Thursday, June 30, 2011

NPR Puzzle 6/19/11 - To Capp It All

This is Crossword Man again ... sitting in for Magdalen, who should be able to resume normal duties this Sunday. Here's last Sunday's NPR puzzle:
Take the word "ballerina," drop one letter and rearrange the remaining eight letters to name a well-known fictional character. Who is it?
This little poser gave me a lot of trouble: I focused on looking for forenames from the letters and then making surnames with the residue; I also considered that the answer might be a mononym, since the puzzle didn't reveal where the word breaks fell. I even looked beyond fiction qua literature and was on the money there.

But I didn't consider that the answer might be a diminutive plus a forename; I may even have come up with the right forename and not seen its relevance. Eventually I resorted to TEA and appreciated the beauty of the challenge, the answer being Li'l Abner.

The Al Capp strip hasn't run since 1977 and yet references to it are still considered fair game in crosswords and now an NPR puzzle. This has caused me a bit of grief in the past: although I'd (somehow) heard of Li'l Abner before arriving in the USA, I definitely imagined the character as a small girl (perhaps influenced by Little Mo from The Beezer), not an ironically-named 19-year-old male. I wasn't aware of the biblical associations of the name Abner.

So in the interests of my own education and perhaps the basis of another crucial post, let's look at how the Li'l Abner strip has become engrained in American popular culture:

Sadie Hawkins Day originated with the Li'l Abner strip

The postwar mania for the -nik suffix (as in neatnik) started with Li'l Abner

Li'l Abner gave us skunk works

... double whammy ...
... and Shmoos (not forgetting schmooze, which Capp also popularized)


I'm sure that's just the start, but it's now time for ...


P I C K   A   R A N G E

Here are this week's picks:
Fewer than 50 -- Mendo Jim
50 - 100
100 - 150
150 - 200
200 - 250
250 - 300
300 - 350 -- Ross
350 - 400
400 - 450
450 - 500
 
500 - 550 -- David
550 - 600
600 - 650
650 - 700
700 - 750
750 - 800 -- Magdalen
800 - 850
850 - 900
900 - 950 -- skydiveboy
950 - 1,000
1,000 - 1,050 -- Dave
1,050 - 1,100
1,100 - 1,150
1,150 - 1,200
1,200 - 1,250
1,250 - 1,300
1,300 - 1,350 -- Natasha
1,350 - 1,400
1,400 - 1,450 -- Grace
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 -- Marie
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")

3 comments:

Mendo Jim said...

Unless Will intends a different answer (or ballerinas hide apostrophes in their tutus), he is back to his careless ways.
Will he mention it?

How about: "Drop a letter from the term "Erin's ball" and rearrange the remaining eight letters....."
THAT would have lead legitimately to "Li'l Abner."

I grew up reading that comic strip and the others Al Capp wrote.
As Ross points out, he created many long lived characters and ideas. Who could forget Joe Btfsplk and Earthquake McGoon?

I heard him lecture when I was in college.
He was an incredibly gifted cartoonist and social commentator; a funny, but not a very nice, man.

Magdalen said...

Thanks (again) sweetheart for filling in for me! It will be so nice to hear the puzzle on WVIA, with you there to solve the on-air challenges faster than I can.

(I miss you.)

Dave said...

If it's not too late, please put me in for 1,000 to 1,050. Thanks.