Attention Word Nerds: The Times Union is Hosting a Crossword Championship

The Times Union will host the inaugural Upstate Crossword Championship tournament where contestants will compete in a multiple-round match to solve exclusive, themed puzzles provided by King Features. Participants will earn time and accuracy scores. Top finishers will compete in a final round, featuring a Capital Region-themed puzzle, for the day’s biggest prize. 


The Times Union is hosting a their inaugural crossword championship at the Hearst Media Center on September 22. Right now I feel the same sense of possibility I once felt in 4th grade when I was chosen to enter my school’s geography bee. It was a competition among my entire grade, and one person from each classroom went to represent their people in what felt like the highest stakes life would ever offer.

It felt like thousands of people were watching us as we stood up their playing bootleg Jeopardy. We had our little triggers in hand and I was up against 3 of the biggest nerds in my school. I had gotten there by default, since I think I was part of the “easy” class and I literally guessed on the multiple choice qualifying exam, but that’s not important. I was there, a little sweaty, but ready to win. I just imagined bringing the cup back to my classroom, having all the girls ask me about what it’s like being so smart, and even maybe, just maybe, getting my first kiss.

I didn’t answer a single question.

It’s not even that I got a bunch of answers wrong, I just didn’t know anything and everyone clicked their trigger before my brain even had the power to process what was being asked. I was wilting away on stage while simultaneously realizing I do not have a future in academics…And that’s when I started making videos.

Anyways, the Times Union is hosting a crossword championship and I think that’s great. I enjoy me a good crossword when I’m at my parents house who are stable enough to afford a subscription to the TU. Now, I’ve never completed a full one by myself which is probably a sign not to enter. It normally takes my whole family taking turns on the puzzle and passing it around as the day goes on to even make a dent. We must be considered an “easy” family, but that’s okay. And when the Sunday puzzle comes around? Fuhgetaboutit. We even try to cheat to make dents in that puzzle and even Siri is like “jeez, I’m not sure about that one.”

I’m sure the puzzles involved in this competition will be Sunday+ which makes me as hesitant to enter as it does curious about how notable I would become if I won. Can you imagine? My whole life could turn around if I’m deemed the best word nerd in Upstate. I could very well get a lucky break, know all the clues by some miracle and turn out victorious and win whatever the “big prize” is. Maybe, just maybe, it could be my first kiss?

Realistically speaking, I will sit there and not enter a single answer just as I did on that dreary day 15 years ago. 

Can my entire family enter as a unit?

P.S. They totally should have named it the Crossword Cup, it’s got a much better ring to it. 

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