Amateur, expert and team puzzlers from around the region competed for prizes and honors in a tournament modeled after the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament.
Puzzlers of all skill levels competed in The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library’s Fourth Annual Minnesota Crossword Tournament held on Sunday, June 14 at Saint Paul’s Landmark Center. Cruciverbalists from throughout Minnesota, and from such far-flung locales as Indiana, Iowa and California competed for bragging rights, trophies and prizes.
Solvers in each of three brackets – Amateur, Expert and Teams (of up to four players) – tackled three original crossword puzzles created and edited specially for this tournament by professional constructors with a local connection, all of whose work has appeared in the New York Times. Like the New York Times crossword editor, Will Shortz’s American Crossword Puzzle Tournament (ACPT) after which Minnesota’s was modeled, scoring was based on accuracy and speed. The three solvers or teams with the highest combined scores from the first three rounds moved on to the finals in each category, with championship puzzles solved head-to-head-to-head in front of the crowd.
In addition to trophies from A.J. Schaake, winners were awarded prizes of gift cards, redeemable at local bookstores and eateries. There were also prizes for special categories including the best finishers under age 25 and age 65 or older; rookie competitor; Friends member; competitor from Saint Paul; competitor from out of state; team from a college; team from a library; and best team name. Mintahoe Catering donated an extravagant gift basket of wine, sweet and savory treats, and Minnesota gift items to be given as a door prize, which was open to all in attendance.
Solvers and spectators alike enjoyed an entertaining day of suspense, surprises and fun. Spectators at the tournament were provided copies of the puzzles to play along. Following the tournament, the organizers, The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library are making the 10-puzzle play-at-home packs available to purchase online for just $5 at www.thefriends.org/MNCrossword. Proceeds support the mission of The Friends.