Sunday, August 26, 2012

NPR Puzzle 8/26/12 -- Will Shortz, You Be Illin!

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
Take the name of a popular children's character in nine letters. Several of its letters appear more than once in the name. Remove every duplication of a letter, so every letter that remains appears just once. This new set of letters can be rearranged to name a famous classical composer. Who is it?
Here's how we solved it. We used the Internet, we used Ross's software, we used specialty features in Ross's software, and after all that, I said, "Have we tried [composer's name here]?" and Ross said,"[Famous children's character]."


And because we know you were able to solve it without any of our false starts and missteps, you can send the correct answer in to NPR using the expected form here.

Before we get to the photos, we have some celebrating to do. For whatever reason (such as, his Wiki page is wrong on this point), Linda Wertheimer did not mention that today is Will Shortz's 60th birthday!

(you can click on the cake to see who it was originally decorated for!)

In honor of Will's birthday, I want everyone to watch the clip from The Colbert Report concerning the January NYT crossword in which the answer ILLIN was clued as "Wack, in hip hop." Unfortunately, Viacom won't let me embed the clip, so I have to trust that you'll actually go watch it.

Here it is. Ooh, wait, I might be able to embed it (in violation of I don't know how many copyright laws...), so let's try:

I think that might work. Happy Birthday, Will! I really love that you're older than me.

Okay, for photos, we've got three names: the children's character (I give nothing away when I say it's got its own Wiki page), the composer, and Will Shortz. Which photos relate to whose Wiki page? Feel free to guess in the comments, provided you use the obvious attributions: Character, Composer, Puzzlemaster. No inadvertent revealing the answer, please.

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. Or skip the comments and send an email with your pick to Magdalen (at) Crosswordman (dot) com. 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 choosing.
There were more than 1500 entries this week. Two things. First, my apologies to Dave, who got in a legal pick on Thursday but I'd already loaded the post for publication and Ross didn't make the adjustment. Of course you'd have won were it not for the minor detail that you picked the wrong range. Second, I thought for sure someone had won this week, I mean, 1500+ is such an appealing pick. What's wrong with you people? Guess smarter!
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 with a qualifier such as "about" or "around" (e.g., "We received around 1,200 entries."), AND two separate people picked the ranges of numbers just before and just after 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").  As of July 2012, this rule is officially no longer obsolete (and also I just like having fine print). 


Curtis said...

Well, the submission form doesn't work yet (it's about 10:00 AM MDT now). I'll post my guess if and when they get that fixed. The sooner they fix it, the higher I will guess.

Anonymous said...

It's now 12:31 Eastern and the form still doesn't work. Glad I came here to confirm it wasn't my FL computer being whacky in anticipation of Isaac churning our way.

David said...

12:47, still not working. About 10 seconds to solve. I'll stick with 1001 to 1050.

Curtis said...

So, I tried to use the Contact Us form to alert NPR to the submission issue. It also has the same issue. What will we do?

David said...

Guess fewer than 50?

Anonymous said...

My usual 1051-1100, please.

I got the nine-letter answer in seconds, though it took me a couple of miles to see why it was the right answer, and there's one detail I still need to clarify.

Henry BW

Mendo Jim said...

What oh what are we to think about this "challenge?"

The million listeners that Will claims simply must no longer pay attention.
If there were any real incentive to send in a response (assuming that app is repaired, poor babies), then there should be 50,000 of them.

Have both Will and his producer been transported to the Shortzone?

Should we worry about them?

How many robot submissions would this blog get without the protector?

Anonymous said...

Guess I'll go back to sending a post card. Is the USPS still operating?

David said...

Got through (finally) at about 11:15 EDT on Monday. It was still not working about an hour prior.

Anonymous said...

We did indeed have technical difficulties with NPR's "Contact Us" form on Sunday, 8/26. The form is now working, so if you submitted your answer on Sunday, please resubmit here:

Hansi Lo Wang
Producer, NPR's Weekend Edition

Curtis said...

Since the submission app was down for a day and a half, I'm guessing a lot of folks solved it and gave up on submitting. Hence, I'm guessing lower than average: 851 - 900.

skydiveboy said...


Joe Kupe said...

1201 - 1250 please. Anyone else miss the guest saying what the winner has won?

Dave said...

Simple. Even my son knows the answer. I'll go with 901-950. Grazie.

Marie said...

Got it in seconds without a computer, so it must be really easy, I'm not that good.

David said...

Joe, yes I do.