Sunday, March 8, 2009

NPR Sunday Puzzle 3/8/09 - A Lot of Wood

our wood stoveToday's on-air part of the NPR Sunday Puzzle involved hidden elms. I see very few of these trees around where we live in Northeast Pennsylvania: whether this was the result of Dutch elm disease or reflects the makeup of the native forest, I'm not sure.

The predominant trees in our 12 acre woodlot are pine and ash. After using our hungry new wood stove for a season, we now know that it eats around 6 cords of firewood per year. A cord is a woodpile 4 feet wide by 4 feet high by 8 feet long. I'll be kept busy all summer felling and storing this amount in preparation for future winters.

The challenge for the listeners this week is:
Think of a familiar phrase in five words that means "tongue-tied". One word in it has one letter, one word has two letters, one has three, one has four and one has five — though not necessarily in that order. What is the phrase?
Will thought this might prove easy, and I indeed worked out the phrase in a few seconds, with Magdalen taking a little longer. I'll give the answer after the closing date.

If phrases with all different word lengths are unusual, then so are phrases with all the words of the same length. I can think of three nice examples for readers to work out. I'm not sure what kind of hints will be needed, so I'll just give the genre and some relevant dates:
eight 2-letter words — a song first released in 1980

six 3-letter words — a novel first published in 1952

seven 4-letter words — a song first released in 1944

No comments: