Sunday, March 20, 2011

CoverItLive Replay of ACPT Finals


In much the manner he did last year, Dan Feyer took home his second straight American Crossword Puzzle Tournament championship in what had to be the most exciting finals since Tyler Hinman took home his last title two years ago.

Feyer earned his second bowl and $5,000 check, defeating the aforementioned Hinman, who returned to the finals this year by besting fourth-place contestant Francis Heaney by one minute on Puzzle #7, and another returning finalist, Anne Erdman.

All of the contestants who made podium appearances today completed their puzzles cleanly with no mistakes including David Plotkin, who defeated Ken Stern for the B title by a mere fraction of a second.

Dave Mackey briefly spoke with the happy winner.

Both Puzzle Brothers slipped from their 2010 rankings. Bob finished 67th and Dave finished 70th.

Once again, a very well-run tournament, thanks to Will Shortz, Helene Hovanec, Doug Heller, and a team of devoted judges. This year's contestant figure stabilized at 655, ahead of last year's 643 but still off the all time 2008 record of 699.

Shortz ended by stating that the 35th American Crossword Puzzle Tournament would be held at the Brooklyn Bridge Marriott on March 16-18. 2012.

More videos will be coming over the course of the night, including a review of the talent show today.

Delay In Program

The Crossworders Got Talent variety show is running over its anticipated time. We will begin our live blogging with the awards show, presided over by cartoonist Roz Chast, in approx. 30 minutes.

Delay in Posting Videos!

We have shot some quick video interviews with our possible finalists Anne Erdmann, Tyler Hinman, and Francis Heaney. Due to some video difficulties here at the Marriott, we are not able to get them up in a timely manner. They hopefully will be up at some point later today, if not tomorrow.

Here It Is... Sunday At ACPT

There's an odd mix of excitement and melancholy on the Sunday of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. It's always sad to say goodbye to a great weekend event, but there's that knowing that the most exciting time is yet to come, with the triple-stacked C, B and A finals.

This morning is Puzzle #7. That kicks off at 9:00 a.m. The "Crossworders Got Talent" variety show will follow. This year's talent includes Eleanor Dantignac, Tommy Lee Cook, Susan Hoffman, Lorinne Lampert, Fiona Newman, Dan Sadoff, Ken Seims, Bruce Wrighte, and Amanda Yesnowitz with Brian Cimmet.

The awards ceremony will be presided over by the great cartoonist from The New Yorker, Roz Chast. And after that, the finals in the C, B, and A classes. We will be live blogging those this morning starting at roughly 11:45 a.m., so you look at that big box at the top of the blog - it's going to mysteriously come to life. So come join us! (I know Mr. and Mrs. Feyer will be out there.)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Saturday Night's All Right For Racing

Another brain teaser from John Chaneski and Greg Pliska, as they presented "The ACPTzing Race", which was a geographic quiz which took contestants on a trip around the world without leaving the ballroom. A four-man team headed by Tyler Hinman took home top honors.

An interesting play was also presented. "Life is Shortz" featured a married couple doing a Saturday NYT puzzle whose clues provide a parallel for their lives.

And for those of you keeping score at home, here are your scores through six:

1. Dan Feyer
2. Anne Erdmann
3. Francis Heaney
4. Tyler Hinman (once again a tiebreaker on Puzzle 5 puts Hinman in fourth)
5. Trip Payne
6. Kiran Kedlaya
7. Ellen Ripstein
8. Howard Barkin
9. Dave Tuller
10. Jon Delfin

61. Bob Mackey
73. Dave Mackey

We interviewed Dan Feyer about his chances.

And then, we did our recap show, and we had some guests!

Results Through 1 Puzzle

This just in - 22 solvers solved Puzzle #1 with 12 minutes left on the clock. Barkin, Bryant, Cohen, Delfin, Dubner, Erdmann, Feist, Feyer, Heaney, Hinman, Kedlaya, R. Mackey, O'Neill, Pahk, Payne, Plotkin, Ripstein, Sanders, Schwartz, Steinway, Tuller, and Zawistowski. 56 more are tied for second and and an additional 100 are tied for third. For up to the minute results visit

Tournament is underway

Puzzle #2 in progress. Most top solvers banked 12 min. on Puzzle #1 by Kelly Clark. Pete Muller did #2.

Dawn Of A New Day

The nice thing about this tournament is that everyone starts at zero. It's what happens in between that makes it interesting.

