Sunday, August 14, 2011

NPR Puzzle 8/14/11 - That Doggone Will Shortz!

Here's this week's puzzle:
Name a breed of dog that starts and ends with the same letter of the alphabet. Drop that letter at both ends, and if you have the right dog, the remaining letters phonetically will name some animals. What's the dog and what are the animals?
Oh, dear, I predict this will not be a happy week.  Somehow, Will's phonetic puzzles haven't been generating satisfied customers.  This week I'm among the dissatisfied, for reasons I'll discuss on Thursday.

If you've  solved the puzzle and like it, or solved it and hate it, send your answer in to NPR here.

Photos.  I can't just find photos of the dog in question (way too obvious) but interestingly, the dog's Wiki page has lots of places listed.  Behold some dog-free photos of six places in the U.S. with a connection to this breed of dog:

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.
Precisely 101 entries last week, so no winner.  This week should be better.  Enter this week's Pick A Range and see what you might 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...

I agree that this puzzle will make for some unhappy commenters. I thought of the breed and initially didn't think the remaining letters led to "some animals". I had to come back later to figure out how the breed/animal combo worked.

Only 101 last week- an exact count! Do we have an over-achieving intern? I'll go with my standard 1000 to 1050, please.

woozy said...

David-- Are you sure you don't have a "Ugander" situation such as I had a few weeks ago?

I'm assuming German Sheepdog => Ermine + Sheep + Doe is a wrong answer.

I'm having a hard enough time coming up with dog breeds beginning and ending with the same letter. Have only come up with Rottweiler (Otter??? Weasel???) and Retriever (Et-rev... oh, fergeddit.) and the bogus German Sheepdog...

Anonymous said...

I have an answer, but it won't do. Even with my accent, I literally have to hold my nose to make the "phonetically" work.

My usual 1050-1100, please.

Henry BW

David said...

Isn't "Kosher Frank" a breed of dog? I'm pretty sure "Oshurphran" names some animals.

skydiveboy said...

Another stinker of a puzzle!

101 entries, but how many were correctly answered?
Not many, I suspect. I sent in an incorrect answer, and so did others I know of.
I bet less than 50 were correct, but the puzzle was misstated in the first place and gave me indigestion.

woozy said...

Oh, I know what you think the answer is! You think the animals are... er ... domestic farm animals, right?

Maybe that *is* the answer but I think that might be another "Ugander". I don't think the schwah of one and the short e of the other are phonetically equivalent and I'd like to think Will Shortz would agree. But like "Ugander" I'm not coming up with anything better right now.

Another wrong answer: Akita.

*BAD* joke: Who was the leader of the Mongol Hordes of chickens that terrorized medeavel Europe?
Attila the Hen.

Nope, nope. Ugander was the wrong answer. This probably is too. But then again... Oh, give me the 800 to 850 slot.

woozy said...

skydiveboy, what was your incorrect answer?

skydiveboy said...

on left & left on
I also came up with:
on pass (common military phrase) & pass on

The above is a cut 'n' paste of the answers I submitted. I realized shortly after that they would not work. This puzzle made me late at tea.

Mendo Jim said...

Pretty easy (if I have the right answer, of course). It was the first dog I thought of (and rejected immediately).
Also pretty iffy, for the reason Magdalen points out.
Will can't help the way he hears things, but he should also know by now others do so differently. Wikipedia gives at least three pronunciations of the dog; where does that leave "some animals?"

John announced the 101 entries like he knew what he was talking about, a doubtful assumption.

It is obvious there will be 1367 submissions this week.

Very nice photographs this week. Our world is truly one of beautiful places. I fear for it.

woozy said...

What bothers me most about these phonetic puzzles is not so much the differences in hearing and stating but the ambiguity about what it means to have a meaningless string of letters read "phonetically". If, for example, the answer where "Kosher Frank" what does it mean to refer to "osher fran" (or "osherfran") "phoenetically"? I pronoune "Kosher" with a long O, but if I saw the word "osher" I'd assume it'd have a short O.

