Okay, it's only 11:xx or so the night before, but the day has arrived. The American Crossword Puzzle Tournament will launch its 31st edition in New York City, some 41 miles and eleven months removed from its longtime home of Stamford, Connecticut.
The substantially higher prices for tournament accomodations and lodging, coupled with a first-time spectator's fee of $30 for the finals (if you want to read Will's defense of this year's prices, read Stella Daily's blog) have not deterred almost 700 of the world's best crossword solvers from coming to the Brooklyn Bridge Marriott for this weekend's festivities, kicking off formally Friday evening at 8:00 with a rather informal game and puzzle session.
Then, late Saturday morning, the for-real puzzling begins as the competitors will flip over the first of six puzzles to be solved that day. We do not know at this point exactly who the puzzlemakers are (with the exception of Maura Jacobson, who always provides Puzzle #6, much to the crowd's eternal delight), but they're usually the men and women at the top of their game. Who will do the killer finals puzzle this year? Who will have the "puzzle of death" that almost always seems to be slotted in #5?
We are looking forward to seeing all 700 or so of you in Brooklyn tomorrow!