Sunday, January 2, 2011

NPR Puzzle 1/2/11 - Easy Puzzle - Or Is It?

Here's this week's puzzle:
Take a plural noun that ends with the letter S. Insert a space somewhere in this word, retaining the order of the letters. The result will be a two-word phrase that has the same meaning as the original word, except in the singular. What word is this?
And we have an answer.  (Interestingly, Henry got a different -- but I would suggest perfectly legal -- answer.)  Not an easy puzzle, though - or do you guys disagree?

Don't leave the answer in the comments - send it it to NPR via this page here!  And if you've solved it and you want to leave some carefully worded comment that will show the rest of us you got it, please be extra careful not to make a hard puzzle disappointingly easy with an obvious hint.

Before I get to the photo section (will there be trees???), I want to comment on Ross's two years of commentary on the New York Times crossword.  Every so often he and I will be watching a TV show or a movie and I'll recognize a character actor that I can name.  Quick example: we were watching the Rocky Horror Picture Show episode of Glee and when Barry Bostwick came out, it was I who recognized him even though Ross has seen the Rocky Horror Picture Show more than once, whereas I never have.

I don't know why but I have a completely useless sector in my brain where actors' names, faces & prior roles get stored.  I'm no savant -- it would be painfully easy to stump me -- but to Ross, my recall seems prodigious.  Well, just two years after starting to solve American crosswords, he's more likely to come up with a correct answer even when the category is something quintessentially American like baseball or college football mascots.  (But I'm used to that -- Henry, my first British husband, is far more knowledgeable about American history than I.  What's that joke?  More Americans can name all six of the Three Stooges than can name all nine justices of the Supreme Court.  Well, okay, so I'm not completely typical as an American then...)

Well done, Ross -- You now know about both Nancy Pelosi and Michael Vick!

Photos:  I don't think I give too much away about this week's puzzle if I tell you that there are no place names involved.  But there's another way to get at some place names.  I just can't tell you want it is -- that would be too much of a hint.  If you've solved the puzzle, see if you can figure out the connection.  I'll explain on Thursday!  But yes, there be trees below...

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.  The winner gets a puzzle book cunningly selected to be relatively inexpensive to mail.

We have a new winner: Jason. (Might this be my cousin-in-law? Can't tell.)   Jason, send us your full name & address in an email to Magdalen >at< and your prize will go out to you forthwith.  (And if you are my cousin-in-law, Jason, there may be a few more holiday presents tucked into the package...)

For everyone else, keep your guesses coming.  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")


henry.blancowhite said...

As I recall, it was "More Americans can name all SEVEN of the Three Stooges than can name all nine justices of the Supreme Court." I believe that's quite a tricky one, because the seventh stooge only appeared as a standin for one or two episodes.

I don't know if this is hard or easy, so I'll take my usual 1,000 to 1,100, please.

Anonymous said...

I think this is a tricky puzzle. There could be more that two right answers. I am guessing 600-700 range.


Mendo Jim said...

The Supreme Court question is easier than the challenge: There are five stooges on the Court.
One answer I have for the challenge has an obvious companion (for two answers).
I'm thinking that this will be one of those with many possible correct answers, the scope of which we will hear or not depending on how much Will is willing to admit ambiguity.
And that, of course, affects my Range range, but 800 to 900 seems about right.
Barry Bostwick, huh? He was one of the Stooges, right? Or the Pep Boys? I Googled him and was rewarded by a face I had never seen before.

Ben said...

I'll take 900-1,000.

- Ben

Dave said...

Wasn't Iggy Pop one of the Stooges?

phredp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
phredp said...

500-600 since most people probably slept through the broadcast with hangovers

DAPF said...

Hey, I see that my favorite range is still up for grabs; 700-800 for me please.

Dave said...

600 to 700 please. I still don't know the answer. Any hints?

Marie said...

I finally got it and could not believe how easy it was. I'll take 1100-1200

Dave said...

Still clueless. Any hints?

David said...

I could never get the answer. I must be an idiot.

I'll go 1300 - 1400.

Dave said...

No, you're not an idiot. This was a tough one and I got the answer with about two hours to spare.

DaveJ said...