Usually about two weeks in the fever starts to set in, and the countdown, no longer in weeks but in days, begins in earnest. We are about 11 days from the Crossword Mecca, the 35th American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. It all begins on Friday, March 16 at 8:00 p.m. and wraps up sometime early Sunday afternoon, at the Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge, with that lovely view of the John Jay Criminal Justice Complex.
In an austerity move, Puzzle Brother Bob will be flying solo on the Friday night games this year, which will include a palindrome-writing competition and a "Pick Your Poison" contest. That will leave Dave free to report on the goings on in and around the bar area, where independent games are staged by the more free-minded of the group. These usually take the form of trivia, Jeopardy! or other free wheeling games.
Our gift to tournament attendees this year, our puzzles, will be available online only this year. We may be able to print some on request if you want to do them on the spot.
Our reportage begins in earnest on Saturday where we will keep you informed up to the minute as to our standing in the tournament as well as those of the top solvers. Going to be a markedly different field this year without the presence of the always formidable Trip Payne. Follow us on Twitter at @thepuzbros or at our Facebook page - just search for "The Puzzle Brothers".
Saturday activities will include a presentation by Matt Ginsberg, whose crossword-solving program, Dr. Fill, will be playing along with the human competitors. There will also be a team solving challenge engineered by Eric Berlin and Jeffrey Harris.
How can you top our Saturday coverage of the tournament? With our exclusive, never-duplicated-elsewhere LIVE BLOG of the tournament finals, only here on thepuzzlebrothers.blogspot.com. We will be using Cover It Live once again to accomplish this, and Bob and I will be online to answer your questions. You can take part either at this website, or you can tweet your ACPT-related messages to @thepuzbros with the hashtag #ACPTFinals and they will magically appear to us in CIL. You will get a slightly different vibe from this year's finals as we have two new commentators this year - Neal Conan and Merl Reagle have been supplanted by Greg Pliska and Liane Hansen.
Advance thanks to our longtime tournament director, founder, and host, Mr. Will Shortz, and his able team, particularly the lovely Helene Hovanec who does so much of the behind the scenes work. And the Marriott for hosting yet again in their wonderful hotel. And we will see you ALL on the 16th!