Puzzlers from ‘across’ the nation get ‘down’ in Stamford for 46th annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament

Nearly 1,000 players attended the tournament, including the founder and New York Times Crossword Editor Will Shortz.

Tom Krosnowski and Robyn Karashik

Apr 7, 2024, 5:04 PM

Updated 98 days ago


Some of the world’s best puzzlers came to Stamford on Sunday to compete for bragging rights in the 46th annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament.
It’s a Stamford tradition celebrating the most famous puzzle around; the New York Times crossword.
“I love language, the wordplay, the clever clues, the answers that make you go aha!” said Jim Jenista, of Colorado Springs.
Contestants came from across the U.S. and Canada – one person even traveled all the way from Australia. It was all for the love of crosswords. Although it’s a competition, contestants said there's a strong sense of community.
“It’s not at all cutthroat competitive,” said Arnold Reich, of Yonkers.
“It’s an independent activity, so it’s nice to talk to people about it,” said Erin Fitzgerald, of Baltimore.
“I’ve made a bunch of new friends here. We never would have met except for this,” said Cathy Parrish, of Ellicott City, Maryland.
Like any competition, players had different skill levels and pre-puzzle routines.
“The star solvers are incredibly fast. They can write the answers in the time it takes you or me to read the questions,” said Ron Osher, of Memphis, Tennessee. “I’ll use the same pencil for seven puzzles until I break the point.”
They also make sure to practice before the tournament comes around.
“In the weeks before it, I do a lot of puzzles,” said Parrish.
Another reason for the tournament’s fame is due to its founder – New York Times Crossword Editor Will Shortz. The nearly 1,000 competitors stood united to honor Shortz, who is also recovering from a recent stroke.
“Will Shortz is an icon. I think they ought to think about giving him one of those presidential medals that honors creative and unique people because he is the one and only,” said Parrish.
“The thing about puzzle people is they’re smart and capable, and everyone has stepped up and done a beautiful job this year,” said Shortz.

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