Friday, January 9, 2009

NPR Sunday Puzzle, Sun, Jan 04, 2009 - Solution

Last Sunday's puzzle on NPR's Weekend Edition was this:
Take the last name of a famous actress in 2 syllables and 9 letters. Transpose the syllables and you'll have, phonetically, the word for a common ailment. Who is the person and what is the ailment?
As often happens, the answer came from thinking about the puzzle in reverse: there are a lot fewer ailments than actresses, and it didn't take long to think of heartburn, corresponding to the actress Sarah Bernhardt.

Magdalen points out another lesser known possibility, the comedian and actress Sandra Bernhard, who is sometimes credited as Sandra Bernhardt. But we suspect the deviser of the puzzle probably intended the most famous actress of all time.

My image of Sarah Bernhardt comes in large part from one of my favorite movies Fitzcarraldo. In this, she (or rather a male actor impersonating her) briefly appears on the Manaus stage opposite Enrico Caruso in Verdi's Ernani. Another connection with opera is that Tosca started out as a play written for Bernhardt.

No comments: