Sunday, April 26, 2015

We're on Vakay! (But Still Puzzling)

We're on vacation in, of all places, Mendo Jim's general vicinity. (He's been given rough descriptions so he can avoid us. We, of course, have no idea what he looks like and thus could walk right past him, so he's safe.)

Here's this week's NPR Sunday Puzzle:
Name a famous actor whose first and last names both are seven letters long. Change the first three letters of the actor's last name to three new letters and you'll name another famous actor. They share the same first name. Add the three letters you changed in the first actor's last name plus the three letters you changed to get the second actor's name, and you'll spell the last name of a third famous actor. Who are these three Hollywood stars?
Not hard if you cheat and use Ross's software, or you have an encyclopedic database of actors in your head. Ross solved it in his own clever way.

Whichever way you used, you've solved it and merely need the convenience of a link to the NPR Contact Us page, pinned in place here by several bungee cords.

I'll add the Pick-a-Range feature later, but for now, all I want to do is share our view with you:


Here's the Pick a Range feature, added after listening to the podcast.

Time for


This is where we ask you how many entries you think NPR will get for the challenge above. If you want to win, leave a comment with your guess for the range of entries NPR will receive. First come first served, so read existing comments before you guess. Or skip the comments and send an email with your pick to Magdalen (at) Crosswordman (dot) com. Ross and I guess last, just before we publish the Thursday post. After the Thursday post is up, the entries are closed.

The winner gets a choice: they can receive a puzzle book of our choosing or they can ask that a charitable contribution is made in the winner's honor. As of this week, we are providing an alternative to the Red Cross. If the winner wishes, we will make a contribution to his/her NPR station. Send us the call letters and we'll do the rest.

Around 960 entries for the relatively easy DEMOCRAT puzzle, so Margaret G. is our winner. Let us know which prize you would like, Margaret. Here's the real question, though--is this week REALLY hard, or merely "hard." Pick a range and we'll all find out together next Sunday.

Here are the ranges:
Zero and fewer
  1 - 50       
51 - 100
101 - 150
151 - 200
201 - 250
251 - 300
301 - 350
351 - 400
401 - 450
451 - 500

501 - 550
551 - 600
601 - 650
651 - 700
701 - 750
751 - 800
801 - 850
851 - 900
901 - 950
951 - 1,000
1,001 - 1,050         
1,051 - 1,100
1,101 - 1,150
1,151 - 1,200
1,201 - 1,250
1,251 - 1,300
1,301 - 1,350
1,351 - 1,400
1,401 - 1,450
1,451 - 1,500

1,501 - 1,550
1,551 - 1,600
1,601 - 1,650
1,651 - 1,700
1,701 - 1,750
1,751 - 1,800
1,801 - 1,850
1,851 - 1,900
1,901 - 1,950
1,951 - 2,000
2,001 - 2,050
2,051 - 2,100
2,101 - 2,150
2,151 - 2,200
2,201 - 2,250
2,251 - 2,300
2,301 - 2,350
2,351 - 2,400
2,401 - 2,450
2,451 - 2,500

2,501 - 2,750
2,751 - 3,000
3,001 - 3,250
3,251 - 3,500
3,501 - 4,000
4,001 - 4,500
4,501 - 5,000

More than 5,000
More than 5,000 and it sets a new record.
Our tie-break rule:   In the event that a single round number is announced with a qualifier such as "about" or "around" (e.g., "We received around 1,200 entries."), the prize will be awarded to the entrant who picked the range including that precise number, e.g., 551 - 600 wins if the announced range is "around 600." We retain the discretion to award the prize to an entrant who picked the adjacent range (e.g., 601-650) if that entrant had not already won a prize. In the event that both entrants had won a prize already or neither had, then to the earlier of the two entries on the famous judicial principle of "First Come First Serve," (or in technical legal jargon, "You Snooze, You Lose").  As of January, 2014, this rule is officially even mor

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Marco & Ted's Excellent [NOT Democrat] Adventure

Here's this week's NPR Sunday Puzzle:
Take the first names of two politicians in the news. Switch the first letters of their names and read the result backward to name something that each of these politicians is not.
Totally not hard, given that both men have announced their candidacy for the presidency in the past few weeks. MARCO Rubio and TED Cruz => TARCO + MED => DEMOCRAT.

Word Woman (who moonlights as my editor, since my live-in editor can't be bothered) called S (for shotgun?) this week's photo section. Let's see what a single letter gets us:














Time for

Here are this week's picks:
Zero and fewer
    1 - 50
 51 - 100
101 - 150
151 - 200
201 - 250
251 - 300
301 - 350
351 - 400 -- Curtis
401 - 450 -- Jay
451 - 500

501 - 550 -- Natasha
551 - 600 -- Legolambda
601 - 650 -- Joe Kupe
651 - 700
701 - 750
751 - 800 -- Richard
801 - 850 -- B. Haven
851 - 900
901 - 950
951 - 1,000 -- Margaret G.
1,001 - 1,050 -- Word Woman
1,051 - 1,100 -- Henry BW
1,101 - 1,150
1,151 - 1,200 -- Ross
1,201 - 1,250 -- David
1,251 - 1,300
1,301 - 1,350
1,351 - 1,400
1,401 - 1,450 -- Magdalen
1,451 - 1,500

1,501 - 1,550
1,551 - 1,600
1,601 - 1,650
1,651 - 1,700
1,701 - 1,750 -- Marie
1,751 - 1,800
1,801 - 1,850
1,851 - 1,900
1,901 - 1,950 -- Mendo Jim
1,951 - 2,000
2,001 - 2,050
2,051 - 2,100
2,101 - 2,150
2,151 - 2,200
2,201 - 2,250
2,251 - 2,300
2,301 - 2,350
2,351 - 2,400
2,401 - 2,450
2,451 - 2,500

2,501 - 2,750
2,751 - 3,000
3,001 - 3,250
3,251 - 3,500
3,501 - 4,000
4,001 - 4,500
4,501 - 5,000

 > 5,000
 > 5,000 + new record
Our tie-break rule:   In the event that a single round number is announced with a qualifier such as "about" or "around" (e.g., "We received around 1,200 entries."), AND two separate people picked the ranges of numbers just before and just after that round number, the prize will be awarded to whichever entrant had not already won a prize, or in the event that both entrants had won a prize already or neither had, then to the earlier of the two entries on the famous judicial principle of "First Come First Serve," (or in technical legal jargon, "You Snooze, You Lose").  As of July 2012, this rule is officially no longer obsolete (and also I still just like having fine print).