If the answer is what I think it is, this is even more at issue in that the internal letters would be very unlike anything an english speaker would ever pronounced. As spelled by themselves they would not at all resemble the animals they are supposed to. As pronounced as the dog breed but with the first and last letter left off... well, I had to listen to myself three or four times to notice I get a *little* "lazy" with the vowell in the second syllable but I'd have to be a lot lazier in my vowells to get the animal to sound like that. Also I'd have drop my aspirations entirely.

Do you remember, Sweet Mary of F**-***
She crossed the praries, with wagon-driving ****
She had a pet chicken, and Sammy, her *********
Her breakfast always had a schmear with *** **
She treated her earaches with eardrops of ******

I dunno. Maybe I *do* like this puzzle after all.

skydiveboy said...

I submitted what I'm sure is the desired answer, but I am disgusted with this crap puzzle and I think there will be very few correct answers, but many more entries submitted, and we will never know, because they do not separate the two. 300 is my hesitant guess.

Anonymous said...

woozy, will you dance with me?

woozy said...

I dunno. I usually only dance with the devil in the blue moon-light. I could probably manage a box step or a square dance though.

***** *** geese and chicks better hurry
when this woozy gets in a fury
his eyes flash fire and his butt gets surly...

(My butt is my *** ***.)

You know, if the answer *is* what I think we all think it is, maybe "some animals" isn't two or more different types animals but one type of animal in the plural. Then this puzzle wouldn't be so fowl and I literally wouldn't have to hold my breath to make the puzzle work. (But I'd still need talk through my nose.)

skydiveboy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
skydiveboy said...

This puzzle is a Laurel and Hardy moment if you know what I mean.

woozy said...

>>>>This puzzle is a Laurel and Hardy moment if you know what I mean.

What is it if I don't know what you mean?

woozy said...

Actually, it seems like a Cock and Bull story to me except one of the genders is wrong.

skydiveboy said...

Perhaps not in our changing society and mores. But then that would be a real bitch.

woozy said...

>>Perhaps not in our changing society and mores. But then that would be a real bitch.

That would be if it were the dog's gender I was refering to. (And if were the bull's that'd be an udderly different story.)

The truth is, I didn't (and still don't) actually get you "Laurel and Hardy" reference. But I maybe you didn't get my "Cock and Bull story" reference either. But I won't hen-pecker you about that if you don't badger and hound me.

Anonymous said...

Musta missed woozy's Sweet Mary ref.
Expected to dance if I'd not make too free.

skydiveboy said...

I in fact did get your drift. I was making humorous comments to indicate that you have the wrong answer and it may be a bitch for you when you finally discover this.

Anonymous said...

After last week's abomination, which I never got (even though I immediately came up with the eat/ate thing), largely because I distinguish between prepositions and verbs.

So imagine my satisfaction when I solved this week's puzzle almost instantly--only to come here to have someone say my answer was wrong. Somewhere above here, someone specifically identified my answer as incorrect. Yet I am convinced it works, and there are no problems with phonetic pronunciations. I guess we'll have to resolve this with specifics after Thursday.


skydiveboy said...

Sorry if you are taking my post too seriously. It was meant for Woozy who does not always express himself coherently in many of these posts, so I may not have even understood his intended meanings in his clues. I wish he would show us the common courtesy of taking a moment to review his comments prior to posting.

BTW your first sentence seems to be incomplete to me. "After last week's abomination," What?

Again, sorry if I seem a bit pedantic, but when I take my time to read someone's posts, I expect that they will make sense, or I would not want to waste my time. I am sure I am not 100% clear in my own postings, but at least I do proof read them.

woozy said...

Actually, I'd be happy to find out that my submitted answers are wrong. I'm certain Akita is wrong because "kit" is singular. I'm fairly certain that German Sheepdog is wrong because, well, there's no such thing as a German Sheepdog. If German Sheepdog were correct, then I'd have a mild complaint that Ermine isn't actually pronounced "erman". I think ********* is probably the "correct" answer. I initially took the "named animals" to be ** and *** and I had quite a problem with *** as this replaces a schwah with a short e and very severely drops an aspiration. Then it occurred to me, rather than being the animals ** and *** it could be the plural term for an animal ****. This solves the aspiration drop and lessens the schwa/short-e issue. I reprounced ********* six or seven times and figured it wasn't such a problem after all. If there's yet a fourth answer with better phonetics I'd hardly consider it a "bitch"

Also, being a foreign word ********* has a constanant that english speakers don't acknowlege. Although -*******- and **** *are* phonetically pronounced the same, I (and I assume most others) have a distinct softening of the throat when says -*******- and a hardening when saying saying **** that makes them not *seem* phonetically the same.

