What will happen after I submit an entry to Challenging Times/Puzzle Players Weekly?
Your entry will be judged, and if correct, you will be entered into the winners' pool and sent a Tiebreaker to help determine the ultimate winner.

When will I receive the Tiebreaker?
Tiebreakers are mailed out with the next weekly issue of the Challenging Times, within 5 days after the entries are scored. Approximately 75-85% will qualify for the first tiebreaker; approximately 20-30% will qualify for the second tiebreaker, if required; 5-10% will be the winners. 

How much does it cost to enter?
The entry fee for each puzzle is specified on each entry form. Each tiebreaker costs $1 for handling and judging.

Does it require any skill to win?
Yes! The outcome of these puzzles is based entirely upon the skill of the contestants. This is not a sweepstakes or a drawing. 

Whom am I competing with?
You compete with all the other puzzlers who submit an entry for a puzzle. You do not compete against us. We are here to make sure the puzzle contests are run in a fair and exemplary manner, where everyone has an opportunity to win. We love to see our contestants thrilled and excited when they win!

How are the prize checks sent out?
Prize checks are mailed in our weekly publication, Challenging Times, within 5 days after the entries are scored and the winners determined. Winners may expect prize checks up to the maximum stipulated amount for each puzzle with an average of $25-$75 depending upon the skill of contestants in relation to the difficulty of the puzzle. 

When are the prize checks sent out?
All prize checks will arrive in the contestant’s mailbox 8 weeks after our receipt of the original entry; if the puzzle goes to a second tiebreaker, it will take 13 weeks from the receipt of the original entry. 

Who determines the winners?
Judges are employees of CM Publications, Inc., and a minimum of two different people score the entries. One of the judges is the creator of the puzzles. Entries are scored manually using a key. 

Is the judges' decision final?
Yes, in order to ensure everyone a fair outcome of all puzzle contests, the decision of the judges is final. In the rare case of a judging error, our liability is limited to the amount of the entry fee paid. 

Can I get my money back after I have entered a contest?
Once a puzzle contest has been entered and judged, we cannot refund any entry fees. If you wish to cancel a subscription to Challenging Times, we will return what is remaining on the subscription after our accountants have determined the appropriate amount.

Is prize money sometimes combined?
Yes, we reserve the right to combine the first and second prize money, either when the second prize amount would be divided into amounts too small to make writing checks worthwhile or when the amount is equal to, or exceeds, the first prize share. This does not apply to Contests for which only one prize, or non-divisible (e.g. non-cash) prizes are offered.

Can I be sure that my entry will be processed correctly?
After 28 years in business, our system of mailing prize checks and tiebreakers and publishing results are remarkably efficient and reliable. There should be no need to inquire about an entry or prize check. All requests to research an entry, tiebreaker or prize check must include $5 for each item. The $5 will be refunded if we are in error. 

Will results to each puzzle be published?
Yes, the results of all winning scores and the winners' names are published in sequence every week. If you require a copy of the winning solution, there is a $5 charge for each one, and it must be ordered within 5 weeks of its announcement in the Challenging Times .

Who can enter?
These contests are void where prohibited by law. Otherwise, puzzle entry is open to all persons, 18 years or older, except sponsors, employees, and their families. Our competitors are not eligible to enter, nor are their directors, officers or employees, or their families. Our determination of contestant eligibility is final. 

Can I enter multiple times?
Yes, multiple entries are allowed for each puzzle, but only one winning entry and one prize check per association, whether family, friends, club, or otherwise will be paid. Puzzle solutions created in part or in whole by collusion and/or submitted by proxy or via fictitious identities will be disqualified. 

Will I be required to provide any information?
Entrants may be required to provide acceptable proof of identity, their address and their photograph. Your social security account number is required by law for annual winnings of $600 or more. 

What happens if my entry gets lost in the mail?
Unfortunately, we cannot be responsible for lost or delayed mail. 

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  • Chris Connor, IL, has won $3,493

    Chris Connor, IL, has won $3,493

    "First of all, I like the weekly themes, the quick return of tiebreakers, and prize checks. And, I also enjoy the sizeable checks and payoffs."
  • Deb Moore, MI, has won $73,076

    Deb Moore, MI, has won $73,076

    "You earn while you learn."
  • Gary DeMarco, MI, has won $83,664

    Gary DeMarco, MI, has won $83,664

    "No other contest sponsor sends out prize checks every week. Unlike other contest publications, your puzzles are not hard to solve, so you have a better chance at winning cash prizes."
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