Sunday, July 26, 2015

"Looks Like You Blew a Seal"

Here's this week's NPR Sunday Puzzle:
Name something in three syllables that an auto mechanic might have. Move the second and third syllables to the front. The result, with some respacing, will name a group of auto mechanics. What is it?
Ross solved it. I'm on the fence about how good a puzzle it is. But, hey, at least it's not another country! (By the way, I'm guessing the collective noun for auto mechanics is a "clutch." What do you think?)

It must be early--I can't think of any mechanic-related puns to mention the NPR Contact Us form. So, stripped down and waiting for a lube job, here it is.

I searched on Flickr for "auto mechanic" and got a lot of cars. Vintage cars, even. But when I searched for "mechanic" I got some nice images:

Mechanics' Institute Library, San Francisco

Fluid Mechanics 2

funfair mechanic

Green Mechanics

Mechanic's View

My mechanic says it's not good

Two views of the Little Androscoggin River from the bridge at Mechanic Falls

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. 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.

The magic number this week is 260, and our magic winner is Margaret G. Let us know what prize you'd like, Margaret, and we'll get that taken care of. For next week, how's your knowledge of differentials and cam shafts? Or, there's always the dart at the range board!

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, July 23, 2015

Opening and Closing Numbers

Here's this week's NPR Sunday Puzzle:
Write down the following six numbers: 19, 28, 38, 81, 83, 85. What are the next three numbers in the series?
The answer Ross got is easiest to see when the numbers are written out:
NINETEEN, TWENTY-EIGHT, THIRTY-EIGHT, EIGHTY-ONE, EIGHTY-THREE, EIGHTY-FIVE...
In each case, the starting letter (N, T, T, E, E, E) matches that number's final letter. The next three in the series are: EIGHTY-NINE, NINETY-SEVEN, ONE HUNDRED (and) TWO. Note that it doesn't matter how you write 102: One-oh-two, One Hundred Two, or One Hundred and Two, they all start with O and end with O.

I asked Flickr what it has for "one oh two" and I'm pleasantly surprised with the results:

Big Heart of Art - 1000 Visual Mashups

Girls family 2007

07-16-06 Creepy stairs

harpseal... Yet again.... and again.. the 2009,10,11,12 hunt starts soon

Tatooine sunrise?

First light on Eckhart Hall, University of Chicago, January 2010

Time for



Here are this week's picks:
Zero and fewer
    1 - 50
 51 - 100
101 - 150
151 - 200 -- Joe Kupe
201 - 250 -- Ross
251 - 300 -- Margaret G.
301 - 350 -- B. Haven
351 - 400 -- Curtis
401 - 450 -- Magdalen
451 - 500 -- Maggie Strasser

501 - 550
551 - 600 -- Legolambda
601 - 650 -- Natasha
651 - 700
701 - 750
751 - 800
801 - 850
851 - 900
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
1,251 - 1,300
1,301 - 1,350
1,351 - 1,400
1,401 - 1,450 -- Word Woman
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

 > 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).