Eighth Annual Finger Lakes Crossword Competition and "Honor" Event

Event Information



Online Event

Event description
The rescheduled FLCC will take place on your own schedule in September. Support Tompkins Learning Partners as an individual or a team!

About this Event

Unique times call for unique solutions. In March, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we rescheduled this year’s Finger Lakes Crossword Competition to September.

Right now, it is doubtful that it will be safe to hold our socially-crowded event in person. Instead of canceling this event, we have come up with another way to keep the tradition alive. On your own timeline, we will all participate in the Eighth Annual FLCC and “Honor” Event. (Only in Ithaca!)

As at the in-person event, all participants start their timing as soon as they open their puzzles. But instead of Cornell’s APO monitors starting their stop watches, you will start yours. When you or your team have a completed puzzle, you will put down your pencils and note the time. You will take a photo of your finished puzzle and email or text it to me, along with your exact time. That’s it!

You can also place bids for our “Silent Auction” items, solve our “Other Games,” and complete additional crossword puzzles at your leisure.

As always, the winners will receive a Winner’s Certificates, a Merl Reagle Crossword Book, and drumroll please, the coveted FLCC Championship Bracelet. Also, all Perfect Puzzles completed within the 45 minute time limit, will receive their Certificate of Perfection. (All certificates with be sent as PDFs.)

To be a donor or sponsor, click on "Tickets."

If you have any questions, feel free to email the event organizer, Gary Weissbrot, at


All participants will receive a packet in the mail via USPS about two weeks before September 26. Included in this mailing will be hard copies of the puzzles, our Event Program, instructions, additional crossword puzzles “just for practice and fun” and the “Other Games.” Please provide addresses for all team members when you register.

The correct competition puzzle and “Other Games” solutions will be posted along with the winners’ names and times on our website.

You can start anytime after you receive your mailing, but we must have all completed submissions by 5 pm on September 26. The “Silent Auction” also ends at 5 pm on September 26. Full information will be provided when you receive your packet.

Included in your packet will be the other two competition puzzles with solutions. There are also additional puzzles in your packet just for your enjoyment, with answers.


(If you are unable to physically get together with your teammates)

  • All team members will have received their own copy of the puzzle by regular mail about 2 weeks before September 26.
  • Coordinate a Zoom/Skype meeting with your teammates. (If a team of only two players, cellphones on speaker would also work.)
  • When all players have a puzzle and pencil in front of them, simultaneously open the puzzles and start the stopwatch.
  • Do not stop your timer until you have all decided that the puzzle is finished. If, after stopping the clock, a change is needed to be made, it is too late. So, be sure everyone on the team agrees with your final puzzle.
  • Full instructions will be included in your packet.


All items up for bid will be shown on the Tompkins Learning Partners website at, along with the minimum opening bid and the minimum bidding increment. The bidding will begin as soon as you get your game packet and will end at exactly 5 pm, on Saturday, September 26. The current highest bid will be shown in real time. (Instructions will be included in your packet.) Be sure to check often.

After the event, arrangements will be made for payment and delivery.


Before you go any further, we must thank the Underwriters and Business Patrons that have made this wonderful event possible. Please note their logos at the bottom of this page and their ads in our program.

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.

 Tompkins Learning Partners invites you to join your friends and neighbors and compete in the Finger Lakes’ only regional crossword event. 100% of all proceeds from the tournament will support adult literacy here in Tompkins County.

Competition is open to individuals and teams (2-4 players). There will be three levels of competition: Easier, Trickier, and Toughest. All teams, regardless of number of players, will be competing against each other. Three levels of unique puzzles will be created by our very own “Puzzlemaster,” Adam Perl, constructor of numerous crosswords published in the New York Times, and past owner of Pastimes Antiques in the Dewitt Mall.  

Prizes will be awarded to the top three individuals and teams who complete a perfect puzzle in the shortest amount of time. Whether you are a casual, serious or advanced puzzler, you are invited to be part of the fun! 

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!

On the next page, you can select your skill level, enter your team information (if applicable), donation amount and securely enter your credit card information. This is also the page where you can fill in any sponsorship information.

 If interested in Underwriting, becoming a Business Patron, a Sponsor, or if you have any questions at all about this event, call Event Chair Gary Weissbrot at 607-793-8010 or email him at, for more information.

Please carefully read the following instructions before registering.

In order to make this event more inclusive, we are leaving it up to each player to decide what they can comfortably afford to pay. 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.)

Online 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.


How to determine your level of competition:  Practice on the following puzzles from past Finger Lakes Crossword Competitions to determine your level of competition:  

Easier Level Puzzle (equivalent to NYT Monday puzzle) Click for the Solution

Trickier Level Puzzle (Wednesday) Click for the Solution

Toughest Level Puzzle (Saturday) Click for the Solution

Just starting out or want to get better at crosswords? Check out this New York Times tutorial on how to solve crossword puzzles!


"Everyone who attends the Finger Lakes Crossword Competition, and who solves Adam's puzzles, will have a terrific time."-Will Shortz

First Place Winners will receive:

  • Name inscribed on brass winners' plaque permanently on display at Tompkins Learning Partners.
  • A copy of Merl Reagle's Crosswords Book.
  • The unique and highly coveted TLP Finger Lakes Crossword Champ Bracelet (FLCC), not to be confused with The World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet, which is considered the most coveted non-monetary prize a poker player can win.

The Top Three Individual and Team Finishers will receive:A personalized Winner's Certificate (suitable for framing).

All Winners will receive: Priceless bragging rights.

All players who complete a perfect puzzle within the competition time period will receive a Certificate of Perfection.

Share with friends


Online Event

Save This Event

Event Saved