American Crossword Puzzle Tournament

 Crossword Tournament

Capsule History of the Tournament

JUMP TO 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010
2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000
1999 | 1998 | 1997 | 1996 | 1995 | 1994 | 1993 | 1992 | 1991 | 1990
1989 | 1988 | 1987 | 1986 | 1985 | 1984 | 1983 | 1982 | 1981 | 1980
1979 | 1978
 

Year 37 • 2014 • 580 contestants

1stDan Feyer, San Francisco, CA
2ndTyler Hinman, San Francisco, CA
3rdHoward Barkin, Hillsborough, NJ
Div BBenjamin Coe, Kissimmee, FL
Div CMichael Megargee, Arlington, VA
Div DChris Popp, Maplewood, NJ
Div EMaureen Kildee, Berkeley, CA
JuniorErik Agard, Gaithersburg, MD
FiftiesAnne Erdmann, Champaign, IL
SixtiesEllen Ripstein, New York, NY
SeventiesDoug Hoylman, Chevy Chase, MD
SeniorBob Rubin, New York, NY
RookieMichael Megargee, Arlington, VA
A Carnival of Puzzles was held Friday night, in which 10 different puzzlemakers presented original, timed word puzzles. Saturday evening featured presentations by Matt Ginsberg (Dr. Fill 3.0), David Steinberg (Pre-Shortzian Project update), and Will Shortz ("Clever Clues" game). Will announced that the tournament would be returning to Stamford in 2015. Dan Feyer won for the fifth year in a row, tying Tyler Hinman's record of consecutive wins. Tyler finished second. Katy Steinmetz wrote about their rivalry in Time.

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Year 36 • 2013 • 572 contestants

1stDan Feyer, New York, NY
2ndAnne Erdmann, Champaign, IL
3rdTyler Hinman, San Francisco, CA
Div BRobert Mackey, Eatontown, NJ
Div CBenjamin Coe, Kissimmee, FL
Div DVegavahini Subramanyan, Rockville, MD
Div EMatthew Paronto, Wilder, VT
JuniorDavid Plotkin, Starkville, MS
FiftiesAnne Erdmann, Champaign, IL
SixtiesEllen Ripstein, New York, NY
SeventiesLen Elliott, Auburn, WA
SeniorBob Rubin, New York, NY
RookieGlen Ryan, Taftville, CT
Special events included eight Arthur Wynne puzzles from the New York World, 1913-14, talks by Michelle Arnot and David Steinberg, and a cryptic competition, won by Mark Goodliffe, six-time British crossword champion. Matt Ginsberg's crossword solving program, Dr. Fill, competed unofficially and finished in 104th place. Comedian Ophira Eisenberg, the host of NPR's "Ask Me Another," joined Greg Pliska to do the playoff commentary. Dan Feyer won for the fourth year in a row. Anne Erdmann made the finals for the fourth year in a row, finishing second.

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Year 35 • 2012 • 592 contestants

1stDan Feyer, New York, NY
2ndTyler Hinman, San Francisco, CA
3rdAnne Erdmann, Champaign, IL
Div BJohn Beck, Torrance, CA
Div CGuy Tabachnik, Providence, RI
Div DBenjamin Aisen, New York, NY
Div EAlex Allain, Somerville, MA
JuniorDavid Plotkin, Starkville, MS
FiftiesAnne Erdmann, Champaign, IL
SixtiesDoug Hoylman, Chevy Chase, MD
SeventiesNeil Singer, Washington, DC
SeniorJane Blanshard, Stores, CT
RookieErik Agard, Gaithersburg, MD
Dr. Fill, Matt Ginsberg's crossword-solving program, was the talk of the tournament. It was the subject of a front-page article in the New York Times. On Saturday night Matt gave a demonstration of Dr. Fill's performance on Puzzles #1-#6. Everyone who outscored Dr. Fill on Puzzles #1-#7 won an "I Beat Dr. Fill" button. In the end Dr. Fill was slammed by Puzzles #2 and #5, but still finished impressively in 141st place. Other highlights of the weekend were the 1st World Palindrome Championship (won by Mark Saltveit) and a PuzzleNation team puzzle-solving extravaganza by Eric Berlin and Jeffrey Harris. Liane Hansen, former host of NPR's "Weekend Edition Sunday," and composer/puzzlemaker Greg Pliska provided the playoff commentary.

