Boston Crossword Puzzle Tournament!

joon here with an announcement for the 2010 (and second annual) boston crossword puzzle tournament, to be held at harvard university on sunday, april 11. if you live in or around boston, you have to come. if you live anywhere in new england, you probably should. if you live in new york or further away … well, i wouldn’t fault you for not coming, but really, come. i’m so excited about it that i used capital letters in the title of this post! here’s what you won’t be missing if you don’t decide not to attend:

  • genial new york times puzzlemaster will shortz in person! he’ll be introducing each puzzle and doing a short talk/Q&A session between the end of the last puzzle and the awards presentation. he’s also great about signing autographs and posing for pictures.
  • four unpublished puzzles from the new york times for everyone to solve, ranging from monday to thursday in difficulty, including one constructed specifically for this event by brendan emmett quigley and yours truly.
  • prizes for the winners! we’ve got a wide range of autographed puzzle books generously donated by crossword luminaries including patrick berry, matt gaffney, peter gordon, trip payne, brendan emmett quigley, amy reynaldo, and ben tausig. prizes will be awarded in three divisions: overall, undergraduate, and pairs solvers, and the books include challenges and diversions for solvers of all skill levels and ages, including kids (for solvers who are trying to indoctrinate their children, grandchildren, or nieces/nephews into cruciverbalism!).
  • last but not least, puzzle person camaraderie! the boston cru and harvard college crossword society will be out in full force, as they’re the two groups co-hosting the event. or maybe i should say “we,” since i’m a member of both groups.

i hope that’s enough to convince everybody that they want to be there. more logistical details after the jump.

  • as i said, the BCPT will take place on sunday, april 11, 2010 from noon to 4:30 pm. registration will start at 12, and the first puzzle at 1. just like last year, the event will be held in harvard university’s science center (a building designed by crosswordese architect josep lluís SERT).
  • anybody is welcome to come, solve the puzzles for fun, and hear will shortz speak for free (space and supplies permitting). if the hall fills up, or we run out of copies of the puzzles, we’ll prioritize registered competitors, but we don’t think this is likely.
  • if you would like to have your puzzles scored and compete for prizes, you must pre-register for the tournament. the cost is an eminently reasonable $10 (which is only $5 each if you are entering as a pair), or free if you have a valid harvard ID, as part of our deal with the HCCS. that’s essentially the least we can charge to cover the costs of running the event.
  • there are three ways to pre-register: 1. go in person to the harvard box office (in the holyoke center arcade) and buy a ticket. this is the only way to get the harvard discount. 2. buy a ticket from the harvard box office website. for online orders, there is a $5 service charge per order, plus a $1.75 convenience fee per ticket. 3. buy a ticket over the phone by calling 617-496-2222; there is a $4 charge per order. box office hours are 12-6 pm, wednesday through sunday.
  • we will not sell tickets at the door, and we are capping the field at 200 pre-registered competitors. if you show up without having pre-registered, you can still do the puzzles for fun, but won’t be entered in the official competition.

there’s more on the tournament’s website, which will be updated as the tournament draws nearer.

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6 Responses to Boston Crossword Puzzle Tournament!

  1. sps says:

    I am sooo bummed I’m going to miss the tournament this year! I’ll be at a wedding on the other coast (which I am actually looking forward to)…just wishing it could have been another weekend. I had fun last year and met some great folks. I’m sure it’ll be great, Joon. Oh well. :(

  2. joon says:

    bummer, steve! you have unfinished business with doug goodman, as i recall–didn’t you finish only one minute out of first place last year?

    oddly, i will actually also be on a wedding on the left coast next month, but the weekend after the tournament. in fact, will originally wanted to have the BCPT on the 18th but i convinced him to move it up so i could go. (the perks of being an organizer…)

  3. Michael M. says:

    Will tickets be sold at the box office on the day of the event? Or are we out-of-towners stuck paying the service fees?

  4. joon says:

    my understanding is that the box office will stop selling tickets on the friday before the event so that they can get the list of pre-registered names to us. last year, it was moot as the tickets sold out a few days before the event anyway. as that’s reasonably likely to happen again, you’d be well-advised to get a ticket in advance. the service fee is a lot compared to the cost of a ticket, but under $20 for the whole event thing is a very good deal anyway. if you’re coming from out of town, you’re going to pay more than that just for gas or other transportation.

  5. Bruce S. says:

    Sounds good Joon, just ordered my ticket online. Looking forward to it.

  6. Benny Marold says:

    Interesting blog you got here but I can’t seem to find the RSS button.

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