April 01, 2008

A new direction for the Fiend

Mon. Jumble Classic 00:23
Mon. Jumble Crossword 00:29

The arena of crossword blogging is getting increasingly crowded, so I'm launching myself in a new direction: Jumble blogging. It's only a matter of time before other people decide to join the Jumble blogosphere, but for now, I feel I can really make strides.

In solving Monday's Jumble Classic at the Chicago Tribune website, I didn't hit any speedbumps until I reached the final punchline solution. VALIT was VITAL, obviously, and YOVIR was IVORY (interesting Wikipedia article about ivory here—did you know decorative ivory carvings date back to the paleolithic era and mammoth tusks?). BINLEB's two B's pointed me right to NIBBLE. And ANGOLS, deceptively hinting at ANGOLA, was SLOGAN, which I had a tougher time with in another recent Jumble. "Watching an ironworker high on a skyscraper can be--" what? VTIRIEGN contains an ING, but mentally culling those letters still didn't reveal the answer to me. It was only when I typed in the ING and saw the remaining letters in isolation that I figured it out: RIVETING. Since I finished the puzzle in less than 00:30, I scored the maximum of 1,500 points. My fastest Jumble time to date is 00:13 (once), and I've made it in 00:15 a number of times. So I'm a little disappointed with a 00:23 showing, but at least I didn't lose time points.

Monday's Jumble Crossword marks the first time I cracked the 00:30 threshold. W00t! 00:29! This one would have been tricky for anyone skipping the clues, because there were multiple options for some of the anagrams. I was about to enter PLATE for one, but the [Fold] clue called for PLEAT. And FINGER looked obvious, but the [Edge] clue dictated FRINGE. The other six words were more straightforward. The final clue below the grid was [The Roman god of agriculture], and the given letters were SNUTAR. That could only be SATURN, but since when is he the god of agriculture? I never knew that. Apparently the Latin satus means "sowing." I knew the Romans had a goddess of agriculture—Ceres, who adorns the foot of LaSalle Street in Chicago. Saturn was Ceres' dad. Anyway...I think my previous best time on the Jumble Crossword was 00:38, so this is a nice jump up. Here's hoping I don't backslide too much tomorrow.

Tyler Hinman, as you might expect, is a speed demon when it comes to the Jumble puzzles. I forget the exact numbers he told me for his personal bests, but I think it was 00:08 for the Jumble Classic and maybe 00:15 or so for the Jumble Crossword. When the first Jumble tournament takes place, it'll be tough for anyone to unseat Tyler. (How about a YouTube video of your phenomenal Jumble speed, Tyler? The 511,000 people who've viewed your crossword record clip are hungry for another demonstration of your prodigious talents.)