By the time Saturday afternoon rolls around, we should have some idea about who will be representing for each contestant class. We are going to try to update you both on this website and via our Facebook page. There, you can like us and tag yourself in our pictures.

We've already informed you about a number of significant no-shows, but what may be the x-factor this year is the number of solvers who have taken it easy on the intense training. Of those we've talked to, only Dan Feyer and Ellen Ripstein have put in a lot of time just solving and solving.

We will be posting our first analysis video after Puzzle #3, from our perch outside the Jackie Gleason Ballroom. Talk to you then.

2010 ACPT Video #1

Friday, March 18, 2011

Brooklyn Is Cookin'

The Puzzle Brothers officially welcome one and all to the 2011 American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. (Yes, there's another tournament going on this weekend, but we're not concerned about that big BYU-Gonzaga game.)

Tournament attendees have been treated to a most entertaining presentation by David Kwong, mixing crosswords and sleight-of-hand. David's been a contributor to several puzzle venues, has worked with the master magician Ricky Jay, and was the "cruciverbal consultant" to the Sandra Bullock movie, "All About Steve".

Ross Beresford (a/k/a "Crosspatch") gave a very interesting demonstration on the differences between US and UK cryptic crosswords, with tournament attendees trying their hand at one of each. Richard Silvestri was responsible for the US version, while the setter of the UK flavour was Don Manley.

Director Will Shortz estimates the number of registered contestants so far at 650, which is ahead of last year's total. More reportage, pictures and videos later!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

An Image Problem... Lots of 'em, in fact...

We are having problems right now with the ACPT galleries from years past. We are working to rectify the situation so you can enjoy pictures of those ACPT moments from the last few years you might have missed.

There's A Tournament Tomorrow? Really?

Yes, really. And the Puzzle Brothers, along with 629 other pre-registered contestants, are looking forward to the opportunities the weekend presents.

What will make this year's tournament quite interesting - aside from the possibility of Dan Feyer steamrollering all comers in the tournament as he did last year - is the number of top-level solvers who won't be showing this year. A quick glance of the contestant rolls shows top-50 names like Katie Hamill, Eric Maddy, Ron Sweet, Barry Haldiman and Eric LeVasseur not competing as of this morning. This year's confirmed A contestants are:
  • Howard Barkin
  • Katherine Bryant
  • Adam Cohen
  • Jon Delfin
  • Len Elliott
  • Anne Erdmann
  • Dan Feyer
  • Peter Gordon
  • Francis Heaney
  • Tyler Hinman
  • Doug Hoylman
  • Will Johnston
  • Kiran Kedlaya
  • Joshua Kosman
  • Frank Longo
  • Brian Olewnick
  • Joon Pahk
  • Trip Payne
  • Doug Peterson
  • Arnold Reich
  • Amy Reynaldo
  • Ellen Ripstein
  • Al Sanders
  • Dan Seabolt
  • Dave Tuller
  • Thomas Weisswange
  • Stella Zawistowski
The top B-level solvers, if last year's rankings hold, are expected to be Bob Mackey, Richard Kalustian, and Susan Hoffman. Bob has been relegated to B by virtue of winning no A- or B- level awards in the last seven tournaments, and Joon Pahk, last year's B champion, has been moved up to A. Katie Hamill will not be at the tournament this year, owing to other commitments; nor will last year's third-place contestant in B, Ron Sweet. For the record, I will again be competing in the B level this year but realistically won't make the podium, there's just too much of a logjam. Louis Lana (last year's C winner) and David Plotkin move up to B this year, and Boone Gorges makes a big jump from D to B.

The C division will be populated with even more up and coming solvers this year as several people did well enough last year to move up a class or two, including Brian Cimmet, Amanda Yesnowitz and David Moulton.

Stay with The Puzzle Brothers for complete tournament coverage - video updates throughout the day on Saturday, and on Sunday, we will be bringing you live as-it-happens blogging of the final round, brought to you by Cover It Live.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Here Are Our Gifts To The Brooklyn Crowd

Can't go, or don't want to go to Brooklyn this year? We know there are a few of you out there who are missing this year's tournament. We are dedicating these puzzle files to you, and it's our way of saying we hope you all come back next year. It is recommended you right-click and download.

Bob's Themeless
Cherub Chatter
It Is Apuzzlement!
Bob's Themeless - The Revenge!