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Spring Themeless League Nuts and Bolts

Goals of the 2023 Spring Themeless League


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 more 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 9:00 PM Eastern on Thursday 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 9:00 PM Eastern on Thursday.

If you registered for the Spring Themeless League, 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 explains the process of solving in our online environment and using your Boswords code when you are accessing a tournament puzzle. Even though it was made for the Winter Wondersolve, the solving procedure is the same for the Themeless League!


Timing: How will your solving time be measured?


Your time does not actually start until you actually click the link to the puzzle on the Spring Themeless 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. 


Note that your time starts once the puzzle loads on your page (we get a “start timestamp” in our system for your puzzle). This is why we recommend copying and pasting your Boswords Code, for the timer starts once the puzzle loads on your page. When you hit “Submit”, we get an “end timestamp”. The difference between the end timestamp and start timestamp will be considered your time for the puzzle. The video above illustrates this process.

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

  • 180 point bonus for a completely correct puzzle

  • 1 point per second under the 20-minute time limit for the puzzle

  • 1 point subtracted from your score for every second 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.

To be included in a given week's standings, you must complete the puzzle by 9:00 PM Eastern on the Thursday of that week. 

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 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 league's puzzles will have a Rebus component.


Streaming Broadcast on Twitch


There will be a broadcast accompanying the Spring 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 Spring Themeless League and will start airing every Monday night at 9:00 PM Eastern. The web address for our Twitch channel will be posted on the main page and is also given below.

Tips for Solving Puzzles Using Puzzle Me

Spring Themeless League Nuts and Bolts

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