Thursday, November 17, 2011

NPR Puzzle 11/13/11 - Stupid Clocks

Here's this week's NPR puzzle:
What number comes next in the following series: 2, 4, 6, 9, 11, 15, 20, 40, 51, 55, 60 and 90?
I'll bet Will would like to have this one back for a do-over. The answer is 101, which you get if you look at all the Roman numerals made with just two letters:
II, IV, VI, IX, XI, XV, XX, XL, LI, LV, LX, XC, CI, etc.

Here's the problem. There are rules for how to write Roman numerals. The rules don't allow IL for 49, but they clearly do allow LI for 51. But clocks, for their own weird reasons (and Seth Thomas isn't talking) use IIII for 4 o'clock.

Here's the rest of the series:








On the subject of low number of entries, there was one puzzle in the early 2000s (have we named that decade yet?) that asked you to create a word with the first three letters of contiguous Arizona counties (e.g., PIM for Pima, MAR for Maricopa, etc.). What was the longest word you could create.

I was married to Henry then, and we "cheated" and used Ross's TEA software and came up with a very long word indeed. It was the winning answer, and they had (I believe) 18 correct entries. Mine was not the one picked (duh) and Henry felt it would be unsporting to enter separately.  (For newer readers, neither Ross nor I enter the puzzle. Henry does but he doesn't discuss the puzzle with us before sending his entry. Well, hardly ever.)

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 -- skydiveboy
151 - 200 -- Curtis
201 - 250 -- Dave
251 - 300 -- Magdalen
301 - 350 -- Natasha
351 - 400 -- Joe K.
401 - 450 -- Ross
451 - 500 -- MendoJim
 
501 - 550 -- Henry
551 - 600
601 - 650
651 - 700
701 - 750
751 - 800
801 - 850
851 - 900
901 - 950
951 - 1,000

1,001 - 1,050 -- David
1,051 - 1,100
1,101 - 1,150
1,151 - 1,200
1,201 - 1,250
1,251 - 1,300
1,301 - 1,350
1,351 - 1,400
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")

2 comments:

Mendo Jim said...

I would have thought that the genre had run out of cutesy alphabetical, Roman numeral, etc. number sequences.
The pic of Randy Johnson makes up for another ho-hum puzzle, albiet one with a rarity to match an Ivory-billed Woodpecker: a Will Shortz mea culpa.

Anonymous said...

It's not clocks being weird, just old-fashioned: the older usage only allowed 10-1=9, not 5-1=4, in each decade. So you had to use IIII for 4, XXXX for 40, CCCC for 400. Allowing IV, XL, CD was a late reform.

Henry BW