The 36th annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, held in Brooklyn, N.Y. March 8–10 proved to be a great place for Wesleyan alumni to shine. Out of nearly 600 contestants from all over the country, Jesse Lansner ’96 came in 57th; Olin Documents Librarian Ehrhard Konerding MALS ’82 came in 62nd—both in the top 15 percent.
“This is my fifth time at this competition,” said Konerding, adding, “my first year, when Jesse and I were rookies, we got second and I got third in that category.”
Konerding noted that the puzzlers tend to know each other, traveling around in the same circuit of contests, and the competition is best described as genial. “This is not something everybody does,” he said. “You realize that you are fortunate enough to have this talent—or skill, or curse—and you like to spend time with others who do, too. I think it’s all about making associations pretty quickly; the same clue can have different answers, from very obvious to ones that require nonlinear thinking.”
Other Wesleyan alumni in attendance included Sabina Brukner ’82, and Ed Stein ’6o. Stein, who was profiled in the previous issue of Wesleyan Magazine with his original Wesleyan-themed puzzle, gives frequent seminars—on campus and in his community—on the art of completing crossword puzzles. A creator of puzzles, as well, he has had several accepted for publication in the New York Times.