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Summer Tournament Nuts and Bolts

All Summer Tournament solvers will complete six puzzles -- five themed puzzles and one themeless puzzle. The themeless puzzle will have two sets of clues -- “Mild” and “Sizzling” -- and you will select which version to attempt right before during that puzzle.


If you registered for the Summer Tournament, you should have received an email from us with details about becoming a member of our Boswords site, using your unique                    9-character Boswords code, and a variety of other details. If you did not receive such an email, please contact us at

You will enter your unique 9-character Boswords Code AFTER you submit the puzzle. The Boswords Code is how we match your submitted puzzle to you. The video below illustrates the solving process.


Timing: How will your solving time be measured?


Let’s say that Puzzle #1 is made live at exactly 1:15 PM. Your time does not actually start until you actually click the link to the puzzle on the Summer Tournament Puzzle Page. So if you click the link at 1:17 PM, your time will start from there. When you hit the SUBMIT button, your time will stop and be recorded.


Note that the Summer Tournament Puzzle Page has a “Practice Puzzle” that is in tournament mode so you can have a puzzle to practice on. 


The address for the Summer Tournament Puzzle Page is

Scoring System


You will receive a score for your performance on each puzzle. Every puzzle has a time limit that will be announced before the puzzle begins. Your score will be based on both accuracy and speed using the following calculations:


  • 10 points for each correct word in the puzzle

  • 180 point bonus for a completely correct puzzle (awarded even if you go over the time limit)

  • 1 point per second under the time limit for the puzzle

  • 1 point subtracted from your score for every 4 seconds you go over the time limit


Note that to receive the time bonus, you must correctly fill in at least half the words in a given puzzle. You will not get the time bonus if you submit a blank or barely filled in puzzle shortly after you begin the puzzle.



Below is the schedule for the Summer Tournament. We will aim to stay on schedule.

NOTE: The Twitch stream will begin at 12:45PM EST. The opening remarks will be at 1PM.


















Navigating the Puzzle Me Software


Solvers must solve the puzzles on a desktop, laptop, or tablet. Both the Boswords and PuzzleMe interfaces are not optimized for phone solving, thus do not solve on a smartphone. 


Note: Ad blockers such as “Privacy Badger” that may be running on your browser can often prevent you from accessing our puzzles. So if you are running such software and run into problems, try disabling it in order to access the puzzles.


After experimenting with the Puzzle Me software, you may wonder how to enter a Rebus answer. Don’t worry about it, that won’t be on the test! None of the tournament puzzles will have a Rebus component.

Schedule, Puzzles, and Championship Round


See above for the schedule for the Summer Tournament (subject to slight variations) and we will do our best to stick to it.


As for puzzles, we want to give you some idea of what to expect, seeing as this is for many solvers their first crossword tournament. In terms of NY Times crossword difficulty, we have aimed for Puzzle #1 to be at a Tuesday level, Puzzles #2, #3, and #5 to be at a Wednesday level, and Puzzle #4 to be at a Thursday level. Each of the first five puzzles is themed.


Our sixth puzzle is a Championship themeless puzzle with a 20-minute time limit and you will have the option to solve one of two versions of this puzzle. The “Mild” version is at a Tuesday/Wednesday level and is recommended for solvers who do not confidently solve Friday/Saturday NY Times puzzles. The “Sizzling” version is clued like a weekend NY Times puzzle and is intended for solvers who confidently solve Friday/Saturday NY Times puzzle. You will decide which one to solve on the day of the Summer Tournament.


For those of you who have solved in our Themeless Leagues, the “Mild” version is meant to be a bit harder than a Smooth level puzzle, and the “Sizzling” version is meant to be between a Choppy and Stormy difficulty level.

The top 3 Individual solvers after the first five puzzles will compete in a Championship round, solving at the same time with their grids displayed for all to see on our Twitch broadcast (same format as our last two Themeless Leagues).

Note: We will contact the top 3 Individual solvers via email in the 5:00-5:15 range and invite them to a Zoom meeting in which the details for solving the Championship puzzle will be given. We aim for the live Championship solve for these top 3 solvers to happen at 5:30.

We will not make standings for everyone else’s results for the Championship puzzle. The final standings for everyone else besides the Top 3 Individual solvers will be based on your results in the five themed puzzles.


Streaming Broadcast on Twitch


There will be a broadcast accompanying the Summer Tournament that will be hosted by Andrew Kingsley and John Lieb. It will be available to watch on Twitch, a streaming service that you can watch for free. (You only need to create an account if you wish to participate in the live chat stream.)


We expect that solvers will watch the broadcast on their computer, as we make announcements, air interviews with constructors, and, most importantly, tell you exactly when each puzzle will go live.


We will be streaming on Twitch for the Summer Tournament and will start airing at 12:45 PM Eastern so that solvers can engage in the chat before we officially start with an introduction at 1:00 PM. The web address for our Twitch channel will be posted on the main page and is also given below.

Summer Solver Nuts and Bolts

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