Sunday, January 15, 2012

NPR Puzzle 1/15/12 - Willin' to be Illin'

This is Crossword Man blogging for Magdalen again. The hot news is that she is driving home later today, a day earlier than expected (yay!). M will take over the NPR blog posts from when the next puzzle is read out on air.

So I managed to guess the right answer to last week's NPR puzzle without realizing it, although I didn't get bumper as the six-letter term, it being unaccountably absent from the Bowler's Paradise glossary. The problem with a puzzle like this is that the terminology associated with very popular games isn't clearly defined, making it hard for those not aficionados.

As they said on the show, a difficult puzzle. An interesting and welcome development is that the total number of entries (230) and number deemed correct (almost 140) were announced. I forget now if we award Pick a Range prizes based on the total or correct entries, but happily both figures fall into gaps in the guesses ... no prize today.

If you haven't yet seen The Colbert Report's segment on the wack/illin' kerfuffle, here it is:

This week's NPR puzzle is one of their occasional "creative" ones, since Something Is Afoot for next Sunday's show: congratulations to Weekend Edition Sunday and Will Shortz on their 25th anniversary!
This is a special two-week creative challenge. Combine the titles of some TV shows, past or present, into an amusing sentence or statement. For example: "TODAY / SISTERS / NAME THAT TUNE / FATHER KNOWS BEST," "DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES / BEWITCHED / MY THREE SONS / ONE DAY AT A TIME," "I'VE GOT A SECRET / MURDER, SHE WROTE / THE F.B.I." Entries will be judged on their sense, naturalness of syntax, humor, originality, familiarity of the TV shows named, and overall effect. No more than three sentences per entry, please.
As usual, Submit Your Answer to NPR first, but please share the fruits of your hard work with us when the next post appears after the deadline for entries closes on Thursday January 26. Probably only the winner and one or two runners-up sentences will be read out on air, but we'd like to see everything you creative folks come up with.

Here's a related picture puzzle. Each of these pictures is a clue to one of the top 100 TV shows of all time, as listed by TIME TV critic James Poniewozik. As usual, clicking on the image will take you to the corresponding flickr page, which will tell you the answer:

Here's a final two clued with numbers:

7  123423478763639

2 3 5 7 11 13 17 19 23 29 31 37 39?

Which brings us to ....

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.  Magdalen 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.

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. 


Mendo Jim said...

Test comment, no soap.

OK, so Blogger is back to demanding third-party cookies to post comments.

Phooey on last week's challenge.

Will ignored several alternative answers as usual, but I want to know where the desired "pins" are on my cars.
Kingpin (an automotive front end staple) and the # 5 or headpin in bowling would have been elegant (if mentioned).
One comprehensive bowling glossary does not have "bumper."

I have to say it is tough to take part in the "illin" discussion when one has NEVER heard the term.

Now it's on to TV. I've heard of those.

Crossword Man said...

Blogger's rollout of "threaded comments" seems to have caused problems with making and viewing comments at our blog. I'm trying the advised workaround of using a popup for comments until there's a proper fix.

skydiveboy said...

Cotter pins, as in Welcome Back Kotter.
Sucks, doesn't it?
Who ever heard of Bumper in regard to bowling? It is an obscure term for an added device used for little kids who begin bowling to keep their balls out of the gutter. Now how do we keep their minds out of the gutter? Children should be seen and not heard. "Don't put that bowling ball in your mouth! You don't know where it's been! i.e. in the gutter. Good luck!

Yesterday I sent in my three entries so I won't have to think about TV any more. I hate TV.

Anonymous said...

The interesting question is, what game did the other ninety entrants opt for?

Also, I don't know about not *adding* comments - it wouldn't even let me view the comments page.

Henry BW

Mendo Jim said...

I think I might believe "cotter pin" (aka "cotter key") was the intended three letter word if WS had specified it. Could have as well been kingpin, hinge pin, wrist pin, tach or speedo limit pin, wundow/door handle pin, etc.

I really wonder about the Puzzle when the on-air player says: "It's sort of a serendipitous puzzle for me because it's the first one I'd ever actually figured out."

Then I wonder if Will is trying to tell us something with that on-air segment's being: "Second to Last."

If I were going to submit "answers" to this week's challenge, I think would just post them here as I thought of them. Waiting until the magic moment a week from now is kind of silly.

As with all Will's "my judgment" puzzles, hundreds will die without ever seeing the light of day.

Go ahead, somebody, post something upbeat.

skydiveboy said...

Mendo Jim:
You forgot to mention the pinhead behind the steering wheel. No, I did not forget the other, slightly longer ....head.

Anonymous said...


There is nothing wrong with this car except the nut holding the steering wheel.

Henry BW

Curtis said...

Well, I've turned in my answer, with three sentences that I thought were funny. But, since I've entering the puzzle for years and never won, I hold no hope for this week, either. I'll guess the same range as last time: 351 - 400.

skydiveboy said...

301 this time.
I sent in a great one along with 2 others I like, so I know I will not be chosen. I'm such a cynic.

David said...

I never got to submit an answer, but I'm hoping the winner does something like use "Newhart" for "New Heart".

I'll go with 1001 to 1050, like always. Maybe we will actually get that many this week.

Marie said...

I don't think we will get many at all! So I am going with 201-250. Personally I hate this kind of "puzzle."

Mendo Jim said...

Just one more whack on the deceased equine:
I am thinking Will confused "VIN" with "PIN," but we'll never know.

Joe Kupe said...

401 - 450, please.

I guess Will didn't like my basketball answer: home and away - where a car goes, and mat, glass, floor and Piston (as in a player from Detroit!)