Thursday, June 17, 2010

NPR Puzzle 6/13/10 -- Anthony Bourdain, may I introduce Charlie Dimmock?

Here's this week's NPR puzzle:
Write down the following five names: Christian Dior, Anne Boleyn, Edna Ferber, Indiana Jones and Richard Simmons. The first four names have something unusual in common that the fifth name does not. What is it? Give another name that shares this property. Hint: It's a property that only a few names have. To show that you have the right answer, think of another name that shares the same property. Any name that shares the property will be considered correct. 
Here's how this one works.  Each name CHristian DIor, ANne BOleyn, EDna FErber, INdiana JOnes has the same pattern: the first name starts with two letters that are each one letter before the first two letters of the last name: C before D + H before I; A before B + N before O; etc.  We're still not sure what that property is called -- letter progression? -- but there is a temptation to call it the HAL 9000 Effect after the decision to call the computer HAL (the three letters before IBM) in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey But everyone involved denies any connection with IBM, and says it's really the acronym for Heuristic ALgorithm.

But wait!  There's more!!  Regardless of what you call this property, we found two celebrity names that work for the first three letters of the first and last names.  We set that as a special puzzle for Will Shortz, who clearly wasn't able to solve it because he never responded to us.  I'll point out those two answers as we go along.

Here are the photos I used of people whose names meet the criteria in the puzzle.


NATASHA OBAMA (better known as Sasha, here in Halloween costume, Oct. 08)

Here are some other names that worked:

Adam Bede, Adam Beach, Anne Bobby, Anne Bonny, Stanley Tucci, Inigo Jones, Andrea Bocelli, Ingemar Johansson (our other three-letter celebrity name), and Roger Spottiswoode.

Here are the guesses for this week's How Many Entries Game.  (Nope, we still don't have a standardized name for this game.  Any good ideas out there?  Post a comment; if we love it, we'll reward you.)

Fewer than 100
100 - 200
200 - 300
300 - 400
400 - 500
500 - 600
600 - 700
700 - 800
800 - 900 -- Magdalen
900 - 1,000 -- Dave
1,000 - 1,100 -- Natasha
1,100 - 1,200 -- Ross
1,200 - 1,300
1,300 - 1,400 -- Mendo Jim
1,400 - 1,500
1,500 - 2,000 -- Tom
 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...

As I said last Sunday, the constraint to come up with FAMOUS names that fit the "property" is self-inflicted, if more challenging.
WS plainly said "ANY name ..... will be considered correct."
Even though the list of famous names begins to stretch the good Doctor's claim of "only a few," all the right answers puts to shame even the similar claim for bird names a few months back.
I know these games are for the general public and are supposed to be fun, but a little more rigor on the Master's part would be welcome, at least to me.

Ben said...

For a name for the game, how about "PICK A TRANCHE," in honor of our recent financial crisis?

And I'll take 1200-1300, because it's there.

- Ben