Quest for time could prove lucrative

  • Article by: KIM ODE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 25, 2013 - 2:04 PM

The clock may fall back, but a winning charity could spring ahead as a result of a curious contest.


An employee cleans the face of an 84-inch Wegman clock at a plant in Medfield, Mass.

Photo: Elise Amendola, ASSOCIATED PRESS

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Our lost hour could be a charity’s found treasure.

When daylight saving time ends Nov. 3, the hour we “lost” when we sprang ahead is up for grabs — at least according to, which is sponsoring a contest in which the winning team is awarded a $10,000 donation to the charity of its choice.

The action takes place Nov. 2 at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, where teams will compete in what organizers call “a combination of ‘The Da Vinci Code,’ ‘National Treasure’ and ‘The Amazing Race,’ ” trying to beat the clock, as well as other teams, in solving puzzles inside the museum.

The contest, Quest for the Lost Hour, is taking place in Minneapolis, Milwaukee and Charlotte, N.C. The three were chosen as pilot cities for an “experiential marketing program” by, a website about sleep behaviors created by Carpenter Co., which makes bedding products.

How the contest works is a little complicated, so pay attention:

The first step is to register a team of three at and be among the first 50 teams to work through 12 online clues. Bring your brains, because the clues involve wordplay, anagrams and something called a Vigenère code, described as “a method of encrypting alphabetic text by using a series of different Caesar ciphers based on the letters of a keyword. It is a simple form of polyalphabetic substitution.”


The 50 teams that correctly answer the clues will receive an invite to the Art Institute for a 2 p.m. finale on Nov. 2. The team with the most points (points favor correct answers but speed is also a factor) wins the honor of directing Carpenter Co. to make a $10,000 donation to a local charity.

Deadline for the online portion of the contest is 10:59 p.m. CST on Nov. 1. Teams will receive an immediate pop-up notification if they’ve qualified to compete in the finale the next day, along with a follow-up e-mail with details.

The Twin Cities market has been the subject of several city-by-city studies about sleep habits conducted by, according to a spokesman. Among the findings:

The Twin Towns rank 95th sleepiest out of the nation’s top 100 markets, as defined by the Direct Marketing Association. A better way of putting that may be that we’re the sixth most rested.

The specifics? Residents report only 7.6 days each month when they get inadequate sleep. The sleepiest city is Charleston, W.Va., where residents toss and turn more than 10 nights a month.

The Art Institute will be open to the public on the day of competition — with free admission, as usual — so you can watch the teams. Or the art.

With the event not starting until 2 p.m., you can even sleep in.


Kim Ode • 612-673-7185

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