New Delhi : The team of Harshul Sagar and Arush Utkarsh cracked two buzzer round clues on the trot to claim the first spot in the final of the National Inter-college Crossword Expedition (NICE) 2023. SASTRA University’s team of Krishnaa G. and Madhushree N. secured the second spot, while Omkar Joshi and Yashvi Shah from Flame University claimed the third position. The Grand Finale of the second edition of NICE 23 was held over two days at the AICTE Auditorium on Nelson Mandela Marg here.
Mr. K. Sanjay Murthy, IAS, Secretary, Higher Education, Govt of India, expressed his delight at the event, and said, “Over the past couple of years, we’ve been on a transformative journey. This year marks the second edition of NICE. Elevating the prominence of regional events can significantly amplify student engagement from those areas. The fact that nearly 80,000 students have actively taken part in the competition is truly heartening. Looking ahead, our aspiration is to witness greater participation from students across the nation.”
Prof. TG Sitharam, Chairman of AICTE, commented, “The tremendous enthusiasm displayed by participants across the nation in this competition is truly remarkable. Physical and mental well-being are of utmost importance, and engaging with crosswords facilitates enhanced thinking, creativity, and a more enriched perspective.”
Congratulating the Ministry of Education and the organizers, Prof. Utpal Chattopadhyay from IIM Mumbai stated, “I wish to congratulate, on behalf of the NICE 2023 organizing team, to the Ministry of Education, with a special acknowledgment to the Secretary of Higher Education. We deeply appreciate the opportunity to contribute to this competition. Observing the enthusiastic participation of students in this event reinforces the notion that our nation should host an increasing number of similar engagements in the future.”
Shri Vivek Singh, IAS, expressed the aspirations of the organizers, saying, “In the previous edition, our participation count stood at 15,000. However, this year’s remarkable response has seen us surpassing 75,000 participants. As we set our sights on the future, our aim is to elevate this number to approximately 500,000 in the upcoming years. We are resolute in our commitment to expanding this initiative, given its engagement with crosswords and the intellect, encompassing a multitude of facets.”
The day one of the event on Tuesday witnessed a written preliminary round and an onstage G20 round for 12 shortlisted teams from across India. The top nine teams then went through three onstage quarter-finals. Six of them qualified for two semi-finals before the top three teams reached the final.
The prizes and certificates to the teams were handed over by the chief guest, Mr K. Sanjay Murthy, IAS, Secretary, Higher Education, Govt of India, and other dignitaries including Prof T. G. Sitharam, Chairman, AICTE; Mr Vivek K. Singh, IAS, Development Commissioner, Govt of Bihar; Dr Abhay Jere, Vice-Chairman, AICTE; Mr Rajive Kumar, Member-Secretary, AICTE; Prof Utpal Chattopadhyay, IIM Mumbai; and Mr Raj Narayan Singh, National Coordinator of NICE 23.
The NICE 23 competition spanned three months, encompassing three stages across five zones – North, South, West, East, and Northeast. Stage I saw 75,000 students from colleges nationwide registering for three individual online rounds. In Stage II, shortlisted participants formed teams to represent their institutions in offline zonal finals across the five zones. The top 12 teams from the zonal finals then converged in the national capital for the ongoing offline Stage III, vying for the prestigious NICE 23 Trophy.
The National Inter-college Crossword Expedition (NICE) 2023 was organized by AICTE in collaboration with NITIE, Mumbai, and Extra-C, a civil society initiative promoting learning-based co-curricular activities. With participants displaying exceptional intellect, teamwork, and a passion for problem-solving, NICE 23 has once again demonstrated the power of education to ignite young minds.