I missed Tuesday's shows and even with an incomplete week, it's getting repetitive. Same trips, anyway. I didn't document if words in the grids are repeating, but I think there have been a few.
Most of the contestants are pretty good, with a few exceptions that make you wonder how they passed the test. For this game, you need to be familiar with crosswords, no way around it. There was at least one weak final (c'mon, you have the crossing letters!). I also saw a mind-bogglingly bad "That's the Question" contestant on the one show I watched.
The back-and-forth spoiling can screw things up, especially if you're forced to go to a low podium without enough time left to overtake your opponent. It might be worth it to purposely make an error so you can win back the higher podium. The best crossword solver will not necessarily win, but that's the game.
Only the opening players are identified and interviewed, and there's no time to develop a rooting interest (unless I know you, in which case I will be rooting). I had a non-rooting interest in the woman who did a maniacal little dance every time... well, every time anything happened at all. I'm sure contestants are told to be enthusiastic, but this was too much. If she was looking for her 15 minutes, I guess she got it. I suspect many of the "from x" locations really mean "live in Southern California, but originally from x."
As for clues, I believe they had "Sounds made by race cars" for VROOM. And HOTEL and MOTEL were both possible for one answer. "What can't learn new tricks" for OLD DOG sounded wrong; I would have preferred "It can't..."