American Crossword Puzzle Tournament

 Crossword Tournament

Crossword Tournament Program

37th Annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament
March 7-9, 2014

This is from the previous tournament. Information for the upcoming tournament in Stamford, CT will be available early 2015.
Jump ahead on this page to: Registration Info | Hotel Reservations | Schedule | Scoring | Who Competes
Prizes | About the Puzzles | The Judges | Brooklyn | Solving at home

Registration Information

Competitor (all events beginning Saturday morning, including Sunday)$180*
Noncompetitor (all events beginning Saturday morning, including Sunday, but not entered in tournament)$135*
Friday evening (games and reception)$80
Sunday morning program and playoffs only (starting 11AM)$30
*You may deduct $10 from this amount if payment is made and received by March 4, 2014.

Hotel Reservations

Space is limited, so act now! You are responsible for making your own room reservations!

The New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge provides special low guest room rates ($225, single or double occupancy), available for contestants Friday and Saturday nights. The rates are $225/night PER ROOM (plus tax) regardless of your choice. This rate is guaranteed through February 19, 2014 (rates afterward subject to room availability).

  1. Online:
  2. By phone: Phone call in your reservation to the Marriott at 1-800-266-9432 and be sure to ask for the Crossword Tournament group rate

Be prepared with the following information:

  1. Group name: American Crossword Puzzle Tournament
  2. Dates: March 7-9, 2014
  3. Number of people and choice single, double w/1 bed, or double w/2 beds
  4. Your name, (firm), address, and who you are sharing with. Note: to avoid duplication, submit one reservation for room shared by two or more people
  5. Arrival date (Friday, March 7, or Saturday, March 8)
  6. Departure date (Sunday, March 9)
  7. Credit card info (number and expiration date)

Note that reservations will be held until 6pm unless guaranteed for late arrival by a check for the first night's room deposit, company guarantee of payment, Club Marquis membership, or by one of the following credit cards: MasterCard • Visa • American Express • Diner's Club • Carte Blanche • Club Marquis

Check-in time is 3pm. Check-out time is noon.


Friday, March 7

Warmup games and entertainment. Featuring:

NEW! Carnival of Puzzles

Ten noted puzzlemakers and game designers will each present a mini-puzzle competition or word game that will last approximately 20 minutes. The presenters will be set up at stations around the ballroom, with chairs arranged at each station.

Solvers will have their choice of any four of the following 10 puzzles, in any order. Every puzzle will be presented by its maker.

  • Adam Cohen
    Genius at Work (novelty puzzle)
  • Paula Gamache
    Diagramless Crossword
  • Shawn Kennedy
    3-D Word Hunt
  • Roy Leban
    USA Word Search
  • Frank Longo
  • Pat Merrell
    Snow Job, Find Mother, Togo to Go (3-puzzle suite)
  • Stan Newman
    Digital Trivia Quiz
  • Fred Piscop
    Split Decisions
  • Brendan Emmett Quigley
    Marching Bands
  • Rich Silvestri
    Cryptic Crossword

There will be 5-minute breaks between rounds. The best solvers in each round will win tokens, which can be turned in at the end of the evening for prizes.

10:00PMWine and cheese reception.
11:00PMAwards for all the evening games.
Saturday, March 8
All dayPuzzle market — crossword books, word games, and other products of interest to puzzlers
9:30AMTournament sign-in
11:00AMPuzzles 1, 2, and 3
2:30PMPuzzles 4, 5, and 6
8:00PMMore games and entertainment. Featuring:

  • "'Clever' Clues" — a crossword game by Will Shortz
  • "Pre-Shortzian Puzzle Project" — an update from David Steinberg, with an aside on the status of female crossword constructors over the years
  • "Dr. Fill" — a talk by Matt Ginsberg, creator of the world's most sophisticated crossword-solving program, with a live presentation on Dr. Fill's performance on this year's Puzzles #1-#6
Sunday, March 9
9:00AMPuzzle 7
11AM"Crossworders Got Talent" — a variety show featuring ACPT contestants and officials, with music, dance, comedy, and games. (If you would like to participate, or would like more info, email Will Shortz at
NoonAwards presentation and announcement of the playoff contestants.
12:15PMChampionship playoff, in which the top three contestants in Divisions A, B, and C compete in successive sudden-death rounds conducted on giant grids. Live, play-by-play commentary on the A and B finals by Ophira Eisenberg, host of NPR's "Ask Me Another," and Greg Pliska, puzzle writer and the musical director for the Tony Award-winning play "War Horse."


