Thanks for the recap. As you know, I don't believe it's possible to devise a "realistic" format less suited to rewarding the top solver than this one, given only three chances to qualify, the one-puzzle final, the one-mistake-and-you're-done angle of said final, and the on-paper solving leading incongruously to using whiteboards. Thus far #'s 2 and 3 have come into play the last couple of years, possibly with #4 to blame as well. As such I think you're taking this unnecessary twist of fate particularly well.
(You'll note that I don't include any hypothetical rules like "Surrendering early to impossibly difficult puzzles is to your benefit" because, hey, let's be *realistic* here...)
(Also, none of this is to say that Tammy isn't a deserving champ. She's made the finals all three years, and finished this year's puzzle clean and in a good time. But a 3.5 minute gap ought to be worth 3 wrong squares in some world, tho apparently not this one.)
4:14, even with the me-esque errors, is ridiculous. I'm not an elite vanilla solver, admittedly, but even *having seen the puzzle before* and *without all the on-stage b.s.* I still would've lost. My two tries at that one were 5:52 and 4:24, fwiw.
I still think you should compete at next year's WSC, but it's a tough call. What is the world's top *solver* and *author* supposed to do? Is there some way you can do both?
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