Sunday, July 20, 2014

Houston, We Have a Problem

This is NOT this week's NPR Puzzle:
This is a two-part challenge. First, take the phrase "rap yet crash." Rearrange these 11 letters to name something that might follow a crash. Then cross out four letters in this answer. The remaining seven letters in order will spell an appropriate name. What is it?
It's what would have been the puzzle, if the Russian-backed separatists hadn't, allegedly, downed a Malaysian Airlines 777 plane on Thursday. *sigh*

Edited to add: This was the puzzle online until about 10:15 a.m. EDT, when it got replaced by the official CORRECT puzzle, below. Don't hint to the answer to this one; Will Shortz may use it another week, long after the crash is forgotten.

We have, of course, solved that one. You may have too. (What would happen if you sent it in? Sadly, I suspect it would be marked as wrong even though it was the official puzzle as per the website at 10 a.m. EDT.)

This week's NPR Puzzle is something else. Something that I got distracted and didn't hear (well, I knew it's online, right???) and Ross heard but not well enough to think he knows what it is.

UPDATE! We have a puzzle!

Here is this week's OFFICIAL NPR Puzzle:
Name something in five letters that's nice to have a lot of in the summer. Change the last letter to the following letter of the alphabet. Rearrange the result, and you'll name something else that you probably have a lot of in the summer, but that you probably don't want. What is it? (HINT: the second thing is a form of the first thing.)
Okay. We're all good. Solve this one, not that other one. (We have.)

Here's where to send the answer in, using NPR's intact Contact Us form.

Clearly the word of the week is "mistake." Flickr, do your magic!













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.

This week, zeke creek is the winner, with "over 400" entries. So try out our new system, zeke: puzzle book, Red Cross, or your own NPR station.

Here are the ranges:
Fewer than 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, July 17, 2014

Bad Baking & Breaking Bread

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
Think of a popular TV show about cooking. I guarantee it's a show everyone has heard of. Remove the second and third letters of the first word and insert them after the first letter of the second word. You'll get a phrase for a different kind of cooking. What is it?
Here's a perfect example of a puzzle that works because of the wording. "Take a hit TV show, shift the letters, etc. to name a cooking method..." would be boring. But the misdirection "show about cooking" was perfect. Stress that phrase the right way and "cooking meth" comes immediately to mind. (Well, Ross's mind...)

So the answer is: BREAKING BAD comes out as BAKING BREAD.

Here's some bread:













Time for

Here are this week's picks:
Fewer than 50
 51 - 100 -- Curtis
101 - 150 -- Phil
151 - 200
201 - 250 -- Magdalen
251 - 300 -- Ross
301 - 350 -- legolambda
351 - 400 -- Jan
401 - 450 -- zeke creek
451 - 500
 
501 - 550 -- Marie
551 - 600
601 - 650 -- Joe Kupe
651 - 700
701 - 750
751 - 800
801 - 850 --Mendo Jim
851 - 900
901 - 950 -- Word Woman
951 - 1,000 -- Maggie Strasser
1,001 - 1,050 -- David
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 -- B. Haven
2,751 - 3,000 -- Paul
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).