Thursday, October 18, 2012

NPR Puzzle 10/14/12 - Nothing Silent in "Politician"

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
What specific and very unusual property do these five words have in common: school, half, cupboard, Wednesday and friend? Identify the property and name a sixth word that shares the property.
Good marital team work on Sunday: Ross saw that the third letter of each word is silent, then I thought of WALK as an example (my argument: WALK rhymes with ROCK but BALK doesn't because you pronounce the L; for that matter, WALK and BALK don't rhyme). Ross looked up five more:
DEBT
SIGN
PEOPLE
POTPOURRI
JEOPARDY
For this week's photos, I typed each of the six answers into Flickr to see what I would get. Click on the photo to see which word went with each picture (you can even try to guess before looking):







Time for
Here are this week's picks:
Fewer than 50
 51 - 100
101 - 150
151 - 200
201 - 250
251 - 300
301 - 350 -- K-Dub
351 - 400
401 - 450
451 - 500
 
501 - 550 -- Joe Kupe
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
1,101 - 1,150
1,151 - 1,200 -- Magdalen
1,201 - 1,250 -- skydiveboy
1,251 - 1,300
1,301 - 1,350 -- meaghn
1,351 - 1,400
1,401 - 1,450
1,451 - 1,500

1,501 - 1,550 -- KDW
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 -- Ross
3,001 - 3,250
3,251 - 3,500
3,501 - 4,000
4,001 - 4,500
4,501 - 5,000

 > 5,000
 > 5,000 + new record. -- Peter
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 still just like having fine print). 

6 comments:

Paul said...

I've wondered a time or two what that 'o' was doing in 'people'.
The internet/txtmsg abbreviation 'ppl' leads me to wonder if 'applique' would be a valid 'sixth word' this week.
Maybe I actually hope Wil is playing 'Calvinball' with us.

Mendo Jim said...

Unless I am missing something, then this challenge approaches Will's worst ever.
The "specific and very unusual property" shared by these words is that their third letter is silent.


I'll bet my $1 entry fee that I can list 100 words that fit Will's requirement.

So, he either purposely mislead his million listeners or he simply didn't try it himself.

rôk, wôk, tôk and bôk are pretty near the universal pronuciation guides for rock, walk, talk and balk.
If that doesn't mean they rhyme, then English may not be my first language afterall.

Not fun.

Paul said...

MJ:
Mis{Pb}?
Just askin'.
:)

Mendo Jim said...

Whoops! Must have had lead on my mind. I'll get it (Pb)out.
Total closer to two hundred.
The letter doesn't have to be useless (hmmm, there's one of 'em), just silent.

Anonymous said...

Mendo Jim, the USA is not actually the universe. :-) In English, the O in "rock" is pronounced differently from the A in yo*r other three examples. Just to confuse things, my usual dictionary (which is actually Scottish) uses o-umlaut, not o-circumflex, as a pronunciation code for that A, and a plain li*tle o for the O. And as far as I can make out, the IPA code is apparently ɔː (in case that doesn't come out clearly, a ba*kwards li*tle C followed by a colon) for the A, and ɒ (a ba*kwards li*tle A of the sort without a hook on top) for the O.

Henry BW (who didn't enter this week, because he dismissed the silent letter as too common, without noticing that it was always the third letter).

skydiveboy said...

Always the third letter? Not really. There are other silent letters in those words too.
I also noticed that the third letters were silent in this puzzle, but I then began to see more than this. The silent letters do not influence the pronounciation of the words they inhabit. Also, when these silent letters are removed the pronounciation is not changed.
And another point: There are silent letters in the second syllables of the two syllable words as well, and they too are in the third position, but I think the property that is unusual is, or should be, that when removed no new word is formed. We shall soon see. Regardless, I have no confidence in Will Shortz.