I say Cheltenham, you say Brooklyn

Spare a thought this weekend for competitors in the ACPT – American Crossword Puzzle Tournament – the annual chance for American crossword solvers to get together and test their skills on puzzles like those in the New York Times. The puzzles are non-cryptic but as Times RTC solvers will know, the skills needed to solve cryptic and non-cryptic puzzles quickly are a lot less different than you might think. It’s no great secret that RTCer jon88 is seven-time ACPT winner Jon Delfin, doubtless hoping to get back into the top three and see if he can beat the obscenely young Tyler Hinman, who’s trying to be the first to win four times on the trot. (There are plenty of other strong contenders, so this ending is by no means guaranteed.)

The event goes on longer than our championship, with a night’s sleep before puzzle 7, the last tackled by all competitors, and then a final tallying of points before the last stage – the top three in each division tackling a puzzle on huge whiteboards in front of a large audience, wearing headphones playing white noise to cut out a gently mocking commentary.

The whole show has moved to Brooklyn from Stamford, Connecticut after outgrowing the space available because of the extra interest generated by the Wordplay movie, which featured a common end of crossword championship scenario in dramatic form.

If you Google for ACPT you’ll find the tournament’s website, where I suspect the results will be up sometime Sunday evening UK time.

Back here, I wonder whether we’ve ever had a better month of Times puzzles than February 2008? Setters and editor seem to be in very good form at the moment, so keep up the good work!

6 comments on “I say Cheltenham, you say Brooklyn”

  1. One of these days the tables will be turned. Solvers will present a list of answers and setters will be invited to clue them under test conditions within a time limit and with a set list of reference works at their disposal.
    Not sure how the voting would work…
  2. I agree with Peter’s praise for the quality of Times cryptics over the last few weeks. Thanks to all concerned.
  3. Ditto – the past few weeks’ puzzles have been both extremely enjoyable and challenging. Congratulations to the setter{s}. Keep them coming!
    1. Oh dear! – Looks like clues from some non-cryptic jumbo puzzle or similar. I guess they’ll have the right set some time on Monday.
  4. It seems from the ACPT website that half my guess for the final came true. Apparently Tyler Hinman has won his fourth title. Jon Delfin finished 8th or 9th depending on the part of the ACPT website you look at – thoroughly respectable, but I suspect a bit disappointing.

    Edited at 2008-03-03 06:18 am (UTC)

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