The Lester and Lerman Show

Sunday, December 3, 2006

I made my way up to Oakland early enough for a sit-down breakfast at Mama's Royal Cafe, but after that third visit the place was really starting to piss me off. For the second time, they were not serving biscuits, and the best answer the waitresses could give me was "whenever they decide to make 'em." And the waitresses, who had at first seemed so charming with their sass, were much less so once I realized they weren't "acting" to "spice up" the place--they were really just genuinely bitchy.

After performing an act of subtle affrontery, walking through the adjacent Starbucks with a cup of Peet's in my hand, I walked across the lobby of the cinema and into Mel's, where I resumed anagramming. I let Lerman peek over my shoulder in the hopes that I could intimidate him with my anagramming prowess. Of course, since he was able to solve most of the alphagrams in the sequence I ran threw, and I wasn't, I don't think I was very intimidating.

Once again it was John Karris to start, and despite his confession that he had not played since the last tournament, he managed to stumble across high-scoring plays to keep up and finally win by 18. This was particularly frustrating since I had been playing and studying. I couldn't help but be tempted to call his win dumb luck, even with the full knowledge that Quackle might say otherwise. But it didn't--I played a good game.

Though I do Isaac Apindi credit for KNESSET, I was still hating Berkeley after suffering through miserable tiles and many vowel deficits to lose by 16. I felt there was a curse in the air. Later simulation would reveal that it was more like a stink in the air, the stink of my crappy play.

ZINCS and then TOASTER(S) on my first two turns allowed me squeak past Jerry Lerman for my first win of the tournament, and then I sat down with the intention of runing up a hefty spread against bottom-seeded Paula Catanese. After (O)RALISTS and then (S)HAVER for 32 put me ahead by over 100, I watch bingo with both blanks to take a 25-point lead. I was saved only by the right play in this position, which, as I hoped, drew a challenge.

My final spread was just 30, and I shuddered to of how my rating would have suffered had it not been for that won challenge. I had no time to think about my narrow escape, however, because Lester was ready and waiting. My situation was precarious. Factoring in Lester and Jerry's ratings, 3-3 had a chance of avoiding a rating loss, but only if I played Lester or Jerry twice, which meant I needed to win that fifth game even if I lost in the final round. The reverse wouldn't cut it.

So it was that the opening blank on my rack looked mighty weak in the company of BCCTTV. After my exchange I thought that I made a good play, ORGIAsT, but I missed RAvIGOT(E), and Lester took full advantage of that with HERITAG(E) for a 55-point lead. And meanwhile, I was once again stuck with no vowels, CFLNRSS. By reassuring myself that C(A)LF does indeed take an ess, I was able to score 26 at least. Three turns later I was able to bingo again, but Lester had not let up on his scoring, and I was still down. Catching turned out impossible, because besides his spate of 30+ scores, Lester pulled ANTIPO(L)E and (H)ExAGONS out of some magic hat, and I went down by a full 160 points.

So I had to face John Karris in my final round, and I knew that even if I won my rating would drop. I hardly cared. To further exacerbate my chagrin, the delay in starting the tournament meant that my plan to see the Dixie Chicks documentary Shut Up and Sing was in danger. It was 5:17 when I started the final round, give gave me about 28 minutes to play, assuming a best-case scenario of 15 minutes of previews. So I pretended I was in a speed game, and it was kinda fun seeing Karris sweat as his clock ticked down and down and down. Actually, I was hoping the guy would play faster so we could finish, but it's a good think he went over time, because he drew almost all the power tiles towards the end but wasn't able to make the best use of the. I, ont he other hand, played the entire game in about 5 minutes and rushed off to the movies where I could forget about my rating and think instead about how much of the American public are a ignorant prejudiced idiots who couldn't tell you what the First Amendment says if it was written out right in front of them. Oh, but how to eliminate as many of them as possible--that's the burning question.


0 FEH  
2.4 NOILY OILY (keep AIN)
0 VUG  
5.6 PAIK  
0 TOW  
0.5 PEAR(L)ItE  
0 REX  
0.6 (R)ETIA  
3.0 (y)UM  
3.0 BAL  
0 (G)IE  
5.7 (L)OURING  
3.9 EX  
0 Q(I)  
16.9 (E)MIC  
3.0 ARF  
4.7 HOD  
10.0 STAG  
11.8 (O)CA  
7.6 RENT  
13 Z(IT) horrible!!!
6 RIN  
0 FIRR(Y)  
1.3 V(I)AND  
0 GHI  
11.2 RAM(I)  
0 P(U)G  
19.6 tRANQ K7  
0 EEL  
27 (R)ULER EEL???
0 OE  
0 E(X)  
0 OX  
2.6 CUBIST  
2.5 NOUN  
3.2 EIKON  
0 ALI(V)E  
2.5 MY  
2.2 WIZ  
0 GEE(Z)  
0 DEAF  
4.9 TOYO  
13 RE(C)  
2 VU(G)  
2.6 -BCCTV  
0 C(A)LFS  
10.5 GOOF  
101.3 (T)RIAD DIS(T)RAIN!!!
0 QU(A)  
2.4 HM RUM(E)N
6.7 UNARY  
0 POTT(Y)  
0 (T)URKEY  
10.5 TULE  
3.4 HOL(Y)  
45 lose turn A(G)REEING
18.7 QUE(R)N  
5 PE(C)H  
0 ROLF  
7.1 BA(N)TY  
12 WAIT  
7 MO(A)  

Average Equity Loss Per Turn (using Quackle 0.93)

1 - 3.7 (48)
2 - 11.8 (176.9)
3 - 8.0 (119.7)
4 - 3.2 (45.1)
5 - 13.1 (143.6)
6 - 10.4 (124.5)

Avg: 8.4

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