Scoring is based on accuracy and speed. Score as follows:

  1. 10 points for every correct word you entered across and down
  2. A bonus of 25 points for each full minute you finished ahead of the suggested solution time — BUT reduced by 25 points for each missing or incorrect letter (but not beyond the point the bonus returns to zero)
  3. A bonus of 150 points for each completely correct solution

For the purpose of scoring, a "word" consists of any series of letters written between black squares in the grid, or between a black square and the border of the grid, whether it is a single word, a phrase, or otherwise.

Complete rules will be explained prior to competition.

Who Competes?

Contestants simultaneously compete in all events for which they are eligible:
Division AEveryone
Division BContestants who have not won a Division A or Division B prize during their last seven tournaments
Division CContestants who have not finished in the top 20% during their last three tournaments
Division DContestants who have not finished in the top 40% during their last three tournaments
Division EContestants who have not finished in the top 65% during their last three tournaments
Age DivisionsSolvers 25 years and under (Juniors), 50-59 years (Fifties), 60-69 years (Sixties), 70-79 (Seventies) and 80+ (Seniors)
Regional DivisionsSolvers in each of 11 geographical regions:
Connecticut, Other New England, New York City, Long Island, Westchester/Upstate New York, New Jersey, Other Mid-Atlantic, South, Midwest, West, Foreign [map]
RookiesContestants competing for their first time. Rookies are not eligible for "D" or "E" prizes.


Division A1st Prize$5,000
4th-10th (each)Trophy
Division B1st Prize$300
Division C1st Prize$75
Each of Divisions D and E; Juniors, Fifties, Sixties, Seventies, Seniors1st-3rd PrizesTrophy
11 Regional Winners (each) [map]1st & 2nd PrizesTrophy
Rookies1st Prize$300
4th & 5thTrophy

Plus Every prizewinner receives a New York Times crossword collection from St. Martin's Press.

About the Puzzles

All crosswords have been specially created and edited for the tournament.

Sample Puzzles:

The Judges

The judges and referees include leading names in crossword puzzling.

Brooklyn: Directions and Information

After 30 years, the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament left Stamford, Connecticut in 2008 for a larger venue: the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge.


Flying Into...

LaGuardia: The most convenient airport to fly into is LaGuardia. A cab ride, not rush hour, should take about 20 minutes and cost around $25. Public transportation: from LaGuardia, take the Q33 bus to 74th and Broadway, and transfer to the 7 line to 42nd Street/Grand Central. Transfer to the 4 or 5 line and ride to Court Street/Borough Hall. This shouldn't take more than an hour depending on transfer timing, and if you have a MetroCard other than a single-ride, the cost is only $2.25 each way from the door of the airport to the door of the Marriott.

JFK has more traffic and will cost you up to $40 in cab fare. Public transportation: take the AirTrain from JFK and connect to the A train at Howard Beach to Jay Street-Metro Tech stop. It takes less than an hour. Airtrain JFK.

Newark Airport: Public transportation: Buy a New Jersey Transit ticket (adult $15 one way) to Penn Station from the machine at the Airtrain station in each terminal. Ride the free Airtrain to Newark Airport station, then get on a Northeast Corridor or North Jersey Coast Line and ride to the end of the line. At Penn Station, transfer to a 2 or 3 train ($2.25) to Court/Borough Hall.

Getting around: The Brooklyn Marriott is extremely well-connected with public transportation. You can catch the A, C, and F trains at the Jay Street-Metro Tech stop, one block east of the hotel. (A/C will get you to the west side of Manhattan; F train runs along 6th Avenue in Manhattan.) You can also get the 2,3,4,5, and R trains (there's also an M train but it only runs during weekday rush hours) at the Borough Hall/Court Street stop, one block west of the hotel. 2/3 trains run along 7th Avenue, 4/5 will get you to the east side (Lexington Avenue), and R runs along Broadway. Check for any service changes — weekend service tends to be messy, so it's a good idea to look at the service advisories beforehand and decide whether another train might get you where you need to go faster.

Parking: The best thing to do is to leave the car at home and take the subway. But if you must drive, park using the hotel rate. Street parking is unnecessarily complicated in this area.

View Larger Map

Solving At Home

Now you can take part in the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament — and find out how you'd score — from your own home!

  1. On Your Computer: Solve the puzzles online on the weekend of the tournament, or at anytime throughout the year. Standings of online competitors are constantly updated. Click here for details.

  2. By Mail: Receive this year's puzzles (upon completion of the tournament) by mail, solve them and return your solutions to us with your times. We'll judge your puzzles, send you your scores, and tell you your ranking in every event in which you were eligible. To Register, click here.

If you need help, call Helene Hovanec at 718-797-0264 (
For questions regarding the hotel, call the Brooklyn Marriott at 718-246-7000.