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Calculating the Score for the Daily Crossword

How is your score calculated?  Today I finished the puzzle faster than any other day, with zero wrong letters entered and my score was tied for the lowest I've ever scored.  So it isn't just "time" and it isn't just "number of incorrect letters entered, then corrected".  So what is it?  Should I change my strategy?  Solve long words first in their fullest instead of solving short words to provide letters to solve the long words?  My strategy will of course depend on how the scores are caluclated.

 

And I don't want anyone to change the calculationg method.  I'm fine adapting, but to WHAT?

 

Thanks in advance.

 

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Regular Contributor

I, too, do not get the scoring of the crossword. I also get very low scores on days where I finished the puzzle with no errors and in a very short time. On other days, I take longer and get a higher score, even after seeing and correcting myself in spots.

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Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi, @CatherineS641676, keep in mind bigger puzzles will have a higher achievable score. Meaning, in each puzzle, the total achievable score will differ depending on how many black squares the author uses in each puzzle. This varies puzzle to puzzle. Total achievable score is the cell total x 10 points per cell. If the puzzle author has used more black squares in a particular puzzle, the total achievable score for that puzzle is lower than a puzzle where the author has used less black squares.  

 

For example:

  • The August 7 puzzle is a 15x15 grid = 225 total cells. Subtract the 40 black squares = 185 total cells X 10 = 1850 achievable score
  • The August 8 puzzle is a 15x15 grid = 225 total cells. Subtract the 42 black squares = 183 total cells X 10 = 1830 achievable score

 

You mention a “very low score” below despite completing the puzzle without help and in reasonable time. If possible, could you share the puzzle’s date and what was your score? That would help us to look into it further to see if you're possibly experiencing some sort of bug.

 

Thanks and let me know if this helps!

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Regular Contributor

I, again do not get my crossword scoring today. I finished in 4:04, made no mistakes, went in logical order, and got my lowest score in days. I guess I will follow one of the other responders who opined we should just do these puzzles for fun and not even look at your scoring. 

 

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Contributor

Definitely must be a scoring bug on all word puzzles. Best to just play for the fun and points. I too have played, no assistance, no errors, rapid time ……..low score. 

Regular Contributor

Join the club😊 Even after a supposed explanation, it still makes no sense to me. I do enjoy my morning crossword, so your suggestion is the same conclusion I came to. Enjoy, my friend.

 

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Newbie

I thought I got the scoring; but today I’m seeing a top score of 10,050, and for the weekly and monthly tallies, even higher scores.

 

Like others, I play for the pleasure; but what gives?

Contributor

Today May 2nd. Finished Mini in very quick time, no help and got 190. Days I take longer, no help, I get a higher score. Definitely don't get the scoring at all. 

I often finish Daily (regular) with no erroes and it doesn't register as completed. Then I hit "Reveal Puzzle" to a lower score. I check the squares and there are no mistakes.

I don't care about the score, I do it for pleasure but it is perplexing.

Community Manager
Community Manager

Daily Crossword scoring is calculated at the end of a game with this formula:

  • Player gets 10 points for every cell that was completed without help.
  • Bigger puzzles will have a higher total achievable score
  • If another player has a bigger or smaller score for the same date on the leaderboard, that means they played a puzzle for the different date (i.e., not today’s) – since there are 14 puzzles available to play every day and each will have a different total achievable score based on number of cells.

Completed without help is defined as:

  • Cell filled in correctly without using the Reveal function
  • If the player has Show Errors turned on in the puzzle’s menu, then completed without help means the cell has never shown a red, incorrect letter.
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Contributor

It seems as though you get a higher score if you fill in the word at one go.  In other words, don't skip between horizontal and vertical.  Also, fill in the word the first time you click on it.  Of  course, you'll have to go back at the end to fill in any still-empty spaces.  

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Periodic Contributor

This occurs with the Cryptic Puzzles as well! Today I finished a cryptic without help and without any errors and my score was the same as many others who probably did the same.  Except there was one more score that was ahead of all the other with an extra 10 points.  Why?  What had that solver done that the rest of us had not done?  There is no explanation posted anywhere to explain the scoring system.  I still enjoy solving the puzzles but the scoring system has no separate listing that would at least satisfy the unanswered questions about how the scores are calculated!  Obviously, this is not of great importance to the AARP tech people or it would have been seen to by now.

Contributor

I agree with your post as well as many similar.  Obviously Lynne the community manager has not played the crossword.  I believe the correct answer is that the scoring system has a few bugs and simply not important enough to warrant a fix.

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Community Manager
Community Manager

Hello, @MichaelE11234, sometimes you'll see another player has a bigger (or smaller) score for the same date on the leaderboard. That means they played a puzzle from a different date (i.e., not today’s). Keep in mind, there are 14 puzzles available to play every day and each will have a different total achievable score based on number of cells.