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Year 34 • 2011 • 655 contestants

1stDan Feyer, New York, NY
2ndTyler Hinman, San Francisco, CA
3rdAnne Erdmann, Champaign, IL
Div BDavid Plotkin, Mississippi State, MS
Div CJeffrey Dubner, Brooklyn, NY
Div DJeff Stacey, Farmington Hills, MI
Div EJoseph Longa, Washington, DC
JuniorDavid Plotkin, Mississippi State, MS
FiftiesAnne Erdmann, Champaign, IL
SixtiesDoug Hoylman, Chevy Chase, MD
SeventiesArthur Schulman, Charlottesville, VA
SeniorMiriam Raphael, Rye Brook, NY
RookieAndrew Snyder, Maynard, MA
A U.S. vs. U.K. cryptic crossword contest, featuring one puzzle made in each country, was held on Friday night. Britain’s Mark Goodliffe won, finishing first on both puzzles. Other weekend highlights were a crossword magic performance by David Kwong, a team puzzle extravaganza based on TV’s “Amazing Race” by Greg Pliska and John Chaneski, and a crossword play, “Life Is Shortz,” written and directed by Lee Marcus. BIC and Penny Publications sponsored the tournament for the first time. Cartoonist Roz Chast presented the prizes. Dan Feyer won for the second year in a row.

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Year 33 • 2010 • 643 contestants

1stDan Feyer, New York, NY
2ndHoward Barkin, Hillsborough, NJ
3rdAnne Erdmann, Champaign, IL
Div BJoon Pahk, Somerville, MA
Div CLouis Lana, New York, NY
Div DBeth Walsh, Lenexa, KS
Div ERyan Hecht, Jackson Heights, NY
JuniorTyler Hinman, San Francisco, CA
FiftiesAl Sanders, Fort Collins, CO
SixtiesDoug Hoylman,Chevy Chase, MD
SeventiesJulie von Haam,Greensboro, GA
SeniorMiriam Raphael,Rye Brook, NY
RookieJoon Pahk, Somerville, MA
Highlights of the weekend included a new hourlong Sunday morning variety show, “Crossworders Got Talent,” featuring music, dance, games, and comedy performed by contestants and officials. The Friday and Saturday night games included “Double Trouble” by Eric Berlin; “Listmania!” by Greg Pliska, Joshua Kosman, and Ken Stern; and “Who Are You?,” a musical quiz by Michael Littman and Marie desJardins, with piano accompaniment by Jon Delfin. Magnus Palm, the editor-in-chief of Sweden’s Bonnier Korsord magazines, led a “Swedish Call My Bluff.” The awards lunch was discontinued. Patrick Creadon, the director of “Wordplay,” presented the prizes. Dan Feyer won the tournament. Five-time winner Tyler Hinman, 25, finished fourth, out of the playoffs, but took the Junior trophy one more time.

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Year 32 • 2009 • 675 contestants

1stTyler Hinman, San Francisco, CA
2ndTrip Payne, Boca Raton, FL
3rdFrancis Heaney, Brooklyn, NY
Div BDan Feyer, New York, NY
Div CMark Dixon, Wilmington, DE
Div DJeremy Horwitz, San Francisco, CA
Div EBrian Cimmet, Jackson Heights, NY
JuniorTyler Hinman, San Francisco, CA
FiftiesAl Sanders, Fort Collins, CO
SixtiesDoug Hoylman, Chevy Chase, MD
SeventiesJane Blanshard, Storrs, CT
SeniorMiriam Raphael, Rye Brook, NY
RookieRoberta Strauss, Pittsburgh, PA
Thanks to a new computer program by Matt Ginsberg, the contestants' solutions were marked by judges with special pens and then scanned into a computer for automatic scoring. Contestants could visit the tournament website to see scans of their own puzzles to check for accuracy of the judging and satisfy their curiosity. The Friday night program included a panel discussion on "Blogging Crosswords," with Amy Reynaldo (a k a Crossword Fiend), Michael Sharp (Rex Parker), Ryan Hecht/Brian Cimmet (of Ryan and Brian Do Crosswords), and Jim Horne (of Wordplay). Tetsuya Miyamoto, the inventor of KenKen, introduced the new Japanese logic puzzle, and Amanda Yesnowitz sang an original parody about it. This was followed by a KenKen contest. Tyler Hinman, still officially a Junior, won his fifth straight ACPT in a nail-biting come-from-behind playoff victory. Robert Irvine, a celebrity chef for the Food Network, prepared the awards lunch. The lunch and the tournament as a whole were filmed for an episode of "Dinner: Impossible," to be aired in May.

