Neha Cherian of IIT Madras tops first round of national college crossword contest

Neha Susan Cherian of IIT Madras was on Sunday declared the national topper of the first scoring round, called N, of the National Inter-college Crossword Expedition (NICE) 2023.

She was followed on 2nd and 3rd positions by Omkar Joshi of Flame University, Pune, and Vijval Ekbote of the Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology Delhi (IIIT Delhi), respectively.

In zonal rankings, while Prem Thilak of B J Medical College Ahmedabad, has topped West zone, Shashwat Sanjeev of Hansraj College Delhi, occupies 1st position in North. Shatakshi Sarangi, again from IIT Madras, has topped South while Pankaj Kumar of Nalanda Engineering College Chandi (Bihar) is at the top in East. The Northeast winner is Avilasha Kumari of S D Jain Girls’ College Dimapur (Nagaland); Rituraj, the chief coordinator of NICE-2023, told TOI on Sunday.

In the practice round on April 2 which marked the start of NICE 23, Omkar and Vijval were 1st and 2nd, respectively, in the national rankings. They have been members of the winning school teams in different editions of the national-level school crossword contest known as the CCCC Cryptic Crossword Contest. Shashwat has been a recognised name in the online daily challenge for schoolchildren known as A-Clue-A-Day (ACAD).

NICE 23 is the second edition of the national contest which was inaugurated last year. It comprises three stages. Stage I is an online individual contest consisting of four rounds. On the basis of cumulative scores at the end of the 4th online round, participants qualify for Stage II which is an offline team contest. In this stage, five zonal finals are held where qualifying students have to form two-member teams to represent their institutions. The winners of the zonal finals then converge on the national capital to play the grand finale to claim the national championship trophy.

The contest is being organised by the All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) New Delhi, in association with the National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE) Mumbai, and Extra-C, a Patna-based civil society initiative for the promotion of a holistic educational environment.

Neha Cherian / IIT Madras / Times Of India

The free-of-cost registration will remain open throughout Stage I, which ends on April 30.

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