Sunday, October 31, 2010

NPR Puzzle 10/31/10 - Trick or . . . Well, No, Just a Trick

Here's this week's puzzle:
Name a creature in six letters. Move the first three letters to the end and read the result backward to name another creature. Clue: If you break either six-letter word in half, each pair of three letters will themselves spell a word.
We knew the answer to this with no solving needed.  And the reason we knew the answer to this is that on a famous walk in Alaska in 2008, Ross came up with this puzzle.  He sent it in -- admittedly with different wording -- and heard nothing.  Which is okay; we know Dr. Will Shortz gets tons of puzzle ideas that he rejects immediately and forgets.  And we understand that the wording of a puzzle can make all the difference.  Presumably Ross's wording wasn't puzzle-worthy, and the nice fellow who sent this in came up with better wording.

But still. 

So, in honor of this minor annoyance, here are some pictures of where we were in Alaska when we created solved this puzzle. 

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.

They had 824 (nice precise number, NPR-Intern-Whose-Name-I-Should-Know) entries this week. 

We have a tiny issue here.  Jimel, who regularly enters the Pick-A-Range contest, had a little trouble getting his original comment to post, and by the time he noticed, the range of his dreams had been taken.  So on Friday he posted a comment on last Sunday's post and picked 800-900.  On the one hand, we close picks with our Thursday answer post because, in theory, knowing the answer might make it easier to pick the correct range.  But Jimel is a long-time reader, and he's never won anything, and poor Les Foeldessy must be thinking we'd never again give his cool book, Gryptics away -- so we've made the executive decision to believe Jimel and award him the prize.

Jimel, send us your address (to either Ross or Magdalen and we'll have Les send Gryptics to you.  And everyone else -- just get your picks in before the Thursday post goes up.  It's cleaner that way.

This means there's a Brand New Prize for you this week.  Pick a range and see if you can win it.

[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.


Sarah said...

That was an interesting one!! Finally got it, with a little help...Now to decide whether or not to send it in...

Dave said...

Easy puzzle. I'll nab the 1,700 to 1,800 slot.

Mendo Jim said...

Back in April, in helping us toward the answer "Stephen Hawking," Will was nice enough to point out that one kind of bird (hen) was general and the other (hawk) specific.
I wonder why he didn't think the same advice would be helpful this time. Oh, well.
I thought to begin with the really nice photos were your own, but I guess not.
I won Range prizes in the past, but I think I have lost the touch.
Anyhow, since nobody seems to care about the World Series but Californians and Texans, I'll guess 2000 to 2100 will take a shot at this. Go Giants!

Mendo Jim said...

Whoops! That came out more of a spoiler than I intended.
Delete it if you wish, but still give me 2000-2100.

Magdalen said...

Mendo Jim -- We did take photos, but they're only okay and thus not nearly good enough for the blog. Only the best for you, buddy!

David said...

It took about 7 miles into my run this morning (although not all my time is thinking about the puzzle). I just worked my way through 3 letter words that were also backwards words and tried to think of creatures that started with those letters.

I was kinda hoping it was a Halloween theme and one of the creatures was something like "Goblin", but no luck this year.

I'll take 1500-1600.

Henry2054 said...

I think this may prove harder than people think - or maybe I'm only saying that to make myself feel better about taking almost all day with the puzzle. Put me down for 1,000-1,100.

I used the same solving strategy as David. One of the three-letter words is a pretty uncommon. One of the better recent puzzles I thought.

Tom said...

I thought that this was one of Will's better puzzles. I'll take 1,200-1,300 this week please.

Jimel said...

Oh dear! I hate winning by a mistake. Maybe I should wait to win legimately. I'll take 800-900 again this week and see if I can win cleanly.

Jimel said...

PS: I too wanted it to GOBLIN for Halloween -- why has no one ever created an imaginary BOGNIL ("Bognil" is a Lingala language word meaning "calm")

DAPF said...

This one took me a while... I'll take 900-1000 again, since I was SO close with it last week.

In case anyone cares: André and Pierre in DAPF (French dude here)

Marie said...

I can find no rhyme nor reason to the number of responses in relation to difficulty, as I perceive it. So I will just pick with the pack, 1300-1400 for me.

henry.blancowhite said...

1,100 - 1,200 still seems to be vacant, so I'll take that.

I eventually found an answer by wading through lists of creatures in the Chambers Crossword Dictionary, and it's clearly the answer that Mendo Jim was hinting at. How many other answers are there?