Pics Of The Day #1020

The Westport Library was quieter than usual today — some of the time.

The 21st annual Crossword Puzzle Contest drew a record 130-plus cruciverbalists, from as far as Pittsburgh and Illinois. 

A small portion of the 130-plus puzzlers.

Led by New York Times puzzle editor Will Shortz — the host and grandmaster for all 21 years — the contestants tackled 3 crosswords. 

That was the quiet part. During breaks, there were loud, animated conversations — about puzzles, the genius of Will Shortz, and life. 

The judges at work.

After those preliminary rounds, the finalists took the stage. Glenn Ryan of Norwich dethroned defending champion Ken Stern, finishing a “Friday puzzle” without a mistake in a blazing 4 minutes, 50 seconds.

Finalists,just minutes after the championship round began.

He won a book about the origins of words — and an hour test drive in a Maserati, courtesy of the Westport dealer.

From left: finalists Ken Stern, Jesse Lansner and champion Glenn Ryan, with Westport Library executive director  Bill Harmer and New York Times puzzle editor Will Shortz.

That may the only thing faster than Glenn.

Not to brag, but — well, okay, a little. (Photos/Dan Woog)


8 responses to “Pics Of The Day #1020

  1. On a related note, Jeff Wilkins posted on our Staples ‘71 Facebook page that one of our classmates is in tomorrow’s Sunday Times crossword puzzle. He didn’t identify the person (I assume in an effort to allow interested classmates to fill in the puzzle on their own.)

  2. Barbara Sherburne, '67

    Congratulations, Dan, on solving the three puzzles. You must have a very high IQ. I doubt I could answer even two clues in a puzzle. Good for you!

    • Yes, I second that congrats. I didn’t even notice your certificate when I first saw the story.

    • Thanks, Barbara, but it’s really a function of just doing them. The more you do, the better you get. I’ve been doing the Times crosswords since the mid-1980s! And I loved hearing Will Shortz say that the average age of constructors has gone down, from 50s to mid-30s. Many Times puzzles are now very lively!

  3. Mary Cookman Schmerker

    Congratulations Dan! You rock our world in positive ways!

  4. Carissa Simon Baker

    Way to go, Dan!!!

  5. Eric Buchroeder SHS ‘70

    Several points:
    Quite a few of the contestants are SHS classmates of mine. You’re dating yourselves. This type of activity, since it’s not only sedentary, but clearly cultural, belongs at the WMCH. If you can’t afford the WMCH $40/hour admission fee then you should consider postponing retirement. As for myself, I’ll celebrate my youth by hiking out Wilton Rd to the YMCA, playing don’t hit me with the fossil fuel mobiles and (if I make it that far) swimming for an hour with leg weights to provide a little challenge.

  6. Ngassam Ngnoumen

    Great community event and congrats Dan!