Merl Reagle tipped off the Cruciverb-L mailing list to an upcoming solve-at-home crossword contest, the National Brain Game Challenge. Remember that Starbucks crossword contest several years ago? This is similar—as the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America contest rules explain, “Each puzzle contains a unique and hidden Key Answer that can be expressed in fewer than four words. There is also a Secret Link that binds all of the Key Answers together. Each player must submit the Key Answers plus the Secret Link.” Unlike the Starbucks contest, everything unfolds between September 25 and 28, rather than over a period of weeks.
It costs $25 to register (proceeds benefitting the AFA) and the top prize is a cool $5,000. Second prize is $1,000, third prize is $500, and there are also $100 prizes for various placement winners (such as 10th place, 50th place, 1,000th place, etc.).
If you’ve never made it to the A or B division finals at the ACPT and you’ve never constructed an ACPT finals crossword—and if you’re at least 18—you’re eligible to compete. I am ineligible to win, but Merl points out that there’s nothing in the rules preventing former ACPT finalists from helping other contestants tackle the Brain Game Challenge puzzles. And if you’re ineligible, apparently you can still donate and play, just not be in the running for prizes.
Sounds like a lot of fun! Plus the registration fees help support a good cause, and one that’s near and dear to Merl’s heart—he and Marie took care of Marie’s mother during her final years with Alzheimer’s disease.