Thursday, December 29, 2011

NPR Puzzle 12/25/11 - Evel Knievel, Regifted

Here's this week's puzzle:
Name an occupation in nine letters. It's an entertainer of sorts — an unusual and uncommon but well-known sort of entertainer. Drop the third letter of the name, and read the result backward. You'll get two four-letter words that are exact opposites. What are they?
We've seen a variant of this before, but before I get to that, the answer is DAREDEVIL, or take away the R, it's LIVE + DEAD backwards.

The most famous daredevil in the US was Evel Knievel, the subject of an NPR Puzzle in 2008. But I'd stupidly mentioned that the answer wasn't going to be MIME (wrong number of letters, for a start) and alert reader skydiveboy pointed out that Phillippe Petit was both a mime and a daredevil, assuming you consider tightrope walking across the gap between the twin towers of the World Trade Center to be a daredevil stunt. (The Wiki article on Petit refers to him as a high-wire artist. The word "mime" doesn't appear in the article at all, and "daredevil" appears only in the headline of a press piece cited in the references.)

Here are some daredevils from Flickr:
A real daredevil (in England, I gather)

More daredevils (the finger is not to scale)

A native in Kenya who jumped into Fourteen Falls; the photographer reports the guy got up and asked for money.

Daredevil, the blind superhero played by Ben Affleck in a bad movie, attacking Grey Alien

Not too surprisingly, Daredevil won. (Pens not to scale.)

Future Daredevil, although the parents report the kid couldn't figure out how to get off the trike.
Time for ...


Here are this week's picks:
Fewer than 50
 51 - 100
101 - 150
151 - 200 -- Ross
201 - 250 -- Dave
251 - 300 -- DaveJ
301 - 350 -- Joe Kupe
351 - 400 -- Barbara
401 - 450 -- EKW
451 - 500 -- Skydiveboy
 
501 - 550 -- Marie
551 - 600 -- Magdalen
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")

Sunday, December 25, 2011

NPR Puzzle Christmas 2011 - Unusual and Uncommon What Again?

Here's this week's puzzle:
Name an occupation in nine letters. It's an entertainer of sorts — an unusual and uncommon but well-known sort of entertainer. Drop the third letter of the name, and read the result backward. You'll get two four-letter words that are exact opposites. What are they?
Well, I guess it's not a mime. Let's get Ross & Henry onto this one. Okay, while great minds are working on that puzzle... Got it.

Oh, wait--before I can wish all of our regular readers (and Will Shortz) a very Merry Christmas, I need to remind you that if you know the answer, send it in to NPR. We recommend this link right here.

Okay, I'm not going to do hints in the photos. Instead, I'm going to be entirely literal because it will be a while before Christmas falls on a Sunday.

Florence, Italy


Constitution Plaza, Hartford, Connecticut




Merry Christmas from our (undecorated) house to yours.

Time for ...

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 440 entries. Natasha won, and I believe that's the first win for Natasha. (Email me--Magdalen (as) Crosswordman.com--with your snail-mail address and say if you want the Christmas-themed puzzle book or a Jane Austen-themed puzzle book.) Enter for the first prize of 2012 see if you'll win!

Here are the ranges:
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
601 - 650
651 - 700
701 - 750
751 - 800
801 - 850
851 - 900
901 - 950
951 - 1,000
1,001 - 1,050         
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").  And yes, this rule is most-likely obsolete but I just like having fine print. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

NPR Puzzle 12/25/11 -- A Holiday Puzzle for Young & Old Alike

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
Take the word "at." Put a man's first name on each side of it, and say the word out loud. Phonetically, you'll get a word that describes a growing part of our country. What is it?
There was a moment on Sunday when Ross suggested GERIATRIC but I rejected it because...well, because we simply couldn't hold the precise wording of the puzzle in our head. (It was at the Bertucci's on Queen Street, Exit 31 on I-84 in Connecticut.) We kept trying to think of a growing region in the US like the Corn Belt or Idaho potatoes.

