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Victory

The contest part of the Great American History Puzzle is officially over! I think the ninth puzzle was a lot of fun, however, so I hope you take a shot at it even if there's no grand prize on the table anymore.

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The folks at the Smithsonian magazine website tell me that we had a flurry of correct entries this afternoon, so the contest part of the Great American History Puzzle is officially over!  We still need to verify some niggly eligibility stuff for our first respondent before we officially announce our winner, but congratulations to everyone who was there with us right at the end today.  I know it’s been a long, confusing journey.

Today’s sudden rush of correct entries was mostly due to a small group of very sharp solvers who deciphered the final double-crostic even before they’d seen all nine parts of it–and then managed to “back-solve” the ninth puzzle sight unseen!  The double-crostic wasn’t necessarily designed to be so legible so early, but in a way, I’m even more impressed by the lateral thinking required to solve everything three days early and in the wrong order!  

If nothing else, I think the ninth puzzle was a lot of fun, so I hope you take a shot at it even if (a) there’s no grand prize on the table anymore and/or (b) you already know the answer going in because you are a super-smart rocket scientist who can do a Saturday New York Times crossword blindfolded in seven minutes.

The contest may be “officially” over, but I know many of you are still deep in the Smithsonian vaults working on the puzzles, so I’ll continue to blog here for a little while.  The next post will give away the first password to unlock the website, in hopes of getting a new group of solvers to try out the Web puzzles even if they didn’t want to muck around will all the in-magazine rigmarole at the start.  Then I’ll publish a set of hints for the nine Web puzzles, if there are a few you’re still butting your head against.  Finally, detailed solutions will follow.

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