Sunday, May 10, 2009

NPR Puzzle 5/10/09 -- Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day. Will's on-air challenge was a series of word puzzles around the words (mother, mere, mom) associated with the day. I didn't do all that well, mostly because I was multitasking (fancy word for "wasting time" on the computer while the radio was on), although I did get the 11-letter word using the letters of MOTHER and having MOM as the middle syllable.

Ross has set this week's value added puzzle: A common 9-letter word that has MOM in the middle ( _ _ _ M O M _ _ _ ). I haven't solved that yet, and I'm resisting using TEA. Dramamine? Hmmm. I'll keep working on this. Or ask Himself for a hint...

Meanwhile, some sadistic listener in New York City named David Hill has sent in another number puzzle, similar to the one used two weeks ago, but different. Here's today's version:
5 = 4
7 = 17
9 = 25
35 = 2
14 = ?
Five = Four, Seven = Seventeen, Nine = Twenty-five, Thirty-five = Two

The inclusion of 35 takes a bunch of options off the table -- it's not hours in a day, days in a month, letters in the alphabet. There is a method used by cryptic puzzles sometimes, where you add up the numeric value of the letters and subtract multiples of 26 to get a new letter, but you can see that's not what's going on here -- (f) 6 + (i) 9 + (v) 22 + (e) 5 =16 (not 4!).

Time for some help. Let's see what Henry has to say! Hmmm. He hasn't solved it (yet) but had some of the same ideas that I had, plus one I hadn't thought of. I'll go check that quickly; here's a Happy Mother's Day video while you're waiting:



Alas, no, that idea didn't work. (In that idea, 38 = 2). And the idea that both Henry and I thought of doesn't seem to pan out. Humpf. Well, it's time to pass it along to Ross, who's much more dogged than I am. He really doesn't like to fail, whereas I am remarkably comfortable with failure.

12 comments:

Dan said...

I have the answer to the 9-letter word with MOM in he middle; does anyone have a hint towards this week's puzzle?

Magdalen said...

I didn't get the 9-letter word until I did resort to TEA, ironically enough. (I don't personally consider that a "common" word, but then I haven't read the dictionary a half-dozen times like Ross has.)

We're pretty careful not to steer people too much on the NPR puzzle until after the deadline for entry. However, after I posted Henry got it. Here's my meta-hint. If it's not hours in the day, or letters in the alphabet (because 35 > 24 and 26, respectively) you need at least 35 of something.

Ben Weiss said...
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Ben Weiss said...

Removed my earlier comment, because it was much closer to the actual answer than I expected! Neat puzzle.

Dan said...

I need a hint. This is driving me batty!

Dan said...

It is not playing cards, is it? I am running every algorithm known to man.

Ben Weiss said...
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Magdalen said...

Ben -- that's a bit more of a hint than I would have elected to use!

Blue of Central Iowa said...

And, of course again and again and again and again, one certainly is soooo ... not led ... to think at all egalitarian on this particular issue either. Therefore, flip / reversed: 4 = 8, 92 = 8, 52 = 80, 52 also = 96, 84 = 88, 92 = 96 and 88 = 92.

Ben Weiss said...

Ok, removed my earlier hint, which was too much. Instead, let's just say that I'm glad 44 != 35 ;-)

Magdalen said...

Ben -- I'm sorry. I didn't mean to suggest your hint was illegally helpful; I was just trying to play along. My bad.

Ben Weiss said...

Oh, I totally missed the pun. Ha! Well, a puzzle like this only comes along every four years.