NEW YORK (AP) _ The editor of the Daily News is ''shocked and dismayed,'' as is his opposite at the New York Post. A First Amendment problem? A reporter jailed for protecting a source?

Naaah. The tabloid bosses are bent out of shape over the News' ''Lucky Bucks'' giveaway and the Post's ''Second Chance Lotto'' game. The Post says the News' game is fixed. The News says the Post's game is unwinnable. Both sides are saying it in bold, black headlines.

What does it all mean? Well, nothing - unless it increases circulation, which is what this whole thing is all about.

The Post landed the first blow in this latest round of New York City's newspaper wars, running a front page headline Wednesday that charged the News was running a crooked game.

''Daily News Lucky Bucks winner says the ... GAME WAS FIXED 3/8'' screamed the Post headline.

Lucky Bucks works like this: every day, the newspaper runs the serial numbers of $1 bills distributed within 30 miles of Manhattan. People with matching bills can turn them in and collect up to $5,000.

Ricardo Rolon was a winner on July 1. He received a lucky buck from a man who told him to ''hold on to the lucky dollar,'' the Post quoted Rolon as saying.

The Post acknowledged the man never said the words ''Daily News'' or ''Lucky Bucks.'' Nevertheless, its story declared Rolon's windfall was ''no lucky accident - it was a fix.''

Post editor Jerry Nachman said he was ''shocked and dismayed,'' and vowed his paper would no longer run the Daily News numbers as it has since the contest began.

Oh, yeah. The story also referred to Lucky Bucks as ''the cash-giveaway game designed to boost circulation at the beleaguered Daily News.''

Ouch.

On Thursday, the News fired back. Not only was Rolon's victory legitimate, the paper said, the Post's Second Chance Lotto game - where losing lottery tickets can win $5,000 - ran a number Wednesday that made it impossible to win. Lotto bettors select numbers between 1 and 54; the sixth number to match in the Post was 56.

News editor Jim Willse said he was ''shocked and dismayed'' by the Post problem.

Oh, yeah. They also referred to the Post as ''the beleaguered tabloid'' that ''printed a phony number.''

Touche.

Post spokesman Gary Lewi acknowledged the number that ran in the Post game was a typographical error. The News went as far as thanking the Post for its coverage of the Lucky Bucks game, which culminates in a $1 million giveaway on July 21.

''The New York Post ballyhooed the Daily News' Lucky Bucks game on its front page yesterday, and officials of the Daily News were grateful for the free publicity,'' said the story in Thursday's News.