Date: March 3, 2008
Byline: Ty Chandler
Crossword Enthusiasts Battle For Bragging Rights At Tournament
All the competitors needed were sharp pencils and a sharper mind, as they battled it out, word by word in the 31st Annual America Crossword Puzzle Tournament.
"If you love crosswords, this is the place to be once a year," said New York Times Crossword Puzzle Editor Will Shortz.
It's the first year the competition has been held in Brooklyn. Organizers say it was moved from Connecticut to the Big Apple because of its growing popularity.
This year, it attracted a record 699 participants. But some say the Brooklyn Marriott has a bit to learn about hosting crossword aficionados.
"The one thing they are going to have to learn for next year is to order more New York Times in the gift store," said participant Dawn Ross.
After all, competitors need to practice. They have to be fast and accurate, because they're given just 15 minutes to finish a puzzle — although are some are so good, they don't even need that.
"It's a very humbling experience to be sitting here and be thinking I'm pretty fast at these, and within three minutes or so of even opening up the book, people are walking out the room," said participant Phil Spigel.
Three-time reigning champ Tyler Hinman didn't need any help, however some of his competition did try and cash in on his lucky shirt.
"They think they're psyching me out," said Hinman. "But I'm made of better stuff than that."
And it looks like he is, Sunday marked his fourth consecutive win.