Thursday, October 8, 2009

NPR Puzzle -- 10/04/09: Closed Circuit Radio?

Here's our word chain puzzle this week:
The challenge is to find a chain of "C" words to connect "carbon" to "circuit." Will's chain has seven words between "carbon" and "circuit." The answer doesn't have to match Will's, but each word has to start with "C," and each has to combine with the words before and after to make a compound word or familiar two-word phrase.
You may want to read my post about the puzzle first, if you haven't already, in order to understand the discussion that follows.

There is no "right" answer here, and I suspect virtually all of the entries will have been legal. My question was one of subjective value, rather than correctness: Is a longer word chain better than a shorter one, or is elegance the criterion, or cleverness? Truly, any word chain would do.

Here's Ross's answer:

CARBON COPY CAT/CALLING CARD CASE CLOSED CIRCUIT (I've used / to signify when an element is compound word, as opposed to a two-word phrase)

Here's the longest I could justify (keep in mind I use a program developed in the UK to help solve UK cryptic crosswords, so some of my phrases may be British in origin):

CARBON COMPOUND CRYSTAL CLEAR CUT CORNER CABINET CHAMBER CEILING CLOTH CAP CASE CLOSED CIRCUIT

Okay, so not all of those are very pretty: "cut corner" I can just about permit as a modified noun phrase, but it would have been much stronger as "cut corners"; "chamber ceiling" seems weak, as does "ceiling cloth" and "cap case." They were all in TEA, though. (For what that's worth.)

My preferred chain goes like this:

CARBON COPY CAT/CALL CENTER COURT CASE CLOSED CIRCUIT. That may be the answer Will gives on Sunday.

I also came up with an eight element chain:

CARBON CYCLE CAR COAT CLOSET CASE CLOSED CIRCUIT, but obviously Ross's is cleaner.

Anyone is welcome to think that some of the chains here is illegal; I don't generally submit an answer to the puzzle, but if I had, I'd have sent in the safest one.

We're on the road today, heading south to warmer weather & beaches!

But before we get to a Floridian fall (which is warmer than our summer), here a couple pictures of our all-too-brief visit to the Shenandoah National Park (Skyline Drive). I'm a big fan of the Japanese style of depicting mountains as a series of misty shapes disappearing into the horizon. This is as close as I could come today. We got to the park late in the afternoon, and the best landscapes were all to the west, which is to say looking straight into the sun. Still, this is pretty close to what I had hoped I could get with a teensy digital camera.

Mimi loved the park. She really wanted to love the deer up close! Her hostess is a Golden Retriever, Miz Cedar, in Jensen Beach, Florida. When I asked Miz Cedar's owner what Mimi should bring as a hostess gift, I was told, "a deer. " ("Miz Cedar loves venison.") We settled on venison dog treats and a plush moose; we're counting on Miz Cedar's failing eyesight allowing her to think that moose and deer are the same. Well, never let it be said that Mimi doesn't try to do the right thing for her hostess! She made several efforts to convince us that she really could catch that deer if we would just let her off her leash. All efforts to instruct her in the likely penalties for allowing a domestic pet to bother wildlife in a national park fell on predictably deaf doggy ears.

Here she is behaving well (she hadn't spotted any deer at this point in the afternoon). We've been working on getting her to walk in a calm fashion, with less pulling & tugging. I'll be honest -- our best weapon in this fight is time. Mimi just turned 2 last month; she's dramatically better behaved than she was a year ago. I have the principal responsibility for walking her at home, but I think I snatched the camera away from Ross. (Trust me, he's way more photogenic!)

Most of all, though, Mimi is thrilled to be on a car trip. She's an enthusiastic traveler -- eager to be in the car, and interested in almost everything. We think she's extended operant conditioning to include the sound of the turn signal and sudden speed changes when exiting the highway. She's figured out that these noises precede good things like walks, water, and maybe even food.

The value added puzzle was pretty easy, at least based on little time it took Ross to solve! I set it up in the same format as Will's original on-air puzzle, namely two words with the same initial letter, and the answer is a (the?) word beginning with the same initial letter that can be added to the first word and precede the second word to make two new compound words or phrases. One of Will's example was CASH and COLLEGE, for which the linking word is COW. Those of us in the Northeast don't know the term "cow college," although it is easy to deduce that it's an agricultural school, like Texas A&M. Ross tells me it is also a pejorative term for a second-rate academic institution. (I love the way the Brits say "pejorative." They use a long e sound and accent the first syllable: PEE-jorative. Hysterical. But then I'm easily amused.)

ARMY ANT ACID

BELL BOY BAND

DRIP DRY DOCK

FROZEN FOOD FIGHT

GREATER GOOD GRIEF

HELPING HAND HELD

LEADING LIGHT LESS

MAD MAN MADE

NATURAL NUMBER NINE

POLITICAL PARTY PIECE

RAT RACE RIOT

SAFE SEX SYMBOL

TONGUE TIE TACK

UNDER USED UP

WHITE WHALE WATCH

5 comments:

Roxie said...

Original Email Information
From: roxiemagee@gmail.com
To: inbound@npr.org,puzzle_form@npr.org,npr_response@npr.org
Cc:
columnname: Sunday Puzzle columnId: 4473090
MSG: CARBON copy cat call center court case closed CIRCUIT
firstname: Roxie

he he, I agree with Magdalen on the preferred answer :-)

Tom said...

Mine: carbon-credit-card-carrying-case-closed-circuit

Natasha said...

I got the preferred answer too. So glad to read Magdalen's answer.

Roxie said...

Hm, maybe there will not be as much diversity in the answers as we may have thought. So far I guess Magdalen, Natasha, Ben Bass & I came up with the same solution... Dan still thinks that his answer is nicer (oh well).

Dan said...

You all did very well. I like the creativity in some of the answers.