Town Crier Articles

Are You Puzzled? - Neighbors Travel
Posted on May 31, 2019 5:00 PM by Dave Burket
Categories: Life in New Town
This was the beginning of Puzzle #5 at the 42nd Annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament held in Stamford, Connecticut from March 22-24, 2019.   Number 1 Across has six letters and the clue is: Mallow family trees.  Number 1 Down has four letters and the clue is: Wow, with “over”.    (Answer below)
New Town residents David & Nancy Burket and their neighbors David & Marie Gaydos attended the tournament this year, travelling together over 17 hours on I 95, round trip, to be observers, not contestants.  If you are a crossword puzzle fan/nerd, this is the place to be in March!  
Will Shortz, Crossword Puzzle Editor of the New York Times, was the Tournament Moderator.  More than 470 people participated as contestants. They were given 7 timed puzzles to solve in difficulty from “easyish” to “hard,” ranging from 15 minutes to 45 minutes to complete.  The sizes of the puzzles varied between 15 X 15 squares to 21 X 21 squares.
The tournament has five skill divisions (A – D) with Division A being the most competitive.  All contestants compete on the same puzzles and begin rounds at the same time.  Contestants who finish early raise their hand to signal a referee to pick up their completed puzzle. It was not unusual to see a contestant solve a puzzle after only working 5 to 8 minutes on a 25-minutes timed puzzle. (A few of the people we talked to indicated they could solve the typical New York Times Sunday puzzle in 6 or fewer minutes!)
Scoring for each puzzle was as follows: a.    Ten (10) points for every correct word entered across and down; b.    Twenty-five (25) bonus points for each full minute the contestant finishes early (with 25 points reduced for each letter that is missing); c.    One hundred fifty (150) bonus points for a complete and correct solution.
A final puzzle #8, solved on the last day, was used to determine the top winners of the Annual Tournament.  Competitors are the top three winners each in Divisions A, B, & C.  They solve a timed puzzle on a stage at an easel with a marker on a large crossword puzzle board in front of the audience.  The puzzle is the same for each Division, however, the clues for the answers are different, with Division A having the most difficult clues. Watch highlights of the 2019 tournament, and Dan Feyer, an eight-time winner solving the final 15-minute timed Puzzle #8 in 6 min. 25 sec. at: crosswordpuzzletournament2019.  
By the way, the Burket and the Gaydos families remain friends after the road trip!
Answers:  #1 Across:  Balsas; #1 Down:  Bowl
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