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Sixth Annual Finger Lakes Crossword Competition

Tompkins Learning Partners (Gary Weissbrot, Event Chair)

Saturday, March 17, 2018 from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM (EDT)

Ticket Information

Ticket Type Sales End Quantity
Event Registration - Individual Player
Suggested Amount: $50. Please read the Registration details below before registering.
Mar 17, 2018 Enter donation ($)
Event Registration - Team of Two
Suggested Amount: $90. Please read the Registration details below before registering.
Mar 17, 2018 Enter donation ($)
Event Registration - Team of Three
Suggested Amount: $120. Please read the Registration details below before registering.
Mar 17, 2018 Enter donation ($)
Event Registration - Team of Four
Suggested Amount: $150. Please read the Registration details below before registering.
Mar 17, 2018 Enter donation ($)
Be a sponsor!
Pay for an individual player ($50) or a team ($90-$150). All sponsors will be listed, unless otherwise requested.
Mar 17, 2018 Enter donation ($)
Middle Scholar and High Scholar Registration (Grades 6-12)
Middle and High School students are invited to participate in a special competition. Registration is free but required. $1 entry fee to be paid at the door on day of event.
Mar 17, 2018 Free  

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Event Details

Click here to complete the Tiny Town Teaser from
this week's Ithaca Times for a chance to win a free entry!

 Warm up for the competition with a screening of

Tompkins Learning Partners (TLP) announces the cruciverbalist event of the season, the Sixth Annual Finger Lakes Crossword Competition.


This event is an important fundraiser for TLP, 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 right here in your own backyard in the Finger Lakes’ only regional crossword event. 100% of all proceeds from the tournament will support adult literacy here in Tompkins County.


About the Event


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, maker of numerous crosswords published in the New York Times, and 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!  See the full schedulerules, and FAQ.


For the first time, we are inviting Middle School (grades 6-8) and High School (grades 9-12) students to join us at our competition. They will be solving separate Middle Scholar and High Scholar puzzles specially designed for them by our master puzzle constructor, Adam Perl. If you are in grades 6-12 or a parent and are interested in the competition details, click here. Register for the Middle Scholar and High Scholar competition right on this Eventbrite page.


There will be practice games, drawings, a silent auction, a raffle and free coffee, tea and donuts before the competition starts and after players have submitted their finished puzzles. While the judges are checking the puzzles, there will be a live performance of an original 8-minute "Crossword Play" by Donna Hoke.


Rex ParkerWe will be joined by our special guest, the 9th Greatest Crossword Solver in the Universe and possibly the greatest(!) NYT Crossword blogger in the Universe, Rex Parker

As he describes himself on his blog, "I am the Greatest Crossword Solver in the Universe (when I co-solve with my wife)! (2017 Pairs Division Champions, Lollapuzzoola Crossword Tournament)."


By popular demand, Adam G. Perl is offering his special crossword construction tutorial at the conclusion of the event. Please click here for further information.


Last year's "Pay what you can comfortably afford" feature was very popular and successful. 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.

Puzzlemaster Adam PerlOne Down.


Registration 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.


In Person: If you do not want to register online, you can register at the door on the day of the event, beginning at 1:00 p.m.  However, to guarantee a spot, we strongly recommend pre-registering by March 10.  All players must sign in at the door.

If you are pre-registered and do not want to participate in the pre-competition events, you may show up and sign in at 1:45 p.m. on the day of the event.



Skill Levels


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


     Easiest Level Puzzle    
Easier Level Puzzle
(equivalent to NYT
Monday puzzle)

     Trickier Level Puzzle    
Trickier Level Puzzle


     Tougest Level Puzzle    
Toughest Level Puzzle



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

Adam Perl and Will Shortz

"Everyone who attends the Finger Lakes Crossword Competition,
and who solves Adam's puzzles, will have a terrific time."
-Will Shortz, pictured here with our Puzzle Master, Adam Perl


The Prizes


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 3 Individual Winners will receive a 1-Year subscription to GAMES Magazine.
  • 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).

Middle and High School Winners will receive:

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.

Fingerlakes Crossword Champ Bracelet
The coveted FLCC bracelet


World Series of Poker Bracelet
Not the coveted FLCC bracelet


Jacob Lehman in his office
Can you unseat our two-time Toughest champion, Jacob Lehman?





We are sincerely grateful to the underwriters of this event.  Underwriters include:

Cat's Pajama's Logo

CFCU Community Credit Union Logo 

Chemung Canal Trust Company

C.S.P. Management



Business Sponsors




Dewitt Mall Logo


Foster Custom Kitchens
     Pastimes Antiques

Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes

    Rasa Spa Logo 
True Insurance Logo - image of a house
True Insurance

Refreshment Sponsor
Ithaca Bakery
    Media Sponsor

Ithaca Times

Have questions about Sixth Annual Finger Lakes Crossword Competition? Contact Tompkins Learning Partners (Gary Weissbrot, Event Chair)

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When & Where

Boynton Middle School Cafeteria
1601 North Cayuga Street
Ithaca, NY 14850

Saturday, March 17, 2018 from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM (EDT)

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Tompkins Learning Partners (Gary Weissbrot, Event Chair)

Since 1976, Tompkins Learning Partners has been providing tutoring services, free of charge, to local residents who need help reading, writing, or speaking English. These services are provided through dedicated volunteer tutors who give their time to make a difference in students' lives. The knowledge that students gain allows them to achieve their personal goals, such as obtaining or improving their employment, continuing their education, or gaining citizenship. Tompkins Learning Partners is a not-for-profit governed by a board of directors of local residents committed to the cause of literacy in our community.

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Sixth Annual Finger Lakes Crossword Competition
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