American Crossword Puzzle Tournament

 Crossword Tournament

Crossword Tournament Program

39th Annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament
April 1-3, 2016

Jump ahead on this page to: Registration Info | Hotel Reservations | Schedule | Scoring | Who Competes
Prizes | About the Puzzles | The Judges | Stamford | Solving at home

Registration Information

All Events as a Competitor (including Friday)$215*
All Events as a Competitor (beginning Saturday morning)$165*
All Events as a Non-Competitor (including Friday)$165*
All Events as a Non-Competitor (beginning Saturday morning)$115*
Friday Evening Games and Reception Only$  65
Spectator for Sunday Playoffs (starting at 11AM) Only$  20
*You may deduct $10 from this amount if payment is made and received by March 28, 2016.

Hotel Reservations

The Marriott is sold out of rooms for Saturday night! The Sheraton Stamford Hotel has opened rooms for ACPT at the same rate as the Marriott.

The Marriott will send the shuttle if the weather requires it, but it is a four minute walk if the weather is nice. ACPT participants can call the Sheraton directly at (203) 358-8400 to reserve their rooms.

The Stamford Marriott Hotel & Spa provides special low guest room rates (to come, single or double occupancy), available for contestants Friday and Saturday nights. The rates are to come/night PER ROOM (plus tax) regardless of your choice. This rate is guaranteed through March 21, 2016 (rates afterward subject to room availability). If you need to come early or check out late, please call 800-732-9689 to make arrangements, as this link will only work for Thursday through Sunday.

  1. Online: Stamford Marriott ACPT Group Rate
  2. By phone: Phone call in your reservation to the Marriott at 1-800-732-9689 and be sure to ask for the Crossword Tournament group rate

Be prepared with the following information:

  1. Group name: American Crossword Puzzle Tournament
  2. Dates: April 1-3, 2016
  3. Number of people and choice single, double w/1 bed, or double w/2 beds
  4. Your name, (firm), address, and who you are sharing with. Note: to avoid duplication, submit one reservation for room shared by two or more people
  5. Arrival date (Friday, April 1, or Saturday, April 2)
  6. Departure date (Sunday, April 3)
  7. Credit card info (number and expiration date)

Note that reservations will be held until 6 pm unless guaranteed for late arrival by a check for the first night's room deposit, company guarantee of payment, Club Marquis membership, or by one of the following credit cards: MasterCard • Visa • American Express • Diner's Club • Carte Blanche • Club Marquis

Check-in time is 3pm. Check-out time is noon.


Friday, April 1

Warmup games and entertainment. Featuring:

NEW! Escape Room by Eric Berlin

Join a team and solve a series of crosswords and other word puzzles to escape from the Stamford Marriott ballroom!

10:00PMWine and cheese reception.
11:00PMAwards for all the evening games.
Saturday, April 2
All dayPuzzle market — crossword books, word games, and other products of interest to puzzlers
9:30AMTournament sign-in
11:00AMPuzzles 1, 2, and 3
2:30PMPuzzles 4, 5, and 6
8:00PMMore games and entertainment. Featuring:

Film Tribute to Merl Reagle (1950-2015) by Patrick Creadon and Christine O'Malley — Remembrance of a late friend and crossword legend

And other entertainments

Sunday, April 3
9:00AMPuzzle 7
11AM"Crossworders Got Talent" — a variety show featuring ACPT contestants and officials, with music, dance, comedy, and games. (If you would like to participate, or would like more info, email Will Shortz at
NoonAwards presentation and announcement of the playoff contestants, followed by
Presentation of the 1st "MEmoRiaL" (that is, Merl Memorial) award for lifetime achievement in crossword construction. The recipient is Maura Jacobson, who it is hoped will be in attendance.
12:15PMChampionship playoff, in which the top three contestants in Divisions A, B, and C compete in successive sudden-death rounds conducted on giant grids. Live, play-by-play commentary on the A and B finals by Peter Sagal, host of NPR's "Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me!" and Greg Pliska, puzzle writer and the musical director for the Tony Award-winning play "War Horse."


Scoring is based on accuracy and speed. Score as follows:

  1. 10 points for every correct word you entered across and down
  2. A bonus of 25 points for each full minute you finished ahead of the suggested solution time — BUT reduced by 25 points for each missing or incorrect letter (but not beyond the point the bonus returns to zero)
  3. A bonus of 150 points for each completely correct solution

For the purpose of scoring, a "word" consists of any series of letters written between black squares in the grid, or between a black square and the border of the grid, whether it is a single word, a phrase, or otherwise.

Complete rules will be explained prior to competition.

Who Competes?

