American Crossword Puzzle Tournament

Perennial Puzzle Contender Wins First Place, at Last

Source: Wall Street Journal
Date: March 13, 2001
Byline: Hilary Stout

Ellen Ripstein Is a Puzzle Whiz, But Will She Be No. 1 This Year?

STAMFORD, Conn. -- She finally did it. In her 19th year as one of the top five finishers at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, Ellen Ripstein finally won first prize.

Ms. Ripstein, known to her rivals as "the Susan Lucci of crosswords," after the soap-opera actress who was a perennial Emmy nominee before finally winning, was featured in a Page One article last week.

In this year's tournament final, held here yesterday, Ms. Ripstein initially appeared to have missed top prize again. Patrick Jordan finished the championship puzzle before Ms. Ripstein, in 12 minutes, 7 seconds, compared with Ms. Ripstein's 13 minutes, 35 seconds. But Mr. Jordan had one letter wrong -- a P should have been an M -- while Ms. Ripstein was 100% accurate. Puzzle scores are based on accuracy first, then speed.