Sunday, March 09, 2014


The Saturday session of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament 2014 edition has ended. Here's how things are shaking out....

The six puzzles so far have shown three familiar names atop the leaderboard: Dan Feyer, Tyler Hinman and Howard Barkin, with the B leaders being Andy Kravis, Adam Cohen and Kevan Choset.

Not a lot of controversy with this year's puzzles, which in order of appearance, were authored by Kelly Clark, Patrick Blindauer, Merl Reagle, MaryEllen Uthlaut, Brendan Emmett Quigley, and Anna Shechtman, other than the usual bad crossings and general hard feelings about that fifth puzzle. Neither Puzzle Brother  successsfully completed that puzzle. Bob is presently in 34th place and Dave 121st.

The Saturday evening activities involved a game of  Clever Clues. Will had three words,  NEST, ELOPE and ARSON and had actual NYT clues with only the first letter of each given. If you got it off the first letter only you gave yourself 10 points. The second letter of each word was then added, and if you got it then, you scored 5. The winners of that contest were Doug Hoylman, followed closely by Thomas Weisswange and Jonathan Olsen.

David Steinberg was up next with a brief talk about the Pre-Shortzian Puzzle Project. David and his team of litzers have now completed the daily NYT puzzles (which began in 1950) and are as far back as 1948 with the Margaret Farrar-edited Sunday puzzles. "I can see the light at the end of the tunnel," noted David, who now needs proofreaders to make sure the litzing is accurate. The project has had some unexpected benefits such as confirming the first puzzle constructed by Bernice Gordon, which was litzed by Howard Barkin and included the first use of the entry MAMIEEISENHOWER. That was back in 1953. David also noted that during the Shortz era there has actually been a decline in the number of female constructors, mostly due to the adoption of computer construction software.

Finally, Matt Ginsberg presented an updated version of his Dr. Fill computer-solving software chalk talk, complete with a demonstration of all six tournament puzzles so far. Some of the puzzles were perfectly solved, some were not.

Festivities resume tomorrow at 9 a.m. DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME with puzzle 7!

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