Sunday, April 24, 2011

NPR Puzzle 4/24/11 - A Puzzle of Power and Glory

Here's this week's NPR Sunday Puzzle:
Think of a familiar three-word phrase in the form "___ and ___". If you remove the "and" and put the second word in front of the first word, you get a compound word naming a place of power. Hint: The compound word has nine letters. What is the three-word phrase, and what place of power is this?
Yes, we used TEA to solve it.  You won't need to because you are all much smarter than us.

Here's where to send your answer now that you've solved it.

What we did was to ask TEA for all the instances of "______ and _______" in 12 letters.  Then I rattled them off in the correct order for the "place of power" (is anyone else thinking superheroes' lairs and the like?).  So TEA and Sympathy becomes "sympathytea" which is not the answer, nor even the correct length.

Speaking of length, did anyone else notice that Dr. Shortz had to tape that added hint separately?  I bet he woke up in the middle of the night, soaked in flop sweat, thinking, "If I don't tell them the length -- wait, or do I mean mass? -- they'll never get it!"

(Can you tell my little puzzle idea that I mentioned last week did not find favor with our good doctor?  *sigh*  He was very gentle, saying that it was "cute" but not cute enough.  Silver lining: I get to be irreverent with him again.  Good thing -- it was starting to hurt, keeping myself on my best behavior.)

As I was rattling off the faux "compound words" generated by TEA Ross said, "Oh, you can use some of those for the photos."  Really?  So I set him the challenge of picking some for the photo section.  Only -- a mishap of marital miscommunication, I guess -- he actually found the photos.  So this week, it's Ross's slide show!

Take it away, Ross --

Sound Safe
Hum, Rattle!
Grab Smash
Teller Pen
Dirty Down
Chip's Fish

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 of our unspecified choosing.

Just over 1,100?  That's a meh answer; no wonder no one picked it.  And it doesn't exactly tell us how many we'll get this week.  Except . . . if you scroll down to Thursday post, you'll notice that I speculated that we'd have more entries than people were predicting because, while the RACETRACE → RACKET puzzle was harder, it was issued on a day when a lot more people go to church.  My pick was just off the mark, but Sarah86 and I came closest.  Today, even more people are going to church -- and the service is likely to be even longer.  More time to solve the puzzle.  I'm just sayin'.

Here are the ranges:
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
1,100 - 1,150
1,150 - 1,200
1,200 - 1,250
1,250 - 1,300
1,300 - 1,350
1,350 - 1,400
1,400 - 1,450
1,450 - 1,500

1,500 - 1,550
1,550 - 1,600
1,600 - 1,650
1,650 - 1,700
1,700 - 1,750
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")


Tom said...

This weeks challenge seemed unusually simple. I'll take the 1,950 - 2,000 range this week.

Mendo Jim said...

I don't know how soon you resorted to TEA, but this is a classic NPR Sunday Puzzle challenge in that it succumbs fairly shortly (so to speak) and satisfyingly to plain old thought.
I came up with a second answer which is so close I may send it in. Hint: the most important part of a blacksmith's anatomy.
The on air part of things was a little too much like two weeks ago: "reverse two letters in the first name to get the first two of the second."
The other similarity, I am embarrassed to say, is that my lack of currency with show biz meant that I was unfamiliar with the examples themselves, Harold Ramis and Brad Davis. Ditto "Rattle and Hum," though the others are nicely clever.
I am proud of Will for not ignoring the confusion around angstroms and grams.
I think there will be 1714 submissions this week.
And we need to hear the rejected challenge idea in some form.

Anonymous said...

This puzzle reminds me of last week's in that getting off on the wrong track can be stultifying. Last week, it was "ballfield" that kept poking its ugly head into my thoughts, and it wasn't until Tuesday night that I was able to come up with the right answer.

This week, I can't get "high and mighty" out of my head since "mighty high," while not a compound word, does seem to mean a place of power.

Re: the comment on churches. Perhaps attendance would rise if the preachers shared the puzzle. This reminds me of a puzzle. Think of a religious denomination in the plural. Rearrange the letters to spell the name of a famous current entertainer.

I'll take 950-1000 correct answers this week (951-1001 when and if I solve it).


Anonymous said...

OK, that went quickly. I got it, so we'll make my guess formally 951-1001. Along the way to solving it, I came up with another puzzle with a Sunday theme. It's easy, but it would have been fun to hear on-air: Rearrange the letters in the phrase "erotic reruns" to form a word representing something Christians celebrated on Sunday. Easy, yes, but kind of funny.

Phil (again)

Dave said...

I'm stumped. Any hints would be appreciated. Thanks.

Paul said...

Dave, ♪GH™ (antithetical to Phil's observation).

Dave said...

Paul, is that a hint to Will's puzzle or Phil's? I'm stuck on Will's.

~*Kaleena*~ said...

I finally got it after finally understanding what version of place of power Will was going for. I was probably over-thinking it. I will take the 1200-1250 spot.

Paul said...

Since Tom already picked my range, I can't go swimmin' in the pool this week.

I have not solved Phil's first puzzle.
I haven't solved Mendo Jim's, either.
I've solved Phil's second puzzle, and my hint to Will's puzzle was meant to be in contrast with that one (in retrospect, perhaps "antithetical" is a bit much).
There's something of another hint to Will's puzzle in this post.




Anonymous said...

Here are the answers to the two religious puzzles I listed. The first is that "Presbyterians" can be arranged to spell "Britney Spears." I may have misled a few by referring to her as an "entertainer," and, if so, I apologize.

For the second one, "erotic reruns" can be rearranged to spell "resurrection."