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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) A statistician is challenging Atlantic City's claim that close to a quarter-million people lined its famed boardwalk for the Miss America parade Sept. 14.

Anthony Marino wrote in a column in The Press of Atlantic City (http://bit.ly/191N832 ) that his analysis put the crowd size at somewhere between 60,000 and 80,000.

The official crowd estimate of 225,000 was cited by organizers as a sign of renewed interest in the Miss America competition and its "show-us-your-shoes" parade after a six-year absence from Atlantic City.

City officials are sticking by their estimate, saying they relied on a standard grid analysis used in counting crowds.

But Marino, a former statistician for the South Jersey Transportation Authority, says his analysis of video and photo evidence shows the official number is "an extreme embellishment."

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Information from: The Press of Atlantic City (N.J.), http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com