Thursday, December 1, 2011

NPR Puzzle 11/27/11 - Venus is Blase about Torts & Mints

Here's this week's NPR puzzle:
Think of a common five-letter word in one syllable. Change the fourth letter to the next letter of the alphabet, and you'll get a common word in two syllables, also in five letters. What words are these?
Here's a list of Ross's favorite answers that fit the bill:

VENTS / VENUS (I did point out that Venus isn't a common word, but Ross just shrugged.)
and the intended answer: BLARE / BLASÉ

Based on the comments from Sunday's post, some of our regular readers are not blasé about this puzzle. I dunno--it's lame but not impossibly so. Besides, I'm agog to hear how Dr. Shortz handles it on the radio! He has to accept a LOT of alternatives, I reckon.

About the photos I located by typing the correct two words into Flickr. The first three are BLASÉ and the last three are BLARE.  In most cases I can't tell you why, but where I can, I've captioned the photo appropriately. Remember, you can always click on the Thursday photos to go to their Flickr pages for more info.
Condensation on a wine glass at the Blasé Cafe, Siesta Key, Florida

I get the impression that "blase" is "red poppy" in a foreign language. Anyone know for sure?

Ah, but I did learn that "blase" is bubbles in German. This photo was taken on Seifenblase Tag: Blowing Bubbles Day

The original caption was "Koppertjies" which is (maybe) Dutch for leaves? I believe these are nasturtium leaves. No clue why it was tagged "blare" as well

This was just captioned "Blare" which further supports the theory that "blare" means leaves.

This is "Blare Flare." Now I'm hopelessly confused. "Leaves," sure, but what's "flare" mean in this context?

Time for ...
Here are this week's picks:
Fewer than 50
 51 - 100
101 - 150
151 - 200
201 - 250
251 - 300 -- Skydiveboy
301 - 350
351 - 400
401 - 450
451 - 500
501 - 550
551 - 600
601 - 650
651 - 700
701 - 750
751 - 800 -- Ross
801 - 850
851 - 900
901 - 950 -- Dave
951 - 1,000 -- Joe

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

1,501 - 1,550 -- Curtis
1,551 - 1,600
1,601 - 1,650
1,651 - 1,700
1,701 - 1,750 -- Marie
1,751 - 1,800 -- Jim (not Mendo)
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")


skydiveboy said...

I think the intended answer is:

skydiveboy said...

You missed my guess:

skydiveboy said...
And the new puzzle is up and I will go with 251.
November 26, 2011 11:23 PM

Crossword Man said...

Somehow missed CHARM/CHASM - having got to BLARE was a bit BLASE about it being the right answer.

DAPF said...

In my opinion, both answers are valid but can be criticized on different grounds:

1) "blase" comes from the French (hence my "frog" signature line) and thus has an accent on the "e"; however, it is also written without the accent in English, for obvious reasons, which is why I think it is a completely valid answer.

2) "chasm" is pronounced as two syllables yet "looks like" one syllable to me; I do not think that this is really a problem, just a (probably wrong) assumption on my part that a syllable should contain at least one vowel.

I have no problem with this puzzle, as long as Will acknowledges and accepts the multiple answers on the air.

Anonymous said...

Chasm is a one-syllable word. (Source: American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition, and Webster's Third New International Dictionary)

Curtis said...

Anonymous - respectfully disagree. Merriam-Webster's Tenth Collegiate has it as two.

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

Hey, I just learned something cool. See, I could not find the number of syllables stated in any definitions in my dictionary. Then I looked up the front matter and noticed that the dashes in the pronunciation of the word are meant to separate syllables. I did not know that; thank you for bringing this to my attention!

By the way, "chasm" is pronounced ['kaz-em] (well, it's really an upside-down 'e') according to my Merriam-Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, and therefore has two syllables.

Maybe anonymous found another dictionary that disagrees. Is that the case, Anonymous?

skydiveboy said...

I checked prior to submitting my answer Saturday evening, and it and others I have consulted since all indicate it has 2 syllables. Maybe we can all reach across this chasm and agree, or fall into the abyss.

DAPF said...

I was not sure where my gut feeling about a syllable being required to contain at least one vowel came from (possibly my native language). So a quick google search for the definition of "syllable" returned:

"A syllable is typically made up of a syllable nucleus (most often a vowel) with optional initial and final margins (typically, consonants)."

as the second sentence in the Wikipedia entry for this word. Note the "most often" qualifier. So, if this unauthenticated entry has any truth to it, my gut feeling seems, to some degree at least, to carry over to English.

David said...

I too submitted charm/chasm, using (and my daughter's opinion) as my "two syllable" source(s).

I liked the mints/minus answer Ross came up with, with a consonant replaced by a vowel. That is the type of answer I hoped for, and actually came up with dight/digit, which half fails the common word test.

On another subject, did you notice that last week, Audie gave the number of correct answers, not submissions? (At least, that is what she said.)

skydiveboy said...

Yes, I noticed that too, and I wish they would do that each and every time. Who cares how many total entries there are, especially when 80% might even be wrong?

Mendo Jim said...

It is worth noting that the comments here and at Blaine's are now available to the good doctor a day in advance of taping the on-air program.
We have evidence that he does visit both and might (should?) be influenced.

We have discussed before the probable mechanism for selecting the player and determining the number for our Range competition.
I have to say that I am very suspicious of a number that claims to be the total of correct entries. I can't believe that anyone reads all xxxx submissions to determine that 827 (e.g.) were correct and then uses that pool to pick the player.

And common or not, I heard the challenge in bed (lazy me) and had "dight/digit" before getting out of it.

David said...

Mendo Jim-
I'm impressed. I just figured that dight should be a word, so I looked it up. Spell check doesn't think it is.

Isn't a puzzle like this week's more fun (blogwise) than a more straight-forward, non-controversial one?

Anonymous said...

American Heritage, as I cited above, provides this for the entry for chasm: "chasm." The dictionary's style is to indicate syllibication by putting a dot between syllables. For example, the entry for charter reads "char*ter."

An entry in the "Guide to the Dictionary" does, however, explain that the "syllibication of the pronunciation may not match the syllibication of the entry word because the division of the pronunciation follows phonological rules, while the division of the entry word reflects the established practice of printers and editors in breaking words as the end of the line." In my original comment, I was referring to the syllibication as indicated in the original entry, which I had understood to be the primary syllibication. That said, I've learned, and I'll concede the alternate form.