Thursday, September 3, 2009

NPR Puzzle 08/30/09 -- Fiddler on the Burning Roof?

I had a couple close calls giving unintended hints to this week's puzzle, which was:
Name a famous leader in world history — the name by which this person is usually known. Change the first letter of the leader's name to the previous letter of the alphabet, rearrange the result, and you'll name what this person was the leader of. Who is it, and where was this person the leader?
The answer is NERO and ROME.

First of all, I had to stop myself from listing Rome, Italy as the capital R in the categories game for Will's happy birthday. Next, I had to stop from using Wolfe (as in Nero Wolfe, Rex Stout's famous detective) for one of my value-added puzzles. (I didn't like "reflow" as the 6-letter word.) Luckily, I managed to avoid those pitfalls. Otherwise, it's a neat puzzle. I assume everyone got it, and that I'll be hearing one of you on the radio come Sunday!

The on-air puzzle last week was straightbackward: Take a six letter word, drop the first letter and reverse the remaining 5 letters, and you get a second word. Will gave the contestant synonyms for both the 6- and 5-letter words. I got Ross to write a quickie program to allow me to look up more of the same, and here's what I came up with. As usual, the answers are in red.

Armadas of ships / material they are made of
Fleets / steel

Stone of film / Jones of jazz
Sharon / Norah

Type of radish / brand of cell phone
Daikon / Nokia

Refuses / river in France
Denies / Seine

Spies / scoop
Snoops / spoon

Reviews / area
Recaps / space

Mistake / student
Slip-up / pupil

Type of exam or race / type of runner
Prelim / miler

Grooms / contemptuous look
Preens / sneer

Barber's actions / recreation
Strops / sport

Stadiums / more sensible
Arenas / saner

Oblivious / rinds
Asleep / peels

Value / joins
Esteem / meets

Advanced / pulled out
Onward / drawn

Sailboats / reel
Sloops / spool

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