Sunday, July 17, 2011

NPR Puzzle 7/17/11 - Summer Vacation Puzzle

Here is this week's NPR puzzle:
Think of an adjective that might describe a child before a summer vacation. Change the second letter to the next letter of the alphabet, and you'll name someone you might see in a hospital. Who is it?
Not hard, as befits a puzzle you'll want to solve quickly before you head out to the pool or the beach.

To make it even faster to send the answer in, here's a link to the correct NPR page.

Here's what we're doing for the photo array.  Below are some Flickr photos of summer vacation spots from Ross's and my childhoods.  Leave a comment with a place YOU went to as a child, and I'll do photos of those places on Thursday.  Nostalgia for everyone!

The Laxey Wheel in the Isle of Man
Scarborough Beach, Maine
Cape Cod, near Brewster
St. Just-in-Roseland
Merry-Go-Round, Old Orchard Beach, Maine
Seriously -- share your summer holiday spot and we'll post a Flickr Photo of it on Thursday.

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 1000 entries last week, so David is once again the winner.  Now, he was the last person to win, so a puzzle book did go out to him.  Maybe if it hasn't arrived yet, we can quietly convince him that it's this week's prize.  Anyone know how the Vulcan mind-meld works?

No, of course we wouldn't do that.  We'll just send David another prize.  You, too, could win two prizes.  Enter this week's Pick A Range and see if you can win.

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")


DAPF said...

Does anybody else think this is a very weak puzzle? The two words are not even semantically connected. Now I really wonder what the puzzle master is looking for when selecting puzzles. Whatever the minimum requirements are, I am convinced this one does not meet them.

Magdalen said...

DAPF -- I'm with you on the relative weakness of the puzzle. Basically, it's two words that differ only by two adjacent letters in the alphabet -- and then he built a puzzle around that.

I don't know this for a fact, but I surmise that if Dr. Shortz doesn't provide the provenance for a puzzle, it's his. So I wouldn't call this "selected" as much as "self-generated."

JimmyFeltersnatch said...

Well that was a quick 5 seconds to solve this puzzle...

skydiveboy said...

Yes, it is a weak week.

Natasha said...

I find the NPR music calmed me down as I frantically tried to solve this puzzle. I select the 1,000-1050 range for this puzzle.

skydiveboy said...

1800 - 1850

Mendo Jim said...

When Will designed his one-of-a-kind major course in enigmatology, he might have included some breadth requirements.
A little general science would have helped with his understanding of mass versus weight and some botany might have affected a challenge 8 or 9 years ago and again this week.
He was more than a little snide when he responded to input from that long ago poser with, if I recall: "Well, some people thought it was important to point out that a fir is a kind of conifer, not vice versa."
This week, one can only consider in amazement the statement: "For example, given the clue 'something found on a fir tree,' the answer would be 'pine cone.'"

Reading some input on Blaine's blog and on Ben Bass's page, one has to wonder if the selection process that includes our "Range" guesses is as straightforward as we have assumed.
Apparently "winners" from previous challenges who weren't home can get re-called later, perhaps even for challenges they didn't submit answers to.
Interestingly, contestants may get choices of subject matter for the on-air questions.
And the on-air portion may be more heavily edited than expected (by me anyhow).

If Will or NPR doesn't like these speculations, I suggest they look at them as just trying to solve a puzzle.

Going only by the difficulty of this week's challenge, I think more than 5000 responses are possible.

Laguna Beach

Marie said...

I'm thinking it's easy so putting in for 1750-1800.

skydiveboy said...

Mendo Jim:
You wrote: "Going only by the difficulty of this week's challenge," and I must point out that you are flirting with the Land of Oxymoron here. My cat solved this puzzle a few seconds before I did, and he can't even play the piano.

Anonymous said...

I, too, got this puzzle right away. It was obvious from the start that the hospital person was an epidemiologist. The problem was finding a dictionary that lists "eoidemiologist" in it. Fortunately, that only took a few minutes (and a pen). But my dictionary now has that word in it along with the definition "of or relating to a child before summer vacation. From Eoin Colfer, literally, 'one who studies Artemis Fowl books when given ample free time.'"

I'll take 2300-2350, please.


skydiveboy said...

Even eoidemiologists deserve their 15 minutes of fame.

Dave said...

I'll go for 1,200 to 1,250, please.

Mendo Jim, as a former on-air contestant, I can assure you that I did not have a choice in the subject matter of the questions, nor was the show heavily edited.

Mendo Jim said...

Dave: I certainly don't have first hand knowledge of the occurences I mentioned. That is why I said "may" and cited two places where they are described by recent on-air contestants.

Both of those segments were recorded on Fridays, also something I didn't know.

Magdalen: Add Camp Ta Ta Pochon to my summer spots.

David said...

My spouse got this one before I did, but she doesn't enter.

I will take the 1500 to 1550 slot please.

I did get the book you sent for my prior prize. I am taking it on my vacation to the Channel Islands next month, so I'm sure Magdalen can find a nice picture to post.