ACPT

A place to hang out, get to know other Muggles and discuss everything under the sun.
docison
Posts: 152
Joined: Wed Apr 10, 2019 1:18 pm

ACPT

#1

Post by docison »

Anyone "going" this weekend? Not metas, but should be a great tournament for one and all. The ACPT puzzles are always top-notch...
mkmf
Posts: 23
Joined: Mon Apr 29, 2019 12:22 pm

#2

Post by mkmf »

We[re signing up tonight in the pairs category. We don't speed solve at all and might likely skip out of live solving the later puzzles and take our time to solve the tricky/fun ones without the pressure. But we'll at least start live with the easier ones. (Too bad that the easier puzzles come first - that's 8 am here in the NW - the caffeine won't have kicked in yet.)

The non-competition registration ($30 per device) is also a good option for non-speed solvers - it gives you access to all the live events and you'll be mailed the puzzles later. Patrick Berry fans should note that the Friday night event includes a short film about PB! The Saturday night rooms include various games and show and tell - you can get an intro to solving cryptics, watch a live puzzle construction, etc. Anyone can host a room - I've been keeping my eyes for a a meta/muggle room.

Here's where you get info/schedule/registration: https://www.crosswordtournament.com/ ****But note: Registration ends at 12 pm Eastern 4/23/21.

I just noticed that last year a number of muggles live-commented their progress at the virtual ACPT on this forum here:
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=330

Good luck!
Laura M
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Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2019 11:49 am

#3

Post by Laura M »

I'm registered! I'm not sure that I'll have time this weekend to do/watch all of the events, and I'm the opposite of a speed solver, but I decided it would be fun and worth it anyway. Looking forward to it!
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MikeyG
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#4

Post by MikeyG »

I hope to "be" there! Busy weekend, especially viewing three of the Oscar films I want to see in time for Sunday - but I hope to steal away for a bit!
Less cross words, more crosswords. (Obvious self-promotion: Check out more here!)
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MikeM000
Posts: 280
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2020 11:31 am
Location: Metro Detroit

#5

Post by MikeM000 »

I would love to try a tournament some time but the possibility of me saying to my family "I need these hours blocked off for a crossword tournament, so don't bother me then" is just not going to happen. I doubt I'd be more than middle of the pack but it would be fun to try it out. For others who do speed solving, what times do you shoot for? For me and the NYT (oh hey! 600 streak today!), I try and get:
M-4 minutes
Tu-7
W-10
Th-12
Fr-15
Sa-20
Su-20

I unfortunately find myself doing them on my tablet more and more, and on M/Tu/Sun it definitely adds a minute or more onto my time...
docison
Posts: 152
Joined: Wed Apr 10, 2019 1:18 pm

#6

Post by docison »

Congrats on your streak! The good news about the online tournaments is that they are much more forgiving from a time standpoint, with pretty long breaks between puzzles - but still, it is a commitment. I tell my family that there are worse vices than solving crosswords...

My average times (ytd) on the NYT are:
M - around 2:30. T/W - around 3:00. Th/F/Sat - between 4 and 5 minutes (Saturdays have been a tiny bit quicker for me this year than Fridays, oddly). Sun - 8:00.

But don't be daunted by that. Yes there are people out there who solve at blisteringly fast rates - there are many who are so much faster than me, it's unfathomable. But it's still a fun offshoot of this shockingly large and engaged crossword community!
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Hector
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#7

Post by Hector »

I'm a good bit slower than docison, and MCWCC aside I don't really aim for speed. For many years I only did the NYT puzzle, and then only Th-Sun because the easier ones bored me. Branching out to indies and metas in the last year+, I've been solving quite a few more than 4 crosswords per week, including easy ones, and maybe it shouldn't have surprised me, but my solving times on the NYT puzzles have gotten dramatically faster than my long-time averages (maybe 30%?). It could of course be that the puzzles have gotten easier, but I suspect it's just putting in the mileage.
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MikeM000
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#8

Post by MikeM000 »

Hector wrote: Fri Apr 23, 2021 2:13 pm I'm a good bit slower than docison, and MCWCC aside I don't really aim for speed. For many years I only did the NYT puzzle, and then only Th-Sun because the easier ones bored me. Branching out to indies and metas in the last year+, I've been solving quite a few more than 4 crosswords per week, including easy ones, and maybe it shouldn't have surprised me, but my solving times on the NYT puzzles have gotten dramatically faster than my long-time averages (maybe 30%?). It could of course be that the puzzles have gotten easier, but I suspect it's just putting in the mileage.
I don't know if you've tossed some dough toward Erik Agard with his USA Today efforts, but I didn't renew for a 2nd year. While I thought each puzzle was of good quality and the greater purpose was worthwhile, I got kind of bored with knowing that every single day I'd have a 4:30 to 7:00 solving time, and there was never anything goofy to break up the days if the difficulty didn't change (like the Bond & Droid NYTs this week). While I enjoyed doing the weekly tourney puzzles (and I even won it once) I was not a fan of the immediate closure and inability to edit once you filled in your last square.
docison
Posts: 152
Joined: Wed Apr 10, 2019 1:18 pm

