Sunday, July 24, 2011

NPR Puzzle - Accept No Substitutes

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
Name the female of a certain animal, add the name of a bird, say these two words out loud one after the other, and phonetically you'll name a country. What country is it?
We got an answer, then we got another one, then we got the right one.  If that sounds like magic, it's not.  It's merely evidence of our marital disagreements about how things sound when they're said aloud.  Trust me, being married to a Brit puts the "fun" into "phonetics."

I learned that -- and forgive me if you've heard this story already -- when I was married to Henry.  Back then, we got the Saturday edition of the Times of London in actual paper copy in order to do the Listener crossword (ironically this was back when Ross was the editor).  There were a lot more puzzles on the puzzle page, so we'd happily do them all.

One day, there was a short riddle:  what three-letter word rhymes with the same three letters read backwards?  In other words, "ATE" would rhyme with "ETA," which clearly it doesn't.  But the Times claimed there was a three-letter word that did rhyme with itself backwards.

You can go away and puzzle over this, but unless you're British the answer is nonsense:  WAR rhymes with RAW.  Yup, you read that correctly.  Only in the UK would that be an officially correct answer.

Anyway, back to the NPR puzzle.  Due to our different accents, the first not-quite-convincing answer satisfied me but not Ross.  Our second not-entirely-satisfactory answer convinced Ross but not me.  The third answer was the charm, and we're happy.

If you're happy with your answer, send it in to NPR using this convenient link right here.

I'm particularly happy because I have THREE countries to plug into Flickr!  In no particular order, and selected quite intentionally to confuse the heck out of you, here are our answers:

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 1700 entries last week, so no winner even though there was quite a variation in ranges selected.  (Marie came closest.)

This week is fraught with intrigue, range-finding-wise:  Will Will accept either of the close-but-no-cigar solutions we thought of?  Will only Brits enter?  Is everyone on summer hols?  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")


David said...

Okay, so that's a female animal, is there a country that (sounds like) it starts that way, yes, does it end with (something that sounds like) a bird, yes, that's the answer.

Last week, you got the right Channel Island chain. We are going to Santa Cruz Island, not Catalina, though.

I'll go with the 1000 to 1050 range again, please.

Natasha said...

Magdalen, I would appreciate it if you would put me down for 1100-1150 range this week. Thanks!

woozy said...

Well, I con't have it but I'm glad to hear you got three because I was beginning to wonder if my joke wrong answer Uganda = (Ewe + Gander) might possibly be the correct answer. But I figure if you got two wrong answers then it can't be.

My other wrong answer is Female Giraffe + Turkey = Turkey ('cause you don't call a female giraffe anything).

Okay, I'll keep working on it. I'm guessing the photo with the rainbow is Uganda? Or maybe the top photo.

The one of the building looks a littel like the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul but it probably isn't, is it?

woozy said...

*giggle* Looking at my atlas, I say that there's a peninsula of Antarctica called Marie Byrd Land. Obviously not the answer, but ... well, phooey... I feel particularly dense right now. It's probably something really obvious, isn't it?

Dave said...

1,400 to 1,450, por favor. You're really close, Woozy.

Anonymous said...

1050-1100, please.

woozy said...

Funny, I thought I has posted and claimed the 1200-1250 slot.

I did figure it out eventually. A bit embarrassed that it took me longer than usual.

woozy said...

>>> WAR rhymes with RAW.

Likewise, "What's an appropriate name for a barmaid?" Beatrix!

"Why do outlaws always try to escape to Canada?" Because that's the only place they have Toronto!

As a kid I used to love puzzles and riddles and I always heard many so-called classics of this sort because the really clever word play wits have traditionally always been Brits and East-coasters. As a native Californian (*we* pronounce our R's... *and* the G in ----ing) it always bugged me somewhat the amount of sliding they'd allow for what seemed like attrociously slurred accents.

(To add insult to injury, these were always the same people who'd criticize my accent claiming I pronounce Paul as though it's a homonym of pall and that I don't aspirate the Hs in what, why, which, and whether. Those two issues are inexcusable in their minds, yet somehow they think it's reasonable to think Beatrix sounds somewhat remotely like "Beer Tricks". *sigh* we Californians don't get no respect.)

Marie said...

I think that this is a highly solvable puzzle, so I will take the 2350-2400 slot. You made my day mentioning that I was the closest guess last time! I am easily pleased, eh?!

skydiveboy said...


Mendo Jim said...

Easy peasy puzzle and no new outrages.
Will even got his cones straight.

I did learn some delightful usages while looking for alternate answers: the Princess Lemur (versus the Dictator!), the Señorita Vicuña, the Chantelle Partridge, the Hembra Llama, and the Empress Chimp (along with hubby Blackback!)

For some reason I can hear LBJ rather than JFK speaking out loud the second, more southern answer.

Did the Friday tapings start with Liane's retirement?

And the little coastal ville in Pic 5 is certainly in the pink.

I don't think I've tried the 950 to 1000 Range before.

David said...

I wish your Uganda answer was correct, but it seems that they would have given the puzzle as "Female animal, male bird".

woozy said...

I considered it a joke answer. Phonetically "er" and "ah" are *not* equivalent, for the Will Shortz-style modern, american-centric puzzles. (And they *shouldn't* be, harrumph... And Shawl *does* rhyme with Paul...)

So, we've had the British riddles where WAR and RAW rhyme, so let's have a riddle from *my* native land, *California*. "Where do deadheads sleep when they're following 'the Grateful Dead' on tour?" "In tents, man! In tents!" .... Hee, hee, cracks me up every time. (Let's see if Ross can even *comprehend* that one!)