Thursday, May 5, 2011

NPR Puzzle May 1, 2011 - Wassamatta U?

Here's this week's NPR Sunday Puzzle:
Take the name of a well-known U.S. university. One of the letters in it is a chemical symbol. Change this to a two-letter chemical symbol to name another well-known U.S. university. What universities are these?
Magdalen here -- yup, the quilt got finished.  Here's a photo of it:

Stunningly, I got that finished in four weeks.  Mind you, it's only about two years late (it's a law school graduation present -- the recipient passed the bar exam in 2009) and she'll hardly need it in the summer, but it's FINISHED.

Thank you all for understanding that sometimes Ross has to step in.

Okay, back to this week's puzzle.  We're still scratching our heads over this one.  Sorry, Dave Taube, or maybe the right thing to say is "Well-played, sir, well-played."

Our first assumption was that, because the puzzle mentioned the "U.S." that this was a signal that one could use abbreviations, so that "UVA" could become "UCLA" (vanadium to chlorine).  But Dave's made it clear that's wrong.

Our next guess is that DUKE becomes DRAKE (uranium to radium).  The only way we even know about Drake University is that it shows up in an ESPN list of the NCAA college teams

Now, if that's not the right answer, then hats off to Dave because he has stumped us.

Ross's picture puzzle was pretty simple:  Auburn (automobile), Brown (bag), Columbia (River), and Duke (Ellington).  Incidentally, the inclusion of Duke should prove to anyone concerned that we really didn't come up with DUKE as one-half of the answer until today.

I gather Duke University has a chapel that's rather reminiscent of either Kings College, Cambridge or Notre Dame in Paris.  Here's a teensy detail, just because I think it's pretty.

And here's a detail of a garden wall in the neighborhood around Drake University.

 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 -- Phil
650 - 700
700 - 750 -- Ross
750 - 800
800 - 850 -- Dave
850 - 900
900 - 950
950 - 1,000 -- Magdalen
1,000 - 1,050 -- David
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 -- Millicent
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...

I think Drake is well known(ish).

Dave, did your Christian clue mean Laettner?

The answer to my alternate challenge (Take a maybe not so well known (but not obscure) university, with a direction abbreviation in its name, remove the direction abbreviation and insert a different direction abbreviation somewhere in that word to get the name of a different university.) is Boise State University and Bowie State University. If you ignore the "State", "College" and "University" parts of the name, Iowa and Iona also work.

If in the original puzzle, you could move the two-letter symbol elsewhere in the word and ignored the "State" etc. parts, you could use Coe (College) and Pace (University). They are less well known than Duke/Drake. Pa is the symbol for Protactinium.

Anonymous said...

I think Duke and Drake are the right answers. They're what I submitted, but I also came up with UCI to UCLA and a host of others using abbreviations. As I received no phone call today, I suppose I'll have to wait until Saturday night to find out.


P.S. That's a truly lovely quilt.

Magdalen said...

Christian Laettner? Really? I mean, sure I've heard of him, but that's...

Well, let's just say that wasn't a hint I would have objected to as too generous.

Thanks, Phil. The photo doesn't do the colors justice. For a better sense of the colors, try here.

saphir said...

The day after getting the answer, I was behind a car with a Drake U sticker (a very uncommon sight in Rochester, NY), which convinced me it was the right answer. The other thing I like about this pair is that if you change the long vowel sound to a short one in the one, you get a word descriptive of the other...

Anonymous said...

An amendment to my May 5 comment: After leaving it, I realized I hadn't read all the comments from before Thursday, so I went there to find that the puzzle creator had indeed verified the Duke/Drake answer. So I guess I didn't have to wait after all.

By the way, I was thinking last night about the guesses for the range and about Dave. If you're still around, Dave, are you hoping for a low number of correct answers (meaning that your puzzle stumped many) or a high number?

I think part of the problem with the puzzles I have submitted to the show is that they are too hard. For example, in March, I submitted "What word am I thinking of?" That may have been a bit too hard. (The answer was "yore.")


Dave said...

Yup, Duke and Drake were my intended answers.

David, nice job in getting the Laettner hint. What do you mean, Magdalen, you've never heard of him? He hit the turnaround jumper to beat Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament in 1992 in what some people call the greatest college basketball game ever played. He was the only college player selected for the 1992 Olympic Dream Team, which some say was the greatest team ever assembled. He is one of only four players to play in four consecutive Final Fours and the only player to start in four Final Four games. Unfortunately, his college career was far better than his pro career. Okay, so you're not a sports nut.

Saphir, do you live in Rochester? I went to U of R.

Phil, I'm hoping for a low number. I think the puzzles I've submitted are challenging, but gettable.