Sunday, October 14, 2012

NPR Puzzle 10/14/12 - Ordinary Dinner Table Conversation?

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.
We thought of an answer and looked up five more.

This is a highly hintable puzzle, so let's keep the comment thread spoiler-free, shall we? Many thanks in advance.

Send any of your equally correct answers to NPR through this link here.

If you want to scroll down to the preceding post, my quilt was the last one. The blurry photography was the giveaway. Here's a larger view of it:

For this week's photos, here are some Flickr pix found using some of the multiple answers to today's puzzle:

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.

Sharp-eared listener KDW heard what we clearly missed, as evidenced by what I originally posted:
Alas, all we got this week was the number of correct entries: 65. Ordinarily we get the number of total entries. As you can imagine, the Pick A Range officials can't control what NPR gives us, so we make do. To be clear: we want you to guess the single number the NPR host will announce. If the NPR host announces both the total number of entries and the number of people who got the answer right, we want the larger of those two numbers. That's what the Pick A Range contest was always meant to be guessing: the number of entries that NPR received.
In fact, Rachel announced that there were over 300 entries (I'll save Mendo Jim the subtraction: more than 235 wrong answers), so Skydiveboy is the winner! Congratulations, Skydiveboy. I believe we may have a special present to send out to you. I'll check.

It's a range. Take a guess. You might win and get 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 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). 


KDW said...

Magdalen, did I hear this wrong on the radio? I thought we were told "more than 300" entries -- which would make skydiveboy the winner, no?

Magdalen said...

Oh, gosh, we totally missed that this morning. (I blame Ross; he can post his own comment blaming me.)

I will amend the post and offer Skydiveboy his prize. Thanks, KDW, for pointing out our error.

skydiveboy said...

Well I have always been unsure just what determins who wins since NPR is inconsistant in how they report the responses. Personally I wish they would always report the correct answers submitted. This time is was interesting to know both numbers. I suspect by the way they worded it, there were more like 64 or 63 correct entries, but that is only an educated guess on my part. I am a bit surprised so few got it right because I do not think it is all that difficult to solve as long as it is approached logically.

1201 for this week.

Joe Kupe said...

501 - 550, please! Thanks!

David said...

Some people would include some words that I (and probably Will)wouldn't. Including some former presidents.

I'll take the 1001 to 1050 range again, please.

Mendo Jim said...

I wonder if the proper measuring device coule have detected a wave of groans (or perhaps only sighs) sweeping across the timezones as Will announced: "..several of us were giving puzzles to each other. And here's one I thought of on the spot:"

It is always dangerous when Will uses words like "unique" and "specific and very unusual."
These usually mean that he has not spent any time thinking about the challenge himself.

The property he is looking for occured to me in moments, with a little boost on further thought.

Unless by "property," he meant "properties," then there are dozens of words I came up with in a very short time that fit the bill. There are more than one in this post.
I'd sent a long list to the Pmaster, but such an effort is much like a letter to Santa.

Without some cooperation from the intern at the behest of Dr. Shortz, the our range game is on the skids.

Mendo Jim said...

Sorry for the typos. I would correct them if there is a way.

Peter said...

I thought of an answer too, but then again it could be wrong.

It seems almost impossible to make a post with no spoilers in it, except this sentence I just wrote. Ah, damn, I mean darn.

I say >5000 and sets a new record.

KDW said...

I hope NPR's Puzzlemaster keeps on giving both the total number of entries and the number of correct entries. It's fun -- especially if one is in the minority of correct answers!

But I am glad the range-guessing is for total number of entries only. May I please have 1,551-1,600?

Mendo Jim said...

We kind of concluded a year or more back that the NPR staff assigned to Dr. Shortz would simply pick an entry and, failing some shortcoming (such as being wrong), make its author the on-air contestant.
We didn't think they would read each submission (out of regularly 1000 or 2000) to separate the right from wrong and then make the random selection.
These last two weeks, someone noticed that this ratio was too out of balance to use the regular technique.

This week I have assumed there are two criteria to make up Will's "specific and very unusual" property, one general and one involving an ordinal number.
I have a pad of paper with a list of the words I have so far and find it easy to add more with little thought. Sometimes it seems that list is endless.

Wouldn't t be nice if Will prefaces next week's show with "Hmmm. There seems to be more correct answers than I expected."
Reading this over, I find several unintentional ones of them.

Anonymous said...

I also thought about how they might sort out the correct answers. Often the incoming emails could be searched for a word, phrase, or number that's in the correct answer, for example: 82 last week. They could miss emails that expressed it differently, like "eighty two," not 82.

For a range, I guess 1301-1350.