Who's on first

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My opponent and I both have an icy manipulator in play. At the beginning of my upkeep I want to use my manipulator to tap one of his creatures, but before I can say it, my opponent announces he wants to tap my manipulator. Does the first person to start speaking get to act first? If he taps my manipulator first, then I can't tap his creature. If I tap his creature first, then he wastes his manipulator to tap my artifact that is already tapped. I must be missing something here.
it really doesn't matter
you can tap his creature no matter what (as long as you can pay )

if you activate it first, when your opponent responds the Icy Manipulator is already tapped
if he activates his first, you can respond to that by simply activating your Icy Manipulator

that being said, Magic is not a game of reflexes
players receive priority in APNAP order, first the Active Player (whose turn it is), then the Non Active Player
so you get priority first in this case (it is your turn), but as I said, it doesn't really matter for the end result
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The active player gets priority first in each step and phase of each turn (excepting the ones where no one gets priority). That means that on your turn, you have the first chance to activate your abilities. Your opponent can respond to your ability with one of his own, and that means his will resolve first. HOWEVER, even in that case, both abilities will still resolve, because the cost of an ability is paid as part of activating it. That means that your manipulator is already tapped by the time he can respond (thus, targeting your manipulator would be a foolish move). Even if he activated first, you can still activate in response.

Standard Answer to all 5E rules questions: "Ask your DM."

So if I tapped my icy manipulator and he responded with crumble, his spell would resolve first and my manipulator would be thwarted?
So if I tapped my icy manipulator and he responded with crumble, his spell would resolve first and my manipulator would be thwarted?

nope, it's effect is already on the stack waiting to resolve

his Crumble would resolve first and destroy your Manipulator on the field, but the activated ability on the stack waiting to resolve is a different game object and completely unaffected and as such will still do its thing

You need to know two things.

1) Magic is run by a system of priority (it's an imaginary baton that gets passed around and lets players take actions) The player whose turn it is always gets priority first when entering a new step/phase or after a spell or ability resolves.

2) Spells and abilities don't resolve immediately. Players can respond to them. When you have priority, you begin to cast a spell or activate an ability and you pay its costs immediately during the casting/activation. Then you get priority back and may cast/activate something in response to your own spell/ability and repeat as necessary. The spells or abilities you added can't resolve until all players pass priority in sequence and once that happens the top object resolves and the active player gets priority again. So your turn, you get priority first, you activate Icy and tap it for the cost. You then pass and now your opponent can use his Icy, but your Icy is already tapped and its effect is waiting to resolve. He can't tap your Icy because it's already tapped for its cost. Inversely, let's say it was his turn and he passed priority to you and you attempt to tap his Icy. You tap yours and its effect goes on teh stack, you pass, he can now activate his before your effect taps his down.

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Your icy is destroyed, but the ability of your icy on the stack will still resolve and tap his creature.

Abilities on the stack will resolve independant of the source.  If he wants to stop the ability he nees something that targets abilities like Voidslime
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