Ironically, there's no time to catch up before Wednesday's final puzzle challenge. That's the one part about these prior puzzles that kind of stinks. The only thing that counts for round 1 is how soon after 1 PM EDT did you submit your final completion form. It doesn't matter if it took you hours longer than everyone else for the first 23 puzzles, or if you didn't do any puzzles until Tuesday the 9th, when you took care of the entire first 23 at one go. It only matters that you are at Google's home page the second they make that final puzzle available and then get your answer and completed forms in ASAP after that.Granted, people who have taken hours longer than everyone else, especially on the Geography challenges, are less likely to luck out with the last puzzle and get it done lickety split, but there's always that chance.Now, if you make it to the final challenge, it will definitely matter if some puzzles took you significantly longer than others. In the final challenge, your time for completion is measured from the instant you click the "begin" button to the moment you complete all five puzzles and click the final submit button. So here it does matter how quickly you can complete a given puzzle, and I'm going to operate on the assumption that the final 10,000 who take that challenge will all get the same five puzzles to eliminate the possibility of some sub-set of contestants getting a lucky break with a randomized puzzle draw.Personally, I've decided that if I manage to get into the final challenge (and I'm trying for that as hard as I can), then I'll just go into it with the goal of simply completing all five puzzles and recording my time. I'm not going to clock watch, I'm not going to stress over who in the country who's also doing this challenge might be figuring it out faster than me, I'm not going to worry about the prize. I'll just focus on solving all five puzzles, and if by some miracle I actually get it done in the fastest time I'll be beyond thrilled.Yes, I truly do want the prize -- it's why I got into this contest, after all, and I've posted my reasons for wanting it earlier. But my personal luck has never run that well with timed tests of skill or logic, so I'll count being lucky enough to win a cryptex as quite nice and content myself with knowing that in the end, even if it took me half the day, I managed to finish those last five puzzles.Wishing everyone good luck for these last three days! Let's get a few of us in that list of 10,000 finalists so we can say that Motley Fool members are smarter than most! ;-) :-)- Joe -
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