However, all this back and forth did yield a valid (and cuter) alternate answer: Petey + AT + Rick = PEDIATRIC, which works if you interpret "a growing part of our country" as referring to the fact that children grow in size & age (hence, "growing up"). Let's see if Will accepts that as an alternative.

All of Sunday's photos were attributed (via their embedded links) so let's see what we get for Jerry:

Jerry Lee Lewis
and
Jerry Seinfeld
Petey (more commonly a pet's name, from the choice on Flickr--which would rather suggest it's not a "man's name" but that's just silly; of course it's a man's name):

Petey (with Noah)
Petey Williams (there, see? a MAN's name!) (I gather he's a wrestler)
and finally, Rick:

Rick McGirr, who may be famous (it's kinda hard to tell from Google)
Rick Carlisle, head coach of the Dallas Mavericks
Time for ...

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 -- Natasha
451 - 500 -- Curtis
 
501 - 550
551 - 600
601 - 650 -- Dave
651 - 700 -- Jim (Mendo)
701 - 750
751 - 800 -- Skydiveboy
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 -- Magdalen
1,201 - 1,250
1,251 - 1,300 -- Ross
1,301 - 1,350
1,351 - 1,400
1,401 - 1,450
1,451 - 1,500

1,501 - 1,550 -- Marie
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")

Sunday, December 18, 2011

NPR Puzzle 12/18/11 -- Will Shortz Goes At It

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
Take the word "at." Put a man's first name on each side of it, and say the word out loud. Phonetically, you'll get a word that describes a growing part of our country. What is it?
Boy, did this get us going. First, we couldn't agree on what the Puzzlemaster even wanted. The same name on either side of the "at" or two different names? Then, were we going for a noun, a proper name, or a modifier? And so forth.

After careful consideration of the precise wording of the puzzle, we have an answer. Actually, we have two answers, one we know is "right" and the other we believe is both satisfactory and cute. We'll explain on Thursday.

If you have the right answer or the cute answer, don't leave it in the comments (it'll just get moldy and attract mice); send it in to NPR using this cunning form.

Photos are where it's "at."







Time for ...


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 500 entries--490, to be theoretically precise. No one won. Who the hell knows what they'll give us with this puzzle, so throw a dart at a range in the comments and see if you'll win a prize!

Here are the ranges:
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
601 - 650
651 - 700
701 - 750
751 - 800
801 - 850
851 - 900
901 - 950
951 - 1,000
1,001 - 1,050         
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").  And yes, this rule is most-likely obsolete but I just like having fine print. 

NPR Puzzle 12/18/11 -- Hi, You've Reached The Crossword Man Residence...

...and we're not home. Please leave a message and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.

We're in the Boston area, enjoying an early Christmas with my family, but we're having such a good time we can't blog. Sorry!

No one won the Pick a Range prize last week with 451-500. Once again it would appear that they're counting correct answers (490), possibly by the clever method Henry thought of.

We'll be back later today with a longer, if rather travel weary, post.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

NPR Puzzle 12/11/11 - Wait, I Almost Forgot the Elephant!

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
Think of an animal whose name contains an O. Change the O to an H, and rearrange the result to name another animal. What animals are these?
It's easy. Go to a list of animals and then use Ross's TEA to run anagrams of all the names with O's in them. It's an alphabetical list, so

ANTELOPE - O + H = ELEPHANT

Here's the fun part. There are a gazillion different sorts of antelopes, and they live in some unexpected places, so I have lots of photos to choose from. I didn't even bother with the elephants, although for all I know, there are some who live in these places as well.


