Date: April 2, 2006
Byline: Michael Molyneux
Crossed up by the K in Connecticut
One local is 5th in puzzle clash, but another takes 2d
Despite making that rare mistake — giving SPACEY as the answer to "'In the Bedroom' costar, 2001" when it should have been SPACEK — Katherine Bryant of Cambridge finished fifth in the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament last weekend.
For Bryant, 35, who edits textbooks for Prentice Hall in downtown Boston, it was the second year in a row to claim the No. 5 spot, this year competing among a record 500 crossword enthusiasts meeting in Stamford, Conn.
Kiran Kedlaya, another local aficionado, won second place in the tournament, the nation's oldest and largest crossword competition.
Kedlaya, a 31-year-old Fenway resident who teaches mathematics at MIT, brought home a $600 prize in the 29th annual event.
After seven rounds of pencil-on-paper puzzles, he was one of three finalists who did the championship puzzle onstage on a large whiteboard last Sunday morning.
The winner, Tyler Hinman, a student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., defended his title from last year.
Hinman was the only finalist to finish in the 15-minute time limit. Kedlaya had three blank squares left. Right behind, in third place, was Ellen Ripstein of New York, who had won the tournament in 2001.
"It was an amazing feeling just to be up there," said Kedlaya, who was competing for the ninth time.
A special guest, Ken Jennings, finished 37th as a first-time competitor. He took the crown in the C division, which includes all rookies. Jennings, who won 74 straight "Jeopardy!" matches in 2004, was featured in a trivia bowl that was part of pre-competition festivities.