Thoughts eight days later -- My first ACPT has left several memories that will last a long time. Besides having the unusual occurrence of my ID number and final rank being the same number (178), I was amazed at the camaraderie and fun that were ever-present. The people I met at the wine and cheese reception on Friday, at breakfast on Saturday, and at the awards luncheon on Sunday were delightful and made this rookie feel completely welcome, so my thanks to you all. Also, as a frequent tenor soloist, I will forever view the phrase "pitches like a girl?" from a bizarre and yet familiar new perspective. Thanks a lot, Byron. :-) (After 20 more minutes with Puzzle 5 at home this week, I finished it correctly. That made the torture more bearable.) On a bittersweet note, my first ACPT will also be remembered as the last time I spoke to my last remaining grandparent. I called to his Minneapolis hospital room during a Saturday break and was looking forward to sharing with him my full tournament experience when he was feeling better. Instead, he died the following Tuesday morning -- I've just returned from attending and singing at his funeral. At least my final talk with him happened in a place where I was having a great time. My wife and I are already looking forward to returning next year. See you then!
Brent Hartzell, Locust Grove, Virginia [04-04-2006]
Overall - great tournament. Few suggestions for next year: 1. Relocate tournament from Stamford to NYC to raise profile of tournament and make more convenient for out-of-towners 2. Choose location that will handle more people. 3. Either add more puzzles on day 2, or have all seven puzzles on day 1 (preferably latter). Also, if only one puzzle on day 2, please schedule later for those not staying at hotel. 4. Tell judges not to stand over participants during solving, and be silent. 5. Get rid of the flimsy paper folders as dividers and invest in better anti-cheating dividers. 6. Get rid of table cloths on tables - they are completely unnecessary. 7. Affix pencil sharpeners to something so one doesn't need the support of another person to adequately sharpen pencil. 8. Do better job of attracting new participants. Attendance has been flat for past few years.
Anonymous, usa [03-31-2006]
Had a rookie blast! Thank you Will, Helene & Co. But have you considered the downside to that wonderful "Wordplay"? Will we (by which I mean "you") be able to handle the hundreds of more competitors that movie will doubtlessly drum up?? Hope so!
Danny Streit, Port St. Lucie, FL [03-30-2006]
Great event this year! My best showing ever and a wonderful movie! See you all again next year. Mark
Mark Stenzler, Geneva, Swiss-o-land [03-30-2006]
So okay, I like to solve my crosswords s-l-o-w-l-y. Heh. Had a great time, and will likely do it again. Great idea to have Ken Jennings join the festivities. Kudos to the organizers!
Nancy Klee, Brooklyn, NY [03-30-2006]
Congratulations to Ken Jennings! We now have something in common. In 2001, I won the C and Rookie Divisions and finished 37th overall. Now, if I can just match your other accomplishments..... Marty Cobern
Martin Cobern, Cheshire, CT [03-30-2006]
What a great time it was! After doing the play-at-home puzzles for many years, I finally gave Stamford a try and found out why so many who attend keep coming back. First off, the tournament is very well-run. Each event went smoothly -- at least from the attendee perspective. The folks who made the trains run on time, so to speak, were endlessly patient -- everyone from the volunteers to Will Shortz himself. Finally, the folks high up in the puzzle pantheon were mighty nice, happy to speak to folks like me and allow for a few snapshots. After reading so many of these names underneath puzzles, it was exhilarating to put meet these expert constructors and editors. Maybe best of all, it was very nice to find out that there are so many folks who enjoy these verbal challenges, and to meet many of them. When one spends so much time with an idle diversion, some people think it is time wasted. It was nice to find out that there are many who see it differently. I can't wait until next year!
Barry Spiegel, Peoria, AZ [03-29-2006]
WTG Tyler! You rock at X-words! And the NYT puzzle is coming out when??
Tracie, PEZland [03-28-2006]
In the past, I had made other travel plans on the weekend of the ACPT, but I had been wanting to go for a while. I am so glad that I was able to make it this year, and in the future I will be putting the ACPT weekend on my calendar (in gluestick!) and scheduling any potential vacations around it. Congratulations to all of the top finishers; you certainly impressed, and thanks to everyone who made this shy newbie feel not as shy, as well as the organizers and constructors who made this tournament happen. I am already looking forward to next year's installment.
Jason (not to be confused with Jay) Keller, Edison, NJ [03-28-2006]
It was a super showing by Tyler, Ellen, and Kiran in the Division A playoffs. It was quite suspenseful, too. Would Tyler be able to defend his title? Would Ellen repeat her 2001 victory? Would Kiran, new to the "top 3" circle, be the upsetter? Stay tuned, folks! It's only a day after the contest ended, but already I'm setting my sights on the 2007 tourney and hopefully moving up significantly. That aside, I cannot wait to once again be with all the wonderful people, newcomers and friends alike, which this terrific contest brings together. Long live the ACPT!
Robert Moy, Manhattan, NY [03-27-2006]
Thanks to Will, Helene, and everyone else involved in running ACPT again this year! This was my fifth tournament and my favorite yet! Great puzzles, great games, and a wonderful (what a relief) movie! Now if my students ever ask me when trigonometry will ever be useful in their lives, I'll have an answer.
Jeff Schwartz, New York, NY [03-27-2006]
Thank you to the record 498 competitors at this year's tournament ... and to everyone else who took part in the Quiz Bowl, Sudoku Smackdown, or other weekend activities. If you have any comments or suggestions for the future of the tournament, please let us know.
Will Shortz, Pleasantville, NY [03-27-2006]
Okay, I'll go first. Congrats to Tyler, Adam, and Ken, and thanks to Nancy et al for the super pictures! Thanks, too, to Doug Heller for such a great site. Kelly <-----the only time she'll be first in anything crossword-related ;-)
Kelly Clark, Boston [03-27-2006]