Sunday, July 19, 2009

NPR Puzzle - 07/19/09 Reset the Rest

When Will Shortz announced the on-air challenge today -- words with R, S, T in them in some order and with any number of vowels -- I immediately thought of RESET. But Will never used that one, and my brain just wouldn't leave it alone. The rest of the puzzle was a blur.

I'm just a bit sleep-deprived; we had Games Day here yesterday, and that was fun but a lot of work. (I don't mind the cooking, but tidying & cleaning bathrooms was a chore.) Games Day is a monthly event, held at the home of a willing victim participant, with high-end games like Puerto Rico, Settlers of Cataan, Carcassone, Ticket to Ride, etc. Yesterday's new-to-us game was Dominion, which can be configured in countless ways, so it can be played over and over. For me, once was enough, but then I was in the kitchen cooking, so that was okay.

Anyway, here's the puzzle for this week:
Think of a word starting with G and ending in R. Remove the G and R, and the remaining letters can be rearranged to spell a synonym of the original word. What words are these?
Ross came up with the answer the old-fashioned way even as Henry and I tried to work it out from a list of 150 words that start with G and end with R. Which is anecdotal support for the notion that using lists and reference works is cheating and therefore punished by Lexicon, the all-powerful deity of word puzzles. (Lexicon is in the pantheon of deities that actually control our lives; my favorite is Asphalta, the occasionally vindictive goddess of whether you can find a parking space. I try to overpay parking meters from time to time to keep Asphalta happy with me.) As just punishment for my cheating, Lexicon will ensure that I just can't think of -- what's that word? -- oh, it's on the tip of my tongue -- starts with . . . etc. for the next week. Lexicon is mean that way!

Okay, here's the value-added puzzle for this week. Will's used R, S, and T. I'll substitute B for the R. Words using one B, one S, one T in any order and with any number of vowels. So, if the clue is Red vegetables (5), the answer is BEETS.

Band instruments (5)

Prohibitions (6)

Baby's footware (7)

Subsides (6)

Adjoins (5)

Pierce (4)

Aids (5)

Sew with temporary stitches (5)

Dull-witted (6)

Attractive (poetic) (9)

Member of the orchestra (6)

Old French shoe (5)

Raise (5)

Fights (5)

Containers (4)

Hit against (4)

Infatuate (5)

Morsels (5)


Dan said...

Got this one pretty quickly, but my wife & I also came up with 3 pretty funny, though not correct answers, that you and your audience may enjoy. Let me know when & how is appropriate to transmit the weird, but extremely clever stuff we came up with "the old fashioned way." I will give you my fave [incorrect] answer: GRAVEDIGGER = ?

Roxie said...

I am disappointed with Will Shortz - my hubby and I came up with some very creative answers to the Sunday Puzzle, but ultimately agreed that the dullest, least creative was the actual answer.

However - added value puzzle: (had to figure that one out because husband beat me to the witless NPR answer); I am stuck on the "old French shoe"... any hints?

Dan said...

Only a competitive Scrabble-player would have immediately seen AGGRIEVED, but I think it's a doozey. My wife (Roxie) came up with GORGER -> OGRE, which created a spirited debate, more empowering than my morning cup of Joe. The other one she came up with was: GELDER (to castrate)-> DELE (to delete). The actual answer is utterly mundane.

Dan said...

And by the way, I do not think that using word-lists is cheating, although I think using TEA *is*; these puzzles are designed & chosen so that the Internet cannot aid you. In fact, my custom-made Scrabble set has with it a list of 2-letter words for opponents, so as not to waste my time. Our mutual respect for not divulging the answer before Thursday @ 3PM us truly remarkable.

stephanie said...

please poat the answer or email me

Magdalen said...

@Dan -- I love Gravedigger/Aggrieved (I'm the witless one in the bunch, so I had to use TEA to get the anagram) -- great thinking!
@Roxie -- You and Dan seem to be a great team. I will tell you that Henry -- my ex -- thinks that the answer to Old French Shoe was not as old as all that; he's just looked it up in Chambers and now admits that any of this sort of shoe found in Paris would be manufactured just for the tourists. If thinking "Les Miserables" doesn't immediately make you get the answer, then my hint is that the 5-letter answer is less familiar to us English-speakers as an 8-letter word created from the Old French Shoe + a 3-letter word. A clue to the 8-letter word is "Stealthy destruction."
@Stephanie -- We don't post the answer on this blog before Thursday afternoons; we just figure people would rather work out the answer for themselves. Come back then!

jeff said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Roxie said...

@ Jeff: No posting answers before Thursday at 3PM! Where's the fun in this endeavor if you can simply look up the answer - also, it's not fair to other participants in the Puzzle.
- Etiquette, my friend, even on blogs, goes a far way.

Roxie said...

I would have never figured out the shoe without the 8 letter hint! I was horribly stuck on godasse (literal French word for old shoe).
Merci merci, for stealthy destruction!

Dan said...

@Magdalen - Please delete jeffs post. That is just plain uncool.
@Roxie - You came up with 2 very wrong answers, but I love you very much.
@Stephanie - Unless a rude individual posts the answer before Thursday, you can always ask Ben Bass or Magdalen for a hint.

Magdalen said...

Sorry about the fact that Jeff's post was left up for the day -- we'll restore it on Thursday after 3 p.m.

Ross, Henry & I are on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls tonight -- we're staying at The Lion's Head B&B for a couple nights, then on to Toronto for three nights. Anyway, Ross noticed Jeff's post this morning, but in the rush to get the dog to the kennel, the car packed and us on the road, he forgot to ask if it should be deleted.

As a policy, though, we don't support spoilers. I realize that there's a community building here, and I love that, but I really don't want to be the site where people can come for the answer -- regardless of whether they enter the contest or not.

(If anyone cares, neither Ross or I enters the contest. We could, I suppose, but I guess I figure that blogging about it is sufficient, uh, publicity for us!)

Still, Roxie's right -- we'll supply a hint (which may be of NO USE at all -- caveat surfer!) when asked.

Hope everyone is having a nice week -- I'll be back on Thursday!

Roxie said...

Niagara - I'm jealous! Dan and I do enter the contest (I've actually managed to miss a call from NPR due to my not so reasonable policy of not taking phone calls from numbers I don't know - that policy has changed for Thursdays at 3PM...)
Dan and I have a running tally of who gets it right first, but usually we're tied anyways (in biblical, profane, and puzzling ways).

I'm glad the NPR Puzzler section is gaining momentum - most of our friend's think we're nuts for having a Sunday alarm set to listen to the radio :-)

I will however not compete with the Sunday Crossword, they infuriate me, and eventually I begin to cheat, and it still takes me at least a day to solve one.