— by Willz
By my count, 28 NPLers — or almost 6% of the League’s entire membership — was in Pleasantville on the Friday before this past Halloween for the 10th annual Westchester Crossword Puzzle Tournament. They were among the 70 contestants and about 15 officials overall.
As usual the contest consisted of the Monday through Thursday crosswords of the following week’s New York Times. The fastest correct solver in each round advanced to the playoff, which was conducted on giant boards. Spelvin won round #1 in 3 minutes. Jeffurry won round #2 in 4:10. Al DeSuda would have won round #3 in 4:00, except he entered ROTAS rather than ROTOS for “Old newspaper sections” (making the crossing nonsense). His mistake allowed a non- NPLer — David Phethean, from Pleasantville — to be the third finalist.
In the playoff, Spelvin defeated his opponents, in 5:40, while the audience watched. David was second (6:20), and Jeffurry third (6:55). Every clue in the playoff puzzle had exactly three times more letters than its answer, as explained by several lines in the completed grid.
After the contest, most of the Krewe present, as well as other friends, attended the most crowded party my house has ever seen. Puckdrop was the last to leave, at 12:30 a.m. Seemingly, a good time was had by all, and the Pleasantville Fund for Learning, for which the event was held, raised almost $2,000.
The NPL contestants were Al DeSuda, Applause, Cazique, Clio, Groucho, I, Jeffurry, La Do La Li/Ti, Lyric, 100 Down, Puckdrop, Spelvin, Toonhead!, treacle, Tyger, Voks, Wampahoofus, and Wrybosh. The judges included En, Evita, G Natural, Noam, Nucky, Sluggo, Tihz Wa, Trickme, Wagstaff, and myself.