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He is the champion Jul 19

I’ve not heard a fanfare from The Independent, but according to the website of The New Zealand Herald, the winner of the Indie’s Sudoku Grand Master Championship 2005 was Edward Billig.

Edward Billig, 23, the new star in the quiz firmament, is a tall, ursine youth with close-cropped hair and beard, who resembles a Motorhead roadie.

He is, in fact, an audio technician who lives in Wapping and works in Fleet Street.

Maybe there’s something in his pedigree – the fact that his father was a maths teacher who did music and sound recording – that explains how he can finish six hard sudokus in only 22 and a half minutes.

He doesn’t have a secret plan.

“You just look at groups of numbers and work out what’s missing,” he said.

He practises by timing himself at work.

“Carol Vorderman says she can do a pretty fiendish one in 19 minutes. I can manage it in about 10.”

He seemed a little stunned by success.

“My head’s hurting a bit now,” said the Independent Sudoku Grand Master 2005, as he left, bearing his Waterford crystal trophy, his champagne and other paraphernalia of victory. “I think something’s broken inside it.”

Bad luck to those readers who made the final but didn’t win. I’d be interested to hear any accounts of how it went.


One Response

  1. 1

    Hi Will,

    Thanks for the commiserations; yes, I was one of the hundred that qualified for the final only to see the trophy snatched from under our very noses (it was ours precious; honest!)

    The conditions at Stationers Hall weren’t great; wonderfully historic setting but no aircon which on a day like Sunday with a hundred nervous sudoku-ers (? or sudoku-ists?),at close quarters made the day interesting to say the least. Exam-like conditions with Independent staff invigilators almost outnumbering competitors. Five puzzles to solve in 50 mins (regionals were four in 45 mins) with the silence only broken by the ‘Zippp’ of the timers as yet another rival finished ahead of you, the perspiration level increasing exponentially as each new declaration pushed you further away from and eventually out of qualification for the ‘Super final’ of the ten fastest.

    I finished around the 20th mark, although it was difficult to know just how many earlier finishers had correct entries. Anyway, not good enough for the top ten who were called out to (muted) applause (me?, bitter?, never!)and led away behind closed doors to fight it out between themselves. Eight men and two women compared to the 68/32 % split of the main competition, Mr Bellig eventually emerging victorious.

    The rest of us were sent on our merry way with a pretty decent goodie bag and the condolences of our supporters “Failure doesn’t negate the whole purpose of your recent existence sweetie, just look at the nice ‘FINALIST’ t-shirt they gave you; you can wear it to work tomorrow….”

    Ah well, back to wretched anonymity, my moment in the sun over, at least until next year….. (but we’ll be back precious; yes we will and then they’ll see….).