Registration is now open for the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. Here are some links and facts:
- The weekend’s program. The Friday night games feature a cryptic crossword tournament this year. A la carte pricing: Friday night games and wine/beer/cheese reception run $80. I sure wish there were a reception-free option because $80 is an awful lot to pay for a cryptic crossword event. (Insert frowny emoticon here.) The crossword tournament will run the usual way. Same as last year, the costly Sunday luncheon has been scrapped in favor of an 11 a.m. talent show followed by the awards presentation (hosted by cartoonist Roz Chast! I love her!) and then the action-packed finals with Reagle/Conan color commentary. The cost for participating in all the Saturday and Sunday events has gone down 10%, to $180; register by March 8 and save an extra $10.
- Print and mail in a registration form or register online with PayPal.
- You can book your hotel room online or call the Marriott at 1-800-266-9432 and ask for the Crossword Tournament group rate. Rooms are $203 a night now, up a bit from last year.
- Airfares may be a good bit higher than last year (at least, they are from Chicago to LaGuardia), so don’t dawdle if you’re flying into New York. Airfares tend not to get cheaper as the travel date approaches.
- There’s an extra $1,000 in the prize pool. Top prize remains $5,000, but there are now cash prizes for the top three rookies, with #1 getting $300. (See what Will’s doing there? All you fence-sitters who have thought about going to the tournament but never have—now you have a financial inducement. If you think you could finish in the top 40 or so, you have a really good shot at a rookie prize.) I’m not sure which other prizes have been fattened up in the A, B, and C divisions.
Both of my summer vacations in 2010 were to New York City, so I’m looking forward to hitting town again. If you can swing the extra hotel cost and time off work, consider flying in on Thursday or staying until Monday—you’ll miss out on ACPT stuff if you do your city exploration on Friday and Saturday nights, and there’s so much to see!