Boswords 2020 Nuts and Bolts

This page is for people who have paid and registered for the live tournament on Sunday, July 26th.



 All Boswords solvers will complete five themed puzzles. The top three solvers after the five puzzles will compete in a Championship Round that consists of a themeless puzzle. All solvers will have the opportunity to solve this Championship Puzzle while we are setting up the top three solvers with the appropriate technology.


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


The video below — Video #1 — explains the process of using your Boswords Code when you are accessing a tournament puzzle. You will also follow this process during the Dress Rehearsals (more on these below).












Measuring Your Solving Time (Edited on Sat 7/25!)


It is important to note that the timer that will appear at the top of the puzzle is unofficial and will not perfectly match the time that you will see on the Results page for the puzzle. This is because your time actually begins once you click the link to the puzzle. So while you are entering your Boswords Code, your time has begun, so you want to quickly copy and paste your Boswords code into the box. The timer you see in the upper left corner on your puzzle only begins when you click "START" on the opening screen. The timer on your screen will only give you a ballpark idea of where you are in the puzzle. 


So how, exactly, will we measure your time? It will be done differently than was done in Dress Rehearsal #1.


Now, let’s say that the link to Dress Rehearsal Puzzle #2 is made live at exactly 2:15 PM (2:15:00). When we make the link to the puzzle live, that DOES NOT start the clock on your personal puzzle. Rather, your time will start when you click the link on the puzzle -- we will get a Start time stamp on the back end of our system when you click the link. When you finish the puzzle and click “SUBMIT”, your puzzle will get an End time-stamp on the back end of our system.


So, suppose your Start time stamp was 2:15:30 and your End time stamp was 2:21:00. Then we would record your time as 5 minutes 30 seconds.


The big takeaway is this: If you click the link to the puzzle 30 seconds after we make the puzzle link live, that is now PERFECTLY FINE! That being said, you still want to start the puzzle within a minute of us saying "go."

Scoring System


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


  • 10 points for each correct word in the puzzle

  • 200 point bonus for a completely correct puzzle

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


But let us reiterate here that the timer you will see on the screen as you solve is not an official time and will not match the exact time that you will see for yourself on the scoring sheet.


Navigating the Puzzle Me Software


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


Second, we realize there is a wide-range of experience with online puzzle solving. Some folks solve exclusively on paper, some exclusively on the computer, and some do a little bit of both. The video below — Video #2 — explains the ways to navigate within the Puzzle Me software that you will be using. This video covers both the basic navigational features and some advanced features that you may enjoy learning. 


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.


Note: Shift-Arrow navigation as described in the above video is not yet available on other puzzle sites, like the LA Times and the New Yorker, that use the Puzzle Me software. Shift-Arrow navigation is enabled in Across Lite and on the NY Times Crossword interface. 


Dress Rehearsals


We will have two Dress Rehearsals for as many registered Boswords competitors as can attend. We plan to make a puzzle live for solving on the following dates and times:


  • Dress Rehearsal #1 — Wednesday 7/22 at 9:15 PM Eastern

  • Dress Rehearsal #2 — Saturday 7/25 at 2:15 PM Eastern


At each Dress Rehearsal, we will publish one puzzle like we would on the day of the tournament. If you are able to attend one or both of these Dress Rehearsals, it would be appreciated, as we would like as many solvers as possible to test our system at the same time.


If you are unable to attend a Dress Rehearsal, each puzzle will still be available to you after the date it is published so you can have some practice working with the solving interface.


We will also use these Dress Rehearsals as practice for matching your Boswords Code with your puzzle, and publishing a scoring sheet for these pre-tournament puzzles.


Streaming Broadcast on Twitch


There will be a broadcast accompanying the tournament (and the Dress Rehearsals) that will be hosted by Boswords co-directors Andrew Kingsley and John Lieb. It will be available to watch on Twitch, a streaming service that you can watch for free. 


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


We will be streaming on Twitch for the two Dress Rehearsals and will start airing Dress Rehearsal #1 at 9 PM Eastern on Wednesday 7/22 and Dress Rehearsal #2 at 2 PM Eastern on Saturday 7/25. The web address for our Twitch channel is given below.


Championship Round


The top three solvers at the end of the five puzzles will compete live on the final themeless puzzle. We will post more information about how this will be done a few days before the tournament begins. 

Video 1: How to Access Practice and Tournament Puzzles

Video 2: How to Solve Puzzles Using Puzzle Me