He’s Got a Clue!
Rensselaer student Tyler Hinman, 20, has won the American
Crossword Puzzle Tournament, becoming the youngest champion in
the 28-year history of the competition.
Hinman, a third-year information technology major from
Hebron, Conn., won the title and $4,000 grand prize. He
prevailed among 450 competitors. The competition was held in
Stamford, Conn., March 11-13.
Hinman said he was “both surprised and not surprised” to win
because he knew he had the ability to win but things had to
fall his way. “It’s mostly skill and verbal ability, but there
was also a little bit of luck involved. A few stumbles by my
opponents cleared the way and a couple of seconds made the
difference,” he told the Associated Press (AP).
In the final round, Hinman and two other competitors
completed their puzzles on stage in front of a crowd of
hundreds in a hotel ballroom.
Al Sanders, a 46-year-old engineer from Fort Collins, Colo.,
finished the puzzle first, but missed the answer “Zolaesque”
for the clue “stark and richly detailed, as writing.”
The tournament is the nation’s oldest and largest crossword
competition. It was founded in 1978 and is directed by New
York Times crossword editor Will Shortz.
“There are a lot of people who are very intelligent who
cannot solve crosswords,” Shortz told the AP. “But all good
crossword solvers are smart.”
Hinman, who also writes crossword puzzles, was the youngest
person ever to publish a puzzle in the New York Times,
at age 15. He has one pending at the Los Angeles
Times, and has appeared in the Wall Street
Journal. Perhaps Rensselaer magazine will someday
be on that list.
Originally published in
Rensselaer Magazine, Spring 2005
Photo by AP/Wide World Photos