Sunday, October 17, 2010

NPR Puzzle 10/17/10 - Opening Credits Score

I would normally say, "Here's this week's puzzle:" and then cut & paste from the NPR website this week's puzzle.  Here's what you'd get if I did that this week:
What are the two longest rhyming words that have no letters in common? For example, "pie" and "guy" rhyme and do not share any letters. The answer words cannot start with an unaccented syllable, such as "today." The source for acceptable words is Merriam-Webster's 11th Collegiate Dictionary.
Uh, no.  That's LAST week's puzzle.

Let's start again.

Here's what I recall Will saying this week's puzzle is:
Take the letters in OPENING CREDITS.  Rearrange them to get two symbols you can type on a typewriter or keyboard.
As usual, if you know the answer, don't put it in the Comments.  Instead, submit it to NPR here.  I'll leave it up to you if you want to leave a phone number so that they can call you if you're the winner.

Speaking of winners -- what did you all think of last week's puzzle (see above) and the answers?  I am shocked (for reals) that Ross and I managed to get one of the right answers.  (If you're new to this blog, you should know we never send in our answer.)  Why didn't Will just say he'd only accept one-syllable answers?

Okay, back to this week's puzzle, which was sent in by Ed Pegg, Jr.  The sheer reference to a typewriter is telling.  Mr. Pegg -- I think your age is showing.  As is mine; I had a typewriter.  In fact, I've owned two.  One was a really adorable portable Smith-Corona from the 1960s -- it had this lovely matte silver cover with a slightly rough finish.  I wrote at least one bad novel on it.  Then I had a portable electric typewriter on which I took three years' worth of law school exams.  I love typewriters.

I love my laptop, too, but there's no romance in a laptop per se.

A British typewriter, clearly (check out the £ sign at shift-5).  My former laptop was a hand-me-down from Ross, and it had a British keyboard.  The " and @ were swapped, and I cannot tell you how happy I was to get my own, American, laptop.  When you're writing fiction, having a reliable " is important.


An Arabic typewriter, an Erika.  Henry says he remembers Scandinavian typewriters, also Erikas, from his childhood.

Flickr tells me that this is Finnish, "before it got standardized."

Here's an Erika with a Cyrillic keyboard.

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 challenge above.  If you want to win, 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.

No one picked 400-500 last week.  Yet again, no one won this week's prize -- Les Foeldessy's cool book, Gryptics -- so he gets another week of free advertising and a copy of his book is still available.  So keep guessing.  What's your guess? 

[As always, troublemakers risk winning the American Girl puzzle book, so play nice.  :-)]

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.

Our tie-break rule: 
In the event that a single round number is announced, AND two separate people picked the ranges leading up to and leading up from that round number, the prize will be awarded to whichever entrant had not already won a prize, or in the event that both entrants had won a prize already or neither had, then to the earlier of the two entries on the famous judicial principle of "First Come First Serve," (or in technical legal jargon, "You Snooze, You Lose")


Roxie said...

I am a little disappointed at the puzzle answers... I didn't even submit my "stupefy" & "alibi" because I thought it was way too short.
Anyway, on to opening credits.

Lorenzo said...

I too was disappointed and baffled by Will's choice of "correct" answer. There are several pairs of longer words (Roxie's, for example) that fulfill all of the stated criteria. My longest was "fricandeau and "blow-by-blow." I have no idea why these were rejected. (I would question the assumption that Will was looking for one-syllable words, since in rejecting "bamboo" he cites the placement of the accent, not the number of syllables.)

Natasha said...

"Rearrange the 14 letters of "OPENING CREDITS" to name two symbols you can type on a typewriter or computer. What symbols are these?" NPR updated the new puzzle.

Tom said...

I had a feeling that last week's challenge would raise a lot of hackles. This week's puzzle is much more black and white. I'll take 2,000-2,100 please.

Mendo Jim said...

I went back and looked at last week's comments.
Somehow Magdalen and Ross figured out that what Shortz wanted was one syllable words.
I still have no idea how his "unaccented syllable" condition has anything whatsoever to do with single syllable words and will simply have to say it seems to just be another example of Will's ever increasing carelessness in making and broadcasting these challenges.
And guess what? Today's challenge asks for a symbol that disappeared from computer keyboards almost as soon as they were invented.
Can't the Puzzlemaster take enough time away from his ping-pong to look at the keyboard on his desk?
Just as a guess, fully 3/4 (another keyboard symbol of the past) of recent NPR Puzzles are flawed in some way. I think about five more chances are all I'm willing to give them.
The Range Guess is sort of superfluous when the number given has so little relationship to the "correct" submissons.
I really hope Will reads the comments here, at Blaine's, Renner, etc. and takes them to heart.

Marie said...

Last week was just pathetic. What was Will thinking? This week he should have limited it to typewriter. I love typewriters too. My first typewriter was stolen my sophomore year in the dorms. I was heartbroken. I guess I'm lucky that it was the most valuable thing that I lost to thievery. This week is easy, I'll take 2500-3000.

Dave said...

I agree with the above comments. Last week's puzzle was totally lame. My first thought was to submit through and spew, but didn't think that the answer would win because it didn't involve enough letters, so I submitted a longer answer. I wonder if Will would have accepted through and spew since he accepted flew and blew.

Simple puzzle this week, so I'll go with 1,900 to 2,000. I think some people were so disappointed with last week's puzzle that they're not going to submit answers this week.

henry.blancowhite said...

Magdalen left out half my comment. The real fun with those Swedish Erikas was that they had a double shift, to provide keys for the accented vowels. The equivalent in computing (probably never seen in the USA) was that on some European keyboards the right-hand ALT key is an ALT-GR, which in some code-pages also invoked accented characters above 0x80. But I don't think I have ever used a keyboard on which one could TYPE both of what I think are the symbols intended.
All the ranges I want are taken, so please may I have my old standby of 1,000 to 1,100, and hope that the reference to a typewriter freaks out the younger contestants.

Jimel said...

Will those who sent in multi-syllable answers last week bother this week? After a little grumbling they probably will and that means there should be a large number of correct answers. I'll go wild and take the 3000-3500 range

David said...

I'll go 2300 to 2400. It seems like we are getting exact counts of something. I can never figure out if it is correct answers or submitted answers. Any way, I got the "right answer" last week (through and flew was my submitted answer).