Contestants simultaneously compete in all events for which they are eligible:
Division AEveryone
Division BContestants who have not won a Division A or Division B prize during their last seven tournaments
Division CContestants who have not finished in the top 20% during their last three tournaments
Division DContestants who have not finished in the top 40% during their last three tournaments
Division EContestants who have not finished in the top 65% during their last three tournaments
Age DivisionsSolvers 25 years and under (Juniors), 50-59 years (Fifties), 60-69 years (Sixties), 70-79 (Seventies) and 80+ (Seniors)
Regional DivisionsSolvers in each of 11 geographical regions:
Connecticut, Other New England, New York City, Long Island, Westchester/Upstate New York, New Jersey, Other Mid-Atlantic, South, Midwest, West, Foreign [map]
RookiesContestants competing for their first time. Rookies are not eligible for "D" or "E" prizes.


Thanks to a generous, last-minute donation from PuzzleSocial, home of the popular Daily Celebrity Crossword, the prizes for this year's American Crossword Puzzle Tournament have been doubled!

The ACPT prize pool was close to $7,500. It will now be $15,000. This will be by far the most money ever awarded at a live crossword event anywhere in the world.

Rather than the old prizes being simply doubled, the extra money will be allotted to more winners, as follows:

Division A1st Prize$7,000was $5,000
2nd$2,500was $750
3rd$1,000was $500
4th-10th (each)$100 (each)was Trophy
Division B1st Prize$1,000was $300
2nd$750was $150
3rd$500was $100
Division C1st Prize$200was $75
2nd$150was $50
3rd$75was $25
Each of Divisions D and E; Juniors, Fifties, Sixties, Seventies, Seniors1st-3rd PrizesTrophyno change
11 Regional Winners (each) [map]1st & 2nd PrizesTrophyno change
Rookies1st Prize$400was $300
2nd$250was $150
3rd$125was $50
4th-10th$50 (each)was trophy for 4th & 5th

Plus Every prizewinner receives a New York Times crossword collection from St. Martin's Press.

About the Puzzles

All crosswords have been specially created and edited for the tournament.

Sample Puzzles:

The Judges

The judges and referees include leading names in crossword puzzling.

Stamford, CT: Directions and Information

243 Tresser Boulevard
Stamford, Connecticut 06901 USA

Flying Into...
Note: there is no shuttle service between airports and the hotel.

JFK 42 miles. Driving Directions: Take Van Wyck Expressway to Whitestone Bridge. Follow signs to I-95 North to Connecticut. Take I-95 North to Exit 8. Go up two lights, make a left on Canal Street. Second light make a right on Tresser Blvd. Then make first right into Marriott hotel, go to end and make a right into the Marriott Hotel parking garage. Taxi: Estimated $110 cab fare. Shuttle: Royal Club Limo/Connecticut Express Shuttle; fee: 145 USD (one way); reservation required.

LaGuardia - LGA: 35 miles. Driving Directions: Exit airport, take Grand Central Parkway towards Whitestone Bridge. Follow signs to I-95 North to Connecticut. Take I-95 North to Exit 8. Go up two lights, make a left on Canal Street. Second light, make a right on Tresser Blvd. Then make first right into the Marriott Hotel, go to end and make a right into the Marriott Hotel parking garage. Taxi: Estimated $110 cab fare. Shuttle: Alternate transportation: Royal Club Limo/Connecticut Express Shuttle; fee: 135 USD (one way); reservation required.

Westchester County White Plains Airport - HPN: 13 miles. Driving Directions: Take Route 684 South to 287 East. Follow signs for I-95 North to Connecticut. Take I-95 North to exit 8. Go up two lights and make a left on Canal Street. Second light make a right on Tresser Blvd. Then make a right into the Marriott Hotel, go to the end and make a right into the Marriott Hotel parking garage. Taxi: No estimate available. Shuttle: Alternate transportation: Royal Club Limo/Connecticut Express Shuttle; fee: 70 USD (one way); reservation required.

Public Transportation to the Stamford Marriott

The Stamford Marriott hotel is about 0.6 miles from the Metro North New Haven Line Stamford station. There are several economical ways to get to the Marriott from LaGuardia, JFK and Newark airports via public transportation. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (“MTA”) has a booklet that tells how to connect to the railroad:

Solving At Home

Now you can take part in the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament — and find out how you'd score — from your own home!

  1. On Your Computer: Solve the puzzles online on the weekend of the tournament, or at anytime throughout the year. Standings of online competitors are constantly updated. Click here for details.

  2. By Mail: Receive this year's puzzles (upon completion of the tournament) by mail, solve them and return your solutions to us with your times. We'll judge your puzzles, send you your scores, and tell you your ranking in every event in which you were eligible. To Register, click here.

If you need help, call Michael Smith at 215-266-2802 (
For questions regarding the hotel, call the Stamford Marriott at (203) 357-9555.