Sunday, June 26, 2011

NPR Puzzle 6/26/11 - The Wordcracker

Hi. This is Crossword Man sitting in for Magdalen, who is living the high life (literally) in Manhattan for a week at this year's Annual Conference of the Romance Writers of America.

So today and Thursday it's up to me to solve and report on the NPR Sunday Puzzle:
Take the word "ballerina," drop one letter and rearrange the remaining eight letters to name a well-known fictional character. Who is it?
I tried hard to crack this one the old-fashioned way - with tiles from the Bananagrams bag - but after a couple of hours had to give up and cheat using TEA. Having done that, I have to say I really like this challenge: I think it's a difficult one; and yet "well-known" is a fair statement.

More I cannot say. Please don't reveal the answer in the comments; send it in to NPR via this link right here.

The photos this week are inspired by some of my near misses when trying to solve the puzzle. In fact, the non-answers represented here are made from all the letters of "ballerina". Drag a mouse between the square brackets under each picture to reveal them:

[Bill Arena]

[Rain Label]

[Learn Bali]

[All Ribena]

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 1500 entries last week, which nobody picked, by my reckoning. It's good to see the entries back up to the healthy levels of yesteryear ... maybe that won't be repeated this week? What do you think?

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")


Mendo Jim said...

I don't have a Bananagrams® bag, so I went to my Scrabble™ box.

I think I have the character Will wants.
Googling him/her, I was amazed at how many of the cast I remember.

I really don't think the challenge is solvable as offered, but that's our Will.

Did he really say that his misspelling of "siege" last week was the first such mistake he has ever made on the show? Wowser!

Since I don't think there is a correct answer, I'll take the Fewer than 50 Range.

Now back to the excerpts from "Blackjack and Moonlight."

Natasha said...

I select the 1300-1350 range this week.

skydiveboy said...

Mendo Jim:
Hay, I think you need to head on back to your Scrabble board, dude, cuz I don't think ya all have the answer yet, but don't concede.
Here's a hint for ya all:
Little dogs race.

Magdalen said...

Thanks for pinch-hitting, sweetheart.

My critique partner, a lovely Irishwoman named Sarah who lives in Switzerland, wanted to see Ellis Island. I'd never been -- very poignant, even though none of my relatives came through Ellis Island.

Hey, Mendo Jim, thanks for the plug for Blackjack & Moonlight. I'm hoping to make progress in getting an agent while I'm here!

woozy said...

Well, it's not Lina Bear or Brian Ale or Erin Ball or Alan Blie or Rabi Nell.

I don't have it yet.

Mendo Bill: >>>I was amazed at how many of the cast I remember

Um, perhaps you shouldn't have said this...

Mendo Jim said...

Figuring out the challenge is sometimes easier than figuring out the comments.

Marie said...

I got this'n! Gimme 1950-2000.

Grace said...

I pick the range 1400-1450.

Mendo Jim said...

I am admonished by skydiveboy to "don't concede" and by woozy that I made an inappropriate post.
Explanations would be welcome.

I am surprised that no one seems to think that this challenge is flawed.

If it is the same NPR Sunday worker that figures out the number of responses and prepares the transcript, it explains a lot. This week's includes "Helmut Cole" among other surprises.

David said...

I haven’t been able to get this one yet, so I will go low with my guess, 500 to 550 please.

I know it’s not:

Bar Alien (from Star Wars)

(Lady Betty) Aberlin (from Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, not fictional and not enough letters)

A Liberal (fictional only in government)

skydiveboy said...

My guess is 900

skydiveboy said...

My clues:

"Hey, I think you need to head on back to your Scrabble board, dude, cuz I don't think ya all have the answer yet, but don't concede."
Take the first and last syllables of this sentence to get "hayseed."

"Here's a hint for ya all:
Little dogs race."

Anagram this to get, "God's Little Acre."