Thursday, February 12, 2009

NPR Sunday Puzzle, Sun, Feb 8, 2009 - Final End

This week's NPR Sunday Puzzle was:
Take the name of a country, interchange two consecutive letters, and add an E after the fifth letter. The result will be two synonyms, one after the other. What is the country, and what are the synonyms?
We found this the most difficult challenge so far this year - after getting nowhere in the morning, we plowed through a list of countries at lunchtime. I'd been given the seven-letter ones, but missed the answer and it took Magdalen to come up with Finland, yielding final and end (synonyms as adjectives).

Names of countries are just about ideal for this kind of puzzle, since they are numerous enough that you can't think of every one immediately. But if you do get stuck (as we did), there's a reasonable chance you can reach the answer by brute force.

The on-air challenge involved finding four-letter words that link at the last letter to make a seven-letter word. For example, starting with fort, the answer would be tune, as the two link together to make fortune.

I've had fun making examples with each letter of the alphabet as the linking letter. See if you can work these out (double-click between the brackets to see the answer):
Mira (mirages)
garb (garbled)
chic (chicane)
Ovid (oviduct)
cave (caveats)
surf (surface)
tang (tangent)
both (bothers)
midi (midiron)
hadj (hadjees)
desk (deskill)
earl (earlobe)
plum (plumage)
chin (chinook)
mayo (mayoral)
drop (dropout)
Marq (Marquis)
Cher (cheroot)
less (lessons)
text (textile)
Peru (perused)
Slav (slavery)
stew (steward)
Marx (Marxian)
Rudy (Rudyard)
Graz (grazing)
The J, Q and X examples are a bit strained, I'm afraid.

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