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Coffee for Life for Puzzle Fans

2/17/2006 7:00 PM Eastern

Silver Spring, Md.— No, it’s not a new menu item, but some Starbucks Corp. patrons might be asking for the answer to nine down with their next order of mocha latte grande.

In its first-ever television collaboration, Starbucks is teaming up with Discovery Times Channel — a joint venture between Discovery Communications Inc. and The New York Times Co. — on a contest in which the coffee chain will offer one champion puzzler java for life, according to network officials.

Beginning Feb. 19 and running for five more Sundays, “The Ultimate Coffeehouse Crossword Challenge” contest will invite puzzlers, or “cruciverbalists,” to compete in specially created crossword puzzles from Will Shortz, “The Grey Lady’s” puzzle potentate.

Shortz’s custom handiwork will only be found in Starbucks’s in-store copies of the newspaper.

The final puzzle in the series kicks off a virtual treasure hunt, with one champion puzzler winning the prize of Starbucks coffee for life.

The contest is being supported by 30-second Starbucks promo spots on Discovery Times Channel, as well as 15-second vignettes that will air on Sundays and provide puzzle clues.

The New York Times will feature ads supporting the challenge’s launch, as well as others that will run throughout its March 26 promotional period. Within stores, Starbucks outlets will display signage touting the challenge.

September