ACPT events, including the Cru dinner

The full program is up for the March 7-9 American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, and reservations are now being taken for the Cru dinner.

The Friday-night Cru dinner is an annual function that offers a terrific option for first-time competitors (you’ll get to know a bunch of lovely people who will then be familiar faces for the rest of the weekend), for people leery of venturing out into Brooklyn for dinner (there are zillions of good restaurants within a few blocks or a subway ride away from the Marriott, mind you), and for the traditionalists who launch their ACPT weekend every year with this event. If you are reading about crosswords online, guess what? You are officially a Cru member and you’re invited. It’s a catered buffet dinner right in the Marriott, and the food’s always good. There is a vegan option along with turkey, there are appetizers and desserts, and coffee and soda are served (booze is next door in the hotel bar for those who are so inclined).

Visit Dan Chall’s site to see the menu, price, and more info about the Cru dinner. Reserve your spot (admission limited to the first 55 people) by emailing the always genial Mike Alpern (email address included in Dan’s links).

The ACPT evening program has finally been set. Friday night (which has an a la carte admission fee) features a “Carnival of Puzzles” from a cast of “noted puzzlemakers and game designers,” but as yet I have not heard of a single person involved in the event. Friday participants also have access to a wine-and-cheese reception after the Friday games. (Personally, I have skipped out on the Friday events for years, opting instead for dinner out on the town and schmoozing in the Marriott bar and lounge.)

The Saturday night program is billed as follows:

  • “Clever” Clues — a crossword game by Will Shortz
  • Pre-Shortzian Puzzle Project — an update from David Steinberg, with an aside on the status of female crossword constructors over the years
  • Dr. Fill — a talk by Matt Ginsberg, creator of the world’s most sophisticated crossword-solving program, with a live presentation on Dr. Fill’s performance on this year’s Puzzles #1-#6

I am frightened by the quotation marks around the word clever. I personally have little interest in the NYT crosswords of yore (though I agree that it’s a neat idea to have them all digitized for posterity), and I’ve already seen a couple previous Dr. Fill presentations (as well as sitting next to the Dr. Fill printer during competition—if you’re sensitive to noise distraction, don’t sit in the back row within sight of an electrical outlet!). So I reckon it’s dinner out on the town and bar/lounge two nights in a row for me. I love New York and like to get out and about, but I realize there are folks who are less inclined to venture out who will be thoroughly engaged by the evening events. I might reconsider if the events were more of a “Wow, you can’t get this entertainment anywhere else!” nature … but this year’s program isn’t doing much to entice me.

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