Just about 24 hours from the time I am writing these words, Dave and I will be at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in Stamford, Connecticut.
Ever since I was doing puzzles in the first couple of years of Games magazine as a high-schooler, I thought that having a national competition was a dandy idea. How cool would it be, I thought back then, to actually participate in this against other kings and queens of the black-and-white?
This weekend I will be in the hunt for the fourth time as I go against the titans of the 15x15 interlocks, Trip, Al, Tyler, Ennie, Amy, and all the greats of this yearly dance. Someone told me that this was the true March Madness, not those guys dribbling that orange ball. And in an e-mail to a family member, I mentioned that this is the one weekend all year where I mingle the most with like-minded souls.
The best part about being at Stamford this year is that this is the first year I can tell everyone that I am a professional crossword constructor, with one puzzle under my belt, and three more to be published. Hopefully this year I will be able to get a lot of tips from the constructors to better my craft.
Plus, Friday night will mean more than wine and cheese as there will be a Sudoku competition hosted by Wayne Gould, the man who revived this puzzle form and made it a multi-million-dollar industry, and a trivia game featuring "Jeopardy!" monolith Ken Jennings, who will hopefully stay the heck out of the tourney itself...all kidding aside, it will be nice to meet a guy who's got a lot in the old noggin.
Those of you who have read our blog, we will see you there, and of course have a great time. If you can't get to Stamford, Dave will be filing reports all weekend.
As Will Shortz would say, "Ready? Begin..."