The Georges River Land Trust announces five winners in its Spring Fling Crossword Puzzle Contest, a special fundraising event that ended May 16.

The contest challenged contestants to solve a crossword puzzle and to change its working title, "Rhetorics Revived," into a new title appropriate to the land trust.

Even with two sets of delayed clues and clues with missing letters, several solvers were up to the challenge. The grand prize winners are Brendan Curran and Sandie Sabaka of Hope, who were the first to mail in the correct puzzle solution.

Second place goes to Heidi Lyman and Sydney Hall, of Cushing and Hope, and Charles and Dorothea Graham of Camden are the third place winners.

Two honorable mentions go to Kristen Lindquist of Camden, and Ann and Felix Kloman of Lyme, Conn. and Tenants Harbor. It should be noted that the Klomans sent their solution in just two days after the start of the contest, but with one letter in the grid that was incorrect!

For the grand prize winners, the correct solution came quickly. Brendan Curran notes, "When the second week's clues came out, we realized that we really hadn't done anything about the puzzle yet. So Sandie and I sat down on the couch to get a start on it — and we were completely finished about an hour and a half later! I think the biggest 'aha' moment came when Sandie realized that one of the answers appeared to be Montville. Isn't Montville a town on the river? Ahh, yes…let there be light!"

In spite of all the correct solutions, no one came up with the correct new title. Puzzle creator Ned White explains: "There was an 'extra clue' that said, '40-Down: The working title to create a new title.' 40-Down in the puzzle was ANAGRAM, and when RHETORICS REVIVED is anagrammed you'll get DISCOVER THE RIVER, which is the only phrase that makes much sense and is also the first half of the land trust’s motto."

White, who lives in South Thomaston and has constructed several puzzles for both the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, added more detail about the puzzle: "It's essentially a map of the St. George River and its watershed, starting in Montville and then wending its way east and south through Appleton, Thomaston, St. George and ending at Port Clyde. The circled spaces trace the river's route, and the letters inside them spell THE RIVER, so this was another way to 'discover' it."

Many thanks to the supporting business members for great publicity and prize winnings. Supporting us were: Free Press (who kicked off the contest by running the crossword on opening week); The Craignair Inn (a two night stay at Spruce Head); Dip Net Restaurant ($60 gift certificate courtesy of Linda Bean’s Maine Lobster); Port Clyde Kayaks (a kayak tour); The Strand Theater (movie certificates); Down East Magazine (two one-year subscriptions); The Happy Clam (lunch certificates); Park Street Grille ($40 gift certificate); The Samoset Resort (two-day health pass and 18 holes of golf); and The Wine Seller ($25 gift certificate)!

For more information about the contest and the land trust, visit georgesriver.org.