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September 14

So this past week, we got to see the debuts of Crosswords and Temptation (the Civilian Version). Everyone is talking about how much they want to like the shows, adding that these shows can be the Golden Geese that bring game shows back to syndication. I hate do do this, but these shows are no golden geese.

To quote Dan Rather, in a classic speech that was parodied by Not Necessarily the News, 'If it walks like a duck, flies like a duck, and quacks likes a duck, then you've got yourself a duck.'

We'll start with Crosswords first. The idea of filling out a crossword grid is not a bad one. The execution of it, however, is. The clues, in certain cases, remind of of Quiznation's 'Crosswords' because they have more than one answer. From a strategic point of view, you're better off avoiding the second placed podium (especially if there's a runaway) and better off being a Spoiler, where you can do nothing the whole game, answer the last question, and miraculously win. Ty Treadway doesn't host as much as he conduits (though in his defense, the fast pace of the show doesn't really allow him to interact with the contestants, so we really don't find out much about them). And with the cheap budget as it is, we can't have returning champions? I have seen worse shows, but the execution needs to be much, much better in order for it to stick around to next season.

Temptation's execution is actually significantly better than Crosswords. The greatest crime here is that they claim to be 'Sale of the Century', but with many of the concepts stolen from other shows (Wipe Out, Remote Control, et al.), they are pretty much anything BUT Sale of the Century. Unlike Ty, Rossi Morreale actually has interaction time with the contestants, but he fails miserably about trying to create a rapport between us and the player, so conversely, we don't care. The lack of budget also hurts this show, because unlike the old 80's version, the contestant can't buy the lot and only has 5 days to accumulate 'Temptation Dollars' (both of which were created, I'm guessing, to save the budget). The Instant Bargains aren't awful, but the As Seen On infomercials bookcasing the show segments are garbage.

Both shows have some things in common. Both shows have good ideas that aren't executed to their maximum capability, and both shows are seriously hampered by their budget (or lack of). Neither host is terrible, but neither of them are going to have this as the breakout show of their career.

My thought after the premiere week is that I would watch both shows if there was nothing else on, but I would not make either show must-see TV. These are not golden geese, but just plain old ducks. The audience apparently agrees with me - after week #1, both shows are under the 1.0 Nielsen rankings, which just goes to show you what happens to unprepared ducks when they start duck season - they get shot.

Don't shoot the messenger as we get into more strategies on how to beat the pricing games.

Take Two - If you select the first 2 prizes and they are wrong, take a look at the prices of the items themselves. If either of their last 3 digits match the number that you need (or are close), then keep those and get rid of the other one.

Temptation - A few hints here. #1. The numbers almost never repeat (so if you have a 4 in the price already, and another 4 is a choice, choose the other digit). #2. You usually will not find a 0 anywhere except the last number. #3. Always select the 0 as the last number - unless it's up against a 5. If the last number is either a 0 or a 5, seriously consider either the 5 or stopping completely, as the producers have started to add the 5 in the game as the last number.

That's Too Much! - Woe be you if you get this game. All kidding aside, the stopping number is almost never the first 3 or the last 3 choices, which leaves you #4 - #7. Good luck!

Gordon Pepper would still do a crossword at the Glendale Galleria. You can give him a clue or two at