Thursday, June 30, 2011

NPR Puzzle 6/19/11 - To Capp It All

This is Crossword Man again ... sitting in for Magdalen, who should be able to resume normal duties this Sunday. Here's last Sunday's NPR puzzle:
Take the word "ballerina," drop one letter and rearrange the remaining eight letters to name a well-known fictional character. Who is it?
This little poser gave me a lot of trouble: I focused on looking for forenames from the letters and then making surnames with the residue; I also considered that the answer might be a mononym, since the puzzle didn't reveal where the word breaks fell. I even looked beyond fiction qua literature and was on the money there.

But I didn't consider that the answer might be a diminutive plus a forename; I may even have come up with the right forename and not seen its relevance. Eventually I resorted to TEA and appreciated the beauty of the challenge, the answer being Li'l Abner.

The Al Capp strip hasn't run since 1977 and yet references to it are still considered fair game in crosswords and now an NPR puzzle. This has caused me a bit of grief in the past: although I'd (somehow) heard of Li'l Abner before arriving in the USA, I definitely imagined the character as a small girl (perhaps influenced by Little Mo from The Beezer), not an ironically-named 19-year-old male. I wasn't aware of the biblical associations of the name Abner.

So in the interests of my own education and perhaps the basis of another crucial post, let's look at how the Li'l Abner strip has become engrained in American popular culture:

Sadie Hawkins Day originated with the Li'l Abner strip

The postwar mania for the -nik suffix (as in neatnik) started with Li'l Abner

Li'l Abner gave us skunk works

... double whammy ...
... and Shmoos (not forgetting schmooze, which Capp also popularized)


I'm sure that's just the start, but it's now time for ...


P I C K   A   R A N G E

Here are this week's picks:
Fewer than 50 -- Mendo Jim
50 - 100
100 - 150
150 - 200
200 - 250
250 - 300
300 - 350 -- Ross
350 - 400
400 - 450
450 - 500
 
500 - 550 -- David
550 - 600
600 - 650
650 - 700
700 - 750
750 - 800 -- Magdalen
800 - 850
850 - 900
900 - 950 -- skydiveboy
950 - 1,000
1,000 - 1,050 -- Dave
1,050 - 1,100
1,100 - 1,150
1,150 - 1,200
1,200 - 1,250
1,250 - 1,300
1,300 - 1,350 -- Natasha
1,350 - 1,400
1,400 - 1,450 -- Grace
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 -- Marie
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")

Sunday, June 26, 2011

NPR Puzzle 6/26/11 - The Wordcracker

Hi. This is Crossword Man sitting in for Magdalen, who is living the high life (literally) in Manhattan for a week at this year's Annual Conference of the Romance Writers of America.

So today and Thursday it's up to me to solve and report on the NPR Sunday Puzzle:
Take the word "ballerina," drop one letter and rearrange the remaining eight letters to name a well-known fictional character. Who is it?
I tried hard to crack this one the old-fashioned way - with tiles from the Bananagrams bag - but after a couple of hours had to give up and cheat using TEA. Having done that, I have to say I really like this challenge: I think it's a difficult one; and yet "well-known" is a fair statement.

More I cannot say. Please don't reveal the answer in the comments; send it in to NPR via this link right here.

The photos this week are inspired by some of my near misses when trying to solve the puzzle. In fact, the non-answers represented here are made from all the letters of "ballerina". Drag a mouse between the square brackets under each picture to reveal them:

[Bill Arena]

[Rain Label]

[Learn Bali]

[All Ribena]


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.

Just over 1500 entries last week, which nobody picked, by my reckoning. It's good to see the entries back up to the healthy levels of yesteryear ... maybe that won't be repeated this week? What do you think?

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")

Thursday, June 23, 2011

NPR Puzzle - On a Two-Wheeler, He's "Bicycle Helmut" Kohl

Here's this week's NPR puzzle:
Think of a former world leader whose first and last names both sound like things you might see in a mine. Who is the leader, and what are the things?
I got Helmut Kohl about a second after Ross has proffered "Cole Porter" -- which almost works except for the "former world leader" part and the minor (miner?) detail of what a "porter" might be in a mine.  (Or actually, it could just be the beverage.  Why not?)

Edited to add:  Thanks, woozy, for reminding me to explain the title to the last post.  Real World = World Leader - DE, which is the Internet country code for Germany.  Tricky, hunh?

Okay, so when I went to look up Chancellor Kohl's Wiki page, I discovered that Karl Carstens was mentioned.  He'd been my dad's student at Yale Law School in the 1950s and as they were the same age they struck up a friendship sufficient to keep in touch for what seemed to me to be forever.

I knew that Carstens had been West Germany's president, a largely ceremonial position not unlike our vice president.  What I had not appreciated, though, was that he played a key role in an end run by Kohl to get a solid majority in the Bundestag in 1983.  Probably my father explained all this to me in painstaking (and painful) detail -- Daddy was a constitutional scholar -- and I zoned out the entire discussion!  (Bad Magdalen.)

