Sunday, January 31, 2010

NPR Puzzle 1/31/10 -- Say What?

Here's this week's puzzle:
Take four words: Croquet; Lunette; Renoir; Turnstile. They are all two-syllable words, but aside from that, they all have something unusual in common: a property that virtually no other words have. What property is it?
I have solved this, and even thought of another word that fits the pattern:  Chitin (the hard outer body of some insects) (also Chiton -- the loose tunic worn by Greek statues -- would work).

And -- because I know someone's keeping score -- no software was used in the solving of this puzzle.  Score one for the old noggin.

Here's some English croquet for our ex-pat friends:


Back on Thursday with the answer.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Roughshod, couture

Ben said...

I've thought of a rule that all four of Will's words follow.

I'm not certain it is the right rule, as there are a few other two-syllable words that follow the rule, though not many.

CHITIN does not. But BASEBALL and INBRED do. I wonder if I'm on the right track.

Anonymous said...

I just found you by accident. I think I'm going to have fun looking around in here!

How about a quaalude?

Roxie said...

Ben, I think I am with you - your example fits my word 'Commonality' exactly - but would have nothing to do with Chitin / Cheton...

Roxie said...

**Chiton

said...

Ben: not *quite* on the right track. CHITIN does work. HOCKEY might also work.

Anonymous said...

Looks like three parameters:
1. Two syllables
2. Heterographic first syllable with mystery component.
3. "Virtually" these four are all there is.
Number three is the problem if croquet, turnstyle, lunette and Renoir can be joined by chiton, roughshod, couture, awkward, ductile, Renner (as in Richard), hockey (hockshop or Hochstein), turncoat, Gulfport, notched, and chateau (oh well).

Magdalen said...

Okay, obviously a lot depends how people say certain words, but if we're all agreed on the "Mystery Component" (and thanks everyone for keeping the Mystery Mysterious!) here's my opinion (free & worthless) on the list so far:

CROQUET
TURNSTILE / TURNCOAT
LUNETTE
RENOIR / RENNER
CHITON / CHITIN
ROUGHSHOD
AWKWARD
COUTURE
DUCTILE

all those seem okay to me. I would disagree with

GULFPORT
NOTCHED
CHATEAU

and there's a teensy disagreement about

HOCKEY

here at Chez Homme des Mots Croises. I originally was inclined to say HOCKEY fits the bill, but Himself says it differently, and when I really tried to sound out both HOCKEY and the Mystery Component, there is a slight difference.

Still, I think we've proven the point that the class of words that fit the (*cough*) bill is not as small as Will Shortz would like to think.

DaveJ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
henry.blancowhite said...

On that theory, I would allow every candidate mentioned, including QUAALUDE, except HOCKEY (where of course I agree with Ross!) and Ben's two, which are clearly based on a different theory that I do not understand. Can somebody who does understand merge the two theories to get a commonality that really applies only to the initial four words?

henry.blancowhite said...

No, on second thoughts CHATEAU isn't quite good enough, is it?

DaveJ said...

How would Ross say "Stalking" ?

DaveJ said...

If Will reads some of the alternate answers I'll be well chuffed !

Mo said...

The quaalude suggestion up there was mine--sorry, I forgot to use my name or introduce myself. It also occurred to me that Gustave (as in Flaubert) would work.

Roxie said...

OK, I think my theory comes from another planet... And why on earth are we talking about theories here??
I am thinking that the WS will have more than one answer this Sunday...
About 80% of words mentioned since my post fit the bill of my "theory".
Since I've already submitted my answer, I can't wait till Thursday!

Anonymous said...

I don't think this may be one of Will's most elegant challenges.
I keep wondering if he has a purpose using "lunette" instead of the more common "lunar" or "lunate."
Or why not use "Turner" to go with "Renoir."
I've played the puzzle long enough to have seen many of them thoroughly lacking in rigor, and at least one with no possible answer at all.
Perhaps the more newly-come will forgive us oldtimers if we seem somewhat "jaded."

Roxie said...

He he, I am also thinking that the answer to this one will elicit more of a "Really..?" response rather than "Wow, that's clever!"
This reminds me of the "In Tray" that I've never seen in my office...

Anonymous said...

Ah, I had no clue, until Magdelen didn't totally "keep the mystery mysterious", and provided that hint. Then it was obvious.

So, how 'bout the character in "As You Like It" - Jaques?

Anonymous said...

Aaaargh, this is driving me crazy. I hate when people start talking about these puzzles being obvious, because this one really isn't for me. It's the first one that I've ever even worked on this long. Sigh. (Sorry, I'm usually more cheery than this makes me sound.)

:(

Anonymous said...

I don't see how chit fits my pattern (which was tern, crow, loon, and wren). Is there a bird out there I am unfamiliar with?

DaveJ said...

I think "Chitin" is pronounced as "Kite-in"...

Magdalen said...

Our answer post is up now -- thanks, everyone, for being so much fun in this thread!

Anonymous said...

where is the answer posted?

Alix

Crossword Man said...

Hi Alix. Our discussion of the answer is here.