Sunday, February 14, 2010

NPR Puzzle 2/14/10 -- Stuck on Valentine's Day

Here's this week's puzzle:
Take the name "Proust," as in Marcel Proust. Using these six letters, repeating them as often as necessary, spell a familiar bumper sticker with three words, 16 letters altogether. What bumper sticker is it?
We were sitting in the car when we heard the puzzle.  Not driving anywhere, but sitting listening to the radio.  We're visiting my cousin's family in Lexington, MA and they are so tech-savvy that a conventional radio was a mysterious "old-fashioned" device and not to be found in their house.  If Liane Hansen wasn't on XM satellite radio, our hosts couldn't help us.  Off to the car!

Here are some bumper stickers:

bumper stickers

I can't be sure -- not all of these bumper stickers is legible -- but I'm pretty sure the answer is not pictured here.  And of course I would have two ways to know that -- either see a letter other than OPRSTU in every sticker pictured above, or know the answer.  We know the answer.  You know the answer.  It's not hard.  I predict a lot of people will know the answer.

How many of you were shocked that only 400 correct answers were sent in for CLEO - COLE?  I was surprised.

I was wrong about my guess as to the nature of this week's puzzle -- no brand names.  But I think it's safe to say that Will Shortz has been on a (relatively) boring car trip recently.  This week's puzzle has that "I'm bored.  I'm bored.  I'm bored.  Ooh, look at that bumper sticker -- it only uses 6 letters.  That could be a puzzle.  Great.  {pause}  I'm bored again.  I'm bored.  I'm bored . . ." vibe to it.  And we know he was driving because if he'd been riding shotgun, he'd have been working his way through some book of puzzles and not looking out the window.  At least if he's anything like Crossword Man, he would have been.


Roxie said...

I agree, this puzzle is not particularly inventive. Eventhough I come from a country with no tradition of bumper sticking, it took me all but 3 minutes of thought to figure this one out.
However, I must air my frustration with last weeks puzzle (mercilessly trying to anagram Bloody Mary...) - I did not solve the puzzle. And for the record: Cleopatra had no known nicknames. Further there is no evidence that Romans or Egyptians of that era even used pet names of that sort! In my opinion the very essence of last weeks puzzle is historically speaking completely unfounded.
OK, I am done venting now :-)

Magdalen said...

Roxie, I feel your pain. It's not that Cleopatra herself had a nickname, it's that the name "Cleopatra" has a nickname, Cleo. Stupid {this portion of this comment has been redacted to prevent embarrassment when the comment's author sees Will Shortz at the ACPT this weekend} . . .

I like Bloody Mary -- and it's a yummy drink with brunch!