As for proof-reading... If I could catch my errors proof-reading, I wouldn't have made the errors typing in the first place. My poor typing may be because I might be slightly dyslexic. Or maybe because I'm more tactile-perceptive than aurol-perceptive. When I do something truly bizzarre such as type "it" when I meant to type "I", it's not because I don't know the difference or because my finger slipped. It's because in my haste they "feel" similar (what with being pronouns beginning with I and all...). In proof-reading I won't catch the error because I'm "too close" to the context. I'm better at proofreading others because I don't know their intent before reading but even still, I will usually not catch "I'll try to remain clam" not because I actually don't know how to spell calm but because her meaning is so obvious that it doesn't even occur that she could possibly have meant shellfish.

woozy said...

Any how I still don't get the Laurel and Hardy reference. I thought you'd probably get my Cock and Bull reference but how often does one get a chance to use "hen-pecker" in a sentence?

Hmmm, there's a Laurel and Hardy scene where Stan is trying to trick some brandy out of a St. Bernard's cask. As, in actuality, they almost as frequently use Bernese Mountain dogs ans St. Bernards, and as some folk calle Bernese Mountain Dogs, Ste. Berneses and if you misspell Ste. Bernese as Ste. Bernais they start and end with "s". This could be a fourth answer with "ant", "bear", and, um, er, "knee"??? "Neice"??? "Ngeee (which is what we call mosquitos in these parts..."??? ... But I assume that isn't what you had in mind.

Ya know. I'd really like a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. That's a *good* looking dog!

skydiveboy said...

It now sounds to me like you do in fact have the answer Will wants and this somewhat takes the intended humor out of my prior post. I was assuming you were sticking to the poultry thing, which does work, but is not what I am sure Will is looking for.
The above post is very readable, I'll have you know. :)

skydiveboy said...

You are making the L&H clue too complicated. Think of Iran Contra.

skydiveboy said...

Or perhaps a Charles Dickens musical.

woozy said...

Argh. Lost my post.

Iran Contra was yesterday's news. As are **********s. Today were more interested in those wolfhounds with the long hair. And why like the thin guy rather than the fat guy. Afghan-Stan is the news of the day. *rimshot*

Oliver? I don't get it. Is there a dog named Oliver?

I was never wedded to the poultry thing. I came up with it retroactively by figuring since retriever and rottweiler don't work (and there's no such dog as a German Sheepdog) I'm almost left with ********* as the last chance but what are the animals? Well -****----- *could* be ** if one hardens the constanant. That leaves -----****- which sounds like a grunt rather then any word? *grunt* Could they mean ***? I have issues with it but it's a lot closer than Ewe-gander so maybe... don't have much else.
Then half an hour later "animals" could mean the plural of one type of animal and **** would have fewer issues than ** and ***. But I still have issues.

I only returned to the ** and *** (or "the poultry thing") because the coincidence of ** and *** to "Cock and Bull" was just too perfect to resist. However there was a gender issue. But that just gave me an excuse to make an "udderly" and "hen-pecker" (and for you to make a "bitch") joke.

Anyway. Oliver? When I hear Oliver I think of the kid in "Wee Pals" with the glasses. When I hear ********* I think of the Doggy Diner icons that were prevalent in San Francisco when I was a child but which no-body outside of SF and/or under 40 have ever heard of. (But those of us from SF and over 40 simply *adore*)

woozy said...

So is the your L&H reference:

A) There's a famous dog named Oliver
B) Stan and Oliver are a pair just like two yoked ****
C) I'm going to do a Oliver like "slow burn" when I realize I have the wrong answer.
D) Oliver above.


skydiveboy said...

Nun (sic) of the above.
You are missing the long and the short of it.

Seth said...

