Friday, May 27, 2011

NPR Puzzle 5/22/11 - My Rural/Urban Adventure

Back to the business at hand, here's this week's NPR puzzle:
Think of two five-letter words that are exact opposites, in which the first two letters of each word are the same as the first two letters of the other, only reversed. Hint: The fourth letter of each word is A. What two words are these?
As previously announced, the answers are URBAN and RURAL.

Rarely has Dr. Shortz so accurately predicted my week, if only because BORING and QUIET are the answers to no puzzle I can think of.

Two weeks ago, friend-of-the-blog Henry managed to break his arm just below the shoulder.  Actually, having seen the x-rays, he made (as he would say) a fair old mess of it.  The rural emergency room that saw him first just strapped it up and told him to see his regular doctor on Monday.  This led, in a bit of "I've got good news and bad news" to his trying hard to get to see the ace orthopedic surgeon at the very urban teaching hospital in Philadelphia.  Ten days after the accident (he fell off that classic cartoon accessory, a stepladder), he got scheduled for an operation to have surgical steel shish-kabab skewers uh, toothpicks, no, PINS poked into his upper arm.  (In the x-ray, his shoulder looks like someone's playing pick-up sticks in there.)

Here's where my adventure gets started.  (Yes, Henry's rural/urban adventure is way more exciting but he can get his own damned blog - although maybe he should wait until he can type with both hands.)  I drove down on Wednesday.  Admittedly, I was early -- I got there at 11 a.m., when his surgery started, but I had another errand to run and needed to be early for that.  My druthers would have been to get to the hospital around 2:00 p.m. -- allowing the two hours the surgery was to take plus the hour for recovery.

Hah!  That would still have been way too early.  The surgeon finally showed up at 3:30 (the operation had run long), showed me the pretty pictures, and said Henry would be in recovery for around an hour (he was already alert and chatty but I understood he'd need to be monitored).  Three hours later, they finally got him to a room.  Forty-five minutes after that, he was already tired of entertaining a visitor so I left.

Final score: 7 hours of waiting, 45 minutes assuring myself he was alive.  I'd say that was a good trade off.

Yesterday, I had my usual stuff to do outside Philadelphia (dentist, etc.) so I set off from Henry's house in South Philadelphia in the morning, got all that done, then headed back into the city during rush hour.  I had stupidly assumed they wouldn't kick him loose without making us wait for eternity, but actually it was all quite efficient, which meant it was still rush hour when we started heading out of town.  And there was a bad accident on the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike (a highway I pretty much can't avoid taking to get home), so we opted to have dinner before heading north.

Back to the rural excitement -- lightning, high winds, pouring rain all starting north of Allentown and lasting all the way back to Ross's & my house in the country.  We even got stopped by our volunteer fire company in the middle of the road in our little township -- clearing debris from the storm.

Total time away from home?  Around 38 hours.  How long did it feel like I'd been gone?  A lot longer than that.

Anyway, that's why I didn't even attempt a normal post yesterday.

Here are the photos from Sunday:

Here goes:

This is the Urban Legend that shoes over the power lines denotes a drug dealer's territory.

Rural Route -- in this case, Route 66 in Macoupin County, Illinois - yup, that Route 66!

This *should* be Urban Blight, but it's actually DEAN, as in Rural Dean.  The photo was taken at the Dean Street Skatepark in Bedminster, Bristol, UK  (And yes, that was sneaky of me.)

The photographer titled this "renewal" so I picked it for Urban Renewal

This is a Roman mosaic of a woman athlete in the 4th century.  The notes on the photo explain that this mosaic, and others, are among the finest in the Roman world.  They're found at a villa on an agricultural estate, the heart of the RURAL ECONOMY.  (Yup, I'm bad.)

The caption at Flickr is "pope and me," and supposedly that's Pope John Paul II.  It could be, and I hesitate to suggest it isn't.  I picked it because I like a rural landscape to illustrate POPE URBAN.
So, in the end, Rural (Word A) got 2, 3 & 5; Urban (Word B) got 1, 4 & 6.

Mysteriously, only FOUR people posted comments on Sunday and yesterday's posts.  Using a random number generator seems stupid, but it's what I said I'd do.  It generated "2," which was Mendo Jim (both in order of posting and alphabetically).  So Mendo Jim gets the American Girl puzzle book and another fun puzzle book.  We've got your address, Mendo Jim, so those will go out in a few days.

Similarly, almost no one picked any ranges.  Here's what we've got (Henry gets one in blue because he's officially part of the Crossword Man household for a couple weeks). Edited to add: Dave T. had sent a range in, by email, well within the cut-off. I just forgot.

Time for  ...

P I C K   A   R A N G E

Here are this week's picks:
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 -- Ross
850 - 900 -- Dave
900 - 950
950 - 1,000 -- Magdalen
1,000 - 1,050 -- David
1,050 - 1,100 -- Henry
1,100 - 1,150
1,150 - 1,200
1,200 - 1,250 -- Mendo Jim
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")


Mendo Jim said...

Excuses, excuses.
I knew there would be ringers in the A/Z (or A/B, depending) challenge, but not 4 out of 6.
Now to satisfy the outcry for an explanation of my clue.
Huddie Ledbetter, known as Leadbelly, (and John Lomax, sort of) wrote and sang a song called "Good Night Irene." When I was a kid, it was very popular on the radio and was, in time, covered by many other artists.
Its first line is:
"Sometimes I live in the country
And sometimes I live in the town."
Rural vs urban.
Next is:
"Sometimes I take a great notion
To jump in the river and drown."
Ken Kesey wrote a superb saga about the Stamper family of loggers along a river in Oregon called "Sometimes a Great Notion."
It was made into a quite good movie sometimes retitled "Never Say Die."
Thanks for the good news; I worked hard for my special prize and will attend my mailbox enthusiastically.

Mendo Jim said...

Well, I guess Dr. Shortz doesn't pay as much attention to the blogs dedicated to the Sunday Challenge as we thought.
With the cat thoroughly out of the bag Thursdays at noon, it seems problematic to make the challenge a two week effort late in the game.
Do you suppose everyone gets a second chance to enter?

Natasha said...

Seems like we may need to guess again regarding number of correct answers submitted.

Magdalen said...

Well, I can't see any rational way of unringing the bell, so I'm just going to leave the posts up. If people want to cheat, then they're going to cheat.

Maybe we'll reopen Pick-a-Range and let people reselect now that we know people could cheat, or at the very least have another few days to solve the puzzle.

Paul said...

The link above doesn't go to a "random number generator".

Magdalen said...

Sorry, Paul -- it's supposed to link to Try it now -- I think I fixed it.

I don't know how he managed it, but Ross "broke" Blogger's link system, which works perfectly on my blog, Promantica. So I get to blame him, when this stuff happens!