Men and woman working on crossword puzzles.
Photograph by Dan Feighery

When - completed

was held Monday, September 11, 2023 at 1:00pm.


Arlington Mill Community Center
909 South Dinwiddie Street
Arlington, VA 22204

Event Director

Riley Geary
Contact Riley by email.


See our volunteers page for details.

Results & Records

Results and Records for the NVSO 2023 Crossword Puzzle Event.


Photographs from the NVSO 2023 Crossword Puzzle Event taken by Riley Geary.


General Rules
Please go here for rules covering all events.

Crossword Puzzle Rules

Competition will be in 10-year age groups (50-59, 60-69, 70-79, 80-89, 90+) with no gender divisions. NVSO will provide the crossword puzzles and pencils.

A) General Rules

  1. Crossword puzzles consist of a grid of intersecting blocks, each defined as a line of adjacent cells with a clue number in either the uppermost cell for a vertical block, or the left-most cell for a horizontal block. Each clue provides a hint as to what word, phrase, acronym, or abbreviation should be placed in the corresponding block, with a single letter (A-Z) going into each cell of that block – read left to right for horizontal blocks, or top-down for vertical blocks. The object is to fill in each cell of each block with the correct letter, and to do so in the shortest time possible.
  2. The event consists of 3 puzzles, each with 30-minute time limits.
  3. Contestants may only use a pencil for notations and their own brainpower to solve the puzzles. Dictionaries, computer/smart phone analysis, or cribbing off of other contestant is prohibited. Notations and guessing are allowed as long as it remains clear which letter goes with each cell.
  4. Once a puzzle is completed, a contestant will raise his/her hand and a proctor will record his/her elapsed time and collect the puzzle for grading.
  5. At the end of the allotted time for a puzzle round any remaining unfinished puzzles will be collected for grading and recording the total time for that round.

B) Grading

  1. Cells with two or more letters, the wrong letter, and cells left entirely unmarked are graded as mistakes and assessed a 1 minute time penalty each, which is added to the contestant’s completion time for that puzzle.
  2. The cumulative time required to complete all three puzzles, including assessed time penalties for mistakes, is the contestant’s score, with the winner in each age group being the contestant with the lowest total score.

C) Awards

Gold, Silver and Bronze medals are awarded to the contestants in each age group.