Stamford serves as crossroad for crossword puzzle lovers

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STAMFORD -

The annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament gets underway Friday evening at the Stamford Marriott.

The event is in its 42nd year. The tournament has grown massively since its inception. The first one had just 149 people. Up to 1,000 people are expected in the city this weekend for the tournament.

The three-day event has competitors tackle eight original crosswords - each with a time limit between 15 and 45 minutes. Scoring is based on accuracy and speed.

It draws competitors from 40 states plus Canada and Europe, bringing an economic boost to the downtown area. Officials estimate it brings in more than $800,000 and exposes new visitors to Stamford.

"This is everybody's favorite family reunion," Atlanta's Sam Donaldson told News 12. This weekend is Donaldson's 11th time back. "It's my favorite weekend of the year, and that's true for hundreds of others who are here."

The event was started in Stamford by New York Times crossword puzzle editor Will Shortz, who used to live in Stamford. It briefly moved to New York before returning to the Stamford Marriott a few years ago.

"It sells us out every year," says Mark Ranieri, Stamford Marriott VP and general manager.

Mayor David Martin issued a proclamation declaring Sunday Stamford Crossword Tournament Day.

"It's another thing we're doing in Stamford that enlivens the community and puts us on the map," says Martin.

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