The Sinai - the Arabian Oryx lives here (well, not in the water, but you know what I mean)

The Republic of Kalmykia in Russia - one of the last natural habitats of the Saiga Antelope

The Cape of Good Hope - the small African antelope, the Klipspringer lives here

A papyrus swamp in Uganda, a natural habitat for the semi-aquatic antelope, the Sitatunga

Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh, India, where the Blackbuck antelope is the state animal (yes, I daresay there are some elephants here too)

Tularosa Basin, New Mexico - the Gemsbok was introduced in 1969 and has thrived; there are an estimated 3,000 living here today
Time for ...
Here are this week's picks:
Fewer than 50
 51 - 100
101 - 150
151 - 200
201 - 250
251 - 300
301 - 350
351 - 400 -- Joe Kupe
401 - 450
451 - 500
 
501 - 550
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 -- Marie
1,101 - 1,150 -- Dave
1,151 - 1,200 -- Magdalen
1,201 - 1,250
1,251 - 1,300 -- Ross
1,301 - 1,350
1,351 - 1,400 -- Skydiveboy
1,401 - 1,450
1,451 - 1,500

1,501 - 1,550
1,551 - 1,600
1,601 - 1,650 -- Curtis
1,651 - 1,700
1,701 - 1,750
1,751 - 1,800 -- Jim (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")

Sunday, December 11, 2011

NPR Puzzle 12/11/11 - Animal Crackers

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
Think of an animal whose name contains an O. Change the O to an H, and rearrange the result to name another animal. What animals are these?
I wish I could tell you how I solved this, but it's all potentially hint-ful. I can't even say much about the puzzle itself, other than that we (Ross, Henry and I) all liked it.

If you solved it and liked it--and even if you solved it but didn't like it--send your answer in to NPR via this link right here.

Here are some photos of places Wiki says one or the other of these animals lives.






Time for ...

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 1700 entries. No one won. Remember, we're looking for the total number of entries. So pick a range in the comments to see if you'll win a prize!

But Henry has explained something that's had me scratching my head for quite some time. He says that if the Unpaid & Underappreciated Intern is at all technologically-inclined, he (or she) can search the bodies of all the week's entries for the correct word/s. So, last week, she (or he) could have searched for "baroque" and "barbque"/"bar-b-que." This would generate the number of correct entries rather than just the total number of entries. Of course, we'll never know unless the U&UI comes forward and lets us interview him/her.

Here are the ranges:
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
601 - 650
651 - 700
701 - 750
751 - 800
801 - 850
851 - 900
901 - 950
951 - 1,000
1,001 - 1,050         
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").  And yes, this rule is most-likely obsolete but I just like having fine print. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

NPR Puzzle 12/4/11 - Baroque 'N Dishes

Here's this week's NPR puzzle:
Name a style of music. Change the middle letter to a B, and you'll name a style of cooking. What are the style of music and the style of cooking? (There are several ways to spell the cooking style, but the answer is one of them.)
Ross and I had no trouble with this, primarily because we'd been to the Met Opera Company's high definition live relay of Rodelinda, a Handel opera. Handel's music is squarely in the Baroque period.
BAROQUE - R + B = BAR-B-QUE
Yes, that's not the standard spelling for barbeque, but it is a valid spelling.

My meta-puzzle (Take a name associated with the style of music, swap the last two letters and you'll get a word associated with the equipment/utensils you need to make the style of food) played with the obvious way to misspell Handel's name. I then culled the places from Handel's Wiki page. Conveniently, he spent some time in Italy before moving to England.

Halle, Germany, where Handel was raised. According to Wiki, Handel defied his parents by practicing at the keyboard (!).

Florence, Italy, where Ferdinando de' Medici hosted Handel in 1706

Burlington House (in London, 1961); the 3rd Earl of Burlington was Handel's first English patron

Handel lived in Cannons, a stately home that no longer exists. The paintings in this chapel in Witley had been in the chapel at Cannons.

Dusseldorf, which has some connection to Handel but damned if I can remember what.

Her Majesty's Theatre, London. Probably not the actual building where Handel's operas were performed, but the same name.

Time for ...

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 -- Natasha
551 - 600
601 - 650 -- Curtis
651 - 700
701 - 750
751 - 800
801 - 850 -- Ross
851 - 900 -- Joe Kupe
901 - 950 -- Dave
951 - 1,000

1,001 - 1,050 -- David
1,051 - 1,100
1,101 - 1,150
1,151 - 1,200 -- Magdalen
1,201 - 1,250 -- Dave
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 -- Skydiveboy
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 -- Jim (Mendo)
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")