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Crossword Puzzle Lover Finds Luck In Her Scratch Ticket

Valarie Banta Wins Top Prize Playing the "Crossword" Scratch Game

Valarie Banta
  Hear Valarie tell her story.

DES MOINES, Iowa - A Dakota Dunes, SD woman crossed the Iowa border and picked up a "Crossword" scratch ticket, but never dreamed she'd win the top prize.

Valarie Banta, 28, said she loves to do crossword puzzles at home, which is why she likes to play the Iowa Lottery's Crossword game.

"It was the last ticket I scratched that night. I wasn't sure how many words I had. I was counting through them and my heart was thumping," Banta said.

Banta was home with a few friends when she discovered her win. She said she had to count the words several times before she told them about it.

"They could tell I wasn't lying because of my face. I was serious!" she said.

Banta, who works for a production manufacturing company in Dakota Dunes, said she plans to use some of her winnings to pay back loans as well as buy a new vehicle and put some in savings.

Banta claimed her prize Friday at the Iowa Lottery's regional office in Storm Lake. She purchased her winning ticket at Kum & Go, 2026 Riverside Blvd. in Sioux City.