What is Lollapuzzoola?

General information

Lollapuzzoola is a crossword tournament held annually in New York City. Puzzles are commissioned for Lollapuzzoola, and made by the best puzzle makers around. Since its inception in 2008, Lollapuzzoola has grown to be the largest annual tournament in New York, and the second largest in the world.

Lollapuzzoola  is cohosted by Brian Cimmet and Patrick Blindauer. Contestants battle in several divisions: Express (for speedy solvers), Local (for normal Earthlings), Rookie, Pairs, and the At-Home Division for people who can't get to New York.

There are seven tournament puzzles, a meta puzzle suite, and typically other assorted games (sometimes trivia or NPR-style events), goofy banter, unwarranted disaster, unnecessary noise, a boatload of snacks, and everyone communes over pizza at the conclusion.

Follow Lollapuzzoola on Facebook and Twitter, or check out our Wikipedia page.

The Tournament Itself

Everyone solves the same five puzzles, and is scored on the same metrics of speed and accuracy. The best solvers in each of the Express and Local Divisions will compete in the Championship Finals on large dry-erase grids on stage.

Solo players will be placed in either the Express or Local Division based on past tournament standings — top 20% finishers at either the ACPT or Lollapuzzoola over the past three years will be in the Express Division; everyone else is in the Local Division. (Pairs and At-Home solvers are not placed in these other two skill divisions.)

In addition, there are optional games that don't impact scoring, including a multi-puzzle suite by Patrick Blindauer.

The official tournament events run from 10am to 4pm. Before that, people tend to mingle and play some extra free puzzles. At 4pm, the championship rounds begin. After that, the awards ceremony and pizza social close out the day.

The At-Home Division can be done non-competitively at your leisure, or follow the optional instructions for tracking your own scores and seeing how you measure up against the live tournament.

What Else Can We Tell You?

Lollapuzzoola has grown from a small church basement classroom with 23 contestants in 2008 to the largest crossword tournament in New York City (over 900 players in 2017, between the live tournament and the At-Home Division).

Our primary focus is entertaining you. Lollapuzzoola is built on the foundation of making puzzles and puzzle tournaments fun for everyone, regardless of experience or skill. We look forward to sharing that fun with all of you!

If you have any questions for us, click the button below to send us a message.

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This year, Lollapuzzoola is proud to team up with is a tremendous resource of puzzle data, statistics, and information about crosswords, and a great tool for aspiring crossword constructors. The prize packages for the winners of the Express and Local Divisions will receive 1-year Angel accounts with If you love crosswords and have any interest in seeing the data behind the puzzles (and exploring countless new ways to analyze and investigate crosswords), is the best of the best. Click their logo to check it out.



It's rather inevitable, when one person cohosts both a tournament and a podcast, that the two will be somehow intertwined. Listen to Brian Cimmet and Ryan Hecht on "Fill Me In" to get your weekly dose of ... well, two crossword nerds talking about crosswords. Enter the weekly contest to win an At-Home Division entry to Lollapuzzoola.

Find out more!

Matt Gaffney's Weekly Crossword Contest

Matt Gaffney writes a weekly contest crossword, available to subscribers. Puzzles get more challenging throughout each month. A winner is drawn from correct submissions each week. This year, Lollapuzzoola will be presenting a one-year subscription to Matt's site as one of our prizes.

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