Will Shortz engages the crowd.
Will Shortz and Minnesota crossword creators
Will Shortz is surrounded by a host of Minnesota crossword puzzle creators, including from left, David Bael, Zhouqin Burnikel, George Barany, Shortz, Tom Pepper, Deane Morrsion, Victor Barocas, Jay Kaskel, Daniel Kantor, David Liben-Nowell, and Marcia Brott.
Audience members try to determine who answered the puzzle question first.
Phil and Friends...
Phil Platt, right, stands in front of Will Shortz, who is engaged in conversation.
A crowd of puzzle fans waiting to get their books signed by Will Shortz.
Beat the Champ competition
An audience member takes part in "Beat the Champ."
A couple of Shortz fans work on the crossword puzzle in the evening's program, which was created by University of Minnesota Chemistry Professor George Barany and friends.
Will Shortz, the New York Times and National Public Radio puzzle master, thrilled about 700 people at Ted Mann Concert Hall last night with his tales about the history of crossword puzzles, his favorite puzzles, and more.
He answered a number of questions from the audience, including one that asked what is Shortz’ favorite word. The answer: It’s “ucalegon” and it means a neighbor whose house is on fire, he said.
Shortz finished up by leading a “Beat the Champ” puzzle contest that involved dozens of willing audience members.
The event was sponsored by the Friends of the University of Minnesota Libraries.
(Photos by Paula Keller)