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"Crossword" Fan Wins $30,000 Top Prize

Denise Middleton Wins $30,000 Playing "Crossword" Scratch Game

Denise Middleton
  Hear Denise tell her story.

DES MOINES, Iowa - A Carroll woman said she's always been a big "Crossword" scratch ticket fan, but never expected to win the top prize.

Denise Middleton, 47, bought two Crossword tickets, and the first one she scratched was the big winner.

"It was the first ticket that I scratched. I kind of forgot about the second one, but it was a $3 winner too!" Middleton said.

Middleton claimed her prize Friday at the Iowa Lottery's headquarters in Des Moines. She said it can be nerve racking scratching off a Crossword ticket knowing she only needs so many letters to win.

"I just sit there and hope for the letter. It's like if I get a 'T' I will have this many words already; it can be nerve racking," she said.

Middleton, who works as a health care provider for a group home in Carroll, said it took her a while to really believe she had won.

"When I did this one, I said, 'I just won $300,' And then I said, 'No wait, I've got six words or seven words," Middleton said. "It just kept going."

Middleton was with a friend when she scratched the ticket, and said her friend was just as shocked as she was. Prior to this win, the most Middleton has won on Crossword was $100.

Middleton said she plans to use some of her winnings to pay bills and put the rest in savings. She purchased her winning ticket at Casey's, 504 16th St. in Grand Junction.