I really don't see what's so bad about this puzzle. I always thought the dog in question was pronounced one particular way, and any other way was wrong. When you take away the first and last letters, you don't have to change the pronunciation at all; the animals appear.

skydiveboy said...

Seth Speaks! There you have it folks. NOT!

woozy said...

Seth. I think there's a negative psychological reaction to "phonetic" puzzles in general. People are sensitive to subtle variations ("How can you claim 'which' and 'witch' are synonyms! 'which' has an 'h' and a softer 'ch', you illiterate cretin!"). We associate chewing over pronounciation to be an indication of stupidity. (Yesterday, I saw someone criticize the tea party as being suspicious of education. The post satirically mocked them by spelling it ed-joo-kashun despite the fact that education is pronounced *exactly* that way.)

It all comes down to that in language meaning comes first and the physical act of making the sounds last. This is why phonetic reforms of English will never actually take. We know the "sh" sound in fusion and in notion sound the same but deep down we *know* they are somehow different.

Yes, the animals *do* follow but I didn't "hear" them at all. I had to write a poem rhyming the dog with "floxin" before I realized "Waddya know, I *do* pronounce it that way"

So, actually after (too) much thought. I'm with you and think its an okay puzzle. After all, it *is* only a puzzle after all.

>>>>Seth Speaks! There you have it folks. NOT!

Geez, skydiveboy! Call kettle black much?

Anonymous said...


First, you're quite right about my fragment to begin my last post. I must have been interrupted mid-sentence. So I'll finish it: After last week's abomination, I was delighted to solve this one quickly. I came up with an answer that clearly fits the clues. It's now twice been dismissed here as incorrect, though.

I wasn't referring to your comments, though, when I noted that my answer has been posted. I'm afraid that until Thursday, I do have to be cryptic.


Anonymous said...

An amendment: I know the "correct" answer, and that's not my answer. Mine uses a collective noun that specifically refers to a group of animals.


woozy said...

Phil says:

>>>I wasn't referring to [skydiveboy's] comments

Skydiveboy was the only person who referred to anyone's answers [mine] as "wrong". And he was correct. My answer was "wrong". But as he wasn't referring to skydiveboy, he must have been refering to my comments as I'm the only one who implied any other answer. But I never called any answer "wrong". More on that later.

and Phil says:

>>I know the "correct" answer, and that's not my answer. Mine uses a collective noun that specifically refers to a group of animals.

But I think yours that uses a collective noun *is* the "correct" answer. Unless you have a completely different answer.

To clarify: I think we all agree on what the dog in question is, right? That funny looking thing bred to hunt badgers, right?

And I think we all agree on the named animals, right? Those masculine animals yoked together to pull farm implements, right? The word whose plural is rare in english for not adding and "s" but rahter reflects the words germanic origins? right?

So why the confusion? I figure it must be because my first answer had the dog, but a different set of animals. The plural had not occured to me. Instead I had to force my ear and came up with two different animals. The singular of your animals, and a farm poultry. The plural answer didn't occur to me until later.

Even when I submitted the "poultry" answer I never claimed it was the "correct" answer and that all others were therefore "wrong". First of all, I wasn't at all convinced of my answer and I disliked it because it didn't phonetically work right but I couldn't come up with another so it was might be the correct one but I wasn't sure. Secondly, I wasn't aware that anyone *had* any other answer. At that point this was the only answer I had come up with so there was other answer for me to call "wrong". And thirdly, even if there was another answer and I thought mine was probably right and the other was probably wrong, I'd never say that with conviction (unlike skydiveboy). I don't know what Will Shortz has in mind. Maybe he *does* have "the poultry thing" in mind. At best I'd argue that I think my answer is *better* and argue why but I wouldn't call another's "wrong". I'm arrogant but I'm not *that* arrogant.

But maybe you have another answer altogether. (Is there a dog called "Ebugse"? "Skittenss"? "Tsheept"? I kinda like my "Akita" answer if only "kit" were plural.)

So are we all on the same page now?

Well, I still don't get sdb's L&H reference. It either has something to do with the physical extremities ("long and short") of said dog and said duo. Or it has something to do with the name "Oliver". Probably the former.