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Year 31 • 2008 • 699 contestants

1stTyler Hinman, Chicago, IL
2ndTrip Payne, Boca Raton, FL
3rdHoward Barkin, Hillsborough, NJ
Div BAnne Erdmann, Champaign, IL
Div CDan Feyer, New York, NY
Div DSteve Poris, Monroe Township, NJ
Div EPatrick Blindauer, New York, NY
JuniorTyler Hinman, Chicago, IL
FiftiesEllen Ripstein, New York, NY
SixtiesDoug Hoylman, Chevy Chase, MD
SeventiesCharlotte Cremin, Los Angeles, CA
SeniorMiriam Raphael, Rye Brook, NY
RookieDoug Peterson, Pasadena, CA
For the first time the tournament was held outside Stamford, Conn — at the spacious Brooklyn Bridge Marriott in New York City. The evening activities included a Brooklyn-themed crossword extravaganza by Eric Berlin, a spoof documentary "Wordploy" by Ed Stein, and a game "1 vs. 700" by John Chaneski and Greg Pliska, based on TV's "1 vs. 100." The inaugural Marilyn F. Munro Memorial Prize was awarded to the constructor whom the contestants named, by their votes, as creator of their favorite crossword of the weekend. The winner was Merl Reagle for "If I Wrote the Dictionary." A new age division was added for solvers 80 years and over, won by Miriam Raphael, champion of the second ACPT in 1979, and the winner of trophies at more ACPT's than anyone else in history. The prizes were presented by Grant Barrett and Martha Barnette of public radio's "A Way With Words." Tyler Hinman, 23, became the first person to win the tournament four times in a row.

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Year 30 • 2007 • 698 contestants

1stTyler Hinman, Chicago, IL
2ndAl Sanders, Fort Collins, CO
3rdFrancis Heaney, Brooklyn, NY
Div BByron Walden, Santa Clara, CA
Div CKatie Hamill, Arlington, MA
Div DGretchen McNeely, Portland, OR
Div ELarry Finer, New York, NY
JuniorTyler Hinman, Chicago, IL
FiftiesEllen Ripstein, New York, NY
SixtiesDoug Hoylman, Chevy Chase, MD
SeniorArthur Schulman, Charlottesville, VA
RookieByron Walden, Santa Clara, CA
Publicity from the 2006 documentary "Wordplay" produced a sharp increase in attendance to a new record. Because of crowding, the tournament was held in two ballrooms. Special events included a "Time Capsule" team game by Scott and Susan Weiss, a talk by Berit Veiset of Norway's Allers puzzle magazines, and a Norwegian-style crossword contest by Frank Longo. Director Patrick Creadon presented an hour of "Wordplay" outtakes and publicity. TV's Phil Donahue competed. The grand prize was increased to $5,000. Tyler Hinman edged out perennial runner-up Al Sanders in the playoff. Broadway composer/lyricist Richard Maltby Jr. presented the awards. Will Shortz announced that the ACPT would be moving to Brooklyn in 2008.

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Year 29 • 2006 • 498 contestants

1stTyler Hinman, Troy, NY
2ndKiran Kedlaya, Boston, MA
3rdEllen Ripstein, New York, NY
Div BAdam Cohen, Brooklyn, NY
Div CKen Jennings, Murray, UT
Div DDave Mackey, Toms River, NJ
Div EJay Keller, Sunnyvale, CA
JuniorTyler Hinman, Troy, NY
FiftiesEllen Ripstein, New York, NY
SixtiesDoug Hoylman, Chevy Chase, MD
SeniorEric Reinhardt, Jacksonville, FL
RookieKen Jennings, Murray, UT
Advance publicity for the documentary "Wordplay," which was centered around the 2005 ACPT, helped draw a record number of contestants. The movie was given a large-screen sneak preview Saturday night, preceding its theatrical release in June, courtesy of IFC Films. Wayne Gould, the New Zealander who launched the worldwide sudoku craze, delivered remarks on how he did it. This was followed by a $500-prize sudoku "smackdown," won by Byron Calver, of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Ken Jennings, the all-time biggest money-winner on "Jeopardy!" ($2.5 million), presented the prizes on Sunday. He himself won the C and Rookie categories, making him the first ACPT prize presenter ever to award a prize to himself. 21-year-old Tyler Hinman won for the second time.

