He Solved the Clues, Won a Candy Factory

Wonka-inspired contest plays out for real, though winner won't take the factory
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 20, 2021 9:55 AM CDT
Updated Sep 25, 2021 4:45 PM CDT
Willy Wonka-Inspired Contest Plays Out for Real
Willa Wonka would be proud.   (Getty/Comstock)

Find the golden ticket, win a candy factory. It's not merely the fictional tale of Willy Wonka, however. As the Kokomo Tribune and Washington Post report, a similar contest just played out for real. David Klein, founder of the Jelly Belly Candy Company, and his partner Stephanie Thirtyacre, hid their golden tickets—actually necklaces—in all 50 states and doled out $5,000 prizes to those who found them after solving treasure-hunt clues. On Memorial Day weekend, they gave the clues for the grand prize, a candy factory:

  • The clues: "Don’t have [an] instant idea, for a treasure diehard/We see witches nearby, two stand guard/Go Solve and Search, as low as our toe/Why find a nut and walks are no foe"

  • The solve: Andrew Maas, a 39-year-old father of two from Colorado, cracked the code. He explains in detail in this Facebook post. The "treasure diehard" referred to Indiana Jones, telling him the winning necklace was in that state. Looking at a map, he struck upon the city of Kokomo because of the Beach Boys song that refers to "take it slow." (A play on the first line of the clue). He looked at Kokomo parks and found one with two gazebos that looked like witches' hats. Maas flew there and soon enough zeroed in on a covered bridge at the park, and found his treasure buried at the foot of it.
  • The resolution: Klein did indeed offer Maas ownership of a factory in Florida, but Maas decided he couldn't move his family across the country. The two settled on a compromise in which Klein gave the factory to him, then bought it back. Neither is divulging the price, but as Maas tells the Tribune, "It’s money we didn’t have." He adds: "The excitement and adventure was the real reward. The money is the gravy on top.”
(Read more uplifting news stories.)

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