Mendo Jim said...

Not sure about the short part, but this exchange sure looks like a record long of it!

Barely germane is that the dumbest and smartest dogs I've ever met were this breed.

woozy said...

>>this exchange sure looks like a record long of it!

Well, that's 'cause skydiveboy and I are like two negatively charged ions. Or more like two negatively charged math nerds with poor social skills who are both used to being the smartest one in whatever group we congregate in so we don't behave well when we meet others like us.

>>the dumbest and smartest dogs I've ever met were this breed

Ain't that the truth! Of course, I have the distinction of having owned the world's only stupid border collie. Man, was she dumb! And man, were all the other border collies smart!

skydiveboy said...

When I began skydiving (exactly 30 years ago today!) the drop zone's chief pilot, Jimmy Lowe, had one of these dogs and he sometimes went up in the plane with experienced jumpers. He would look out the door after it was opened on a jump run, but he had absolutely no intention of jumping, especially since he was not wearing a 'chute, in violation of FAA regulations. I cannot honor him by mentioning his name, as it would give away too much.

To Anon: I think you DO have the intended answer.

skydiveboy said...

My dog can lick your dog!

woozy said...

>>>To Anon: I think you DO have the intended answer.

I think he does too. Unless his answer is "Akita" also which I guess I *did* call a wrong answer four times now. But that's because I feel it's okay to call an answer wrong if it's *my* wrong answer. "kit" can be a set of things so I suppose there is probably *some* group of animals called "a kit of something" in which case someone (other than me) *could* argue its acceptable.

I do like alternative "wrong" answers and I think Akita and German Sheepdog are two clever "wrong" answers but, no, I don't think either really are acceptable.

skydiveboy said...

Well I can make German Shepherd work, and I also discovered Akita (I thought it was the name of a cell phone company), and I even found one with a mouse, but as you should all know there is no such thing as a mouse. Mouse is simply a euphemism for rat. Disney got away with that one, didn't he? Mickey Rat? I don't think so. Lemmings are laughing. Laugh, lemmings, laugh. Now Spot is laughing.
I do not think I am going out on a limb by stating here that once one discovers the answer, it becomes a certainty. Or at least it should be one. It is obviously what Will wants.

And my dog can still lick your dog. You have no idea where that tongue has been. NO, please don't ask.

Dave said...

For those of you unclear on the subject, when the announcement is made on the air that there were x number of responses, that's the number of correct responses to the previous week's puzzle. When I was the on air contestant, there was a break in recording because Will had to ask the guy who was cutting the grass right outside Will's window to take a break for a few minutes. During that time, I asked Liane how they choose the following week's contestant. She told me that all of the correct answers are counted up, then one of those people is chosen to be the contestant. If I were running the contest, I would have someone choose a random number, and if the submission with that number was correct, then that person would be the contestant. If not, then I'd choose a different random number, and so on.

I'm going for 700 to 750. It's the dog days of summer, after all.

I feel honored to be among the 101 people who submitted the correct answer last week.

skydiveboy said...

What random numbers are you referring to? Who is picking the random number? Please explain in more detail.

woozy said...

>>I do not think I am going out on a limb by stating here that once one discovers the answer, it becomes a certainty. Or at least it should be one. It is obviously what Will wants.

Yes. But sometime one doesn't get to the right answer and convinces oneself one's wrong answer is correct. Or sometimes Will has a bad puzzle and you get the right answer but aren't really convinced its good enough. Now usually, no wrong answer seems convincing (I didn't like Ugander and I didn't really like "the poultry thing") and the right answer does (although in this case I *accept* "the plural thing" but it doesn't have the certainty that a correct answer usually does; I'm only convinced that it must be because I've gone through the list of breeds recognized by the American Kennel club and found nothing better). But sometimes we are just wrong.

skydiveboy said...

I am ONLY referring to THIS puzzle. I think it is a badly stated puzzle and has other serious problems to be discussed tomorrow. All that being said, when one does reach the expected answer all others fall away due primarily to our knowing how Will thinks to some degree.

Anonymous said...