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Year 28 • 2005 • 455 contestants

1stTyler Hinman, Troy, NY
2ndTrip Payne, Boca Raton, FL
3rdAl Sanders, Fort Collins, CO
Div BAmy Reynaldo, Chicago, IL
Div CSusan Hoffman, Merion Station, PA
Div DDan Wachtell, New York, NY
Div ERichard Early, Dallas, TX
JuniorTyler Hinman, Troy, NY
FiftiesJon Delfin, New York, NY
SixtiesDoug Hoylman, Chevy Chase, MD
SeniorCharlotte Cremin, Los Angeles, CA
RookieAmy Reynaldo, Chicago, IL
In a demonstration of speed crossword construction, Mike Shenk of the Wall Street Journal created a 15x15-square puzzle, from start to finish, in 60 minutes, which the contestants then raced to solve. Patrick Berry presented an acclaimed "Multimedia Crossword," solved by teams, in which every clue was in a different form. On Saturday night 12 contestants competed in "American Crossword Idol," a talent show, which by audience vote was won by Leslie Billig, singing "My Will" (a humorous tribute to Will Shortz) to the melody of "Bill" from "Show Boat." The whole tournament was filmed for a forthcoming documentary. Tyler Hinman, a 20-year-old technology student from Rensselaer, became the youngest champion in the tournament's history.

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Year 27 • 2004 • 478 contestants

1stTrip Payne, Boca Raton, FL
2ndJon Delfin, New York, NY
3rdAl Sanders, Fort Collins, CO
Div. BJoshua Kosman, San Francisco, CA
Div. CDan Katz, Providence, RI
Div. DJeffrey Harris, Nashville, TN
Div. EDaniel Kim, Freehold, NJ
JuniorRoger Barkan, Laurel, MD
FiftiesGeorge Henschel, Springfield, VA
SixtiesDoug Hoylman, Chevy Chase, MD
SeniorMiriam Raphael, Rye Brook, NY
RookieNeil Singer, Washington, DC
The first prize was increased to $4,000. Mel Taub gave a humorous talk on Puns & Anagrams crosswords and his 50-year career as a puzzlemaker. The late Margaret Farrar, the first crossword editor of the New York Times, was feted with an historical slide show, puzzles, and personal tributes by puzzlemakers and editors who knew her. More than 15 members of the Farrar family attended.

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Year 26 • 2003 • 495 contestants

1stJon Delfin, New York, NY
2ndTrip Payne, Oakland Park, FL
3rdAl Sanders, Fort Collins, CO
Div. BTyler Hinman, Troy, NY
Div. CFrank Colangelo, Murrysville, PA
Div. DStella Daily, Pittsburgh, PA
Div. EKim Taylor, Apple Valley, CA
JuniorRoger Barkan, Laurel, MD
FiftiesEllen Ripstein, New York, NY
SixtiesSpencer Koppel, Chicago, IL
SeniorJeannette Brennan, Washington, DC
RookieMiranda Smith, New York, NY
Attendance rose almost 25% to a new record number. These included 188 Rookies, the most ever. The first prize was increased to $2,000. The Friday night games included a jumbo 29x29-square crossword by Frank Longo, printed on giant sheets of paper, for team solving. With the help of an interpreter, Jean Rossat — crossword constructor for the Geneva-based newspaper Le Temps and director of the French national crossword championships — spoke about French crosswords and crossword contests. Jon Delfin became the tournament's first seven-time champion.

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Year 25 • 2002 • 401 contestants

1stJon Delfin, New York, NY
2ndZack Butler, Hartland, VT
3rdAl Sanders, Fort Collins, CO
Div. BGreg Brume, Somerville, MA
Div. CJoan Herer, Wareham, MA
Div. DLance Nathan, Cambridge, MA
Div. EPat Whitehead, Wall, NJ
JuniorAndrew Feist, Durham, NC
FiftiesGeorge Henschel, Springfield, VA
SixtiesJeannette Brennan, Washington, DC
SeniorMiriam Raphael, Rye Brook, NY
RookieJoan Herer, Wareham, MA
Attendance jumped almost 30% to a new record number. The contest's most talked-about puzzle was by Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon, in which the clues appeared in story form. News coverage included "ABC World News Tonight," CNN, CNBC, USA Radio Network, The New Yorker (before the contest), and numerous newspapers. "60 Minutes" filmed all weekend for a piece on Will Shortz (which aired on Jan. 5, 2003). NPR's Liane Hansen presented the prizes. Jon Delfin became the tournament's second six-time champion.