#9

Post by docison »

There are plenty of puzzles out there with a wide array of difficulty levels, as Hector references above. I find the proliferation of all the indy sites a bit overwhelming, but in addition to the mainstream publications (NYT, Universal, WSJ, LAT) I will regularly solve BEQ's puzzles, Fireball, Inkubator, AVCX, and Aries (those are seriously hard). And then if I've got spare time I will check out what's been published in the last few days, based on Matt Gritzmacher's daily link email... Always happy to provide tips if you're looking for a certain type. I solve a lot!
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BrianMac
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#10

Post by BrianMac »

I love going to crossword tournaments, but it's about the camaraderie rather than being competitive. I go to them whenever I can and always have a lot of fun. But even in small tournaments (around here anyway) there will always be someone who is blistering fast. There will be plenty of people slower than you too.

ACPT is the biggest and most fun of all, and it's in Stamford - where I live! The tournament is being live streamed from the Marriott where they have it every year, and apparently some people are going in person. But all solving will still be online. I have a lot going on tomorrow, but I hope to swing by and check it out. Will post an update if I do! :)
Laura M
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Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2019 11:49 am

#11

Post by Laura M »

Tough start to the weekend... I did the Puns and Anagrams puzzle and I might have finished it given another half hour!
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norrin2
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Location: Charleston SC

#12

Post by norrin2 »

I'm at ACPT. Made a stupid mistake in puzzle #1, cuz hey, why wait?
Laura M
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Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2019 11:49 am

#13

Post by Laura M »

First 3 puzzles clean (but slow), then missed three letters on #4 due to just complete stupidity. I thought I had checked all the crosses as I was going, but clearly not! There goes my 400th place standing :-)
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norrin2
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#14

Post by norrin2 »

Laura M wrote: Sat Apr 24, 2021 2:20 pm First 3 puzzles clean (but slow), then missed three letters on #4 due to just complete stupidity. I thought I had checked all the crosses as I was going, but clearly not! There goes my 400th place standing :-)
Well, I am impressed that you were at 400. I was at 774 after the first puzzle and have managed to claw my way up to 581.
Laura M
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#15

Post by Laura M »

norrin2 wrote: Sat Apr 24, 2021 2:35 pm
Laura M wrote: Sat Apr 24, 2021 2:20 pm First 3 puzzles clean (but slow), then missed three letters on #4 due to just complete stupidity. I thought I had checked all the crosses as I was going, but clearly not! There goes my 400th place standing :-)
Well, I am impressed that you were at 400. I was at 774 after the first puzzle and have managed to claw my way up to 581.
Thanks! I'm at 527 after puzzle 4, will be much worse after standings are updated for puzzle 5. I never got the theme and the grid was less than half-filled when I submitted at one minute to go, oof.
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norrin2
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#16

Post by norrin2 »

Laura M wrote: Sat Apr 24, 2021 3:23 pm
norrin2 wrote: Sat Apr 24, 2021 2:35 pm
Laura M wrote: Sat Apr 24, 2021 2:20 pm First 3 puzzles clean (but slow), then missed three letters on #4 due to just complete stupidity. I thought I had checked all the crosses as I was going, but clearly not! There goes my 400th place standing :-)
Well, I am impressed that you were at 400. I was at 774 after the first puzzle and have managed to claw my way up to 581.
Thanks! I'm at 527 after puzzle 4, will be much worse after standings are updated for puzzle 5. I never got the theme and the grid was less than half-filled when I submitted at one minute to go, oof.
Wow, we're neighbors. I'm at 536 after puzzle 4. I never got the theme of #5 either and I feel very lucky to have "only" missed 15 letters.
docison
Posts: 152
Joined: Wed Apr 10, 2019 1:18 pm

#17

Post by docison »

Hi y'all. Hope everyone's having fun. I made a dumb mistake in #5 also (not even related to the theme, which I never figured out even though I did submit)... Was doing really well in the standings before that. Still at around 40 but would be #15 if I had just been clean there (which would be very exciting). Still will take 40. Puzzles have been fun though I miss the in-person experience!
Laura M
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#18

Post by Laura M »

I pretty much knew what I would get going into this tournament, and I definitely haven't been disappointed. I don't think I'll ever make it to ACPT in person, so the online version seemed like a good opportunity to try it out. The crosswords and the community have been great, as expected; even though I'm in something like 650th place, I have no regrets :-) But still, there are some things about this tournament that I wish worked differently:

1) I wish there was a non-speed-solving track where we would get like 3 or 4 Saturday NYT or Saturday Stumper-level puzzles (or maybe even a Week 2-level meta!) and have an hour or 75 minutes to finish each one. I would have loved to have the time to work through puzzle 5 and actually finish it! I love to noodle over the really tough puzzles and feel like I've accomplished something when it all finally clicks into place.

