THINGS I LEARNED AT THE AMERICAN CROSSWORD PUZZLE TOURNAMENT

@davidkwong and I took a Sunday morning train adventure to Connecticut. It was easily one of the best mornings of my life to date.
  1. My sartorial game is whack.
    This is a true statement on this gentleman's sweatshirt. A crowning achievement clearly worthy of a screen printing.
  2. See above.
    Subtle and worn in. The crossword heart emoji is something I will long for til the end of my days.
  3. See above.
    Outerwear that dreams are made of.
  4. Doing puzzles alone in the morning at breakfast is not looked upon with pity in the proper circles. I have found my tribe.
    Don't let the framing fool you. These fine gents are all seated at their very own two tops at this Marriott diner.
  5. There are human beings on this earth who can complete a NYT Sunday puzzle in six minutes and fifteen seconds.
    I saw this with my own eyes. He wrote in his answers so quickly, he may as well have been writing an essay. Yes, his shirt says "hardcore."
  6. Solvers love a theme.
    I'm still not sure where hockey fits in.
  7. This is Will Shortz's newest assistant.
    Not only is he handsome: he also has great stories. He said Will Shortz underestimated the fact that the online access to the tools needed to construct a crossword submission would exponentially increase the rate of said submissions. He said the stacks of unopened submission envelopes are piled so high in his office closet he often is in charge of restacking them when they fall over (constantly).
  8. High stakes competitions can be kind.
    I've never seen a group of people treat each other with such kindness and genuine admiration in the midst of fierce competition as these folks do. When the only adversary is your own mental ineptitude: there is no one to blame but yourself.
  9. There is hope for the future.
    Not only did this 17 year old win his division with ease at the ACT; he also constructed last week's Friday puzzle. I highly recommend it. He is cute, brilliant and kid has got swag. If you know any teenage girls headed to Yale next year, tell them to snatch this tiny genius up.
  10. David Kwong is a legitimate crossword world celeb.
    People were so nervous to introduce themselves to him, I thought I was there with a very masculine Oprah. Again, still unsure where the hockey fits in.
  11. If you can't beat em: grade em.
    Major life highlight for a human woman who dropped out of the tenth grade.