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Year 24 • 2001 • 310 contestants

1stEllen Ripstein, New York, NY
2ndPatrick Jordan, Ponca City, OK
3rdAl Sanders, Fort Collins, CO
Div. BMatt Jones, Portland, OR
Div. CMartin Cobern, Cheshire, CT
Div. DGail MacLean, Norwalk, CT
Div. EDean Sturtevant, Waltham, MA
JuniorDave Tuller, Boulder, CO
FiftiesDoug Hoylman, Chevy Chase, MD
SixtiesCharlotte Cremin, New York, NY
SeniorMiriam Raphael, Rye Brook, NY
RookieMartin Cobern, Cheshire, CT
The first prize was increased to $1,500, bringing the total cash and prizes to more than $4,000. News coverage included "ABC World News Sunday," "Good Morning America," "CBS Sunday Morning," The Wall Street Journal, and other media. The champion was Ellen Ripstein, a researcher/proofreader from New York City, who won for the first time after finishing in the top five every year for the previous 18 years.

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Year 23 • 2000 • 286 contestants

1stDoug Hoylman, Chevy Chase, MD
2ndEllen Ripstein, New York, NY
3rdTrip Payne, Atlanta, GA
Div. BKatherine Bryant, Cambridge, MA
Div. CPeter Gordon, Great Neck, NY
Div. DMark Danna, New York, NY
Div. ESuzy Smith, Sea Cliff, NY
JuniorDavid Tuller, Boulder, CO
FiftiesDoug Hoylman, Chevy Chase, MD
SixtiesAlison Peebles, Princeton, NJ
SeniorMiriam Raphael, Rye Brook, NY
RookieDavid Fixmer, De Kalb, IL
In the evening games, crossword constructor Henry Hook presented a custom-made version of "Concentration," and contestant Trip Payne presented "Who Wants to Be a Thousandaire" (in which $1 of real money was awarded for every $1,000 of "Millionaire" money). The tournament prizes were awarded by John Carpenter, the contestant who won a million dollars on the real "Millionaire" without needing any “lifelines.” Winners: 1 — Doug Hoylman (the first six-time champion, and at 56 the oldest champion ever), 2 — Ellen Ripstein (a finalist for the 12th time, but as yet never a champion), 3 — Trip Payne.

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Year 22 • 1999 • 254 contestants

1stJon Delfin, New York, NY
2ndDoug Hoylman, Chevy Chase, MD
3rdAl Sanders, Fort Collins, CO
Div. BRon Osher, Stamford, CT
Div. CKatherine Bryant, Cambridge, MA
Div. DPeter Gordon, Great Neck, NY
Div. EChris Aldrich, Levittown, NY
JuniorZack Butler, Pittsburgh, PA
FiftiesDoug Hoylman, Chevy Chase, MD
SixtiesCharlotte Cremin, New York, NY
SeniorMiriam Raphael, Rye Brook, NY
RookieKatherine Bryant, Cambridge, MA
NPR's Neal Conan and crossword constructor Merl Reagle teamed up to give informative and hilarious play-by-play commentary on the Division A and B playoffs. Puzzle #4 in the event, by Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon, contained a spoonerism in every clue — and was hugely popular. Results were posted from a Duke University computer program that had presolved the tournament puzzles, showing that it would have finished in 147th place overall had it been able to compete. Contestants celebrated the 75th anniversary of Simon and Schuster's first crossword puzzle book, and S&S crossword editor John Samson spoke Saturday night. The ABC News program "Nightline" filmed an entire "Friday Night Special" on the tournament, which aired on July 9.

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Year 21 • 1998 • 251 contestants

1stTrip Payne, Atlanta, GA
2ndJon Delfin, New York, NY
3rdEllen Ripstein, New York, NY
Div. BRobert Mackey, Oakhurst, NJ
Div. CJoshua Kosman, San Francisco, CA
Div. DRich Norris, Mahopac, NY
Div. EPeter Simkin, Worcester, MA
JuniorZack Butler, Pittsburgh, PA
FiftiesJohn McNeill, Austin, TX
SixtiesCharlotte Cremin, New York, NY
SeniorMiriam Raphael, Rye Brook, NY
RookieRobert Mackey, Oakhurst, NJ
NPR host (and minor-league baseball announcer) Neal Conan gave play-by-play color commentary on the Division A playoff. NPR's Liane Hansen awarded the prizes. The evening entertainments included "TV Game Show Night," with custom-made versions of classic quiz and game programs by Henry Hook and Mike Shenk. For the first time, concurrent with the tournament in Stamford, solvers could compete online from home for fun.

