Thursday, October 27, 2011

NPR Puzzle 10/23/11: Will Shortz Takes a Long Walk Off Pier 1

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
Think of a two-word name of a nationally known chain of retail stores. Insert the second word of the name into the exact middle of the first. The result will spell the name of a well-known electronics manufacturer. What are these names?
The intended answer is Pier One: Insert ONE into PIER and you get PIONEER.

Let's quickly mention the problems this puzzle has.  The store is Pier 1 Imports -- that's actually what is on the building (I drove past the store in Dickson City, PA today) -- and while it's true that we know what you mean if you write Pier One, it doesn't look right because it isn't right.  We're visually trained to recognize the typography:


So if Will had wanted the puzzle to read correctly, he'd have had to say something like, "Take the name of a national chain of retail stores. Reduce it to the informal two-word name everyone uses.  Insert the second word of the name into the exact middle of the first. The result will spell the name of a well-known electronics manufacturer. What are these names?"  I think that works because translating Pier 1 Imports into Pier One (two words as opposed to a word and a number) gets you to where you need to be.

(Personally? I think Will just didn't bother to verify that Pier 1 Imports isn't Pier One.)

There were a couple different ways to solve this. One is to have the answer pop up in your brain like Aphrodite rising from the waves. That's how Ross solved it. I tried to find the electronics company on Wikipedia, only AT THE TIME it didn't appear on the list.  (Ross added it today.)  That does make it harder to "cheat." (Conspiracy theory: Might Doug Heller of Flourtown, PA have removed "Pioneer Company" from the Wiki page just for the five days the puzzle was active? Would Will Shortz have done that?)

Because it's Thursday, here's a gratuitous plug for Ross's 99 ¢ book for the Kindle:  The Crossword Man Book of Anagrams. Remember, it will make a great stocking stuffer for those digital stockings hung over your virtual fire.

For photos, I went to "Pioneer" on Wiki.  I never got to the "right" page because the "disambiguation" page yielded more than enough specific place names.  In no particular order, then:

Whittier, California, home of Pioneer High School

Ellwood, Illinois, home to a sculpture by Lorado Taft entitled "The Pioneers"

Laughlin, Nevada - no, really! - home of the Pioneer Hotel & Gambling Hall

Haviland Pond, Ludlow, Massachusetts, home to the Western Massachusetts Pioneers, an American soccer team

Visalia, California, home to "The Pioneer" a sculpture by Solon Borglum

Baffin Island, which has a Pioneer Pass (I did look for a photo of the pass but no joy)

Time for ...
P I C K   A   R A N G E
Here are this week's picks:
Fewer than 50
 51 - 100
101 - 150
151 - 200
201 - 250
251 - 300
301 - 350
351 - 400
401 - 450
451 - 500
 
501 - 550
551 - 600 -- Henry
601 - 650 -- Ross
651 - 700 -- Magdalen
701 - 750
751 - 800 -- skydiveboy
801 - 850
851 - 900 -- Marie
901 - 950 -- Dave
951 - 1,000

1,001 - 1,050 -- David
1,051 - 1,100
1,101 - 1,150 -- phredp
1,151 - 1,200
1,201 - 1,250
1,251 - 1,300
1,301 - 1,350
1,351 - 1,400 -- Mendo Jim
1,401 - 1,450
1,451 - 1,500

1,501 - 1,550
1,551 - 1,600
1,601 - 1,650
1,651 - 1,700
1,701 - 1,750
1,751 - 1,800
1,801 - 1,850
1,851 - 1,900
1,901 - 1,950
1,951 - 2,000

2,001 - 2,050
2,051 - 2,100
2,101 - 2,150
2,151 - 2,200
2,201 - 2,250
2,251 - 2,300
2,301 - 2,350
2,351 - 2,400
2,401 - 2,450
2,451 - 2,500

2,501 - 2,750
2,751 - 3,000
3,001 - 3,250
3,251 - 3,500
3,501 - 4,000
4,001 - 4,500
4,501 - 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")

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I never thought of looking in Wikipedia - I got it on E-bay.

Henry BW

Jim said...

Did you try vinegar?

David said...

Pie in mouth is better than pie in ear.

skydiveboy said...

I thought it was pie on ear, but in any case the new puzzle is up and it is an ear full. Or did I mean tearful?