Thursday, May 27, 2010

NPR Puzzle 5/23/10 -- Is Rain a Problem? YOU Make the Call!

Here's this week's puzzle:
Name a country that is spelled as a solid word. Change two consecutive letters in it to a single R. The result will name a problem that this country has traditionally faced. What's the country and what's the problem? 
Well, here's where we admit that our first answer was this:

which would be rain (or at least rain clouds) in Spain.  Geddit?  Here's another pretty picture:

Very pretty, very rainy, and Flickr assures me it's Spain.  Here's our favorite photo from Spain (non-rainy division):

(My apologies to the photographers: Creative Commons isn't cooperating with proper attribution, but if you click on the photo it will take you back to the Flickr page.)

Spain is, of course, not the answer.  Here's the correct answer:


So why did we think Spain - sp + r = rain was the answer?  Because of this:

That's "The Rain in Spain" from My Fair Lady, and they certainly don't make the rain sound like a good thing, although we'd all rather have rain than malaria.

Okay, here's the funny thing about this puzzle.  Ross should have gotten it right away because he was born in Malaya back in 1959:
(He's redacted his actual birthday to prevent you all from sending him cards and presents. You know -- British shyness...)

According to Henry, the malaria is actually in Borneo, which is an administrative state of Malaysia.  If this is inaccurate information, we're holding Henry responsible.

Aphis99 commented that maybe WALES and WAR would work.  Again our source for all pointless knowledge, Henry, says that while there were border wars between England and Wales, they weren't much to write home about and they haven't happened for a while.  But I would say that WALES is a better (wrong) answer than SPAIN.  Well done, Aphis99!

Here are our entrants in this week's Guess The Number of Entries game:

Fewer than 100
100 - 200
200 - 300
300 - 400
400 - 500 -- Dan
500 - 600 -- Marie
600 - 700 -- Tom
700 - 800 -- Natasha
800 - 900 -- Dave
900 - 1,000 -- Jordan
1,000 - 1,100 -- Roxie
1,100 - 1,200 -- Mendo Jim (sorry, Ben!)
1,200 - 1,300 -- Ross
1,300 - 1,400 -- Magdalen
1,400 - 1,500
1,500 - 2,000 -- Henry
2,000 - 2,500
2,500 - 3,000
3,000 - 3,500
3,500 - 4,000
4,000 - 4,500
4,500 - 5,000
More than 5,000
More than 5,000 and it sets a new record.


Mendo Jim said...

Great pic of mammatus clouds over the boater's basin.
Hmmm, not rain/Spain? Since I was afraid Dr. Shortz was going to agree, I sent both answers in.
Google: For effect of rain on Spain: 6 million hits on Spain/Spanish Flood, 1.5m on Spain/Spanish Drought, 875,000 on Malaysia Malaria.
As for "traditionally": Spain has faced rain problems for around five hundred years, Malaysia malaria for 47.
FWIW, the rain in Spain falls mainly in the mountains.

Magdalen said...

Mendo Jim -- I always suspected that, about the rain in Spain, that is.

henry.blancowhite said...

That's not quite what I said. Malaysia is a Federation of Malaya (the peninsular bit) Sabah and Sarawak. Sabah and Sarawak are parts (not adding up to the whole) of Borneo. Current situation seems to be that malaria is more of a problem in Borneo than on the peninsula, but I am prepared to believe that it was traditionally a problem in all three parts of what is now Malaysia.

Dave said...

Roxie's guess was the closest. I was this week's contestant. I'm taking 1,200 to 1,300 for next week's guess (May 30). Can you predict the future, Ross?