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Year 20 • 1997 • 255 contestants

1stDouglas Hoylman, Chevy Chase, MD
2ndEllen Ripstein, New York, NY
3rdTrip Payne, Atlanta, GA
Div. BPatty Buethe, North Merrick, NY
Div. CKiran Kedlaya, Princeton, NJ
Div. DBruce Kahn, Atlanta, GA
Div. EFrank Longo, Pittsburgh, PA
JuniorMatt Gaffney, Frostburg, MD
FiftiesDouglas Hoylman, Chevy Chase, MD
SixtiesMarion Roemer, Princeton, NJ
SeniorMiriam Raphael, Rye Brook, NY
RookieMatt Gaffney, Frostburg, MD
Crossword constructors Cathy Millhauser, Merl Reagle, Mel Rosen, and Mike Shenk led a panel discussion on how to make and sell crossword puzzles. John Williams, the executive director of the National Scrabble Association, awarded the prizes. Douglas Hoylman became the event's first five-time champion; also, at 53, he tied Miriam Raphael as the oldest champion.

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Year 19 • 1996 • 239 contestants

1stDouglas Hoylman, Chevy Chase, MD
2ndTrip Payne, Atlanta, GA
3rdJon Delfin, New York, NY
Div. BRandolph Ross, Syosset, NY
Div. CJohn Carberry, Stamford, CT
Div. DJonathan Lowe, New York, NY
Div. EHugh Murphy, Hockessin, DE
JuniorScott Weiss, Baltimore, MD
FiftiesDouglas Hoylman, Chevy Chase, MD
SixtiesJoe Clonick, New York, NY
SeniorMiriam Raphael, Rye Brook, NY
RookieWilliam Michaels, Hopewell, NJ
Special guest: Brian Greer, crossword editor of The Times of London. Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon presented an around-the-hotel puzzle scavenger hunt, leading up to team performances of marches on kazoos. Total paid attendance (contestants plus noncompeting participants) and officials was approximately 300 — a new high. Doug Hoylman won again, tying the record for most wins by an individual.

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Year 18 • 1995 • 232 contestants

1stJon Delfin, New York, NY
2ndDouglas Hoylman, Chevy Chase, MD
3rdEllen Ripstein, New York, NY
Div. BRaymond Hamel, Madison, Wl
Div. CNorman Davis, Englewood, NJ
Div. DZack Butler, Stowe, VT
Div. EHarriet Clifton, Rochester, NY
JuniorZack Butler, Stowe, VT
FiftiesDouglas Hoylman, Chevy Chase, MD
SixtiesCharlotte Cremin, New York, NY
SeniorViolet Gaffney, Brattleboro, VT
RookieGreg Pliska, Brooklyn, NY
Two more skill divisions were added, bringing the total to five, and making 20 solving categories altogether. Ruth Biemiller, the last crossword editor of the New York Herald Tribune (1952-66), presented the prizes. Palindromist Jon Agee spoke on palindrome writing, and Leslie Billig and Jon Delfin performed newly discovered crossword songs from the 1920s. Delfin won for the fourth time.

 

Year 17 • 1994 • 216 contestants

1stDouglas Hoylman, Chevy Chase, MD
2ndAl Sanders, Nashua, NH
3rdGeorge Henschel, Springfield, VA
Div. BElaine Lippman, Hoboken, NJ
Div. CRaymond Hamel, Madison, Wl
JuniorTrip Payne, Atlanta, GA
FiftiesJoel Darrow, Jersey City, NJ
SixtiesCharlotte Cremin, New York, NY
SeniorViolet Gaffney, Brattleboro, VT
RookiePatrick Jordan, Ponca City, OK
Special guest: Thomas Middleton, double-crostic maker for The New York Times and Harper's magazine. Contestant Ed Stein presented a 45-minute film on the 1993 contest. Doug Hoylman won for the third time.

