Puzzle Predictions for the Indie 500 2018


Hey everyone!

Tomorrow is the Indie 500 tournament, the indiest crossword tournament this nation has to offer, and I will be in DC later today! Very excited to see everyone once again, and I’m gearing to bringing home some more hardware.

As longtime followers of this blog know, and I have correctly predicted every puzzle used in the Indie 500 tournament, and this year, I plan to do the same.

You have less than 24 hours to prep, but here you go, the puzzles used in the Indie 504, in co-organizer alphabetical order.

Andy Kravis – I don’t fully understand it, but there’s a new Spelling Bee feature on the NYT app, led by friend-of-the-show Sam Ezersky. My money is that Andy has been working with Sam for a special, Saturday-edition of Spelling Bee, and you are going to have 15 minutes to find as many words as you can. Words With Friends may be a thing you should consult right now.

Angela Olson Halsted – This year’s theme for the tournament is fashion, and I think Angela was inspired when she went to ACPT 2018 to bring back one of its most popular features. You know how there’s people dressed like pencils/crosswords/wackiness at each tournament? Angela’s puzzle will be worn by her. Not sure how we’ll all be able to read the clues and entries, but she snagged one of those costumes from Connecticut and it will be the centerpiece of the puzzle.

Erik Agard – The reigning ACPT champ, and champion in life. A humanitarian and abecedarian, Erik has been involved with a number of positive crossword movements in the last year. So, it should come to no surprise that his puzzle will be in the form of a charity suite. For $10 or more to one of the listed charities (or one of your choice), this Indie 500 puzzle will be progressive and probably feature a Thursday theme with a Saturday difficulty. With the success of Puzzles for Progress, Queer Qrosswords, and Women of Letters, I’m hoping for something like “Across the Planet”, an environmental-based puzzle set. Have you seen how much plastic is in the ocean?

Neville Fogarty – Keeping with the theme of the tournament, I think Neville’s puzzle will do with hats. Not sure what exactly. Puzzles written on hats, hats in the grid, hats made of black boxes in the grid, but Neville’s always been keen to hats, and I think that reflects today.

Peter Broda – Peter will round out Saturday’s tournament by being a collab with a famous celebrity. We’ve seen these puzzles all year, and now Peter brings his best to the tournament. Since he’s from Canada, I hope he picked a Canadian to partner with for this year’s puzzle. God, a Broda-Reynolds puzzle might be the greatest thing ever.

These five did not list who they were teaming up with to write their puzzle, so Anna, Laura, Lily, and Sophia, I’m sorry I couldn’t predict yours. I’ll say that either you abetted these folks by letting them get away with the theme I predicted, or worse, you came up with it yourselves. Either way, you are just as responsible.

And if for some unknown reason I’m wrong about my predictions, I look forward to seeing the puzzles and hanging out with the folks that make them. I’m really looking forward to being there, and I’m sure it’ll be a bunch of fun.

Good luck this weekend! See you all soon!



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