April 02, 2006

Starbucks Ultimate Coffeehouse Crossword Challenge

Tuesday, April 4: After the Starbucks contest is over, I will be happy to spell out all the puzzle details I know. But until then—everybody zip it! Don't discuss any specifics of any puzzles here. You know why? Because my teammates and I are in it to win. To win real money. Anyone who posts answers or revealing hints on the internet makes it easy for any yahoo who doesn't know what he's doing (but knows how to use Google) to call in and try to win. You never know what details from earlier puzzles might be brought to bear in later stages. So, I repeat: Zip it!

My teammates and I finally cracked it this evening, and I'm left with a question.

The official contest rules say When you have solved the treasure hunt and the answer to the question, you must call 1-866-801-0112 on April 4, 2006 after 1:00PM Central Daylight Time (“CDT”). But after you've cracked the puzzle, you're told to return April 4th at 10 a.m. (PST) to complete the next phase of the Ultimate Coffeehouse Crossword Challenge. Well, we just moved to Daylight Savings Time (most of the country did, anyway). By my calculations, 10 a.m. PST translates to 11 a.m. PDT and 1:00 p.m. CDT, meaning the "next phase" coincides with the time window for calling in. Unless the folks managing this contest have completely forgotten about the onset of Daylight Savings Time, which isn't that far-fetched, given the assorted problems throughout the contest (such as people going to Starbucks stores and having the employees tell them they haven't heard of any crossword contest). Is there a one-hour window for solving "the next phase" before calling, as some people believe, or is it a hurry-up-and-solve-so-you-can-call thing?