The North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad‘s first round was today, which meant that, like in past years, I spent most of the day frantically replying to contestants’ emailed requests for clarification. We only had one email a minute for the first few hours, though, making it much less hectic than previous years.

Also, we had rough division of labor for which emails to answer (to reduce the number of duplicate replies we sent when the rule was “reply to anything you see that you haven’t seen replied to yet”), which (quoting Cashew) made me “notice all sorts of problems, and then get ridiculously happy that they’re not my problem” for the questions I wasn’t assigned.

My flatmate for the semester arrived an hour into the contest, so I had to say “Hi, I’m Adam. I have a hundred emails to respond to in the next  hour, so I’ll greet you properly later” and run away. Alas. But I did get to greet him properly later, and it turns out that we’d met at Google Games 2011 in New York.

(Cashew, Sucrose, Meze, Yeastcake, Sushi, and any other people whose names I’ve mentioned in food tongue are friends of mine whose English names by default I don’t say.)