Crosswords for a Cause—Sharp Again's First Annual Crossword Puzzle Fundraiser/Competition

Join us for a fundraising event for puzzlers of all levels!

Crossword puzzles are recommended by Sharp Again (SAN) as a fun way to challenge our brains and stay sharp as we age! During this four-week competition, puzzle solvers will tackle original puzzles by New York Times puzzle designers – created especially for this event.

How It Works:

  • Each Monday beginning April 5, we will release one new 15 x 15 puzzle (four in total).
  • Once you register, we will email the puzzles to you on or after the release date(s) below.
  • Every puzzle contains a metapuzzle: circled letters that need to be unscrambled to reveal a word relating to a way to keep the brain healthy.
  • Solve the metapuzzle word and email it, IN THE SUBJECT LINE, by the deadline below to to be entered into our weekly prize drawing.
  • Those successfully solving the metapuzzle for all four weeks will be entered into our Grand Prize drawing.

Puzzle/Drawing Schedule:

Weekly Puzzle Release Date Solve By 5pm ET Drawing Date
1 April 5 April 11 April 12
2 April 12 April 18 April 19
3 April 19 April 25 April 26
4 April 26 May 2 May 3
Grand Prize May 4

How to Register:

  • Play any one puzzle for a $25 donation, or play all four for $75. 100% of your donation goes towards SAN’s mission to preserve brain health and help everyone live life with a sharp mind.
  • You can join any time during the week’s competition and solve the metapuzzle by Sunday at 5:00pm ET in order to be eligible for that week’s drawing.
  • Anyone joining after the competition has begun can still be eligible to enter the Grand Prize drawing, but will not be eligible for the previous weeks’ prizes.


Weekly Prize
  • One annual subscription to New York Times Games, donated by the New York Times ($39.95 value)
  • Sharp Again Memory Mug
  • A book of crossword puzzles by Will Shortz
Grand Prize
  • iPad ($400 value) donated by Steps Home Care
  • Sharp Again Memory Mug
  • A collection of crossword puzzle books by Will Shortz


Email us at

Download these instructions


Meet Our Puzzle Creators

Gary J Whitehead, New York Times crossword puzzle creator, donated a puzzle for Sharp AgainGary J. Whitehead is a teacher, poet, mushroom hunter, and crossword constructor. He has taught English at Tenafly High School in New Jersey for twenty-four years, where he advises the school newspaper. He has also published poems widely in journals, magazines, and newspapers, and has published four books of poetry, most recently Strange What Rises (Terrapin Books). His puzzles have appeared in The New York Times, The L.A. Times, USA Today, and Games magazine.

Robyn Weintraub,Robyn Weintraub lives in Rye Brook and has been constructing crossword puzzles since 2010. Her puzzles regularly appear in The New York Times and she’s also a member of the in-house puzzle team at The New Yorker. When she’s not making puzzles she’s volunteering with various local political organizations or playing in her garden. Robyn can be contacted on Twitter at @Robynw414.

Scott Marrone, New York Times crossword puzzle creator, donated a puzzle for Sharp AgainScott Marrone is a retired educator and conductor, born and raised in NYC and currently living in Westchester. He is married and has two daughters.  Scott is an avid crossword solver and feels it is an excellent mental activity because it requires thinking in many directions and recalling a wide array of information. He has had 7 puzzles published in the NYTimes.

Jon Olsen, New York Times crossword puzzle creator, donated a puzzle for Sharp AgainJon Olsen is a veterinarian from Thornwood, New York, who has been a passionate creator and solver of crosswords for over 30 years. His work has been featured in The New York Times, GAMES Magazine, and World of Puzzles. He lives with his wife, two daughters, and two cats, and when he is not puzzling, he enjoys cooking, Scotch tasting, and Yankees baseball.


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