Friday, January 28, 2011

Starbucks Winner Has The Last Laugh; Cashes Gift Card for $$$$$$$

If you will remember, Starbucks sponsored a crossword contest in conjunction with the New York Times in 2006, which featured six weekly puzzles distributed through the coffee chain (all very well crafted by Patrick Berry), plus a tiebreaker puzzle with the all-too obvious answer "Starbuck". The winner of that puzzle likely called in with a lucky guess not a minute after the phone lines open. Trip Payne, among others, was up in arms. There were also runner up prizes, likely also going to guessers.

Now comes word that one of those runners-up, who won one of the extremely rare Crossword gift cards valued at $500 (the grand prize was an approximately $73,000 gift card, representative of one cup of coffee a day for life), has auctioned off his card on eBay for over $10,000. Apparently, there were only six of these cards made, making them the rarest gift cards of all time and are highly sought after by cartodorologists, or gift card collectors.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sylvia Burstzyn 1948-2010

Los Angeles Times Sunday crossword author Sylvia Burstzyn has died at the age of 62. The crossword creator died of natural causes on December 30, 2010.

Burstzyn co-authored the Sunday crossword with Barry Tunick from 1980 until 2007, when Tunick passed away. Burstzyn's puzzle appeared biweekly from that time on, and her last puzzle was published on Sunday, January 9. The Merl Reagle puzzle will begin appearing weekly in the Calendar.

More details in the L.A. Times obituary.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

ACPT Registration Now Available

Registration is now open for the 34th American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, to be held March 18-20 at the Brooklyn Bridge Marriott.

The tournament will follow the same format as most years past. Once again, no awards luncheon. The variety show and awards (presented this year by Roz Chast, cartoonist for The New Yorker) will precede the C, B and A playoffs. Friday night games will include a cryptic crossword contest.