 

In other words, the score can show up on the Leaderboard under “Today” but it doesn’t mean the person played today’s puzzle. If their score is higher than the total achievable for today’s puzzle, it means that today they played one of the other puzzles available in the 14-day inventory that had a higher achievable score (i.e., less black squares) than today’s puzzle.

 

Glad to read that you're enjoy the puzzles and I hope this helps!

 

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Contributor

I want to know how the scores calculated.I get the answers without help.  TJ

Contributor

The scoring on this puzzle has been driving me crazy, also. There is no rhyme or reason to it. I love to do the puzzle, but the scoring drives me crazy.
Contributor

Hello. I do the cossword almost every day. I don't use any of the aids. I do it in a timely fashion. I don't enter any wrong letters. I get 100%. Nonetheless, I don't get the number of "points" that others do. Why? What am I missing? Not a big deal, but I would like to understand how this puzzle series is scored.

Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi @RobertL814599, great question! I hope the following info is helpful to you. 

 

In Daily Crossword, scoring is calculated at game end with this formula:

 

  • Score = Number of cells completed without help x 10
  • Bigger puzzles will have a higher total score

Note: "Completed without help" is defined as: cell filled in correctly without using Reveal function. If "Error Checking" is turned on, cell has never shown a red incorrect letter.

 

***If my post answers your question, please mark it as an "Accepted Solution". Thank you!

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Newbie

I do not use the “error checking”, finish the puzzle 100% correctly.  When complete, I click to reveal, is that why I am being knocked down in score? If that is the reason why I am missing out on points, what do I do once I finish the puzzle?  Only once has the message automatically come up as “100% complete”.

Contributor

If you finish the puzzle 100% correctly, the message "100% Complete" pops up. If that message does not pop up, it means that there was an error somewhere in the puzzle. If I get to the end of the puzzle and don't see that message I will scan over it once more before toggling on "Show Errors" to figure out where the error occurred. It is usually something minor that gets overlooked in my case. 

Community Manager
Community Manager

Great tip, @TrashmanIEatGarbage, thanks for posting!

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Periodic Contributor

This explanation does not explain the discrepancy in scoring. My wife and I play daily crossword every morning. We use to compete for the highest score. But, the score has no relation to how fast or how accurate the puzzle is completed. Every day, we both get the same score. For instance, this morning I completed the puzzle in 6+ minutes. My wife completed the puzzle in 12+ minutes. We both got the same score...1850!  If AARP would make the scoring related to speed and accuracy as the AARP person explained, it would make the game playing much more fun!

Contributor

Thank you for your message.  It does answer the question I asked, but it also triggers a follow-up question. Ihoe you don't mind.

 

In today's puzzle (6/30), I scored the maximum available per your scoring algorithm, 1870 and there were 187 letters to fill in.  Then I looked at the scoreboard, which can show (your choice) the high scores for (a) Today; (b) This week; or (c) This month.  I looked at the (a) choice, namely Today.  There were scores of 1890 and 1880 as well as 1870.  So this means one of three things:

 

(1) "Today" might not mean "today's Puzzle", but any puzzle completed today, or ...

(2) Not everyone gets the same puzzle for "Today", possibly with a different number of letters required, or ...

(3) Perhaps the Time to Complete enters in some way?

 

If there is a unique "Today" puzzle that everyone gets, then I believe the maximum for "Today" should only be considered based on that puzzle, not on any puzzle completed that day.

 

Thank again for your answer to my first question.  I hope you can answer the follow-up.

 

Community Manager
Community Manager

@RobertL814599 I don't know the answer but I could have the tech team look into it for you. Thanks for your followup question!

Periodic Contributor

So way back in 2019 the questions that were asked (they were also my questions) weren't satisfactorily answered.  What did the tech team say about scoring?

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Periodic Contributor

Now that some time has passed, the method of scoring has become clearer to me.    1.  Time is not a factor in scoring puzzles.  Whether it takes 10 minutes for me to complete a cryptic or an hour, the score on the completed puzzle depends solely on the cells completed without help.  The program apparently is set up to run a clock, but it has no bearing on anything,  2.  Any puzzle that is posted can be played that day and end up in the "Today" column.  So a puzzle from last week that contains more cells than the one posted for "today" will be at the top of the scoring chart if it is completed "today."

One last item, since I only do the daily cryptic crossword, (and not always on the same day.). This cryptic crossword, which is designated as "easy", is targeted for an audience in the UK.  Each day, several of the clues and answers contain words or phrases or places that would only be familiar to people living in the British Isles.  I don't know how many UK members of AARP there are, but there have to be more USA people in the membership.  I have written to AARP about this bias, even asking for a more USA targeted constructor to be added to the cryptic line-up, but have generally been ignored.  I guess the upside is that I'm learning all these new British slang expressions that I will never use here in the U.S. and which often makes completing the puzzles without help almost impossible.

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