The 12th iteration of Westport Library's annual "Booked for the evening" fundraising gala Thursday featured town resident Phil Donohue as master of ceremonies, with crossword puzzles star Will Shortz receiving the Westport Public Library Award for 2010.
Several hundred people filled the library's Great Hall, enjoying wine and hors d'oeuvres, with entertainment provided by the band The Doughboys.
But for the puzzle addicts in the crowd, the real treat for the evening was a word challenge game Shortz directed after dividing the audience into two teams.
Shortz has been The New York Times crossword puzzle editor since 1993. He has also, since 2000, hosted the library's annual Crossword Puzzle Tournament.
During her remarks to the audience, Martha Aasen, president of the Board of Trustees, said the library award honoree each year is someone whose work reflects the purpose of the library, "to nurture the love of learning and to enhance our understanding of the world."
The first award recipient was journalist Tom Brokaw in 1999.
Also participating in the program were actress Susan Terry and professional puzzle maker Patrick Merrill.
Merrill created a crossword puzzle containing items related to Shortz's life that was placed on an easel, and Donohue read the clues for the audience to decipher.
"32 across," said Donohue. "Fifteen year magazine stint for Will."
"Games" shouted several members of the audience.
"Oh, where are you at 3'o'clock in the morning," responded Donohue.
The cost of attending the evening started at $1,000 for two reservations and rose to $15,000 for eight.
The recipient of the library's award receives a Baccarat crystal book donated by the jewelry store Lux, Bond & Green in Westport.