Proverb: Tournament Results

The American Crossword Puzzle Tournament (ACPT) has been held annually for the past 20 years in Stamford, Connecticut, and is organized and run by New York Times Crossword Puzzle Editor Will Shortz.

The ACPT puzzles are very challenging, and include tricks like multiple letters or words written in a single grid cell, and targets written in the wrong slot.

Scores are a function of accuracy and speed. To judge speed, time limits are assigned for each puzzle ranging from 15 to 45 minutes, depending on size and difficulty. A solver's score is then 10 times the number of words correct, plus a bonus of 150 if the puzzle is completely correct. In addition, the number of incorrect letters is subtracted from the full minutes early the solver finishes. If this number is positive, it is multiplied by 25 and added to the score.

Proverb averages around 10-15 minutes on these puzzles. About half that time is taken in candidate generation, and half in grid-filling. Note that we spent no time optimizing the code, and feel that a one order of magnitude increase in speed (from 10 minutes down to 1 minute) will be feasible in a years time. Finishing in one minute would allow the maximum possible score.

We have Proverb results for the past two ACPT tournaments:

Michael Littman (
Last modified: Thu Apr 29 09:18:03 EDT 1999