 

Year 16 • 1993 • 192 contestants

1stTrip Payne, Atlanta, GA
2ndEllen Ripstein, New York, NY
3rdDouglas Hoylman, Chevy Chase, MD
Div. BElsa Angrist, Arlington, VA
Div. CJohn Leavy, Austin, TX
JuniorTrip Payne, Atlanta, GA
FiftiesJoel Darrow, Jersey City, NJ
SixtiesMiriam Raphael, Rye Brook, NY
SeniorGeorge Opper, Brooklyn, NY
RookieRobert Lieblich, Arlington, VA
Constructor Maura Jacobson was honored. Henry Hook led a "Phantom" team puzzle-solving extravaganza on Saturday night, his identity being kept secret until the end. A new solving division (70 years and up) was added. Trip Payne, 24, of Atlanta, became the youngest champion ever.

 

Year 15 • 1992 • 172 contestants

1stDouglas Hoylman, Chevy Chase, MD
2ndEllen Ripstein, New York, NY
3rdTrip Payne, Atlanta, GA
Div. BRandolph Ross, Syosset, NY
Div. CGeorge Orsula, Boxborough, MA
JuniorTrip Payne, Atlanta, GA
FiftiesEd Bethea, New York, NY
SeniorMiriam Raphael, Rye Brook, NY
RookieGeorge Orsula, Boxborough, MA
Prizes in 10 geographical regions were introduced. The tournament's first computer-generated crossword (by Eric Albert) appeared as the playoff puzzle. Attendance set an all-time record. Doug Hoylman recaptured the championship.

 

Year 14 • 1991 • 149 contestants

1stJon Delfin, New York, NY
2ndGeorge Henschel, Springfield, VA
3rdDouglas Hoylman, Chevy Chase, MD
Div. BJulian Ochrymowych, Basking Ridge, NJ
Div. CLiz Izenour, Philadelphia, PA
FiftiesEd Bethea, New York, NY
SeniorMiriam Raphael, Rye Brook, NY
RookieLiz Izenour, Philadelphia, PA
[Note: No Junior event was held this year]]
A crossword jigsaw contest was held Friday night, and every contestant took a copy of the jigsaw puzzle home. A short film, "Crosswords," was shown. Jon Delfin made it three in a row.

 

Year 13 • 1990 • 143 contestants

1stJon Delfin, New York, NY
2ndEllen Ripstein, New York, NY
3rdDouglas Hoylman, Chevy Chase, MD
JuniorDan Seabolt, Norwalk, CT
FiftiesEd Bethea, New York, NY
SeniorMiriam Raphael, Rye Brook, NY
RookieBruce Cramer, Walpole, NH
Playoffs were held in all three solving divisions for the first time. The "Pick Your Poison" tournament and "Puzzle Treasure Hunt" made their debut. Jon Delfin won again.

 

Year 12 • 1989 • 134 contestants

1stJon Delfin, New York, NY
2ndDouglas Hoylman, Chevy Chase, MD
3rdEllen Ripstein, New York, NY
SeniorMiriam Raphael, Rye Brook, NY
FiftiesJoseph Clonick, New York, NY
JuniorJohn Burbank, Guilford, CT
The first prize was doubled to $1,000, and the Rookie event was introduced. Janet Wynne Vaast, the daughter of Arthur Wynne (inventor of the crossword), presented the prizes. Jon Delfin, of New York City, won.

 

Year 11 • 1988 • 137 contestants

1stDouglas Hoylman, Chevy Chase, MD
2ndJon Delfin, New York, NY
3rdEllen Ripstein, New York, NY
SeniorMiriam Raphael, Rye Brook, NY
FiftiesEd Bethea, New York, NY
JuniorLaura Sabel, Woodcliff Lake, NJ
The 75th anniversary of the crossword puzzle. Contestants Jon Delfin and Leslie Billig presented a concert of crossword songs old and new. The history of crosswords was illustrated in slides. The Fifties event was introduced. Will Shortz, the director of the tournament since its beginning, assumed business control of the event from the Stamford Marriott. The winner: Doug Hoylman, of Chevy Chase, Md.

 

Year 10 • 1987 • 118 contestants

1stDavid Rosen, New York, NY
2ndEllen Ripstein, New York, NY
3rdEd Bethea, New York, NY
SeniorJinny Jones, Bethesda, MD
JuniorLeslie Collins, East Williston, NY
Junior and Senior events were introduced. Official Publications sponsored the tournament for the first time. E.J. Kahn, Jr., wrote a lengthy article about the tournament for The New Yorker. David Rosen won for the fourth time and afterward announced his retirement from competition.

