Sunday, December 27, 2009

NPR Puzzle -- The Last Puzzle of 2009!

Here's the puzzle for this week:
Take the phrase "pray when." Double four of these letters. Using these letters plus the four singles, rearrange all 12 letters to spell a familiar phrase. What phrase is it?
Ross got it immediately.  I'll admit I was Twittering (bad Magdalen) and so focused on it a bit late, but I got it pretty quickly as well.  In fact, I just blurted it out, which mean Henry got it whether he wanted it or not!

I won't hint (I rather think you've all got it as well -- not precisely the hardest puzzle evah) but on Thursday I'll pass along Ross's reasons why this is actually an even cleverer puzzle than it seems at first glance.

Meanwhile, Christmas is past us.  Boxing Day (aka St. Stephen's Day) is past us.  We're in the home stretch on the end of 2009.  There are going to be some subtle changes chez Crossword Man in 2010, but it could be there won't be anything specific to report for a year or so -- if ever. 

Don't worry, though:  we'll still be solving puzzles.  Some things never change!

And, as a last image of the old year:  here's the 2009 Christmas Cake:

This is an annual tradition, adapted from Henry's childhood.  On Stir-Up Sunday (no, I'm not making this up) you make a large round fruitcake.  That's the last Sunday in November, so roughly four weeks before Christmas.  For those four weeks, the cake is wrapped in cheesecloth and tin foil and is regularly drizzled with alcohol.  (Bourbon is good; brandy is traditional, and this year we used dark rum.)  The cake is pleasantly moist by the time this process is complete.

On Christmas Eve, unwrap the cake and coat it with a layer of almond paste, and then frost it.  The traditional approach is to use a fondant icing (looks great, tastes stupid) but I use a cream cheese frosting because why not and it tastes better.  Then we decorate it.  We found these little figures and props on sale at the CVS in South Philly -- but they're just about the right size!  We have a lot more, so there's always a selection to pick from.  Ross got to decorate this year's cake and decided the call box had to go in the middle.  The rest, as they say, is history.  (Oh, and if you're wondering, the white cord runs to a battery case that lights up the "fire" in the trash can where the guys are warming their hands.)

I'd include a picture of the cake taken today, but it's sadly a fraction of its original girth.  Trust me: this cake is good.

See you all in 2010!


Dan said...

That is an awesome cake. I got the puzzle within 30 seconds. I think if I shake my head, Scrabble tiles will fall out of my ears. Roxie had some issues with it, but she got an awesome answer that was not correct; she will post it on Thursday. See you all next week/year!

Magdalen said...

Hey, Dan -- remind Roxie she still owes us a funny story from a couple weeks ago. And thanks to both of you for commenting so often.

See you Thursday!

Crossword Man said...

Yes, the cake is fantabulosa and now down to a third of its original size. Here's a bonus puzzle inspired by the NPR conundrum:

Take the phrase bring tea. Double four of these letters. Using these letters plus the four singles, rearrange all 12 letters to spell a familiar phrase. What phrase is it?