Wednesday, November 25, 2009

NPR Puzzle 11/22/09 I Wasn't Kidding -- We Did Get the Joke!

Oops -- I'm late! I'm afraid that in the rush to buy the last fresh turkey at the supermarket (which, luckily for me, was also the smallest: I only have Henry and Ross to feed) and then get home in time to make dinner and make Henry's bed, I forgot today was answers day. Let's get on with it, shall we?

This week's puzzle is:
Think of a word containing the consecutive letters O-K. Remove the O-K, and you'll get a new word that's a synonym of the first word. What words are these?
The answer is JOKESTER and JESTER.  This wasn't an easy puzzle, although I realized very early on that it had to be an unusual word that didn't have a lot of inflections.  So all the verb forms (smoke, smoker, smoked, smoking, for example) were ruled out.  But even though I CHEAT, I wasn't able to solve it with Ross's software.  That's because the word "jokester" did not appear among the several hundred words with OK in them in "Edited English."  (In TEA, "edited English" means all the really and truly for-sure words.  "Unedited English" is the probably, but don't sue me if you aren't allowed to play this in your Lexulous or Scrabble game, words.  Jokester was in the second category, but so were several hundred other words.)  I was reluctant to explain this on Sunday because it could either have been too much help, or more likely, too confusing.

I didn't make the lovely cupcakes here, but I sure wish I had one now to eat. Not relevant to the discussion at hand; I'm just saying.

Henry is here with us; he's currently trying to solve a Patrick Berry crossword puzzle, which is harder for him because although he's been living in the US for almost 11 years now, he's not even trying to learn all the sports, pop culture, and advertising slogan terms that Ross has. But I have to hand it to Henry -- when the clue read "Madison's veep," meaning some 19th century politician who served as vice-president under James Madison, I told him he was more likely to know the answer than either Ross or me . . . and he did! (Gerry, the fellow who gave us gerrymandering.)  (Just because I'm American doesn't mean I know anything about our history...!)

I also have to hand it to Henry -- only he made an effort to come up with a JOKESTER's definition of Lame Duck. It turns out to mean "One who defaults on the stock market." Weird, hunh? (Well, I thought so.) I found it when I was reading a romance novel (my secret other life) and thinking about which words were likely to have been in use in 1814.  If you're interesting in other examples, I found, you can read about it here.

I hope everyone has (or had) a very happy Thanksgiving!  We will as well:  because Thursday is supposed to have clearer weather (there's showers and snow forecast for Friday and Saturday), we're making Friday be Thanksgiving (in the culinary aspect) and making Thursday be a walking-in-a-local-state-park day. 


Roxie said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you too!
I have to admit, I absolutely submitted one of the other few viable answers to this puzzle. Jokester & Jester never even occurred to me (and I cheated too, using an anagramming word list). I went ahead with Look & Lo, while Dan was convinced it was Okay & Ay (derivation of aye), and we both thought that Hooker & Hoer was not family friendly enough for Will Shortz.
In any event, I must return to the desserts I promised to bring this afternoon.

Enjoy the feasts!

Magdalen said...

Roxie -- Yup, we came up with those two, too. But re-reading the puzzle convinced me that the OK had to be in the middle of the word.

Yummm. Dessert. We're only doing the one pie, but it should be good: Apple & Cranberry with a Pecan Crumble topping. That's for tomorrow, though. Tonight? Mac & cheese with ham & peas on top.