Back to Helmut Kohl and the photos -- here's what I picked out and why:

I believe this is Ludwigshohe, an estate (?) in the region where Kohl was born. Alas, the Flickr entry is auf Deutsch!

Again, allowing for my non-existent German, this should also be the region where Kohl was born.

The Ossuary at Douaumont; Kohl went there with Francois Mitterand to commemorate, if that's the right word, the lives of those killed at the Battle of Verdun, as well as all the Germans and French killed in the World Wars.

Steinhude Lake in Lower Saxony.  Kohl had a political opponent from Lower Saxony.  (I did say any place name from the Wiki entry!)

This is even worse than the Flickr entries in German -- here the tag is in Polish, so I'm really only kinda sure this is in Poland, let alone it being anywhere near Krzyzowa (Kreisau)

I figured someone would know this is the Knesset in Israel.  Kohl gave a speech there.  Incidentally, note the flowerless "flower clock" in the foreground.  You rather doubt the time when they can't even be bothered to plant any blooms!
Time for  ...
P I C K   A   R A N G E

Here are this week's picks:
Fewer than 50    
50 - 100
100 - 150
150 - 200
200 - 250
250 - 300
300 - 350 -- Natasha
350 - 400
400 - 450 -- Ross
450 - 500 -- Magdalen
 
500 - 550 -- David
550 - 600 -- skydiveboy
600 - 650
650 - 700
700 - 750 -- Dave
750 - 800
800 - 850 -- Marie
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 -- Mendo Jim
2,450 - 2,500


2,500 - 2,750 -- Woozy
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")

Sunday, June 19, 2011

NPR Puzzle 6/19/11 - A Puzzle for the Real World

Here's this week's NPR puzzle:
Think of a former world leader whose first and last names both sound like things you might see in a mine. Who is the leader, and what are the things?
I got this one, although Ross had just said a wrong answer that led me to the right one.  There's a hint in this post's title, but figuring it out is almost certainly going to be harder than the puzzle itself.

Please don't reveal EITHER the hint or the answer in the comments; send the answer in to NPR via this link right here.

I doubt this week's puzzle will generate quite such a spirited discussion in the comments, but we welcome all comments that don't give the game away.

Here are some photos that similarly won't give the game away.  As I have done in the past, I've looked up the former world leader's Wiki page and then found photos of places associated with that person's life.  I'll provide the proper attributions and explanations on Thursday.

But before we get to the photos, here's my three degrees of separation from the former world leader (FWL):  the next senior politician in the FWL's country had been a student of my father's back in the day.  (They even exchanged Christmas cards every year.)  Just saying.  (I'll explain all that on Thursday -- it's actually even less sexy than it sounds when it's all cryptic and mysterious.)

Photos:







Remember -- any place name in FWL's Wiki entry is fair game!

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.

Just under 200 entries last week means that Dave won.  We'll get that prize out right away, Dave.  And yes, this finally breaks the drought of no prizes.  So it can happen to YOU -- pick a range and see if you can win next week.

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")

Thursday, June 16, 2011

NPR Puzzle 6/19/11 - Wearing Many Hats

Here's this week's NPR puzzle:
A hat room contains a wall with 49 pegs, arranged in a 7-by-7 square. The hat clerk has 20 hats that are to be hung on 20 different pegs. How many lines, containing four hats in a straight line, is it possible to produce? A line can go in any direction: horizontally, vertically or obliquely. To explain your answer, number the pegs in order, from 1 in the upper left corner to 49 in the lower right corner; list which pegs you put the 20 hats on, and give the total number of lines containing four hats in a row.
I got Ross to make a snazzy graphic:


We make that 18 lines.  Did anyone get more?  Note that only four lines are orthogonal (vertical or horizontal); the rest are "oblique" just as Dr. Shortz said.

Here's the number sequence: 1, 4, 7, 10, 12, 16, 17, 19, 20, 22, 28, 30, 31, 33, 34, 38, 40, 43, 46, 49

All credit to Ross on this -- I'm not particularly good at these sorts of puzzles, which is interesting because I do enjoy the mathematical puzzles published four times a year in the London Times in The Listener series.  I just don't have the software compiler's efficient use of logic for this sort of thing.  Well done, Ross.

And if skydiveboy would like to show us a way to get more lines, I'll edit this post to include his version.

More hat photos!  (They're never-ending sources of fun, even if I wouldn't be caught dead in one!)





Time for  ...
P I C K   A   R A N G E

Here are this week's picks:
Fewer than 50 -- Mendo Jim     
50 - 100
100 - 150 -- Ross
150 - 200 -- Dave
200 - 250 -- David
250 - 300
300 - 350 -- Marie
350 - 400
400 - 450
450 - 500 -- Magdalen
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")

Sunday, June 12, 2011

NPR Puzzle 6/12/11 - Throwing 20 Hats in a Ring, oops, a Square

Here's this week's NPR puzzle:
A hat room contains a wall with 49 pegs, arranged in a 7-by-7 square. The hat clerk has 20 hats that are to be hung on 20 different pegs. How many lines, containing four hats in a straight line, is it possible to produce? A line can go in any direction: horizontally, vertically or obliquely. To explain your answer, number the pegs in order, from 1 in the upper left corner to 49 in the lower right corner; list which pegs you put the 20 hats on, and give the total number of lines containing four hats in a row.
I've got Ross puzzling over this with graph paper while I blog.  I would point out that it's not entirely clear whether you are allowed to consider 30° and 60° angles in addition to 45° when he says "oblique."  Opinions, anyone?