 

Year 9 • 1986 • 130 contestants

1stDavid Rosen, Buffalo, NY
2ndRebecca Kornbluh, Mundelein, IL
3rdEllen Ripstein, New York, NY
Three skill divisions were introduced. Crossword videos were shown on Saturday night. A telephone crossword answer service, of the kind that would later become popular in newspapers nationwide, was demonstrated publicly for the first time. Will Weng presented the prizes. The winner: David Rosen.

 

Year 8 • 1985 • 110 contestants

1stDavid Rosen, Buffalo, NY
2ndRebecca Kornbluh, Mundelein, IL
3rdEric Schwartz, Newton, MA
The first doubles contest was held on Friday night. The late Margaret Farrar was honored with a slide show. Actor/crossword constructor Arnold Moss presented the prizes. David Rosen became the first person to win the tournament twice.

 

Year 7 • 1984 • 115 contestants

1stJohn McNeill, Austin, TX
2ndDavid Rosen, Buffalo, NY
3rdStanley Newman, Massapequa Park, NY
The first puzzle pentathlon was held. Also a pioneering demonstration was made of crossword solving by computer. Margaret Farrar presented the prizes for the last time. The winner: John McNeill, of Austin, Texas.

 

Year 6 • 1983 • 146 contestants

1stDavid Rosen, Buffalo, NY
2ndStanley Newman, Brooklyn, NY
3rdEllen Ripstein, New York, NY
America's first cryptic crossword tournament was held on Friday night. Mike Shenk introduced computerized scoring, and the main tournament playoff was conducted for the first time on large Plexiglas boards. David Rosen, a high school math teacher from Buffalo, N.Y., won.

 

Year 5 • 1982 • 132 contestants

1stStanley Newman, Brooklyn, NY
2ndPhilip Cohen, Aliquippa, PA
3rdJoseph Clonick, New York, NY
Special guests: Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon, of The Atlantic, and Michelle Arnot, author of What's Gnu? A History of the Crossword Puzzle. People magazine ran a two-page spread on the tournament. Champion: Stanley Newman, of Massapequa Park, N.Y.

 

Year 4 • 1981 • 125 contestants

1stPhilip Cohen, Aliquippa, PA
2ndJoel Darrow, White Plains, NY
3rdJohn Chervokas, Briarcliff Manor, NY
Special guest: Ruth von Phul, the first crossword champion of the world (1924), who spoke about tournaments in the 1920s. Philip Cohen, of Aliquippa, Pa., was the winner.

 

Year 3 • 1980 • 128 contestants

1stDaniel Pratt, Laurel, Maryland
2ndMiriam Raphael, Port Chester, NY
3rdJoel Darrow, Greenburgh, NY
Henry Hook and Merl Reagle made their tournament constructing debuts. The first championship playoff was conducted among the top three contestants — on overhead projectors. Daniel Pratt, of Laurel, Maryland, won.

 

Year 2 • 1979 • 154 contestants

1stMiriam Raphael, Port Chester, NY
2ndNancy Schuster, Rego Park, NY
3rdMerl Reagle, Santa Monica, CA
The first full weekend tournament, with warm-up puzzles and games on Friday night. The modern scoring system was adopted, awarding points for correct words and a bonus for minutes finished early. Champion: Miriam Raphael, of Rye Brook, N.Y.

Pictures

 

Year 1 • 1978 • 149 contestants

1stNancy Schuster, Rego Park, NY
2ndEleanor Cassidy, Fairfield, CT
3rdMurray Leavitt, Pound Ridge, NY
The first major American crossword tournament since the 1930s. It had just five puzzles, constructed by Maura Jacobson, Jordan Lasher, Jack Luzzatto, Tap Osborn, and Jack Steinhardt. The event began at 3:00 Saturday afternoon, concluded with a final puzzle on Sunday morning, and cost only $20 to enter (banquet included!). Points were awarded for correct letters (not words) in the grid — a big headache for the judges, who literally stayed up all night grading papers. Nancy Schuster, a housewife from Queens, N.Y., won. Margaret Farrar presented the prizes. Media coverage included NBC, CBS, AP, UPI, The New York Times, Newsday, Sports Illustrated, and many more.