Monday, September 28, 2009

A MAD Look at Crossword Tournaments

Check out this blog entry from Patrick Merrell. Constructor Merrell is a sometime member of MAD Magazine's Usual Gang of Idiots, and one of the contestants at the Westchester tournament on Friday Night was the magzine's longtime art director, Sam Viviano. There are some great caricatures here of the likes of Frank Longo, Amanda Yesnowitz and Tony Orbach, but there's one unidentified caricature that looks like it could be the Puzzle Brother who DIDN'T get to be on stage the other night. Patrick is a good guy and we're glad he passed along Viviano's doodles.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


In a very close final round, Jeffrey Schwartz won the 13th Westchester Crossword Puzzle Tournament over second place finisher Bob Mackey and third place finisher Ken Stern.

All three contestants finished the Thursday, October 1, 2009 New York Times puzzle by Patrick Blindauer and Rebecca Young perfectly. The three preliminary puzzles, which you can solve this Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in the Times, were by Lynn Lempel, Paula Gamache, and Kevin G. Der.

Mackey finished first on puzzle 1, Stern on puzzle 2, and Schwartz on puzzle 3. Both Stern and Schwartz finished with mistakes on puzzle 1 ahead of Mackey. Schwartz and Stern were virtually tied on puzzle 2, but Schwartz later stated that Stern had his hand up a split second ahead of him. Schwartz finished first perfectly on puzzle 3.

Besides Gamache, Blindauer and Young, officials in attendance were head judge Stan Kurzban, along with Fred Piscop, Ellen Ripstein, Helene Hovanec, Deb Amlen, Pat Merrell, Nancy Schuster, Adam Cohen, Howard Barkin, Dan Feyer, Tony Orbach, Frank Longo, Bob Bernstein, Mimi Raphael, Caleb Madison, Joe Cabrera, Mike Nothnagel, and Ashish Vengsarkar.

The annual contest, hosted by Pleasantville's own Will Shortz, benefits the Pleasantville Fund for Learning. Shortz noted that there were 67 contestants this year, which might be a record. It was also mentioned that the Tournament and other fundraisers netted the Fund for Learning, which benefits programs in Pleasantville's three schools, over $25,000 last year.

The image gallery is now up. I recommend you go there after you've solved Thursday's NYT puzzle. For more pictures, check out Elaine Lippman's Facebook gallery - thanks Tyger!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


The American Crossword Puzzle Tournament will be held one week earlier than originally scheduled. The new dates are February 19-21, 2010. Venue continues to be the Brooklyn Bridge Marriott.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Westchester Tournament Is EARLY This Year!

CORRECTION - Date confirmed by Will Shortz

The 13th annual Westchester Crossword Tournament will be held in September this year - it will be on Friday, September 25. Location will once again be the St. John's Episcopal Church in Pleasantville, New York, and will be hosted as always by Will Shortz. The tournament will feature light snacks and competition, singly or in pairs, on the New York Times crosswords to be published from September 28-October 1. The tournament once again will benefit the Pleasantville Fund For Learning. Puzzle Brother Robert Mackey will be trying for his third straight win in this tournament.