Thursday, August 11, 2011

NPR Puzzle 8/7/11 -- Fed Up with Eating?

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
Take a common two-word phrase that's the present tense of a verb. Move the last two letters to the front without making any other change, and you'll get a new two-word phrase that is the verb's past tense. What phrases are these?
I solved this the way I solve most NPR puzzles (remember, I don't submit -- and I blog about them, so I pretty much have to solve them quickly) -- I cheated.  I found a list of phrasal verbs (defined by Chambers as "a phrase, consisting of a verb and an adverb or preposition, or both, having the function of a verb, eg blow over, sift through, put up with.") and mentally changed the verb part to past tense to see what might work.

EAT to ATE leaped out at me immediately, even though the precise phrasal verb Will Shortz wanted -- EAT AT (becoming ATE AT) wasn't on the list.

Some people have complained to me privately that the instructions are misleading and thus wrong.  "Without making any other change" could suggest that if you start with EAT AT you'll end up with ATEAT and lose the space entirely.  I see this point, but I think the instructions could be seen to mean that you start with two words and you end up with two words with the same lengths.

I also think this could suggest some people need to get a life.

Ooh, here's a cute joke I saw (cough cough) on Facebook:
Me: "I have Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, MSN Messenger, Skype and Twitter."

Friend: "Dude, do you have a life?"

Me: "OMG! No! Send me the link!"
Photos.  Congratulations to Joe and Kevin for correctly guessing that the photos are all of places where Ross or I ATE AT.  Before I show you where we ATE AT, here's a place Kevin ATE AT:

Uh, that would be Woodman's, in Essex, Massachusetts.  (I guess all you really needed was the state, hunh?)

Le Bec Fin in Philadelphia -- click on the photo to see how it looks with its name intact!

View from inside Mohonk Mountain House; very near the dining room
Patsel's, a fabulous restaurant just north of Scranton.  Sunday brunch -- sublime!

Nare Beach, with the Nare Hotel, Cornwall.  One of those English hotels designed to make you feel like you're a guest for the weekend house party.

Covent Garden Opera House.  Yes, I realize it looks like a conservatory attached to a bank, but it's not and we've eaten there.

Fountains Hall, an Elizabethan property on the grounds of a 13th C. abbey.  Ross and I were married in the room with the tall curved window, then had our "wedding breakfast" in the same room.

Time for ...
P I C K   A   R A N G E
Here are this week's picks.  As you can see, people were stumped, or pessimistic, or both:
Fewer than 50
50 - 100
100 - 150
150 - 200
200 - 250
250 - 300 -- skydiveboy
300 - 350
350 - 400
400 - 450
450 - 500
500 - 550
550 - 600
600 - 650
650 - 700
700 - 750 -- Ross
750 - 800
800 - 850 -- Magdalen
850 - 900 -- Paul
900 - 950 -- phredp
950 - 1,000

1,000 - 1,050 -- David
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 never did come up with this one, deciding the hell with it early on.
Think of the time I saved!

A good puzzle? Not sure.

Natasha said...

This puzzle ate at me until I just gave up.

David said...

The July 31 New York Times crossword puzzle, (syndicated nationally on August 7, the date this puzzle was broadcast) had as clue 110 Across "Words on a sandwich board", with the answer "EATAT".

I wonder if Will remembered that when he decided what puzzle to use. I also wonder how far in advance the Sunday puzzles are finished.

Dave said...

Nice catch, David.

Magdalen, I'm working on getting a life. Any idea where I can find one? Also, was there a range winner last week?

I'll take the coveted 350-400 slot, por favor. A lot of people had a hard time with this puzzle and a lot of people are on vacation now, so this week's total will be low.

Magdalen said...

Dave -- Anyone else, I'd consider bending the rules. But haven't you won enough times to read the fine print? After the Thursday post is up, no more picks for Pick-A-Range.

skydiveboy won last week; we're working on a SPECIAL prize for him, as he has no use for a puzzle book and we cajoled him into entering.

Mendo Jim said...

I think this was a fairly good challenge.

There have been so many groaners and worse over the years that one can't be very confident that spending a lot of time on the puzzles will have a satisfying outcome.

For most of human history, babies ate at a teat.

Dave said...

Magdalen, I've won only once (I think), but you're the boss.