It’s a lovely day for a Crossword Tournament …

Just about now, some nervy sleepless solvers will be getting up in Stamford, Connecticut. This weekend sees the 30th American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, where the best solvers can dispose of an easy New York Times puzzle in under 3 minutes. I have a vague notion (not yet divulged to Mrs B) that one day I’ll arrange a holiday so that I can have a go at the Foreign division. The general atmosphere seems like the good old days of the full Times championship – a nice mixture of people just there to have a go and talk crosswords to folk who won’t mind, and a few intense folk taking it all terribly seriously but not mindng (or pretending not to mind) who wins.

Until the final stage, it works pretty much as Times Regional finals used to, right down to being in a hotel ballroom. But at the end, the three leaders in each of various divisions get to tackle a puzzle on whiteboards with an audience and a commentary, wearing sound-blocking headphones. Like Modern Pentathlon cross-country runners, their starting times are staggered so that the first (correct) solution wins.

I guess the ideal A final for me is 7-time winner and Times 2 RTCer Jon Delfin, reigning champ Tyler Hinman, and Al Sanders getting a chance to redeem himself from the empty squares disaster of 2005.

2 comments on “It’s a lovely day for a Crossword Tournament …”

  1. According to the ACPT web-site, Tyler Hinman won his third successive title, and Al Sanders was second. Jon didn’t make the 3-person last stage but came 9th.
  2. The final round of the tournament was quite exciting. Al finished about five seconds ahead of Tyler, but he had a mistake; a Very Very understandable mistake.

    Next year’s competition is in Brooklyn, as attendance has grown to the point where the Stamford Marriott can’t handle it any more. I hope that more people decide to make the trek to the tournament now that it’s in such a vacation-worthy destination.


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