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2023 Fall League Nuts and Bolts

We aim to provide a weekly league for crossword solvers that focuses on themeless puzzles. To make this league accessible to as many solvers as possible, each weekly puzzle will have three levels of clues — dubbed Smooth (easy), Choppy (medium), and Stormy (hard). Solvers may compete as Individuals or as a Pair.


We strive to create an environment for frequent, synchronous gatherings of the crossword community while solving puzzles (themelesses) that are not usually a part of the tournament experience. In addition, we want our programming to highlight our (and your) love of puzzles and to showcase not only the people behind the puzzles but also their strategies and techniques for making the puzzles. And, of course, we want this to be FUN for solvers.

Note: We understand that solvers will occasionally (or always!) miss the Monday night broadcast and live solve. Thus, solvers will have until the end of the day on Sunday to do that week's puzzle and be included in that week's standings. Also, overseas solvers do not have to do the puzzles during the live broadcast if it is inconvenient for them ... they can do the puzzles any time between the Monday live broadcast and the end of the day on Sunday.


If you registered for the Fall Themeless Leaguye, 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 (starting with the letter H), 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. Note that this video was made for our 2022 Spring League, but the solving process is the same for the 2023 Fall League. The Preseason Puzzle will give you a chance to try the solving process before the official season begins with Puzzle #1.






Solving and Timing: How will your solving time be measured?


Let’s say that Puzzle #1 is made live at exactly 9:15 PM Monday evening. Your time does not actually start until you actually click the link to the puzzle on the Fall League Puzzle Page. So if you click the link at 9:16 PM on Monday night or, say, at 3:57 PM on Tuesday afternoon, your time will start from there.  


The address for the Fall Themeless League Puzzle Page is


Scoring System


You will receive a score for your performance on each puzzle. The scoring of every puzzle is based on a 20-minute time limit, but please note that you can take more than 20 minutes to solve the puzzle if you wish (you will just lose some points from your score). 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 (bonus received no matter how long the puzzle takes you

  • 1 point added to your score for every second under the 20-minute time limit

  • 1 point subtracted from your score for every 4 seconds you go over the time limit (so 15 points for every minute 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.

To be included in a given week's standings, you must complete the puzzle by the end of the day on the Sunday of that week.

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 PuzzleMe 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 Fall League puzzles will have a Rebus component.


Streaming Broadcast on Twitch


There will be a broadcast accompanying the Fall Themeless League 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 Fall Themeless League and we will open the channel at 8:55 pm Eastern (so people can say hello in the chat, if they wish) and we will start broadcasting every Monday night at 9:00 PM Eastern. (Except for the Preseason Puzzle broadcast, which will be on Wednesday, September 27.) The web address for our Twitch channel will be posted on the main page and is also given below.

Fall League Nuts and Bolts

Note that this video was made for the 2022 Spring League, but the information about entering your Boswords code, solving, using Twitch, etc. all applies to the Fall League as well!

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