The Results are In!

Thank you for participating in this year’s 10th Annual Finger Lakes Crossword Competition.

Take a look at the list of Winners and Perfect Puzzles, and see all of the puzzles and their answers.

Watch the recording of our Zoom Kick-Off Event with Deb Amlen, Adam Perl, Michael Sharp aka Rex Parker, and moderator Anna Shechtman.

Crossword Competition Basics

COMPETITION DATE: Saturday, September 24th, 2022

A VIRTUAL EVENT: Play from home; honor the Honor System.

INDIVIDUAL & TEAM PLAY: 2, 3, or 4 on a team.

THREE LEVELS OF DIFFICULTY: Easier, Trickier, Toughest.

ENTRY FEE: Pay whatever you are comfortable with.

CHARITY FUNDRAISER: All proceeds support adult literacy.

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Special Zoom Kick-Off Event

Join us at 1:00 pm the day of the competition, for a live, candid dialogue between the Dream Team of crossword personalities, moderated by Anna Shechtman, crossword constructor for The New Yorker.

Will Shortz, puzzlemaster for The New York Times, will participate in the event via pre-recorded video.

Deb Amlem Headshot


Adam Perl Headshot


Michael Sharp Headshot


Anna Shechtman Headshot


Will Shortz Headshot


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Crossword Competition Details


Competition is open to individuals and teams (2, 3, or 4 players). All teams, regardless of number of players, will be competing against each other at their chosen level of difficulty.

Three levels of difficuty: Easier, Trickier, and Toughest. Three unique puzzles at each difficulty level.

Puzzles will be 15 X 15 in the NY Times “daily” style (except for two of the three “Toughest” puzzles, which will be 16 X 16).

Every individual player and team will be given three puzzles to solve at their chosen level of difficulty. Each difficulty level will have a different set of three puzzles to solve.

We expect all players to be guided by the honor system. As in any crossword competition, no reference materials are allowed.

You will need to time yourself. If you decide to take a break between puzzles, be sure to stop your clock.

The complete set of RULES for this competition can be viewed HERE.


SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24TH, 2022 All times US Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)

11:00 am EDT Registration ends. If you had registered prior to this time and have not received your Zoom Kick-Off invitation, contact us immediately at

1:00 pm Kick-off Zoom Event with the Crossword Dream Team

2:00 pm Puzzles sent as PDFs to all players

5:00 pm End of competition. All puzzles must be completed, photographed, and submitted by email to Entries received after 5:00 pm will not be judged.


2:00 pm EDT Winners’ Zoom Event. We will announce all the winners and their finishing times. (Please Note: The extended time between end of competition on Saturday and announcement of winners on Sunday is due to the large number of entries that need to be checked by our judges. Thank you for your patience.)


To determine your difficulty level of competition, practice on these puzzles from previous Finger Lakes Crossword Competitions. Download puzzles HERE.


If you are unable to physically get together with your teammates, you can assemble virtually. You’ll find an array of tips to accomplish this HERE.


The names and finishing times of the winners will be announced at the Winners’ Zoom Session on Sunday. These, and the names and finishing times of all Perfect Puzzlers, will be posted on the “Winners” page on our website after the event.

Prizes will be awarded to the top three individuals and teams who complete three perfect puzzles in the shortest total amount of time.

All winners will receive a Winner’s Certificate, a Merl Reagle Crossword book, and, drumroll please, the coveted and unique FLCC Championship Bracelet. View prizes HERE.


Adam G. Perl, constructor of over thirty crosswords published in The New York Times,
Anna Shechtman, crossword constructor for The New Yorker (and Klarman Fellow at Cornell University).


Email event Chairperson Gary Weissbrot at

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Registration Info

Please carefully read the following instructions before registering.

We will be continuing our very popular “Pay what you can comfortably afford.” It guaranteed that anybody who wished to participate, could. So, again, to all who wish to play, join us!

We have included our “Suggested” amount but feel free to put the payment that is most convenient into the “Donation” box. (Please remember that this is a fundraiser for Tompkins Learning Partners.)
Registration includes the entry amount and a fee for online credit card processing and handling. Your payment of this fee allows Tompkins Learning Partners to receive 100% of the entry amount for your registration.

BONUS !!! Every registrant will receive an extra puzzle, created by Anna Shechtman, for your own enjoyment. It will be crafted at the same difficulty level as your registration.

Registration will close at 11:00 am on Saturday, September 24th.

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If everyone is competing alone, what’s to prevent someone from Googling or using a dictionary? There is a 10th Circle of Hell for people who cheat at a charity event when there isn’t even any cash involved. (Does that answer your question?)

Help! I registered but never received an email confirmation. STOP WHATEVER YOU ARE DOING. Email us immediately at and we’ll fix it tout suite.

Can I, or my team, take a short break between puzzles? Yes. Be sure to stop your timer until you start again. If you’re on a team, be sure ALL team members stop and start together.

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Help Support Adult Literacy

This event is an important fundraiser for Tompkins Learning Partners, a LiteracyNY affiliated non-profit organization, which provides literacy tutoring, free of charge, for over 100 adults in our community.

100% of all proceeds from the competition will support adult literacy Tompkins County, New York.

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Our Supporters

Our Underwriters and Donors have made this wonderful event possible. Thank you sincerely.


LJ West Diamonds

Cayuga Sunset Properties

CFCU Community Credit Union

Schlather, Stumbar, Parks & Salk, LLP


Tompkins Community Bank


Cayuga Medical Associates

Chemung Canal Trust Company


True Insurance


Ithaca Times

L.J. West Diamonds LogoCSP Management LogoCFCU Community Credit Union LogoSchlather Stumbar Parks & Salk LogoTompkins Banking Insurance Wealth LogoCayuga Medical Associates LogoChemung Canal Trust Company LogoCinemapolis LogoTrue Insurance LogoIthaca Times Logo