The News Journal’s third annual Secret Phrase Game competition ended last Wednesday, and a Corbin woman was the lucky winner of the grand prize — $500 cash!
Katherine Smith, who works as an administrative specialist for Whitley Circuit Judge Paul Winchester, won this year’s prize.
“This was just such a blessing,” Smith said after claiming her $500 check last week. “It was a lot of fun. I was hoping I would win, but I didn’t really think it would actually happen.”
Smith was the very first caller after phone lines opened for the contest last Wednesday morning. The News Journal received hundreds of calls from readers trying to win the prize.
Starting in early Oct., a word was printed somewhere in the News Journal each week, in a distinctive font, that readers had to locate. In all, twelve words were printed over 12 successive weeks. The words, when reconstructed correctly, formed the secret phrase. The words were not given in the proper order during the competition.
This year’s phrase was: “I prefer Diet Pepsi, but I would settle for an iced tea.”
Smith said simple grammar helped here determine the correct order of the drinks Diet Pepsi and iced tea in the phrase since the word ‘an’ would necessarily have to come before a word with a vowel at the beginning instead of a consonant.
“I saw the newspaper was doing the game, so I made sure to buy it every week so I could play,” Smith said. “It was neat. I was certain I had it right, so I just dialed the phone right at 11:00 and hoped for the best. It worked out.”
“I’m so happy for Katherine. The News Journal has sponsored this game for three straight years now, and it is so fun and heartwarming to make someone’s Christmas just a little bit better,” said News Journal Publisher Trent Knuckles.
In previous years, the phrase has been a famous quote or saying from history.
“This time around, I decided to come up with something original to ramp up the challenge a little bit,” Knuckles said. “It’s just something silly and fun to do during the holidays … a way to keep our readers engaged. I like a game where literally everyone can participate without having unnecessary barriers keeping some folks from taking part.”
Asked if he would do the game for a fourth straight year, Knuckles said it’s up in the air.
“We’ll do something, but I think we need to add a twist or maybe even come up with a totally new contest that our readers can enjoy,” he said.
“Who knows what we will come up with. Stay tuned!”