Samuel Swanson of Lenoir said a love of solving puzzles led him to a $150,000 lottery prize.

“I like playing crosswords,” said Swanson, who owns his own floor covering company. “It keeps my brain working because you have to pay attention.”

Swanson’s good luck happened when he stopped by the Scotchman Store on Hickory Boulevard in Hudson and bought a Silver & Gold Crossword scratch-off ticket.

“It’s my lucky game,” Swanson said. “I’ve won before on the ticket, so I decided to get it again.”

Swanson said he enjoys “playing the game,” so once he had the $5 ticket, he patiently scratched it to see what it would reveal.

When he saw he matched ten words, he couldn’t believe it. Swanson showed the ticket to the clerk to make sure he wasn’t seeing things.

“When the clerk scanned the ticket, bells started ringing,” Swanson said. “I knew I was coming to Raleigh.”

Swanson made the trip Thursday, and claimed his prize at lottery headquarters. After required state and federal tax withholdings, he took home $104,253. Swanson plans to use some of the money to take his three grandchildren on a cruise to the Caribbean.

The game launched in May with four top prizes of $150,000. Two top prizes remain.

Ticket sales from games like Silver & Gold Crossword made it possible for the lottery to raise more than $622 million for the state last year. For details on how lottery funds have made a difference in Caldwell County, click on the “For Education” section of the lottery’s website.