2) I wish the breakout tables had names. I might have joined a table named "Muggles" or "Hardware engineers" or "Whovians" or "Talking about our kids" or something else that I could identify with. But I couldn't tell anything from the lists of names, except when I recognized them as constructors and elite solvers that I would have no business "sitting" with :-)

3) Actually I don't much like video chatting, I find it difficult to get a word in edgewise even in Zoom meetings with only a few other people. So I wish that there were some options for text-only conversation with smaller groups. The main chat stream is fun, but it goes by so fast I couldn't keep up, much less add to it! It would have been nice to have breakout chat streams with fewer people, I think that would have felt less intimidating to me.

4) It's nice to have the constructors introduce their puzzles, but I wish it was like Boswords. I've been doing the Boswords leagues during this past year, and they always have the constructor come on AFTER the puzzle and talk about how they constructed the puzzle and their favorite entries and clues and stuff, and all of that is super fun to hear about if you've just finished the puzzle. Also they can plug their websites or books, and I'll absolutely visit and bookmark those sites right away because it was a great puzzle, and I'm right here on the computer! So, win/win.

I don't mean to criticize; I know that a lot of people have all been working very hard on the online ACPT, and they've done a great job! It's been running smoothly and I'm really impressed with everything. Just, you know. If there's still a call for online crossword puzzle tournaments after the pandemic (please please let "after the pandemic" happen soon, but I think that I will always be in the market for online stuff), these would be my suggestions for a tournament that would appeal to me and probably at least 2 or 3 other people!
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MikeyG
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#19

Post by MikeyG »

The penalty for making a mistake is brutal, wow! I made a typo in Puzzle #1 and was not in a proper headspace the rest of the way, something I tell my students! I only got about halfway through Puzzle #5 - getting the theme with only about 10 minutes left didn't help, haha. I'm always in awe of the speed-solvers. About at the 45th percentile for both this and Boswords in the summer, but I have no regrets!
Less cross words, more crosswords. (Obvious self-promotion: Check out more here!)
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norrin2
Posts: 135
Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2020 5:41 pm
Location: Charleston SC

#20

Post by norrin2 »

Laura M wrote: Sun Apr 25, 2021 1:55 am I pretty much knew what I would get going into this tournament, and I definitely haven't been disappointed. I don't think I'll ever make it to ACPT in person, so the online version seemed like a good opportunity to try it out. The crosswords and the community have been great, as expected; even though I'm in something like 650th place, I have no regrets :-) But still, there are some things about this tournament that I wish worked differently:

1) I wish there was a non-speed-solving track where we would get like 3 or 4 Saturday NYT or Saturday Stumper-level puzzles (or maybe even a Week 2-level meta!) and have an hour or 75 minutes to finish each one. I would have loved to have the time to work through puzzle 5 and actually finish it! I love to noodle over the really tough puzzles and feel like I've accomplished something when it all finally clicks into place.

2) I wish the breakout tables had names. I might have joined a table named "Muggles" or "Hardware engineers" or "Whovians" or "Talking about our kids" or something else that I could identify with. But I couldn't tell anything from the lists of names, except when I recognized them as constructors and elite solvers that I would have no business "sitting" with :-)

3) Actually I don't much like video chatting, I find it difficult to get a word in edgewise even in Zoom meetings with only a few other people. So I wish that there were some options for text-only conversation with smaller groups. The main chat stream is fun, but it goes by so fast I couldn't keep up, much less add to it! It would have been nice to have breakout chat streams with fewer people, I think that would have felt less intimidating to me.

4) It's nice to have the constructors introduce their puzzles, but I wish it was like Boswords. I've been doing the Boswords leagues during this past year, and they always have the constructor come on AFTER the puzzle and talk about how they constructed the puzzle and their favorite entries and clues and stuff, and all of that is super fun to hear about if you've just finished the puzzle. Also they can plug their websites or books, and I'll absolutely visit and bookmark those sites right away because it was a great puzzle, and I'm right here on the computer! So, win/win.

I don't mean to criticize; I know that a lot of people have all been working very hard on the online ACPT, and they've done a great job! It's been running smoothly and I'm really impressed with everything. Just, you know. If there's still a call for online crossword puzzle tournaments after the pandemic (please please let "after the pandemic" happen soon, but I think that I will always be in the market for online stuff), these would be my suggestions for a tournament that would appeal to me and probably at least 2 or 3 other people!
I don't like video chatting either, but I really enjoyed Ross Trudeau's presentation on how to construct crossword puzzles. He and his co-constructor put together a puzzle in real time with text-only input from us. Very fun and informative.
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