February 14, 2006

Big-bucks crossword contest

I received an e-mail today from a guy at an ad agency, encouraging me to flog his promotional contest for free. My initial reaction was, "Hey, Starbucks and New York Times, I'm not some cheap strumpet who will put out like that." Then I learned that the winner can choose an annuity of $1,460 a year (one premium coffee a day, at 2006 prices—what's a latte going to cost 50 years from now?) or a flat $32,000, and my interest was piqued. According to the Starbucks site, you need to buy the Sunday NYT at Starbucks for six weeks—February 19 through March 26—to retrieve each week's insert with an Ultimate Coffeehouse Crossword Challenge puzzle edited by Will Shortz. (You can also send an SASE each week to get the puzzle for the cost of a stamp.)

According to the AD MAN's e-mail, "Each crossword created for Starbucks is linked to coffeehouse experiences, featuring artists, musicians, painters, and others whose works were inspired at the coffeehouse of their time. The puzzles range from easy to moderate, with each week presenting a new thematic test of wit and wisdom, and a unique way to shake up your weekend crossword ritual with Starbucks."

Hang onto the six puzzles and use them in the final "treasure hunt," which involves calling with your final answer on Tuesday, April 4. There are byzantine plans for handling any ties—you can read all the rules here.