Saturday, March 28, 2015

American Crossword Puzzle Tournament (ACPT) - Special Report

Hello Crossword Puzzle Lovers!

Horace here, reporting from the bar at the Marriott hotel in Stamford, CT, where from my perch I see among the crowd none other than Brendan Emmett Quigley, Ian Livengood, Jeff Chen, Deb Amlen, Amy Reynaldo, Dan Feyer, and many, many other crossword constructors, bloggers, and solvers. It's a lively scene, full of boisterous discussion, boasts, excuses, commiseration, and camaraderie. Sounds a little schmaltzy? Well, okay, I might be a tad tipsy, but can you blame me? I faced Jeff Chen's "Puzzle #5" today, and I live to tell the tale. Of course, I can't tell much of the tale, since I didn't finish it, but I dare say that there are few here who could tell it all.

Ready for the first puzzle.
As I learned the hard way last year, at the hands of B.E.Q. (who told me last night that his puzzle #5 was edited to make it easier), puzzle five is the one (of the seven puzzles we all face) that separates the wheat from the chaff. Five hundred and seventy-eight of us were given thirty minutes to finish a devilishly tricky grid. It's brutal, but it's part of what makes this event memorable. Last year, Frannie and I solved together online, and after the timer went off on number five, our score was calculated, but we soldiered on and eventually finished. This year, they collected the papers and I'm left with more of an empty feeling, but I have been told, by Will himself, that all contestants will get copies of the puzzles to bring home with them, so someday, eventually, Frannie and I will finish that thing.

Chen & Shortz
But I can't be too mad at Mr. Chen, because last night, when I introduced myself to him, and confessed that I have been blogging the NYTX for about two years, he asked the name of our blog. When I told him, he recognized it (!), and said "Oh, I think we just linked to that." (!!) And sure enough, Horace and Frances is now on the blogroll at ( It is partially a pay site, but it's completely open this weekend, during the tournament. I don't know if the blogroll is usually behind a paywall or not, but go check it out today or tomorrow to be sure to see us! Or better yet, sign up and get access to all that the incredible site has to offer!

Well, that's probably enough for tonight. Maybe I'll write another report tomorrow, when the whole thing is over. But before I go, I just want to say that this event is a blast, and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys solving crosswords. I came here with no hope of winning and every expectation of having a good time, and both things have come true. :)

- Horace

1 comment:

  1. Awesome! I'd love to get copies of the puzzles myself. I had no time today to try them out online.