(ended 1980)


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Crossword puzzles have been a favorite American pasttime for generations, with puzzle-solvers attempting to guess the across and down clues to dozens of words. In 1975 (a landmark year for game shows), some bright fella decided that centering a game show around crossword puzzles would be fun. For 4 1/2 years, Cross-Wits was lots of fun, and here's the clues to how it all went. Two teams of three players, each made up of a contestant and two celebrities, competed. The contestant chose a clue ("I'll take 1 down, please"), and after he/she decided on who would answer, host Clark read a clue. For example, "A three letter word that's not small"); the point value of the word depended on the round and how many letters were in the clue. If the word was correctly guessed within a time limit (in this case, "big"), the contestant got to guess the puzzle's master solution; otherwise, a member of the opposing team could guess. The word appeared in the appropriate space, and the point values deposited into a bank. Anywhere from five to nine clue words appeared in the puzzle, all combining to lead to the master solution (e.g., big, apple, Broadway, skyscraper, Fifth, Avenue, taxi and borough all might lead to the master solution, "New York City"). The contestant guessing the puzzle winning the dollar value of the points. Also, there's a mystery puzzle where the category wasn't revealed. If the team can guess the puzzle with one clue word, the player won a new car! If a team reaches 1,000 points, the contestant gets $1,000! Several rounds were played, with point values increasing by round; the team leading when time ran out (usually three rounds, though it could be more) won the game and moved on to the Cross-Fire bonus round. A toss-up crossword clue was played between the contestants only if there was a tie when time expired. In the 60-second Cross-Fire round, Clark read, rapid-fire style, clues to crosswords. Each clue was worth $100, but getting 10 of them was worth a new car (usually upscale) or some other fabulous prize (such as a trip or fur). The show lasted until 1980 in once-a-week syndication, and was revived in 1986 as Crosswits. Gameplay was essentially identical to before, with the winner after three games becoming champion.moreless