Pleasantville's Will Shortz Returns Crossword Tournament To First Home

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New York Times crossword editor and Pleasantville resident Will Shortz is the founder of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament.
New York Times crossword editor and Pleasantville resident Will Shortz is the founder of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. Photo Credit: File
'Wordplay' is a 2006 documentary film directed by Patrick Creadon. It features Will Shortz, the editor of The New York Times crossword puzzle, crossword constructor Merl Reagle, and many other noted crossword solvers and constructors. Photo Credit: killercinemadotcom

STAMFORD, Conn. -- For crossword puzzle aficionados, It's an eight-letter word for home: Stamford.

At its 37th annual event last weekend in Brooklyn, the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament's organizers announced it will return in 2015 to the Connecticut city that hosted the tournament for its first 30 years. 

"We like Brooklyn, but we are moving for a couple of reasons," said puzzle guru and tournament founder Will Shortz of Pleasantville, N.Y. "The biggest reason is cost. We want to make it more affordable."

The puzzle tournament will be held next year at the Stamford Marriott, where it started. The hotel is offering a deal of $129 per nigh for tournament-goers, much lower than the $225 per night charged in Brooklyn. 

"The Stamford Marriott feels more like home," Shortz said. "The staff knows us, they love us. We take over the hotel for the whole weekend." 

The American Crossword Puzzle Tournament was forced to find a new home seven years ago after attendance skyrocketed due to the popularity of the documentary "Wordplay." 

The 2006 documentary highlighted the hijinks at the tournament and profiled Shortz, the winners and other famous crossword puzzle fans, including former President Bill Clinton, former presidential candidate Bob Dole, Time editor Daniel Okrent and Comedy Central's Jon Stewart.

The number of participants went from 498 in 2006 to a high of 699 in 2008. With the number down to 572 this year, Shortz says the the Stamford Marriott can again accommodate the size of the event.

"We are down about 20 percent from the peak," he said. "We can now fit in the Marriott -- it will be a tight fit. But it feels like we are going home again." 

In addition to the nearly 575 contestants expected, another 50 or 60 non-competitors watch or take part without scoring and about 75 officials attend. Also, a "huge number" watch as the top contestants complete the final puzzle on Sunday morning, Shortz said. 

"Our total attendance is close to 1,000," he said. "It takes a lot to put this event on."

If you are planning ahead, the 38th Annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament will be held March 27 to 29, 2015, at the Stamford Marriott. 

To learn more about the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, visits its website

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