ben tausig (datageneral) wrote,

Crossword Tournament

Tonight begins the famous American Crossword Puzzle Tournament(ACPT), in Stamford, Connecticut. There is no competition the first night; rather, constructers get together for a big dinner and Shortz emcees some word games. I believe Ken Jennings will also be on hand for a trivia challenge.

Most of the puzzles are tomorrow. Then, Sunday is the final showdown in which only the solvers at the top of the standings participate.

As last year, I'm bringing my camera and doing my best to dress "cool."

I can't bring myself to try hard in the competition. I just think that once you start solving for time, you can never go back, as evidenced by a recent article about a woman who is a fast solver and a possible favorite to take home the gold (i.e. the desk reference set) at Stamford this year. In the article, she says that she can't solve a puzzle slowly anymore. Puzzles are meant to be leisurely. There's also a certain semantic reduction in solving fast, which brings crosswords a couple steps closer to Scrabble. The speed-solver recognizes letter patterns, often filling in words without even reading the clue. Spelling is less interesting to me than meaning.

Mostly I'm excited to meet my internet crossword friends. There's Brendan Emmett Quigley, the "bad boy" of the cruciverbalist world. He is in a band and recently wrote a funny puzzle about airplanes. Amy Reynaldo writes the preeminent crossword blog, Crossword Fiend. Blind Sonny Coleman is a bluesman/cruciverbalist from Arkansas. He recently published a clever puzzle in the Los Angeles Times about a good woman.

Which one of these cruciverbalists isn't real?
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