Saturday, October 27, 2007

Westchester Tournament Report


Nancy Taubenslag, Jeff Schwartz Take Second, Third Places

Bob Mackey unquestionably earned his place on the podium at tonight's 11th Annual Westchester Crossword Puzzle Tournament, hosted by Will Shortz and held at the St. John's Episcopal Church in Pleasantville. Although he backed into his podium placing as a result of a first-finisher's gaffe on the Tuesday, October 30 puzzle, he did finish the third puzzle in record time. Nancy Taubenslag had the first puzzle nailed (Dave Mackey was a very close second), and Jeff Schwartz was the third puzzle's representative.

All three competitors did the Thursday, November 1 puzzle perfectly, but Mackey finished first to take his first-ever Westchester title. Taubenslag was second, Schwartz was third.

Other winners of stuff at the tournament, which benefitted the Pleasantville Fund For Learning, included:

Team Winners: 1. Alyssa Jacobs/Maria Pouvin; 2. Amy Berg/Mike Robinson; 3. Don Wasson/Susan Faber
Under 25: Oliver Hill (17-year-old who just had his first NYT puzzle published)
Seniors: Casey Julian
Pleasantville: David Bethian
Rookie: Jack Martin

The puzzles were constructed by Fred Piscop, Gary Steinmehl, Ken Stern and Larry Shearer.

Head judge Stan Kurzban headed a team which included three former winners at the ACPT: Nancy Schuster, Miriam Raphael, and Ellen Ripstein. Also aboard: Patrick Merrell, Adam Cohen, Paula Gamache, Mike Nothnagel, Patrick Blindauer, Frank Longo, Tony Orbach, David Kahn, Dave Tuller, Meredith Mennett of St. Martin's Press, and the aforementioned Messrs. Piscop and Stern.

A gallery of pictures is now up.

Photo by Dave Mackey - and yes, we doctored up that grid so we don't spoil the puzzles

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Snyder Bests 857 In Sudoku Championship

Dr. Thomas Snyder solved the final puzzle in a few ticks over 7 minutes to win the first-ever U.S. Sudoku Championship today in Philadelphia and the $10,000 grand prize. 857 contestants were involved in the one-day tournament, significantly more than the number that competed at last year's ACPT.

11th Westchester Tournament Next Friday

The Puzzle Brothers would like to remind you that next Friday, October 26, is the 11th annual Westchester Crossword Puzzle Tournament, which will be held in the community room of the St. John's Episcopal Church in Pleasantville, at 7:30 p.m.

The tournament will once again be hosted by the one and only Will Shortz, a resident of Pleasantville. Many important editors, constructors and solvers are expected at the event as either contestants or judges.

Again, the tournament will consist of the four New York Times puzzles from Monday-Thursday of the following week. The first three puzzles are played at tables and the fourth puzzle is used as a ACPT-style stage playoff for the individual championship.

Prizes including crossword books from The Village Bookstore will be given in several categories including individual (won last year by Dan Katz) and three awards for team play (winners included The Puzzle Brothers).

There will also be a dessert buffet afterwards, so come hungry. Be sure to say hello to The Puzzle Brothers and the future Mrs. Puzzle Brother!

UPDATE: Tracy, unfortunately, is not able to come tonight. She will however be at Brooklyn and you can congratulate her on becoming Mrs. Puzzle Brother at that time.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Los Angeles Times Obituary For Barry Tunick

Here is the obit as run in the LA Times for its crossword creator, Barry Tunick. The longtime writing partner of Sylvia Bursztyn died on Saturday in Culver City, California at the age of 72. The obit also notes that Tunick had enough crosswords stockpiled to last through next February, at which time the credit will be solely Bursztyn's.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Barry Tunick dies

Contructor Barry Tunick, who for 28 years partnered with Sylvia Bursztyn on the sunday Los Angeles Times puzzle, has died of acute leukemia. According to reports, the diagnosis was relatively recent.

The following is a reminiscence to the Cruciverb mail list by Sylvia Bursztyn.

My friends,

Barry Tunick and I co-wrote the Los Angeles Times Sunday Puzzler for just short of twenty-eight years. Ours is not the syndicate puzzle. It is exclusive to the Sunday LA Times. Long story, for another time.

Barry told me only weeks ago of being diagnosed with acute leukemia, and just days ago told me he thought this weekend would be his last. John Suarez's report [another posting to Cruciverb] tells the story. Barry said the same to me, that he cherished his family and had had a fine life.

A partnership does not last twenty-eight years with just anybody. He has to be a thoughtful, patient, considerate, tolerant, agreeable man. In short, a thesaurus of fine qualities. In business, he was without guile or games. He dealt in a straightforward and honorable manner.

I was theme, grid and editing; he was clues and theme suggestions. I'm going to carry on the Sunday Puzzler and our Random House volumes, with his blessing and his generous confidence in me.

I will miss Barry, our collaboration and his excellence, forever. The loss is incalculable.

Sylvia Bursztyn

Monday, October 08, 2007

S&S Shutters Original Series, Yet Triples Output

It's the end of an era - but the start of an exciting new one - for the long-running Simon & Schuster "Crossword Puzzle Book" series, which began in 1924 with the original "Cross Word Puzzle Book", edited by Margaret Petherbridge.

It's been announced that this month's 258th volume is the final volume of the original Simon & Schuster series. But, in a happy turnaround to this seemingly sad announcement, Simon & Schuster announced the new Mega Crosswords series.

Edited by John Samson, these books will have 300 crosswords (100 of which will be 21x's) - the previous yearly output of the six CPB volumes - and be published three times a year, in January, June and October. The suggested price will be $13.95 which is a better value.

ADDENDUM: John Samson will again be accepting submissions for the newly expanded S&S offerings. Besides the usual assortment of 17's, 19's and 21's, he will now be accepting 15's. His updated spec sheet should soon be appearing on