roger Crabtree and Neil Robinson for their highest finishing places to date; and to Peter Steggle, Chris Price, Angus Walker and Sue Prout who all reached the final for the first time.

The generally low scores support the claim that these were probably the hardest set of final puzzles since the Championship reappeared in its new form in 2006. It's very likely that there would have been more all-correct solutions had not Neil Talbott and Simon Hanson, who have both twice finished second to Mark Goodliffe, not made mistakes in the preliminary rounds. (I don't know about Simon's, but Neil's was a slip of the pen which he didn't spot when checking.) David Howell and Helen Ougham slipped up similarly in the final, but they had both chosen to forgo checking in favour of speed.

For the second year running I failed to achieve my target of reaching the final and solving all the puzzles correctly. This time I got badly stuck in one corner of the third puzzle in my preliminary and finishing 16th. I did, however, solve all three final puzzles correctly in the allotted hour as a member of the audience, but with just 12 seconds to spare!

Current Location: Ealing
Current Mood: Disappointed (again)

13 comments or Leave a comment
n_e_s_t_o_r From: n_e_s_t_o_r Date: October 23rd, 2016 08:48 am (UTC) (Link)


The mistake made by Simon Hanson (not Shanson as above) was misspelling a certain answer. He was one of 21 people who made that error.
tony_sever From: tony_sever Date: October 24th, 2016 10:49 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Simon

Oops! Thanks, Roger. Corrected. I know Simon's surname perfectly well, but have seen him so often as "shanson" that I failed to spot the extra S.

Good to see you on Saturday, if only briefly.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 23rd, 2016 04:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
I certainly found the 3 final puzzles tough; there is to my mind a jump between the standard of the Semi and the Final and I have found it very hard to bridge on the 4 occasions I have made it to the Final. That said, I did find yesterday that with perseverance I was gradually solving everything, until I ran out of time/mental stamina in the last one.
It was very good to see you and Mrs Sever yesterday, Tony, and I'm sure you'll be in the Final again next year.

Tom Stubbs
tony_sever From: tony_sever Date: October 24th, 2016 11:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
It was good to see you too, Tom. Well done for reaching the final, but commiserations on not doing quite as well as you'd hoped.

On the whole I've been pretty lucky with puzzles in the Finals, with 23 "all corrects" out of 26 (or 24 out of 27 if you include my 12 place in 1997 when there were no Regional Finals). (My failures were in 1975 (my first final and perhaps the toughest set of puzzles in the history of the Championship), 1987 (unexplained brainstorm in a puzzle which in retrospect looks completely straightforward), and last year (exhausted after six months of an abortive attempt to move house).)

This year I had an extremely trying Friday and slept badly as a result. I've always slept badly the night before Finals or Regional Finals, but I was able to survive it better when I was younger. Now that I'm getting older, I find it harder. And I'm finding it more difficult to control my nerves as well. However, I'll keep coming along anyway, at least until the 50th anniversary in 2020 (if I'm spared, that is).

BTW my wife's name is Janet.
vinyl1 From: vinyl1 Date: October 23rd, 2016 07:00 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thanks for the report Tony

If they're trying to slow down Magoo, it's not working, and they're slowing everyone else down instead.

Since Mark is only 51, he probably has at least 10 more good years left, if not more. I don't see how he's going to be beat; it should be evident by now that careless errors are not his thing.
tony_sever From: tony_sever Date: October 24th, 2016 11:22 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thanks for the report Tony

He has been known to make mistakes; in particular he was, if I remember rightly, one of the victims of the clue I cited in The art of biffing.
verlaine From: verlaine Date: October 24th, 2016 10:12 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm going to take heart from the realisation that a slow 89 might well only have moved me up from 16th to 14th place... My fast and sloppy 87 doesn't seem quite so disastrous in that light.
tony_sever From: tony_sever Date: October 24th, 2016 11:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
I might have made some scathing comment, had I not made a stupid mistake myself last year. It sounds as if it could be worth making that extra check if you have time though.
verlaine From: verlaine Date: October 25th, 2016 09:34 am (UTC) (Link)
I made 3 stupid mistakes this year though, you can scathe away!

I do feel like I was suffering a bit of mental fatigue from the Prelim being so far away from the Finals (and my having filled quite a bit of the intervening time with solving crosswords too). Perhaps it would have been better not to have made such a long day of it.
sghanson From: sghanson Date: October 24th, 2016 12:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
I can confess to my error - having the I and Y interchanged in SISYPHEAN - the final across clue in Puzzle 3. I am frustrated with myself, but I will never make that mistake again! My only defence (and it seems that several others may have been misled) is that the wording of the clue seemed to clearly lead to that spelling. I did not pick up a spare copy of the puzzles so I cannot check my excuse for reasonableness in hindsight - I left as soon as it was clear what I had done. Had I been correct I would have been second behind Mark in the second session as I submitted before Helen Ougham who was actually second.

Confession over - hope to be there again next year.

tony_sever From: tony_sever Date: October 24th, 2016 11:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Commiserations indeed Simon. Sadly it meant that for the first time since 1995 there was no-one from Queen's in the final - unless of course one of the newcomers has joined you, me and Tim Smith (what happened to him, I wonder)!

(PS: Apologies for spelling your name wrong.)

Edited at 2016-10-24 11:34 pm (UTC)
verlaine From: verlaine Date: October 25th, 2016 09:36 am (UTC) (Link)
I was sure that that would have been the cropper that so many people came in the second prelims, when I did that puzzle later. As a classicist I knew the right spelling, but it's one of those words where even I have to pause a second to check. Cruel clue indeed!
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 25th, 2016 02:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for providing this information.
Congrats to winners.
- Rishi in Chennai that was Madras, India
13 comments or Leave a comment