Tournament Rules and Procedures

Rules and Procedure


The virtual tournament consists of seven crossword puzzles on which all contestants compete, and a championship playoff puzzle which can be solved online, but is not counted towards the virtual scoring.  Puzzles can be solved up to two days after they become available on this site.


Note: The results of this year’s virtual tournament will not affect contestants’ skill divisions in future in-person tournaments. First-time contestants will, however, lose their Rookie status.


Pairs Solving


A team entered in the Pairs competition will submit only one solution per round. Pairs can work together either physically or remotely and can communicate by any means they choose.




There will be no awards this year for the virtual tournament.




A running tally will be kept of each contestant’s scores. Points will be awarded for each puzzle as follows:


  • Ten (10) points for every correct word entered across and down;

  • New this year (and only for virtual scoring) scoring by seconds: one bonus point for every two seconds the contestant finishes early--this bonus, however, to be reduced by 30 points for each letter that is omitted or entered incorrectly, up to, but not beyond, the point the bonus returns to zero; and

  • One hundred fifty (150) bonus points for a complete and correct solution.


A solution that is not submitted within the time limit (that is, before the timer reaches 0:00) will receive a score of zero.

Some examples to demonstrate the scoring rules:

Assuming a 15x15 puzzle has a 15-minute limit, 76 words and 189 letters--

  • Solver #1 finishes the grid cleanly in 5:39, receives a score of 76*10 (10 for each correct word) + 150 (clean bonus) + 561 seconds /2 (remaining seconds rounded down) = 1,190 points

  • Solver #2 finishes with a time of 16:01 and receives no score for exceeding the time limit

  • Solver #3 finishes in 7:55 with 6 words and 3 letters wrong, receives 70*10 + [425 seconds/2 (rounded down) - 3*30 (letters wrong)] = 822 points

  • Solver #4 finishes in 8:10 with 26 words and 10 letters wrong, receives 50*10 + [410 seconds/2 - 10*30] = 500 points since [time bonus] can't be < 0

  • Solver #5 finishes in 15:00 cleanly receives 76*10 + 150 = 910 points

For the virtual tournament, we will only track standings by age category and Rookies (Skill Division and Geography categories will only apply to the in-person tournament.)