First of all, I want to thank DadofTwins for creating the SHC and running it brilliantly for ten years. When MarkBarrett asked me in June 2015 whether I'd be willing to do the scoring for a (then very much in planning) 2015 SHC and I replied yes and that I was willing to write "maybe a dozen categories", I knew that I was stepping into very big shoes. I thank DadofTwins for his continued encouragement and support, even in times when the work seemed difficult.
Next, I want to thank Anachronism and Blue Lion who helped write and edit questions for this year's SHC. Not only did they review and offer extensive suggestions to improve the questions, they also contributed many well-written categories of their own. When my injury a month ago sidelined me, they stepped up their writing and editing efforts to ensure that the SHC would continue uninterrupted. Having run last year's challenge without editing help, I am very grateful for their help this year.
I want to thank all the guest writers who contributed categories for use this year. I extend a special thanks to those whose categories were used: Clue Jungry, CoachP, John Boy, Linear Gnome (2 categories), Magna (3 categories), morbeedo (4 categories), mujason, NoWhammies10, Peachbox, SweepingDeveloper, TheTabbyWhisperer, Woof (4 categories), WooWho? (2 categories) and the anonymous contributors of 3 categories. In all, 26 guest categories were used this year. From these 26 very creative categories, the players selected one category from each round as a finalist for the Paucle Memorial Award for Outstanding Writing. The finalists were
- Retain +1 anagrams (Magna, R1D2)
- Cryptic crossword clues "P" (Linear Gnome, R2D6)
- Retronyms (Woof, R3D2)
- "Z" names (Anonymous, R4D1)
- Servants in film & TV (Magna, R5D3)
- Game shows with multiple hosts (NoWhammies10, R6D4)
Now, I want to thank everyone who played. This year, we had 106 players play at least one day (including 16 rookies). By my count, 70 players (including 8 rookies) played at least 30 days. This year's Tournament of Champions featured 14 players vying for the championship:
- Six weekly winners: Wpwells (R1), PowerofHoodoo (R2), cinemaniax7 (R3), SwanShadow (R4), NoWhammies10 (R5, and a rookie too!), and LucarioSnooperVixey (R6, and a rookie too!)
- Seven wild cards: mujason (ATB), RJRouge (Rookie), Woof (Senior), cheezguyty, Clue Jungry, mrbungle, JoshuaKreitzer
- One past champion: Schliemann
In 14th through 4th place:
14. LucarioSnooperVixey 267
13. Woof 271
12. SwanShadow 328
10 (tie). cinemaniax7 and Wpwells 332
9. RJRouge 342
8. mrbungle 348
7. cheezguyty 355
6. Clue Jungry 363
5. JoshuaKreitzer 375
4. mujason 377
Now for a very close top 3:
In third place, with 403 points, is a perennial TOC participant,
In second place, with 411 points, a rookie who convincingly won Round 5 by a 46-point margin and came just a few points short of winning it all,
And, the winner of the 2018 Summer Hiatus Challenge, winning yet another championship, with a score of 414 points, is last year's champion,
I can't even keep count of how many championships Schliemann has won. Congratulations again to Schliemann for another amazing win and all the other TOC participants for a hard-fought contest.
Running the Summer Hiatus Challenge, especially in the midst of getting settled on the West Coast, starting a full-time job, and an inopportune injury, was quite demanding, but lots of fun. I'd love to come back and do it all again for the 15th Summer Hiatus Challenge in 2019. I look forward to seeing you again next summer.