Saturday, March 21, 2020, 1 p.m.–5 p.m. ET
The first Crossword Tournament From Your Couch has concluded!
As the largest crossword tournament in history, and the first to be held online, the event attracted 1,815 solvers from couches all across the US and the world including Italy, Israel, Greece, Norway, and the Yukon, among others. Thank you to all our participants for making our first tournament a huge success! And of course, a huge round of applause for our constructors and other volunteers who made the event possible in such a short timeframe.
Congratulations to the top finishers
- Tyler Hinman
- Paolo Pasco
- David Plotkin
- Will Nediger
- Jason Juang
- Ricky Liu
- Sam Ezersky and Madison Clague
- Justin Werfel and Marta Herschkopf
- Mike Berman (and partner)
Puzzles and Standings
You can still do the tournament puzzles on this webpage. They can also be downloaded in .puz format here:
- Warmup - Get the Pillows Ready (puz), by Robyn Weintraub
- Warmup - Put Your Feet Up (puz), by Rachel Fabi
- 1 - Hollywood Ending (puz, pdf), by Joel Fagliano
- 2 - Raise the Roof (puz, pdf), by Laura Braunstein and Jesse Lansner
- 3 - Look Up (puz, pdf), by Patrick Blindauer
- 4 - Naysayers Only (puz, pdf), by Finn Vigeland
- Playoff - Couch Your Words (hard clues - puz, easy clues - puz), by Byron Walden
You can also check out:
- the final standings
- recordings of the tournament livestream
- the recap letter we sent to participants
- the Washington Post
- Fill Me In podcast
- Puzzle Nation Part 1 and Part 2
- Horace and Frances
- Will Nediger
- Matt Jackson
- finally, Twitter
This impromptu event has been organized in the last few days by members of the crossword community who normally gather every year at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. During this time of social distancing, we wanted to offer this event as a way for the community to connect virtually from the comfort of their homes. It’s a crossword tournament… from your couch!
Information for Participants
Puzzles, and How to Participate There will be five tournament puzzles, plus two warmup puzzles, that have been written by volunteer constructors you know and love. In order to be listed in the tournament standings, and to be eligible for competing in the playoff round, participants should solve the puzzles using a crossword program on this website.
[Technical Note] We recommend using Google Chrome on a computer. Other devices or web browsers may reveal unforeseen technical issues that detract from your tournament experience. (We appreciate your understanding as the technical apparatus for this tournament is still in progress as of this writing.)
We will also provide .puz files which you can solve either on paper or in a computer program such as Across Lite, but our scrappy tech team won’t be able to add your scores to the standings.
Divisions Participants can choose one of three divisions to compete in:
- Chesterfield Division: for individuals who in the past few years have finished in the top 20% of a major crossword tournament (such as the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament or Lollapuzzoola)
- Futon Division: for all other individuals
- Loveseat Division: for two participants who want to solve together
Livestream and Playoffs We’ll be hosting the entire tournament on a livestream, which will be linked to on this page before the event begins. After Puzzle 4, we will announce the top three finishers in each of the three divisions. The top three finishers in the Chesterfield and Futon divisions who are also eligible to participate in the playoffs (see below) will compete to finish the playoff puzzle first.
[Playoff Eligibility Rules] If you are one of the top three finishers and wish to participate in the playoff, we ask that you:
- are able to join a Zoom call on your solving device with a microphone and camera,
- watch the livestream during the event so that you can receive the relevant instructions for how to join,
- and, as previously mentioned, are solving the puzzles on this website so that your scores are reliably collected.
In the event one of the top three finishers is not available, the next competitor will be invited, and so on.
Approximate Schedule (all times Eastern)
Saturday, March 21, 2020
1 p.m. Livestream begins, introducing the tournament rules and format. Participants will solve a warm-up mini puzzle to ensure everything is working.
1:30 p.m.–2:30 p.m. Puzzles 1 and 2
3:00 p.m.–4:15 p.m. Puzzles 3 and 4
4:30 p.m. Playoff puzzle
~5:00 p.m. Virtual happy hour mixer (BYOB) and event concludes
We will aim to have constructor interviews and other crossword guests in between rounds.
Livestream Hosts: Brian Cimmet and Ryan Hecht, hosts of the popular crossword podcast Fill Me In.
- Patrick Blindauer
- Laura Braunstein and Jesse Lansner
- Rachel Fabi
- Joel Fagliano
- Finn Vigeland
- Byron Walden
- Robyn Weintraub
Testsolving and Puzzle Assistance: Ellen Ripstein, Joel Fagliano, Jeremy Horwitz, Natan Last
Tech: Vincent Siao, Stephanie Yeung, Jeff Davidson
Tournament Organizers: Kevin Der, Finn Vigeland
Q. How will scoring work?
Your puzzle will be automatically scored by solving the puzzles on this website. Your score for each puzzle will be the sum of the following:
- 5 points for each correct square in the grid
- 200 points bonus for an entirely correct grid
- 1 point for each second remaining on the clock (each puzzle has a certain time limit), scaled by the percentage of the grid filled correctly, and finally rounded down to the nearest whole number if necessary
Q. Is there a cost to enter?
The event is free. Instead, we encourage you to donate to COVID-19-related relief efforts in your community, or an organization recommended by Charity Navigator, such as the Center for Disaster Philanthropy or the CDC Foundation.
Q. Can I still do the puzzles if I’m busy on Saturday afternoon?
Yes, see links above to solve the puzzles on this website or download .puz files.