This weekend I will once again be a contestant in the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament.
I've competed twice before, both times pretty much winding up in the upper 37 percent overall.
Do I have any real hope of winning the thing? Not really, though you never know. It's not that I can't solve the puzzles -- I think I solved six out of seven perfectly the first year and five out of seven last year -- but I doubt I can do it fast enough to beat the likes of Tyler Hinman, Trip Payne, Ellen Ripstein and all the others.
My guess is that in addition to brains (and, um, yes, I'm willing to concede that the above three -- and others -- might be at least a little smarter than yours truly), the true crossword champs have perfect hand-and-eye coordination.
Me, I never could learn how to ride a bike.
But one big selling point of the ACPT -- for me, at least -- is that unlike competitive mind games, the tournament has champs that are likable, real people.
Matter of fact, everyone there is nice.
If you've see the documentary film "Wordplay," filmed at the 2005 tournament, what you see is what you'll get if you compete or even hang out at the tournament.
And the players have a sense of humor about themselves; when Amy Reynaldo (who might be the queen of the crossword bloggers) was kind enough to link to my wrap-up of the ACPT last year, this blog received many hits, some of them, I suspect, from the higher-profile players.
Fortunately for me, these hits weren't physical.
And, of course, I hope things stay that way.
Matter of fact, if the only thing I suffer this weekend is a bruised ego, I'll figure I will have come out ahead.
See you soon.