Friday, October 31, 2008

"The Simpsons" To Spoof The Crossword World

In an episode airing on Sunday, November 16, "The Simpsons" will delve headlong into the world of crosswords. "Homer and Lisa Exchange Cross Words" casts Lisa as a whiz at crosswords, so she enters a local tournament. Meanwhile, Homer sees the seamy side of crossword tournaments with its underworld betting scams, and winds up having to bet against his daughter in another tournament. Will Shortz and Merl Reagle will provide their own voices for the episode.

According to some reports, there will be a tie-in with that day's New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Huang Crowned Sudoku King

Veteran puzzler Wei-Hwa Huang has won the second annual Philadelphia Inquirer Sudoku National Championship. He bested first-year champion Thomas Snyder on the final puzzle by a margin of 26 seconds. Here's a report from Marketwatch.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

S&S 3 Now Out

Simon & Schuster has just now published the third volume of the Mega Crossword Puzzle Book. The Puzzle Brothers (well, one of them, anyway) have now entered the pantheon of S&S creators, with a puzzle by Dave called "Stretching Reality" - it's a 19x, which is a size unique to S&S. Buy it, if not for Dave's puzzle, but the 299 other puzzles you get in the book. There will be more puzzles to come from both Dave and Bob in future volumes of the Mega.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"Sun" Subscriptions Now Available

Hot steamin' deal! The New York Sun crossword puzzles are now exclusive to the Web, and the first flight of puzzles, through late February, is only $12.50 at the newly-designed Cruciverb website.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

12th Westchester Crossword Tournament


Bob Mackey makes room for another trophy on his increasingly crowded mantel as he has taken his second straight Westchester Crossword Tournament. Jeffrey Schwartz placed second, and Elaine Lippman was third.

Elaine finished the stage puzzle - next Thursday's New York Times puzzle, constructed by Doug Peterson - first, but left one letter blank, giving Bob, who finished perfectly in second place, the win. Jeffrey Schwartz finished not soon after Bob.

Taking a cue from past ACPT winners, Bob didn't react to Elaine's call of "Done" - he just kept plugging away at his puzzle. Even after he walked over and saw the one blank square on Elaine's grid, he still didn't realize he was the winner until Elaine was announced in third place.

The tournament program was the same as in previous years - the first three puzzles were the Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday puzzles from the ensuing week's New York Times. (Brace yourselves for an unusually shaped grid for Monday's puzzle by Patrick Blindauer - that's all I'm going to say.) The first place finisher from each puzzle goes on stage to complete Thursday's puzzle. Elaine was first on the Monday and Tuesday puzzles; Bob got to the podium by finishing second on Tuesday by the slimmest of margins. Jeffrey was in third place on Puzzle 3, getting in by benefit of first-in finisher Ken Stern having one wrong square, and second place on that puzzle was Bob. (Thanks to Ellen Ripstein for the correction.)

Stan Kurzban acted as head judge, and other judges included Pat Merrell, Ellen Ripstein, Nancy Schuster, Frank Longo, Patrick Blindauer, Tony Orbach, Deb Amlen, Ashish Vengsarkar, Mike Nothnagel, Caleb Madison (who became the youngest NYT constructor ever this past year), and - much to the relief of the elite solvers - Howard Barkin.

As always, the tournament was held for the benefit of the Pleasantville Fund For Learning, with our hosts supplying coffee and pastries for our enjoyment. All in all, a great night - and we're already looking forward to next year.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Westchester Tournament Tonight

Just a reminder... this evening at 7:30 is the Westchester Crossword Tournament, at St. John's Episcopal Church, 7 Sunnyside Avenue, Pleasantville, New York. The tournament is run by Will Shortz and benefits the Pleasantville Fund For Learning. $30 to compete as a single, $45 for a team, payable at the door. Bob and I hope to see you there tonight.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

"Sun" Puzzles Will Continue!

According to Kevin McCann's Cruciverb website, the New York Sun puzzles edited by Peter Gordon will be available free for the next few days, then by subscription thereafter. This comes in the wake of the cancellation of the Sun print newspaper, which as of today (October 1) is no more. I hope you continue to take advantage of Mr. Gordon's skills as an editor, which are quite enormous.