Sunday, February 19, 2012

NPR Puzzle 2/19/12 -- It's a Never-Never Marconne

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
Next week's challenge is a spinoff of the on-air challenge. The word "marten," as in the animal, consists of the beginning letters of "Mississippi," "Arkansas," "Texas," and "New Mexico"; you can actually drive from Mississippi to Arkansas to Texas to New Mexico in that order. What is the longest common English word you can spell by taking the beginning letters of consecutive states in order as you travel through them? Puzzlemaster Will Shortz's answer has eight letters, but maybe you can top that.
Okay, just keeping it real: Ross is in the UK and I'll have joined him by the time the puzzle is on the radio. So we're going to cobble together some sort of minimal post now, and augment it later today.

Edited to add: we've gotten an eight-letter word using five states. I'll use that for the photo array (doubling a state just because I like being mean to poor Jim's dial-up) but we reserve the right to replace our answer with something longer and cooler.

If you've solved the puzzle without leaving the country, excellent. Celebrate that fact by sending your answer in to NPR here.

Photos will go here. We promise. Six photos; five states.





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.

If someone will post the number of (winning) entries, we'll confirm who won. Edited to add: it was just under 1,000 entries, and no one won. Obviously, the prize will go would have gone out as soon as we got home.

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. 

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I assume that sea-trips between states not contiguous overland are not permitted, but are plurals and other inflected forms? If so, a lot of us will end up in South Carota.

Assuming the count will be of "entries" not "winning entries" or even "valid entries", may I have my old 1051-1100, please.

Henry BW

skydiveboy said...

I found a 9 letter word using five states. I will go with 351.

David said...

I have a nine letter word, using 3 states. I haven't yet submitted my answer becaue I'm hoping for double digits.

I will go with my standard 1001 to 1050, please.

Paul said...

101 - 150 please.

David said...

It turns out I can't count. My "nine" letter word over 3 states is actually only eight letters.

Spent some time the last couple days on an airplane, looking at a map of the US, looking for an elusive nine letter word.

Marie said...

Haven't had time to work on this but I can still pick a range 451-500.

Joe Kupe said...

Only got eight letters twice! 251 -300 please.

skydiveboy said...

OMISSIOONS Nine letters. Oklahoma, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota. Not at all a nice drive.