Woozy, your comment that "I kinda like my "Akita" answer if only 'kit' were plural" is interesting. Yes, "kit" is singular, but so are collective nouns in general, at least on this side of the pond. (Tip of the hat to the Crossword Man here.) For example, "flock" is singular, as are "pod," "pack," and "herd."

So I think that if "kit" can refer to a group of animals, it must be right. Have you looked up "kit" online? A dictionary might not help, but Wikipedia should. Just a suggestion.


DaveJ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DaveJ said...

Here's a test - show the remaining letters to someone who has not heard the puzzle. Ask them to pronounce the word "phonetically" - bet they don't get the answer.

FYI, I tried three text to speech converters and they all pronounced a very common noun/adjective that can describe a verb. Just sayin....

Natasha said...

I choose the 1,000-1,050 range this week. I think I solved the puzzle.

skydiveboy said...

Did you bid them farewell after you gave them their test?

Tobias Duncan said...

Damn it you guys are giving too much away.Wait till after 3pm Thursday to argue in such detail.

woozy said...

>>So I think that if "kit" can refer to a group of animals, it must be right. Have you looked up "kit" online? A dictionary might not help, but Wikipedia should. Just a suggestion.

I looked up in Merriam Webster wondering if I'd get "kit" as a group of animals but only found it as a plural when refering to a general set of tools. I didn't try wikipedia.

*looks in wikipedia* Well, waddya know!!!

When I dismissed "akita" it was because I assumed with a singular "kit" it couldn't possibly be right. I wasn't trying to state with any authority that I *knew* it was wrong and anyone who thought it was right is "wrong wrong wrong". Had I thought it was even a remote possibility, which appearantly it was after all, I wouldn't have spelled it out.

I appologize if you thought I was belittling a legitimate answer. But I'm flattered someone else thinks the way I do.

>>Damn it you guys are giving too much away.Wait till after 3pm Thursday to argue in such detail.

Yes, you are right and I apologize.

It kind of sneaks up on you. First you just want to discuss it with others so you leave oblique hints you think will be clear to those who have already solved it but not giveng enough away to ruing it for those who have not. Then people answer and you figure everyone on earth has solved it. Then you get into an argument about specifics. Then you figure, well even if you give away the answer there can't be that many unscrupulous readers to skew the actual contest, and every knows the answer by now and...

Well. I'm sorry. You're right I should have waited. It's just that I'm rather prone to debate and discussion by nature.

It's 3pm NOW!!!

skydiveboy said...

I made several hints leading to the name Oliver. Ollie is short for Oliver and kids play some game where they chant, "Ollie, Ollie, oxen free."

skydiveboy said...

I am not sure if I would have solved this puzzle were it not for a clue or two as I lived in Germany for several years and this word is not pronounced anything like that over there. In fact, I used to hear Germans inform those who mispronounced it that it was spelled dachshund, but it is pronounced: lah hoy ah.

woozy said...

Okay. It is 3:05pm on your perverse time zone.

>> show the remaining letters to someone who has not heard the puzzle. Ask them to pronounce the word "phonetically"

Yes, that was an issue I had. The puzzle is ambiguous as to whether "phonetically" means as pronounced in the words, or as spelled out, are possibly as articulated spelled out letters. But I'm okay with that, as ambiguity is par for the course.

I didn't think the puzzle was poorly stated. My only issue is I'm not convinced one can state that "-achshun-" and "oxen" are phonetically the same. "oxen" has a much harder "k" sound than "dachshund"'s "kh" and although the vowels in both's second syllable are somewhere between a schwah and a short-e, I'd say that "dachshund" is closer to a schwah and "oxen" is closer to a short e. But after deliberation I felt they were "close enough". (Certainly for dogeral purposes.) Still, they're different enough for my to have a sense of dodginess. And I don't have that sense of certainty that I usally have with solving a puzzle.

Were there such a dog as German Sheep Dog (which colloquially there used to be) I'd actually feel more convinced with Ermine, sheep, and do as better phonetic matches. Although "ermine" ~= "-erman" is still a little dodgy.

skydiveboy said...

You can make German Shepherd Dog work in my opinion, but I don't like it.
ermine + sheep + hare + doe = GROAN!