Yesterday, as is my usual pastime, I was solving some crossword puzzles. I do three or four a day from the NYT, WaPo, and elsewhere. This one was a “Classic” from the WaPo. One of the clues was “popular type of sunglasses.” My first guess was “aviator” which fit the space. A few clues later I had to change this because it no longer fit. My next entry was “Raybans,” helped along by a couple of crossing letters. It was correct, but that’s not the story.

Today, I got an unsolicited email from Ray-Ban Sunglasses, advertising a clearance sale. I peeked at the from address to see who had actually sent it. I give you one guess only.

The teaser came from I have never bought sunglasses on line. Coincidence? Possible, but given all we have been learning about “surveillance capitalism,” not likely. I am both puzzled and quite disturbed that Amazon or some other company (Google?) seemed to be able to track my entries in a crossword puzzle. I use Firefox as my browser and do all my crosswords online. Occasionally I do use Google to search for answers, but I know I did not for this one. I looked at my past order record on Amazon to see if their algorithms might have ended up sending me an ad for sunglasses, but there is nothing remotely connected with eyeware of any kind that would have put them onto this product. Of course, I cannot be certain that there is any connection, but the email really spooked me.

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