Defense Grid


Teams were handed this puzzle at the east end of the Mall, with a clear view of the Washington Monument. It is solvable provided you can find photos of the monument with its scaffolding, as it appeared in late 2013.


U.S. Capitol, West of Reflecting Pool
Washington, DC

Teams were directed to this location with the following in-app flavor text:

You emerge deep in the heart of the Capitol, hopefully undetected. It's hard to know for sure if the Resistance is aware that you're still alive. One way to let them know is to complete your ultimate goal.

Flavor Text

This puzzle was presented with the following in-app flavor text:

Wow... such a strong message from the President. Could he be right? Is there no hope? No time to think about that right now. In order to take the Capitol you will need to make your way past their security devices, the first of which is the massive defense grid that watches over the city.

Puzzle Files

The following files are required to solve this puzzle:


  • Click to reveal Hint #1

    To solve one of the biggest crosswords ever made (in terms of scale), start with the easier Left and Right clues, then tackle the Clusters.

  • Click to reveal Hint #2

    The grid for this puzzle is the Washington Monument itself. Clusters are given in alphabetical order by answer.

  • Click to reveal Hint #3

    A Cluster is a row of two bricks, a row of three, and another row of two. The grid starts with a full cluster on the top (close to where the monument changes angle at the top) and ends with a full one on the bottom.

  • Click to reveal Hint #4

    The top cluster answer is TEASERS, which can be formed with a T in the center left brick, rotating counter-clockwise, terminating with the S in the upper left. The A in the center (which can be added anywhere) is placed in the third position.

  • Click to reveal Hint #5

    After you have entered all your answers, read your final answer in the center from top to bottom.


  • Click to reveal the solution to this puzzle

    a monumental snow job


  • Todd Etter