Sunday, December 19, 2010

NPR Puzzle 12/19/10 - Cite City State Stats

Here's this week's puzzle:
Name a city in the United States that ends in the letter S. The city is one of the largest cities in its state. Change the S to a different letter and rearrange the result to get the state the city is in. What are the city and state?
Okay, so my first thought when I read "a city . . . that ends in the letter S" was Des Moines. But then I read the bit about the state, and that was a non-starter. The second city out of my mouth (unencumbered by the thought process, truly) was the correct answer, but boy did I have to think about it to see that it was, actually, correct.  (My subconscious must have been trying to undo the reputation I earned last week for being stupid...)

Here's a question -- is that the only legitimate answer? Save up YOUR answers -- after you've sent them in to NPR by using this form -- and come share them in the comments on the Thursday post.

Hey, before I dazzle you with photos of trees in this particular city (ooh, wow), I have a question. How many of you are out there? I know about a dozen people who have submitted their guesses for the Pick A Range game, but are there more of you? Are *you* a lurker?

Here's why I'm asking. There will be changes to the NY Times crossword puzzle portion of this blog, and in the course of implementing those changes, Ross is going to ask me if I want to change or even discontinue the NPR puzzle posts. I'm inclined to keep them going, but if there are only a dozen faithful readers, I gotta say it might be easier just to send each of you a prize and call it a day.

So -- if you enjoy the NPR puzzle posts, leave a comment ("Anonymous" is fine -- there's no prize for sucking up to me) or send me email at Magdalen (at)

Okay, let's look at some totally unhelpful photos:

My feeling is, if you recognize any of these places, you already live in this city.  Living there probably confers its own hint, so I refuse to worry.

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.

Hey, Mendo Jim won!  He'd picked 1900-2000, which turned out to be the right answer -- never mind all his moaning.  (Just kidding -- we love you, Jim.)  We have your address, so a prize book is on its way to you...

[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")


Anonymous said...

I enjoy the posts!

Jimel said...

What a puzzle! My daughter & I looked at each other and said the city in unison. Let's go with 2400-2500. I hope someone does find an alternate answer.

Tom said...

Although I agree with Jimel that this was another easy puzzle, I'm always overly optimistic about the number of listeners who will submit a response. This week I'm going to temper my enthusiasm and predict that 1,700 - 1,800 will be the winning range.

For the record Magdalen, I thoroughly enjoy your blog and the comments of your readers!

Anonymous said...

Love the posts, please, please keep them going!

Dave said...

2,000 - 2,100. Please keep the NPR portion of your blog going, Magdalen.

DaveJ said...

I read this NPR blog at least twice a week - but don't often post. I was lucky enough to guess the correct entries some time ago and don't think it would be fair to re-enter. I proudly show my prize to everyone. I am fascinated to read the comments of others please keep it going !

Mendo Jim said...

Sorry to be late. I thought for a while that the young gentleman had gone a little crazy, but then I realized I changed the wrong letter.
I've never been sure that it was actually a separate city.
As I said last week I made my Range guess by closing my eyes and putting a finger on the screen. And I won!! So here goes again.....2100-2200.
I hope lots of lurkers put in their 2¢ (hee, hee) worth on keeping this part of the blog alive and maybe dropping the crossword.
The regulars could pack the ballot box with anons and imaginative names, but it would be neat to find a legitimate hidden core of silent puzzlers.

Anonymous said...

Rotorhead said:

I love the NPR Puzzle posts, and they are the major reason I visit this site (sorry, Crossword Dude).

Please keep it going, and keep the pictures coming. They've never helped me solve a puzzle, but have occasionally confirmed that I got the right answer.

Anonymous said...

1600 to 1700 is my guess

Magdalen said...

Hi -- Thanks everyone for voting. (And if you're lurking and think the NPR Puzzle posts should go, vote fast! No offense will be taken, honest.)

The last anonymous -- is that Grace? I'll assume that pick is Grace's unless someone else claims ownership. Remember, a cheesy prize is at stake.

David said...

Just got East after 2+ days of train travel (great fun, even with no radio or internet). I needed to find a list of cities to get my answer.

I'll go for 1800 to 1900. I'm not actually in it for the prizes but am for Magdalen's commentary and all the other comments. I actually found the site when I was looking for the answer to an old NYT Sunday crossword puzzle I happened on. I sure hope this keeps going.

henry.blancowhite said...

I will take 1,900 - 2,000 solely because it fills a gap in a long, otherwise continuous run.
I found this one far more difficult than it should have been. My first attempt failed because I was using a list of the N largest cities in the USA, from a year when this one ranked as N + 4. On my second attempt, using a longer list, I must have looked straight through the correct answer (which was right where it should have been - I went back and checked).

DAPF said...

If you are so inclined, please continue the NPR posts. Most weeks, I check your blog and comments more than once. By the way, the 700-800 range remains my favorite.

Natasha said...

I love this site!! Happy Holidays!

David said...

I can't believe we have to wait until 3:00 on the East Coast.