Assuming "oblique" simply means at any angle other than horizontal and vertical, Ross has an answer.  My challenge will be to convey that pictorially on Thursday!

Based on how few people got last week's answer, I would suggest that this week might be a very good week to enter.  Do that by sending your answer to NPR via this site right here.

Incidentally, before we get to this week's photo array, I want to share David's awesome comment about the six cities I culled from the American Idol tour:  "If those are the cities that the winners go to, where do they send the losers?"  And the answer is:  Back home.  (Hey, Dave -- if the implication is that those six cities are podunk places, you should know I've lived in two of them, and quite near a third.  Just sayin'...)

Hats!  Twenty of them!!  (I love it when picking photos is this easy.)







This last photo has a rather skimpy caption: Pav Hats 4.  I understand they are meant to look like pavlovas, a divine dessert that's popular in New Zealand, where this photo was taken.  But are they paper?  Were they worn to a party or just displayed?  We'll never know.

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.

Only three hundred entries?  Now I'm starting to worry that there's not even an NPR intern behind this, but rather some over-worked and under-paid mail clerk has been told to eyeball the number of emails!  Needless to say, none of us picked that low.  But a geometric puzzle?  The number next Sunday could be even lower.  We have prizes (I restocked recently), so it's totally cool if someone wins!

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")

Thursday, June 9, 2011

NPR Puzzle 6/5/11 - Americans Idolize Eric Idle

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
Take the two-word title of a TV series. The first word contains a famous actor's first name in consecutive letters. The second word is a homophone for this actor's last name. Name the series and the actor.
The answer is AMERICAN IDOL/IDLE.  Ross got it immediately despite the fact that I've been known to watch AI on occasion.  Hey, what can I say.  Sometimes the singing is pretty good...for that sort of thing.  (For the record, literally, I will admit to owning Kelly Clarkson's Breakaway.)

And the photos -- oh, did I have some fun with them.  Anyone who watches American Idol -- or went to their website -- knows that they have a summer tour with the top finalists singing.

Here are some of the tour dates and locations for 2011:

7/6   West Valley City, UT
7/20 Grand Prairie, TX
7/26 Duluth, GA
8/21 Wilkes-Barre, PA
8/30 Portland, ME
8/28 Albany, NY

Any of those place names sound familiar?  Those are the six names I typed into Flickr to get my six pretty pictures.

Here's what I would have gotten if I'd typed in Eric Idle:


and American Idol:

2010's Idol Kris Allen working in Haiti following the earthquake
Both photos would have given the game away.

Time for  ...

P I C K   A   R A N G E

Here are this week's picks:
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 -- Dave
750 - 800
800 - 850 -- Grace
850 - 900 -- Magdalen
900 - 950 -- Ross
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 -- Jan
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")

Sunday, June 5, 2011

NPR Puzzle 6/5/11 - Just Goes to Show

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
Take the two-word title of a TV series. The first word contains a famous actor's first name in consecutive letters. The second word is a homophone for this actor's last name. Name the series and the actor.
Ross got it pretty quickly, which is embarrassing because I'm the principal TV watcher in the family.

Now, rather confusingly, I think Jacki Lyden (filling in between Liane Hansen and Audie Cornish) seemed to ask Dr. Shortz if he'd been on "that series" -- referring to the answer?  Or referring to The Simpsons, because today's challenge came from Mike Reiss, former writer for The Simpsons.  Well, if it helps anyone, we can find no evidence that Will Shortz has been on the two-word TV show that is part of the answer.  He has, however, been on The Simpsons.  Now, if it turns out he's been on the answer show as well, I think he owes the listening public that story!

If you got it -- with or without watching TV yourself -- send your answer in to NPR via this site right here.

In fact, TV has been a bit contentious chez Crossword Man recently because we have Henry staying with us.  Henry is not much of a TV watcher, but when your right arm is immobilized from the elbow to the shoulder, what else is there?  So I started to DVR shows I *thought* he might like.  How the Universe Works seemed right up his alley - he's an amateur astronomer - but it manages to put even me asleep.  How the States Got Their Shape sounded interesting to him, but it turns out to be a breezy travelogue with not a lot of actual history.  After that, of course, we're at a loss.  And for whatever reason, Henry isn't forthcoming with suggestions.  So not much TV this week.

What shows are on in your household?

Photos -- well, if you've solved the puzzle you'll know that there are certain obvious shots I could take, and they would all be too much of a hint.

Instead, I've taken a rather circuitous route, which you may try to deduce.  You can click on the photos because, for once, they won't immediately give the game away.







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.

So much for the worry that people would cheat with their extra week.  There were "around 800" entries and that means Ross "wins" because he picked 800-850, which was the lowest entry in our combined Pick-a-Range.  Better luck next week!

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")