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 04:31:49, Wednesday 18.10.2017 
 Advent Calendar Challenge 
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Hello and welcome to the 2005 Advent Calendar Challenge! Back for a third running, the Advent Calendar Challenge once again offered a mystery prize, which wasn't a t-shirt, to this years victor. The 2003 and 2004 competitions might help you work out what this is all about.

The rules - in brief. The competition is a game of prediction and guesswork - with an edge of tactics. Competitors were asked to guess what picture will appear behind the door of my chocolatey advent calendar each day, and correct guesses each day scored points accordingly. The winner was, in time-honoured tradition, the person who accumulated the most points over the course of the competition.

Competitors submitted their guesses via this webpage and these guesses stood every day of the competition until it was changed or until the competition end. A competitor's guess could be changed as often as desired; only the guess registered at the time a window was opened was assessed for points however. A successful guess was awarded the points on offer that day, and then could be changed at this point - this is entirely up to the player. Guesses did not have to unique, although players were asked to play within the interests of fairness or risk penalties.

Points were awarded in reverse order compared with the previous two competitions. A successful guess on Day 1 scored 1 point; on Day 2 scored 2, all the way up to 24 points on Day 24, which was the final day of the competition. In order to maintain a sense of fairness in the new scoring scheme for those players who played from the start, late entrants (who were very much welcomed) scored as per the above, with their 'Day 1' being the first day after they have submitted their first guess, and so on.

Finally, players were requested to keep their guesses clean. This is, after all, a family competition :)

After 24 intense days of compeition, it finished:

   FINAL STANDINGS  
  1  A HICKMAN 60 pts  
  2  S RUTTER 58 pts  
  3  M COUGHLAN 50 pts  
  4  G FREELEY 28 pts  
  5  A MARSON 28 pts  
  6  A TURATI 24 pts  
  7  C BIRD 24 pts  
  8  H FREELEY 24 pts  
  9  M BIERLICH 22 pts  
  10  R TURNBULL 22 pts  
  11  W SCRIVIN 22 pts  
  12  M FREELEY 22 pts  
  13  C BECKERTON 21 pts  
  14  M OMAR 19 pts  
  15  A GREEN 16 pts  
  16  T WHITE 12 pts  
  17  D WILFORD 12 pts  
  18  P LAZENBY 6 pts  
  19  A DALE 5 pts  
  20  E SCRIVIN 0 pts  
  21  C TURNER 0 pts  
  22  S ATTWOOD 0 pts  
  23  C DAVEY 0 pts  
  24  I FREELEY 0 pts  
  DQ  M SCRIVIN DQ  
  DQ  A MELON DQ  
  SCORE

Just for fun, player's were split into teams, mostly representing how I knew them, and jointly competed for team glory as well as individual gold. Kind of the ACC version of the Constructor's Championship:

   FINAL TEAMS STANDINGS  
  1  TEAM DUMSS 224 pts  
  2  TEAM EVERYONE-ELSE 101 pts  
  3  TEAM AIDANS 70 pts  
  4  TEAM ERMYSTEDS 50 pts  
  5  TEAM MORRIDOND 30 pts  
  SCORE

Below are scanned pictures showing what was behind each window on each day:

  1 TOY TRAIN 2 HOLLY 3 GIFT 4 XMAS COTTAGE & TREES 5 STAR 6 SLEIGH & GIFTS  
               
  7 LANTERN 8 TALKING MUSHROOM 9 CHRISTMAS WREATH 10 REINDEER 11 BAUBLE & HOLLY 12 ANGEL  
               
  13 HEART 14 BELL 15 GIFT 16 TEDDY 17 SQUIRREL 18 CHRISTMAS TREE  
               
  19 CANDLE & HOLLY 20 TALKING MOON WITH HAT 21 CHILD IN A BOOT 22 SNOWMAN 23 DRUM 24 SANTA  
               

Another fantastic competition comes to a close then - with yet another rookie coming through to take the top prize. Clearly the key to success is inexperience. Congratulations to Ally. Your certificate is in the post. Excellent. Simon Rutter comes through to his second second in two years - amazing consistency there. He'll be hoping for third time lucky in 2006. Mark Coughlan slides into third having always been around the top few places. I'm unbiased but kinda hoped he's win, mainly cos I really screwed with his holiday plans in the summer. Third is a great effort though and I'd like to invite you all here to pause for a brief moment and give our podium finishers a rousing round of applause. Well done guys.

Grace Freeley beats close rival Andy Marson, the 2004 champion, by virtue of earlier successful guess, and they both help complete a dominant Team DUMSS 1-2-3-4-5. Team DUMSS obviously walked to the Team's Championship with these performances, so well done to all of them!

Alessandro Turati, our first ever champion, had a welcome return to form to take 6th - further down Omar find himself in a 14th position that should have been 7th - but a five point inappropriate guess penalty put paid to that. Five people failed to score - I urge them =not to be disappointed and to try again in 2006...

Unfortunately two disqualifications were handed out. One was to myself - concerned that the calendar was going to yield a lot of strange pictures and therefore a poor competition, I pulled it apart to see what items were coming up. This inside knowledge meant the unfortunate decision was unavoidable. The other DQ came about as the person who decided to guess 'chocolate' (there's always one) and then whinge a lot whinged too much. We weren't amused and after a few days just checked him out. We hope to see him back in 2006.

Thank you to everyone who played. It should be back in 2006, so hopefully I'll see you back then. Excellent.

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