Sunday, March 1, 2015

Take Aaaaaay City...

Here's this week's NPR Sunday Puzzle:
Name a city whose name ends in a long-A sound in which that sound is not spelled with an "A." Change the sound to a long-O and phonetically you'll name a famous person whose name does not contain the letter "O." What city and famous person are these?
I like this puzzle, which we solved over breakfast. I will, though, request no obvious hints. Thanks.

And what do you need hints for, anyway? You've already solved it and are merely reading this for the link to the NPR Contact Us page, so you can send in your eminently accurate answer.

I just went to check the comments on Thursday's post to see if anyone wanted anything specific for the photo section. What people want, clearly, is more Mendo Jim. I can't do that, but here's his general locale:















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.

"Nearly 2,800" entries for Jamie Lee Curtis, so we all under-guessed. Interesting that this puzzle got so many right answers. (And no, I hadn't heard of the soap opera actress.) And we're back to the cities, which don't seem to generate as much interest.

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 more complicated than it's ever been, but at least it's consistent with what we actually do..

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Still Activia After All These Years

Here's this week's NPR Sunday puzzle:
Name a famous living actress who goes by three first names, all of them traditionally considered male. The names are 5, 3 and 6 letters long, respectively.
Ross rather expects me to know ALL actor and actress names off the top of my head. Hah! He got this one: JAMIE LEE CURTIS.

I read through the comments (22--that's a lot for our little blog; I love the sense of community you guys create!) to see if anyone had nominated a subject for our photo section. I lit on "ray" in one post--you meant it in the name sense: Mendo Jim's Stevie Ray Vaughn and Billy Ray Cyrus are almost solutions to the puzzle, except for all the ways in which they aren't.

Anyway, let's catch some rays:













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
401 - 450
451 - 500 -- Alex B.

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

1,501 - 1,550-- Word Woman
1,551 - 1,600
1,601 - 1,650 -- legolambda
1,651 - 1,700
1,701 - 1,750 -- B. Haven
1,751 - 1,800
1,801 - 1,850
1,851 - 1,900 -- Jay
1,901 - 1,950
1,951 - 2,000
2,001 - 2,050 -- Joe Kupe
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).