Boston Crossword Puzzle Tournament wrap-up

thanks to all who came to the 2010 BCPT today at harvard. the event ran with nary a hitch, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. certainly i did. congratulations to our overall champion, eric maddy, who came all the way from southern california to conquer the new england solving circuit. last year’s winner, doug goodman of new york city, made a very strong title defense, finishing second. rounding out the top 5 were pete rimkus, andrew greene, and judy cole. the pairs division was won by deborah davidson and edith mackie, and the undergrad winner was harvard freshman mark warren. full results are now posted. more details (but no puzzle spoilers) after the jump.

big thank-yous go to:

  • puzzlemaster will shortz, who provided the puzzles for the tournament and also entertained the solvers with Q&A and word games while we finished up the scoring.
  • my co-organizers: nathaniel rakich and chelsea link of the harvard college crossword society, and eric helmuth and libby gorman of the boston cru. all worked behind the scenes to make sure everything was ready before the event began.
  • all of our dedicated volunteers. i don’t know the names of everybody who was there, but off the top of my head (and in no particular order): katie hamill, brendan emmett quigley, liz donovan, dave sullivan, joe cabrera, will johnston, and some people whose last names i don’t know or can’t remember, but whose first names were quite possibly cat, karen, and jack. the whole judging, scoring, and entering process was a well-oiled machine, which is a credit to our volunteer staff. and if i’m forgetting somebody, please let me know in the comments! edit: i inadvertently left out jordan bach on my first pass. sorry! and eric h has provided the last names i was missing: cat boleyn, karen von haam, and jack martin. thanks to all!
  • our star-studded cast of authors and editors who donated autographed prize books for the event: patrick berry, matt gaffney, peter gordon, trip payne, brendan emmett quigley, amy reynaldo, and ben tausig.

i won’t say anything spoilerish about the puzzles, since everybody else will see them during the next two weeks. in case you’re wondering: puzzles #2 and #4 will be the tuesday and thursday puzzles this week, and puzzles #1 and #3 are the monday and wednesday from next week. champion eric maddy finished puzzles #1-4 perfectly in under 4, under 3, under 4, and under 6 minutes, respectively. it was a particularly impressive performance because he tied for the top time on puzzle #1 and then was alone in first place on each of the next three puzzles, including a two-minute beatdown of the field on puzzle #4.

speaking for myself, it was great to see so many of my puzzle friends again, even if i was i little too busy to spend much time hanging out (and i’m really bummed that i missed the pinocchio’s outing after the tournament). now, only 4 months to lollapuzzoola, and 11 to the next ACPT…

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15 Responses to Boston Crossword Puzzle Tournament wrap-up

  1. Bruce S. says:

    Very nice to meet you yesterday Joon. I had a great time at my first tournament. You guys put on a great event. Thanks.

  2. joon says:

    thanks bruce! it was nice to meet you, too. glad you had a good time.

    i’ve updated the post with the complete list of volunteer scorers and judges. thanks to eric helmuth for providing the info i was missing (and jogging my memory)!

  3. Robin says:

    Yesterday was my first tournament also and I had a blast. I can’t wait to go to another one. Thank you for all your effort putting it together.

    I have a question on the scoring – what’s the difference between an incorrect letter and incorrect word? Doesn’t an incorrect letter make the word incorrect anyway?

  4. joon says:

    robin, glad you enjoyed yourself! to answer your question, one incorrect letter makes two words incorrect, because every letter appears as part of an across answer and a down answer. so 1 wrong letter will always mean 1 wrong across word and 1 wrong down word. multiple wrong letters, however, could be spread across different words or clumped in the same word, and the two are scored differently. you get more points for solving more of the clues correctly, and each clue corresponds to one word.

  5. Karen says:

    I had fun volunteering this year. We definitely were a well-oiled machine, fueled by lots of oreos. And yes, the judges do make comments about certain folks’ handwriting, both the good and the bad. And the funny answers people put in.

  6. joecab says:

    Volunteering for this is always fun. Thanks very much for all the hard work you guys always put into this.

  7. Evad says:

    The highlight for me was a sneak preview at Joe’s nifty iPad. Thanks for iPad-envy, Joe!

  8. Stan says:


    My wife and I attended and had a great time (with no idea beforehand what to expect). You all did a great job making everyone feel at home. We look forward to next year!

  9. joon says:

    thanks stan!

  10. Tuning Spork says:


    Great job. Sorry I couldn’t make, but hope to see you and the gang at Lollapuzzula.

    One question. Since I’d like to compare my score to the posted BCPT standings, what were the time limits on the four puzzles?


    UPDATE: Nevermind. I just cross referenced this post with the standings and see that they were 15, 20, 25 and 35, respectively.

  11. joon says:

    15, 20, 25, 35.

  12. Deborah says:

    Good job, Joon! Enjoyed the day and hope to see you at another Xword event.
    You are to be congratulated for your energy, enthusiasm and A+ hosting!

  13. Jeffrey says:

    Hey joon I finished virtual third. What do I win?

  14. joon says:

    congratulations, jeffrey. you win a virtual prize book. actually if you want a real prize book, some were left unclaimed. i think they were trip payne kids’ crossword books.

    most importantly, though, you win the opportunity to come next year and strut your stuff in person. my virtual 75th at the 2009 ACPT (and i’m giving myself credit for a virtual C division win) catapulted me to real something-or-other at this year’s ACPT.

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