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Big Jenny | 21:40 Mon 24th Oct 2005 | Quizzes & Puzzles
18 Answers
I'd be interested to know what you puzzlers out there think affects your chances of winning a Crossword Comp. Do you think using black or blue pen makes a difference? What about corrections? Have you ever sent a crossword in with a corrected balls-up in it? Do you think the judges are looking for anything particular, which means instant rejection? I obviously realise you've got to have all the answers correct, but I wondered if neatness, colour of ink, use of Tippex and stuff like that makes any difference. Has anyone actually won one of these Crossword Comps? Sorry to be a pain, but I'd really like to know what other think.


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Hi Jenny.

sent in oodles of crosswords and never won a thing. Must admit I always do them very neat,but I have sent them with corrections, don't know if it makes any difference.Iv'e also tried posting them on different days.waiting till the last minute but to no avail.Ah well i'll just have to keep trying. maybe one day.Would be nice to hear of someone on here winning.Anyway good luck to everyone on A B.


Jenny over the years I have sent in more of these than I can remember, and I only ever won once, a pair of adidas trainers.

I honestly dont know for sure but I dont think neatness counts although corrections/ tippex and spelling mistakes might.

Dont think you are doing anything wrong there are thousands of people that send these things in so the chances of your name coming out of the hat are not good.

Don't despair.
Most of the crossword comps are, I think, first correct one out of the bag.  Thus I don't believe the colour of ink used or the number of corrections makes any difference.  I have won all of the Telegraph crossword puzzles (except GK Saturday and Herculis) over the past ten years and always have tippex and other corrections.  You just have to be lucky and get your entry first out of the bag.  Just like a raffle really.
Question Author
Thanks all. It's interesting to hear what others think, and comforting to find that someone has won something from time to time!!
I always photocopy the grid first, and fill it in in pencil, then transfer the answers as neatly as possible to the original grid. I STILL manage to mess it up occasionally, which makes me so wild, and I hate having to use Tippex. I feel quite sure that the judges would take one look at the splodge of Tippex and throw it in the bin.
If I were a judge, I think I would be very fussy about neatness, corrections etc. myself.
hello   I agree with others comments, its luck. first out of the bag  and with the express there's several crosswords on a sunday and monday big one and crusader every day and all go to same address so how do they sort them ??? I wonder. I have won 3 local crosswords on �10 a time couple of months ago I won �20 daily mail,  I always do my crosswords in PENCIL and then ink them in when completed. Colour of ink I used a black fibre tip pen, but last week in a competition local paper I won 10  Pilot pens different colours so have used  green  colour for hope and pink they look good but still got to be picked out,  Its good to do crosswords but a great time waster in a way but the throught of winning a thousand keeps you at it.and this site is good when you get stuck and have only just started doing cryptics which is interesting. I do quite a few at W/ends, and on sat for past few weeks got the Daily record someone on here mentioned its �500 and easy Glasgow paper and wonder if anyone outside Scotland would win.  Good luck.
I'm afraid that if I get one letter that looks as though it might have been altered or is badly mis-shapen, then I bin the whole thing. This stems from my childhood attempts, when the rules stipulated that neatness and clear handwriting would be taken into consideration by the judges. I just can't shake it off.
As I've said on here before, I have won the Sunday Times puzzle prize once. Also, a prize, many years ago, for supplying a cryptic clue in a daily mail competition.
Wish you luck, Jenny. :)
colour ink , day of posting , naaah , just the luck of the draw .
i have also sent many in and wondered if it would be acceptable ,if drawn .
but once the crossword is done , what the hell ,go for it !!!

i send in about 40 competitions per week , and have won a few thing's through the years .
nothing fantastic ...but have just won last weeks daily express birthday quiz !! ( �250 ) wont sleep until the cheque comes !!
so my philosophy is , as long as they can see what the answer is , send it in and hope for the best .......good luck !
Well done beerbelly. That win will buy you a good few beers! I thought I did a lot of prize crosswords per week but how do you find the time to do 40?I won the crusader crossword last june, 100 pounds, and have a few smaller wins, 20 pounds and 2 new novels in the local paper.I dont think neatness, colour of ink or time of posting makes any difference at all, it's just the luck of the draw. Instead of using pencil or photocopying the grid, I use a site called crossword weaver where I can print the blank grid off for free.Happy puzzling. 
when does a hobby become an obsession ???
no , seriously .i do all the mail & express puzzles .
saturday , daily record , star .
i rescue a lot of puzzles from my mother , chat ,womens own take a break .....etc ......
along with local rag .....( when i find a job , i'll be knackered )!!

Hello Jenny,

I used to do Lovatt's competition crosswords from their Colossus magazine and if I remember rightly they actually stated that Tippex corrections were allowed. 

I must admit I send any competition crosswords in with Tippex corrections anyway if I've made a mistake.

I had a few wins with Lovatt's but no large cash prizes, I won a watch and some pens etc.  I was thrilled to bits though to win the Saturday Times Cryptic competition a few years back which netted me �100.  Still waiting to win a nice large cash prize like the �1500 offered by the Mail On Sunday General Knowledge crossword!

Good luck and happy puzzling!

Question Author
Lots of fascinating answers, thank you. I can't help agreeing with d0gsb0dy - one mistake and I completely lose heart and want to jack it in. However, I don't usually bin it, I send it in anyway, unless I've messed up completely and it's unreadable.
I do the Mail on Sunday �1,500 GK every week, and the You magazine, and I also help my Mum with the Radio Times and Telegraph GK. Never won anything yet, though. I will keep trying. Best of luck to you all, and thanks for taking the time to answer.
Big Jenny, approx. 39,000 entries are sent in for the Sunday Express GK, keep trying!

There is a new kind of tippex - it is shaped like a mouse and you press out a little flat piece which is much tidier and more accuate than the liquid.  It does cost a bit more but you use every last bit of it and you don't need to wait for it to dry.

I have won the Scotsman 5 times (14 ct gold pens) but I have a friend who has done the same crossword for as many years and is still to win.

�100 was my best win (Times on-line club monthly) and I must have won 7 or 8 dictionaries.  Three guesses what grandchildren get for Christmas!

Fan of DTel GK Sat and Mon..used to send in all hopeful, now just happy to do and save the stamp money....


Glad someone won though - CONGRATS!

Well Done beerbelly. Hope you have many more.


Hi Jenny, I agree with other answers that corrections dont matter, however I use pens that have special erasers attached and they are much neater for correcting. They are in Smiths and I expect most other stationery suppliers. I've never won anything either in over 20 years of trying!! Viv
Well done all you winners. I have done the Sun teleg griddler since it started. Three of us competing to be the first winner. One died 14 ys ago, One gave up, and as my friends would attest, I'm trying still

Yes I have sent in a comp knowing it was wrong because it had been printed wrong. When I queeried this, they the publisher said they just picked the first closest answer. It beggered belief.

I photocopy my crosswords then copy it on to the original. it gives me a chance to double check beforehand

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