Frequently Asked Questions

How hard will the puzzles be?

The crosswords will be somewhere between Tuesday and Thursday difficulty on the NY Times scale. The metas will start out pretty easy (Week 1 or 2 on the MGCC scale) and then progress to harder (Week 3 or 4 on the MGCC scale). For folks that haven’t done metas before, this should ease you into solving. Along with your answer, you can rate the puzzles in terms of difficulty so I will get feedback as to what people like.

How do I solve the puzzles?

You will get an email with the puzzles attached in both pdf and Across Lite puz file formats. There is also be a page posted every month for online solving.

How do I send in my answer?

A submission form is posted on the home page during the weeks the contest is open.

What’s the best way to solve a meta?

Techniques vary, but my favorite is to look at one that’s stumping you right before you go to sleep and wake up with the answer. Try it!

What’s a mega-meta?

A mega-meta is a meta that stretches over multiple puzzles. Click here for an overview of metas and mega-metas.

When will the solutions be ready?

Solutions along with a write-up will be published on the Tuesday two days after the submission deadline, or one week after the initial publication. If you can’t wait, you can almost always find a write-up of the meta solution at Crossword Fiend as soon as the deadline passes on Sunday night.

Can I use the internet to look up answers?

Using internet tools to help you with the meta is completely acceptable and encouraged. Using the internet to solve the crossword is frowned upon by serious solvers, but can be helpful for less experienced solvers. It’s your puzzle – do whatever makes you happy.

I’m not that great a solver. Do I have a chance of winning a prize?

Anyone that solves a monthly puzzle correctly has a chance of winning the monthly prize. If you solve at least 9 of the 13 puzzles correctly and get the mega-meta early, your name will be put in a random drawing for the Grand Prize. The more puzzles you solve correctly (and the harder they are), the greater your chances in the drawing. Each puzzle will be worth a certain number of points, and you will get one entry in the random drawing per point. Harder puzzles will be worth more points.

Why are you doing this?

I have to blame Matt Gaffney for getting me started on meta construction. He told me he never got to solve metas, so I made one for him. I enjoyed it enough that I made three more (none of them music-related). I decided that I liked creating metas at least as much as creating standard crosswords, and I figured I might as well start a contest.

Why the music theme?

It’s a big enough space with lots of variety. And I’m a big music fan. In addition to crosswords, I compose and perform music. And I love listening to it – don’t you?

If you have a question not addressed above, please email me.