Thursday, February 3, 2011

NPR Puzzle 1/39/11 -- I Won't Lie, I'm Uneasy About This Puzzle

Here's this week's puzzle:
Think of a common word that's six letters long and includes a Q. Change the Q to an N, and rearrange the result to form a new word that's a synonym of the first one. What are the words?
Looking at a list of 6-letter words with Q in them, it was immediately apparent that if you change the Q to an N and swap the first two letters, you get UN-something.  The answer, then, is QUEASY + UNEASY.

Okay, so that's not the most exhausting job of anagraming ever, but that's not my real issue.

Here are the Merriam-Webster 11th Collegiate Dictionary (on my computer) definitions for these words:
Queasy:   1a : causing nausea  *queasy motion*  b : suffering from nausea  : NAUSEATED
2 : full of doubt  : HAZARDOUS
3 a : causing uneasiness  b (1) : DELICATE, SQUEAMISH  (2) : ill at ease

Uneasy:  1a : causing physical or mental discomfort  *uneasy news of captures and killings — Marjory S. Douglas*
2 : not easy  : DIFFICULT
3 : marked by lack of ease  : AWKWARD, EMBARRASSED  *gave an uneasy laugh*
4 : APPREHENSIVE, WORRIED  *uneasy about the weather*
5 : RESTLESS, UNQUIET  *an uneasy night*
6 : PRECARIOUS, UNSTABLE  *an uneasy truce*
Yes, a form of "uneasy" appears in the definitions for "queasy."  And I'll admit that I was editing a bit of my novel that I'd written in November and I have my heroine feeling queasy about a rather risky move she was going to take.  Thus, in my own novel, I could have substituted "uneasy" for "queasy" and the meaning would have been perfectly preserved.

So, if all it takes for synonymity (or synonymousness, if you prefer) is for there to be a single use of a word such that the alternate word works just as well, then we're good.

But look at the examples M-W uses for the two words -- sub in the other and you lose the meaning, with the possible exception of "a queasy truce."

And if I wrote "Ross is uneasy," you would have no reason to think his stomach hurts, and if I said "Ross is queasy," you wouldn't assume he's uneasy without a lot more context.

So granted there's some overlap in how the words can be used, but that's like saying HOUSE and HOME are synonymous, and that would be a poor show of our understanding of the language.

Moving on.  For photos, I thought I would see what people tagged as "queasy" and "uneasy" on Flickr.  In case you don't use Flickr, a tag is a word or name that the photographer uses to help people like me search for and find the photos.  Place names are obvious, but adjectives like "queasy" and "uneasy" seem less specific.  I've avoided actual people, partly for privacy reasons, and partly because do any of us really want to look as someone who's been photographed while feeling queasy?  I didn't think so.

QUEASY:




UNEASY:




Time for ...
P I C K   A   R A N G E

Fewer than 50       
50 - 100
100 - 150
150 - 200
200 - 250
250 - 300
300 - 350
350 - 400
400 - 450
450 - 500

500 - 550
550 - 600
600 - 650
650 - 700
700 - 750
750 - 800
800 - 850
850 - 900
900 - 950
950 - 1,000
1,000 - 1,050         
1,050 - 1,100 -- Henry
1,100 - 1,150
1,150 - 1,200
1,200 - 1,250 -- Magdalen
1,250 - 1,300
1,300 - 1,350 -- Grace
1,350 - 1,400
1,400 - 1,450 -- Tom
1,450 - 1,500 -- David

1,500 - 1,550 -- Dave
1,550 - 1,600
1,600 - 1,650 -- Ben
1,650 - 1,700 -- Ross
1,700 - 1,750 -- Jimel
1,750 - 1,800
1,800 - 1,850
1,850 - 1,900
1,900 - 1,950
1,950 - 2,000
2,000 - 2,050
2,050 - 2,100
2,100 - 2,150
2,150 - 2,200
2,200 - 2,250
2,250 - 2,300
2,300 - 2,350
2,350 - 2,400
2,400 - 2,450
2,450 - 2,500

2,500 - 2,750
2,750 - 3,000
3,000 - 3,250
3,250 - 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")

7 comments:

David said...

Think of a common word that's six letters long and includes a Q. Change the Q to an N, and rearrange the result to form a new word that's a synonym of the first one. Change a letter in the new word and rearrange the result to form a new word that describes this week's puzzle. What is the third word?

Magdalen said...

Unsafe? Unsexy? No, I suspect you mean Sneaky.

David said...

Not what I was thinking of. Let's see who else has an answer.

henry.blancowhite said...

Senary seems more accurate than nasute.

David said...

Will would say it's a word everyone has heard of.

Mendo Jim said...

Sunday

David said...

Thanks, Mendo Jim.