American Crossword Puzzle Tournament

 Crossword Tournament

In the News


The final paragraph contains the answer to a clue from puzzle 6.

Source: The New York Sun
Date: March 3, 2008
Byline: Gary Shapiro

Hundreds Across, Few Down at Crossword Meet

For some, the thought of taking a timed test under exam pressure is enough to rattle nerves. Over the weekend, several hundred verbally inclined enthusiasts gathered to do so for fun at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, which had its largest attendance in its 31-year history.

"It's a lot of fun for word nerds," the crossword editor of The New York Sun, Peter Gordon, who finished third in the "B" division, said. Finalists stood before easels completing puzzles large enough for the audience to see. In the tournament's most talked-about match, Tyler Hinman, sporting a red Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute baseball cap, clinched the top "A" division title for a record-breaking fourth time, after a Floridian, Trip Payne, completed his puzzle first but had two letters wrong. "The puzzle was incredibly hard but fair," Mr. Hinman said.

In order to solve tough puzzles, one needs "a certain flexibility of mind," another crossword solver, Katherine Bryant, a Massachusetts-based editor of science textbooks for middle schools, said.

Although crosswords tend to be a solitary endeavor, the annual conclave was noticeably gregarious, attracting many leading puzzle solvers. "If you think you're pretty good, this is the place to come," the New York Times crossword puzzle editor, Will Shortz, the founder and director of the gathering, said.

While competition remains serious, humor abounded on and off the checkerboard page. The audience roared during the finals when Mr. Hinman wrote "beats me" in jest when he was temporarily stumped. Contestants enjoyed a Maura Jacobson puzzle on Saturday that contained phrases the cartoon character Elmer Fudd might have uttered. The answer to a clue for parakeet noise in the Netherlands, for example, was "Dutch tweet."

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