Round 1 - The Nearest FarAway Place Rally

The results are now FINAL.

Congratulations to everyone who completed the course or got as far as they could. The statistics are impressive: 116 entries, 89 competitors posted answers, there were 947 answer sets in total and the Championship has raised over 2,300 for charity.

Congratulations to Anthony Davies our overall winner, who scored a perfect 100 and proved that the Masters section was just possible for the best competitor. Iain Tullie was a close second just one point behind and may have won if he'd avoided a rush at the end. Robert Owen (our sole Germany-based contender) took third just surpassing Francis Tindall on time taken. Mike Biss was close in 5th place.

Jon Lunn was the clear Expert winner with another satisfying maximum 50 points. Martin Moore was two points behind and Henry Carr was another point adrift in third.

Surprisingly there were no maximum scores in the Novices section. Grantley Cleaver headed the list with 24 points with Anthony Full and Duncan Kellett taking second and third.

Commendations are due too.
Chris Bean
a relative newbie from the US excelled with 6th overall.
Shane Glynn
a regular US competitor (and geocacher) came home in 13th place. Shane joined our sport when stationed in Baghdad in 2003 (see Q13).
Andy Gibson
only started his plotting a day and a half before closing but made an excellent debut in 9th place.
Our World top three David Bell, Steve Barber and Gavin Rogers were probably disappointed with 12th, 14h and 7th respectively.
I persuaded some geocaching friends to have a go and James Hustler (aka mcwomble) - King of geocache puzzle solving - made a promising but late debut.
My thanks to Bart den Hartog - a navigator from Belgium - who provided detailed feedback and observations on his Route Cards. The same applied to all of the above plus, to name a few, Alan Crabtree, Gillian Goodlass and Jasmin Congreve.

I'll be contacting the category winners about their awards shortly.

Many new plotting and puzzle methods were employed on this event; some you liked, some you didn't. The biggest mapping development since the last competition has been the evolution of Google mapping and the availability of Ordnance Survey maps on-line. These were too irresistible to ignore and obviously led to some of the innovations on the Nearest FarAway Place Rally.

Some of you might appreciate the time spent putting the TTR framework together (Mrs "Crow" in particular!). I'm not complaining (she is); I get a great buzz crafting the puzzles and programs - the latter keeping my retired hand in after many years in the software industry. It's for love and charity. The money you have generously paid me has been passed to the Multiple Sclerosis Society. I could add 200 to that if only the non-payers (red on the entry list) paid their dues. I've given up chasing them. If any of the names are familiar perhaps you could give them a nudge.

Despite much time spent in front of computers I'm not on-line 24/7 - although 18/7 is quite common. I try to respond as soon as possible to queries (even with a few of you in different time zones) but I did get peeved with the few competitors who abused the direct e-mail support route, pestering me with petty queries or disputes - you know who you are. I suffered in silence but don't expect the event organisers to be so accommodating in the future.

There were a handful of competitors who had occasional "Not Logged In" or other technical issues.
Running a real-time and interactive competition via an Internet browser is rare and does place technical demands and constraints on the application and interface. Keeping this transparent to a user and handling all brands of browser, PC and operating system is pretty tricky. Suffice to say to the whole login and answering process has already had an internal makeover so your experience should be trouble-free next time. (see also below)

In the links below you can access each Route card to study the solutions. This covers: the required answers, a commentary about marking, a display map and a PDF map of the model route(s). Some of the display maps show extra clickable markers for the location of the (difficult) Route Checks. Showing the location of all the Route Checks would an onerous task. The PDF maps just show the route.

I'll be closing the Nearest FarAway Place forum soon, but please continue to add your comments to the Feedback section.

The Panglossian Rally starts on March 31. "Chick" is in charge and from what I've seen you'll have a busy but perhaps a more straightforward April.

Bulletin 20, yet to be published, will consolidate information from all previous Bulletins which is relevant to the Panglossian Rally and announce a few tidy-ups to the regulations.


08 March 2010 @ 23:50 (Updated)
28 February 2010 @ 00:40

Here's a few handy links:
  • ROUTE CARD SOLUTIONS:     1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10     11     12 
  • BULLETIN 20 consolidates all previous Bulletins for the Panglossian Rally 2010. 


... Only old stuff below ...

Well, part 1 of your marathon is almost over. You will not be able to login after 22:00 on Wednesday, 24 February.

A short interlude will then follow while I post-process the automatic results marking - almost 1000 answer sets to study!

I believe most of the key issues have been resolved by now, but I still need to read your detail comments. Until then the results will be Provisional.

You'll be emailed when the solutions are available and the results are declared. Thereafter you'll have another week to hit me with any final comments. Once they've been dealt with the results will be Final.

Thanks again for your wonderful support. I'll be back to you soon.


24 February 2010 @ 18:00

Welcome to the first round of the 2010 Championship. After a busy few months the 12 Route Cards have been readied for your entertainment - I hope. Lots of new ideas, a few old ones and much programming in the background.

As I write we have almost reached 100 entries and collected over 1500 for charity. Many thanks for your support.

After you've logged-in make sure you read the Route Card Status page before you start a Route Card. I've introduced a dummy, untimed and unmarked Route Card 0 so that you can practice the procedure to follow before doing the real thing.

Particularly make sure you understand the meaning of the legends for the Route Check answers and enter your answers in the correct format. Common mistakes from the past are not separating lists of numbers/letters with just a comma (e.g. a spot height list 12,34,67) and using the wrong case for, say, an answer requiring yes/no - just enter Y or N. Take a few extra seconds to check your answers before hitting the Submit button.

When you enter your answers there is a new field for you to rate (scale 1-10) how much you enjoyed the Route Card. This will provide valuable feedback for guiding the content of Route cards in future rounds.

Don't panic if you your score is less than expected. History shows that I rarely have a perfect set of answers at the start since competitors often find alternative routes and different interpretations which have to be catered for.

If you have queries please ask them against the appropriate Route Card number in The Nearest FarAway Place Rally section in the forum. Very specific questions will receive an answer of "No Comment", so please generalise so that you don't give away information to other competitors.

Good luck.


Have you got the GRID?


New Scientist 23 January 2010