Sunday, May 22, 2011

NPR Puzzle 5/22/11 - Our 1,000th Post!

Yes, faithful friends (and kindly enemies), this is our 1,000th post here at Crossword Man.  We're throwing a party and to celebrate, here's what we're going to do.  We'll pick someone at random from this week's comments and send that person a prize.  (Mendo Jim, if it's you, I promise you'll get the American Girl puzzle book as part of your prize, simply because I know you covet it while simultaneously doubting its existence.)  You don't have to pick a range to enter the "1,000th Post" giveaway, but multiple comments won't increase your chances of getting picked.

But do pick a range -- we'll give that prize as well, provided someone can pick the correct range.  (Ross thinks "more than 2,000" is oddly high in light of the very low ranges that we've been getting recently.)

Remember, comments on today's post close at 3:00 p.m. Thursday, May 26.  We'll announce the winner in that afternoon's post.

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?
We've worked out the answer -- very nice of Dr. Shortz to give us "A" as a clue -- and I have a cunning idea for my photo array.  All in all, we're happy with this one.

If you are happy with it too, because you've solved it, send that solution in to NPR via this link here.

Before I get to the photos, here's a shout-out to Henry who managed to break his arm last Saturday while cleaning some gutters at a steam train enthusiasts' clubhouse outside Philadelphia.  Henry, we always said you could solve puzzles with one arm behind your back, and I guess having it immobilized in a sling is a sufficient test of that theory.  Heal soon!

Okay, photos -- both words in today's answer appear in some common noun conjunctions.  Not compound words, but two nouns that when strung together convey a specific meaning.  The following photos were found when I entered the other word in the noun conjunctions into Flickr.  So if the answers were BLACK and WHITE, I might have typed in JET and HOUSE.  Got it?  (In two cases, I typed in the entire phrase to get a better selection of photos to choose from -- for example, not four pages of photos of antique airplanes!)

Here's some fun for you -- tell us in the comments which photos (#1, #2, etc.) belong to which of the puzzle answer words, "A" for the word that comes first alphabetically and "Z" for the one that comes later.  So you might think that A gets photos #2,3 & 6, while Z gets photos #1, 4 & 5.

Here goes:

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.

There were over 2,000 entries.  Wow.  No one, including us, guessed that high, not by a big margin.  Clearly none of us thought so many people would fiddle with those Scrabble (or Bananagrams) tiles for so long!  Good on them, but no prize again this week.

And a huge sigh of relief and thank you for the NPR Intern (my new best friend) and/or Will Shortz (however you say that in Mandarin).  You wouldn't think my life could be improved this much by the words "more than" but it has.

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")


David said...

This is a good puzzle for when you are out running. I try to think of pairs that start AB/BA, then AC/CA and so on through ZY/YZ (although I didn't get that far). I also took the initial shortcut assuming one of the two letters was a vowel, figuring I could do the consonant pairs if I needed to.

I'll try 1000 to 1050 again.

Mendo Jim said...

One of my favorite novels is one by Ken Kesey with a title connected to what I have for a solution.
I can't imagine Magdalen did't sneak a ringer in, but I'll say: A - 2, 4, 6. Z - 1, 3, 5. With the range photo an A.
Still stumped by "miyakomachi" and by why it takes me three tries to get the magic word to actually post my comment.
With the highly unlikely total of 2000 entries claimed for last week, guessing the "range" sort of loses it pizzazz; I'll ask for 1200-1250 anyhow.
Looking forward to the AG book.

Mendo Jim said...

Well, ain't this a perverse group!
Mom comes up with a special prize to celebrate and asks for extra posts to help her and Xword Dude party.
So she gets the smallest number I can remember.
David: I'll cut cards with you for the American Girl book.

Natasha said...

Not a crowd here this week.

thepiranha said...

850 to 900 please. I'm still stumped. Help!!!