Sunday, June 5, 2011

NPR Puzzle 6/5/11 - Just Goes to Show

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
Take the two-word title of a TV series. The first word contains a famous actor's first name in consecutive letters. The second word is a homophone for this actor's last name. Name the series and the actor.
Ross got it pretty quickly, which is embarrassing because I'm the principal TV watcher in the family.

Now, rather confusingly, I think Jacki Lyden (filling in between Liane Hansen and Audie Cornish) seemed to ask Dr. Shortz if he'd been on "that series" -- referring to the answer?  Or referring to The Simpsons, because today's challenge came from Mike Reiss, former writer for The Simpsons.  Well, if it helps anyone, we can find no evidence that Will Shortz has been on the two-word TV show that is part of the answer.  He has, however, been on The Simpsons.  Now, if it turns out he's been on the answer show as well, I think he owes the listening public that story!

If you got it -- with or without watching TV yourself -- send your answer in to NPR via this site right here.

In fact, TV has been a bit contentious chez Crossword Man recently because we have Henry staying with us.  Henry is not much of a TV watcher, but when your right arm is immobilized from the elbow to the shoulder, what else is there?  So I started to DVR shows I *thought* he might like.  How the Universe Works seemed right up his alley - he's an amateur astronomer - but it manages to put even me asleep.  How the States Got Their Shape sounded interesting to him, but it turns out to be a breezy travelogue with not a lot of actual history.  After that, of course, we're at a loss.  And for whatever reason, Henry isn't forthcoming with suggestions.  So not much TV this week.

What shows are on in your household?

Photos -- well, if you've solved the puzzle you'll know that there are certain obvious shots I could take, and they would all be too much of a hint.

Instead, I've taken a rather circuitous route, which you may try to deduce.  You can click on the photos because, for once, they won't immediately give the game away.

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.

So much for the worry that people would cheat with their extra week.  There were "around 800" entries and that means Ross "wins" because he picked 800-850, which was the lowest entry in our combined Pick-a-Range.  Better luck next week!

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")


Crossword Man said...

We've been using NPR's misspelling of Mike Reiss in our blog posts and Jon Delfin kindly pointed out this error today. I've been through and made the corrections. Thanks Jon!

Mendo Jim said...

Last week:
800 entries? On a fairly easy two week challenge whose answer was posted at least four places halfway through?
One of the more mysterious numbers in a series of inexplicable reports from the program.
This week:
I had two possibilities that I thought I might have heard of: Art Stuart (from "Martha Stewart", a show Will has appeared on) and another.
The second one actually turned out to have a presence on Google, not the first time I have had to go there to confirm a guess at someone "famous." Not a pop culture kind of guy, me.
I think there ought to be some kind of punishment for anyone who intentionally causes Jacki Lyden to giggle.
Everyone encounters series of coincidences that defy explanation. This week I have come across no less than four prominent representaions of balustrades as in the bottom photo.
Guessing the Range number has become sort of like the Lotto: your chance of winning is the same whether you buy a ticket or not.
Does Reiss rhyme with Reese? I wouldn't think so.

woozy said...

According to IMDB there *is* an actor named Sam Street and he once played Truman Capote. However he *isn't* famous and I don't think many would think "street" is a homophone for "street" so the show isn't Sesame Street...

And then it suddenly came to me. But I can't figure out your photos at all! I figured the first two could be B 4 = "before" and the third was "hosta" = host of ... or the state abreviations could spell out UT GAPAMENY???

woozy said...

wrong answers:

Remember that T.V. comedy about the mechanical staff of the nuclear submarine called "Atomic Crews"?

Or that show that competed against "Dancing with the stars" called "Dated Dancin'"?

And who can forget the great actor "Ron Cheff"?

fleablood said...

I have no idea what your photos are supposed to mean. But they sure show our great country in very relaxed and non-busy states. If I had to give the photo collections a name, I'd call them "United Statesian Relaxitudes". They certain are idyllic americana.

Magdalen said...

Woozy -- I love the wrong answers!

Fleablood -- I adore Flickr. You type in something and you get scads of photos to choose from. There's (almost) always something great to select and feature on the blog. I usually go for color and, as you've noted, serenity.

It's especially fun to be able to tell you that you can click on the photos. That means that whatever connection each photo has to the answer TV show is right there. All you have to do is think of the connection.

(I'm ebil.)

Dave said...

700 to 750, por favor. This one took a while to figure out, but I did it in my spare time.

Grace said...

I have been away for a month. My brain is just back in gear. I think 800-850 people will solve this.

Mendo Jim said...

OK, a day has gone by and I am no closer to figuring out what "ebil." means.
Ther are at least two online dictionaries have "ebil" without the "."
One says "Pleasantly or cutely evil."
The other "Extremely or very evil or mean person."

Magdalen said...

Mendo Jim -- It flummoxed me when I first saw it as well. But once you get used to it, it has an oddly useful lexicographic function. Because I'm not (I hope!) actually evil, but sometimes people do stuff that's just, well, evil. In, as you say, a pleasant or cute way. Think of it as "evil but with a winky face emoticon." ;-)

David said...

I solved this one "backwards"- start with an actor whose last name is a homophone and see if that leads to a TV series. I was disappointed that Bud Cort was not the actor.

I'll try 1000 to 1050 again, please.

jan said...

I thought it was an easy puzzle. 2500-2750 for me.