Announcing the Winner of the 2020 Crossword Scholarship

With nearly 200 entries from high school and college students from around the country, the competition for this year’s Crossword Hobbyist Scholarship competition was tough!

We received funny, creative, smart and personal puzzles on every theme, from American Sign Language, Anime, and Equestrian terms, to Harry Potter, psychology, classic cars, and (of course) Coronavirus and quarantine.  

Making a crossword puzzle is hard work! The range of topics, clever wordplay, and grid layout of the submissions we received were impressive. Sadly, our committee could select only one scholarship winner.

The winner of the 2020 Crossword Hobbyist Scholarship is:  

Winner: Daniel Noenickx: Naut Applicable
Hamilton College, Sophomore

Though he’s only a sophomore at Hamilton College in New York, Daniel Noenickx is already reaching great heights–both as a budding cruciverbalist and as an avid rock climber with his school’s outing club. The Computer Science and Economics major got hooked on crosswords during a high school bus trip and hasn’t looked back since. A well-rounded adventurer, Daniel explores new words through his love of crosswords, and new worlds through his passion for sailing.

In his winning puzzle Naut Applicable, Daniel works in a variety of seafaring terms and nautical flotsam and jetsam, but his love of the sea extends far beyond the page. As an instructor at a non-profit sailing center in Boston, Daniel shows the ropes to kids and adults from all walks of life and loves sharing his passion with the community.

In addition to the scholarship, Daniel also gets a life-time subscription to Crossword Hobbyist, so that he can continue to make unlimited online crossword puzzles that he can share with friends or even submit to newspapers. You can learn more about Daniel and the his crossword creation process in our winner’s interview. Congratulations, Daniel!

For more word fun, visit our sister sites My Word Search and My Worksheet Maker.

Finalists & Semi-Finalists

We received a large number of well-crafted puzzles this year and want to recognize our talented finalists and semi-finalists, whose entries were a true joy to solve.

To award their effort and achievement, all finalists and semi-finalists also receive life-time subscriptions to Crossword Hobbyist.

Crossword Scholarship Finalists

In reverse alphabetical order, the Finalists for the 2020 Crossword Hobbyist Scholarship are:

Caleb Shenk: Falsos Amigos
Goshen College, Freshman (Fall 2020)

It’s no problema to see Caleb Shenk’s love of español in his puzzle Falsos Amigos. The academically-minded high school senior enjoys many of his classes, but AP Spanish is his favorite. Apart from his erudite endeavors, Caleb hones his business acumen through fundraising efforts, which include raising money for his class with a fish fry and procuring ads for his school yearbook in his role as Business Manager. In the fall, Caleb will attend Goshen College, where he will continue to play tennis and–hopefully–create crosswords.

Montana S: The Umbrella Academy

College student Montana S. has not only a passion for crosswords, but also an interest in all things creative. This sophomore art student has tried her hand in everything from graphic design and film making to writing and music. Montana’s puzzle, The Umbrella Academy, pays homage to her favorite television show with trivia-style clues. Like the show’s main character, Montana plays the violin in her university’s orchestra. She hopes to one day study abroad and work as an artist in the entertainment industry.

Jared Goudsmit: Into the Words
Tulane University, Freshman

Whether flexing his lyrical muscles or trying to get the perfect clue to fit on the grid, College Freshman Jared Goudsmit is no stranger to creating order out of chaos; as Crossword Editor of the Tulane Hullabaloo, he’s learned to be methodical, as well as creative, when creating puzzles on a deadline. Given that Jared was lured into the black-and-white world of the grid through a high school endeavor to write a musical libretto, it’s no surprise that this aspiring musical lyricist includes nods to his Broadway hero in his puzzle, Into the Words 

Melody Geiger: Past and Present Technology
University of Texas, Freshman (Fall 2020)

Computer-savvy Melody Geiger doesn’t just create puzzles about technology, she’s planning a career in it. This soon-to-be college Freshman at the University of Texas wants to major in Computer Programming and Game Design, with an ultimate goal of creating games that have a positive impact on those who play them. As the Vice President of her nationally-ranked school game design team, she gets plenty of practice. On top of being an Honors Scholar with a 4.0 GPA, involved in half-a-dozen extracurricular activities, and volunteering as a coach and camp counselor, Melody still finds time to indulge her crossword habit. Her puzzle, Past and Present Technology, is a nod to her love of technology and what it can accomplish.

Congratulations to all 2020 Finalists!

Crossword Scholarship Semi-Finalists

In reverse alphabetical order, the Semi-Finalists for the 2020 Crossword Hobbyist Scholarship are:

Congratulations to our winner and all of our Finalists and Semi-Finalists! Thank you to all applicants for their entries. Next year’s contest will be announced in early 2021. See you then!

Inspired by these talented students?
Try making your own crossword today:

Need help getting started? Read our crossword creation guide for tips on how to make your own professional and newspaper-style crosswords, as well as where to submit crossword puzzles for publication.
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