"Five letters, $200... 'A hung plot element'."Game Show from that guy who created Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune whose premise involved Ty Treadway trying to be interesting while asking two contestants to solve crossword clues on the buzzer. To make the simple-looking game more confusing, a musical-chairs mechanic involving three "Spoiler" contestants was used for Rounds 2 and 3. The Spoilers could steal questions missed by the two main players and literally switch places with them if successful, cash and all.In the end, however, Crosswords didn't live up to the high hopes of Merv Griffin (whose original pilot involved three contestants building a cash jackpot that would be split evenly at the end) and was canned after one season. For better or worse, Merv was unable to see the aftermath of it all — he died just five weeks before its debut.
Game Show Winnings Cap: One-and-done which, considering the show's budget, wasn't the best idea. "Undefeated" "champions" ended up "retiring" with huge winnings of less than $1,000 (the minimum guaranteed by Merv's other two games). You know you're in trouble when a "big winner" owes you $250.
Consolation Prize: A Croton watch with the show's logo on it, the plug for which changed a bit in some episodes.
Golden Snitch: Since cash and trips stayed at a podium no matter what, a Spoiler could win the main game on the last clue. Several times, the winning Spoiler did absolutely nothing otherwise.
Home Game: Despite the show's failure, various tie-in products were produced, including branded crossword puzzle books, a video game version, and a board game rendition. Sadly, the video games boast a slightly improved format and much higher payouts than the actual show, with the Bonus Round worth a vacation and $25,000.
Losing Horns: A type A was used as the time buzzer in the "finish the board" bonus round. How to describe it?... A jet-like "whoosh" sound, along with a wobbly downward sort of sound.
Expy: Of The Cross Wits...minus the celebrities, the hostess, and most of the prize budget.
Laugh Track: The studio was apparently too small to have an actual audience, yet considering the rest of this page it seems a bit more likely that the staff didn't want anybody criticizing their lame format.
Luck-Based Mission: Performance in the Bonus Round often depended on how much of the puzzle was empty; some days, it was just plain impossible to fill the whole thing in.
No Budget: Boy, it certainly felt that way sometimes, didn't it?
Obvious Beta: The first taped episodes (not the first to air) used Crossword Extras which weren't part of the puzzle, worth $300 in Round 1 and $600 in Round 2. It also gave Bonus Round winners a trip (offered throughout the run) and $100 per word, the latter typically adding up to less than $2,000 (the amount offered for victory in the first aired episodes).
Obvious Rule Patch: The ousting of the Crossword Getaway, which removed the two "shelves" from the front-row podiums.
Out of Order: Why a lot of this page and its other tabs are a bit vague, and the most likely reason for the show's ratings (hovering around a 1.0). Crosswords eschewed returning champions, and the airings basically played "format hopscotch" beginning in mid-December 2007. Repeats were seen in both single- and double-run markets, to the point where a particular episode was shown twice in a double-run slot. The kicker? A staggering 225 episodes had been recorded, which should have prevented something like this from coming anywhere near close to happening. The double kicker? It was the entire point of doing so many in the first place!
The show debuted on September 10, 2007 with the 27th episode recorded; the first taped episodes, using a format that somehow managed to be even cheaper, aired later on. The out-of-order airings were so bad, nobody is sure which episode was the last one taped.