Friday, May 29, 2009

NPR Puzzle -- 5/24/09 Not So Evel Knievel

What are some other names that, like Galileo Galilei, basically repeat themselves? Or rather, what are some famous names -- we can well imagine Richard Richards or Steven Stevenson, but I can't think of too many famous people with that construct. Comment if you can think of some.

Galileo was, of course, the answer to last Sunday's puzzle. A couple days ago I was watching an episode of "Numb3rs" when someone mentioned Galileo Galilei and Ross got all excited; I had to show him that the episode had aired in late April. (I'm just a bit backed up on my DVR watching.) I think he imagined that everyone watching would immediately think, "Oh, that's the answer!"

As you can see from the comments from last Sunday, it's hard to know what is an acceptable hint in these situations. What I wanted to say about Galileo was a story from law school.

I'd made friends with a biologist named Rob who had a Ph.D. in his field (and even a patent or two) but had burned out and decided to go to law school. (It didn't suit him, though, and he went back to microbiology after a semester.) He had had a really tough time getting divorced from his first wife because he'd tried to get a proper Catholic annulment. Well, I gather (I'm not Catholic, so my apologies for any factual errors in this story) that it rather depends on what diocese you are in when you try to get the annulment. For what it's worth, Rob wasn't successful. What amused us first year law students were the procedural aspects of the quasi-legal effort. I asked Rob about an appeal (he seemed to have qualified for at least one of the official grounds for annulment, so it wasn't an unreasonable question), but he said that the appellate court in the Vatican was a teeny bit backed up.

"Oh? How long would it take for your case to be heard?" I asked

"Let's put it this way," Rob explained. "Galileo only just got his posthumous appeal granted!"

This left me wondering about the celestial drafts as successful appeals result in souls whizzing past us going to Heaven from Hell, but that's just because I can on occasion be inappropriately literal.

Back to the value-added puzzles: The first one,
Name a device in ten letters that uses only letters in the top row of a standard typewriter keyboard, i.e., QWERTYUIOP.
is an oldie but goody: The answer is in the question, namely TYPEWRITER.

The second one struck me as a bit harder, obviously, as I used TEA to look it up.
Name an American sports personality (4, 9) whose name has only letters in the first half of the alphabet. (By way of a further hint, Ross allowed as how the name only relies on the letters BCDEFGHIJKL, so no As or Ms.)
The answer is Bill Belichick.


My Little Family: said...

I almost submitted Charlie Chaplin until I thought of Galileo.

Brunellus said...

Magnus Magnusson and Boutros Boutros-Ghali come to mind, though neither is as good as Galileo.

Magdalen said...

Well done, Brunellus! I particularly like Magnus Magnusson -- a bit better known in the UK, perhaps, than here, but precisely the sort of name I was thinking of.