GC to update day-of-game.
Teams receive a 6x6 grid with a few crossword clues on it, and 36 tiles with crossword clues on them. The starting grid looks like this:
Video runthrough: Gridlock runthrough
The first step is for teams to place the tiles on the appropriate spaces in the grid. The bolded clues match the clues which are pre-seeded on the grid.
The main realization to understanding what clues go in what spots on the grid is that there are many clues which can share answers. The second realization is that many of the clues for different words seem to fall into the same categories.
The grid itself is arranged such that clues with the same answer go in the same ROW, and clues with the same category definition go in the same COLUMN. One row and one column have no locked answers in them; the word for that row and category for that column must be inferred (by process of elimination).
Rows are: CATCH, BREAK, DRAW, CALL, CUT, and BOARD.
Columns are: Sports & games, Nautical, Business, Computers, Food, and Medical
Finished grid should look like this:
With a properly-assembled grid, teams should next look at the heavy black lines and the numbered grid squares. The count of squares in a row before hitting the heavy black lines are the same as the clue answer for that row, suggesting that those words are represented by the grid. The answer is then obtained by taking the letter in the grid position associated with that word, in numerical order, thus:
| C | A  | T  | C | H | | | ------- | ------- | ------- | ------- | -------- | | | B | R | E  | A | K  | | | D  | R | A | W | | | | C | A | L  | L  | | | | C | U  | T | | | | | B  | O  | A | R | D | |
To arrive at the answer DOUBLETALK.
Part 1: Clues and assembling the grid
Most teams have some difficulty with some of the clues. In particular, the nautical clues and the clues for DRAW tend to be the most troublesome. (Some people get stuck on DRAFT as the clue on this row.) They may have more luck finding target definitions by searching for the suspected word in some cases. For example, if you search "draw definition" in Bing and expand the results, you will find both of these entries:
(of tea) be left standing so that the flavor is extracted from the leaves:
"a pot of tea is allowed to draw"
(of a ship) require (a specified depth of water) to float in; have (a certain draft):
"boats that draw only a few inches of water"
The other definition that gives people trouble is 'an excavated canal between two bodies of water'. Suggest that one such canal connects Union Bay [in lake Union] with Portage Bay [in lake Washington]. That body of water is called the Montlake CUT.
People who don't drink may also be unfamiliar with the bartender term "CALL liquor," thus named because you order it by name ("call" for it). This is generally in contrast to WELL drinks (which are generally made with cheaper liquor referred to just by type).
Part 2: Extracting the answer
Some teams may dismiss the heavy black lines as a production artifact, so you may want to confirm that the heavy black lines are intentional. Ask them to consider why they appear at different spots in the grid. Also useful to ask them what they think the numbers mean, and if asked, confirm that they are seeking a 10-letter answer.
There's not much here that's relevant to the final version of the puzzle and isn't already above, but for the sake of completeness: