Sunday, July 4, 2010

NPR Puzzle 7/4/10 -- Do Be a Good Doobie

Here's this week's puzzle:
Take an eight-letter term that's often used to mean "a good child." Remove the first two and last two letters, and reverse what remains to get a four-letter word meaning "a bad child."
Not too hard, although my brain just didn't want to get started this morning so I took longer to get it.  If you know the answer, submit it to NPR here.

Time for some photographic clues!  (I'll attribute them on Thursday; the originals might give too much away, and where's the fun in that?)

This one's perfect for today's barbecues:

Clear as day, these hints.  Provided you already know the answer!

Last one:
There you have it.  If you can't figure it out from those photos . . . then I've done my job right!

It's time for

P I C K   A   R A N G E

This is where we ask you how many entries you think NPR will get for the puzzle above.  It was a bit surprising two weeks ago that there were only 1,300 - 1,400 entries, and surprising again this week with 1,700 - 1.800.  This could just be seasonal variation, of course -- people on vacation, so not near a computer.  But it could be something else entirely...
We have postulated the Intern Theory:  NPR assigns to the current intern the job of counting the entries.  But there has always been an odd disconnect in this area.  Think about it.  The job must actually be this: Open entries in a randomized order (so not first come first served) until you find a correct answer, telephone that person, and if he or she answers, you're in.  Then you tell the producer how many entries there were overall.  D'you really think anyone checks the intern's answers?  No.  So who cares (other than us) how many entries they got?  Thus, under the Intern Theory, the degree of accuracy can vary with each successive intern.

(Oh, and no one won this week.  Better luck next week!)

What do you think?  Leave a comment with your guess for the range of entries NPR will receive; first come first served, so read existing comments before you guess.  Ross and I guess last, just before we publish the Thursday post.  After the Thursday post is up, the entries are closed.

Here are the ranges:

Fewer than 100
100 - 200
200 - 300
300 - 400
400 - 500

500 - 600
600 - 700
700 - 800
800 - 900
900 - 1,000

1,000 - 1,100
1,100 - 1,200
1,200 - 1,300
1,300 - 1,400
1,400 - 1,500

1,500 - 1,600
1,600 - 1,700
1,700 - 1,800
1,800 - 1,900
1,900 - 2,000

2,000 - 2,100
2,100 - 2,200
2,200 - 2,300
2,300 - 2,400
2,400 - 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.


Tom said...

The "bad child" word came to me almost immediately, from there it was fairly easy to figure out the "good child" term. I'll take the 1,300 - 1,400 range this week. Happy 234th birthday America!

Ben said...

Answer submitted to Shortz. I'm in for 1100-1200 this week.

- Ben

Dave said...

1,200 to 1,300. Another easy puzzle.

Natasha said...

I select 1,000-1,100 range. Thanks

Mendo Jim said...

This week's challenge is not in the instantaneous solution tranche, but with a little diagram is over pretty quickly.
I think that's too bad, because it is actually a neat little puzzle and one that took some out of the box thinking to spot.
I'd say a more respectful clue, both to the puzzle and us, would have been something like:
"An eight letter term for what is often considered a paragon of youthful behavior contains a backward word that is its opposite. Many, many youngsters have probably been both. What are the words?"
I think this small increase in difficulty would only make the solution take a little longer and much more satisfying. What is the wurst that could happen?
I didn't hear Will acknowledge Joe Wander (the on-air contestant) as a regular host of Richard Renner's weekly compendium on the Wesun Puzzle. Of course, I didn't hear Joe claim it either. Did I miss it?
I'd like the 1400-1500 home on the range, please.

Marie said...

Okay, as soon as I knew I was on the right track with the naughty child, I was able to concentrate on the innocent child. I'll take 1500-1600.

Ken said...

Your speculation about the intern's job reminds me of an oddity that I've noticed about the number that gets reported each week. It's something that I'm a bit surprised nobody has mentioned since your "Pick A Range" exercise began.

Most weeks the cohost (usually Liane) says something like "we received more than xxxx entries this week".
But occasionally we hear something like this from 4/18/2010 (emphasis added):

"Well we had more than a thousand CORRECT entries this week"

or from 4/25/2010 (cohost Jacki Lyden)

"We had almost 1500 CORRECT entries this week"

Some weeks, such as 6/20/2010, it is quite clear that the count reported includes many entries that were incorrect.

I listened to the relevant parts of some shows from 2008, and back then they would say something like:

"We had over 2500 entries from people who TRIED to solve the puzzle"

but sometimes it's:

"We had over 2200 entries from people who solved the puzzle".

So, are they really being precise about how they state the number and does that mean that sometimes the count is submissions and sometimes it's correct answers?

My possibly fuzzy recollection from the post card days was that the number reported was always the number of correct submissions. I even remember noting the change when they seemed to switch to reporting just the number of entries. I assumed that they had stopped checking all the answers.

With regard to the intern, it seems to me that they now have the submissions in machine readable form and, for some types of puzzles, they can probably get the number of correct submissions with a simple text search. There's no need to actually look at any of them.

Other weeks, the answers can vary. This is clearly the case with name puzzle that was answered on 6/20. That week the intern clearly needed to actually look at a number of submissions since Will reported several popular answers on the air. (In fact he even commented on which answers appeared frequently).

Mendo Jim said...

I imagine that after 20 plus years and a thousand shows, the bloom is sort of off the rose for most folks concerned with the puzzle.
Will certainly seems to have lost interest in providing interesting and challenging challenges. For a while it looked like he was paying attention to the various forums that have sprung up around his efforts and apparently gained more interest recently. I don't believe that is the case, however.
I would guess the whole thing has become so routine for the staff that none of the ways the number of submissions are announced really mean anything concrete, too bad for our little "range" competition.
I have to say that I am glad I Googled "doobie!"
I am not familiar with "don't be a don't be, be a do be," and I sort of had hopes that Magdalen had come up with a new prize, albeit one difficult to mail.