Sunday, November 4, 2012

NPR Puzzle 11/4/12 -- A Puzzle That's Good For You

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
The words "organic" and "natural" are both commonly seen at health food stores. What other seven-letter word, also commonly seen at health food stores, has five letters in common with organic and five letters in common with natural?
What an interesting puzzle. I hesitate to think how our clever commenters will torture the English language to hint at the answer. (That's not an invitation, by the way. I prefer not to recognize hints as such.)

The very best hint is to send the answer in to NPR using this whole grain, 100% natural contact page!

Here are some all-natural, organic photos:

Click through on any photo to see where it comes from. The last one is very cool: someone decided to make a rainbow cake using natural colorings. Here's the blog post.

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 1,000 entries, so David is the winner! David's been parked out in that range for a long time, so it's nice to see it pay off for him. A puzzle book will be on its way to David (and to our two previous winners, who've waited a long time for me to finish being away from the stash!).
Guess the range for this week's puzzle.

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). 


EKW said...

This is easy, so I guess 1201-1250 correct answers.

Curtis said...

Very easy one this week. I'll go with 1,351 - 1,400.

skydiveboy said...


saphir said...

Hey, that first picture is my local favorite natural foods store!

David said...

There are 136,080 possible letter sequences that meet the constraints of this puzzler. That was what I calculated during my long run this morning. Someone with better computer skills and access to an online dictionary could figure out how many of those combinations are actual words.

Sunday morning most of us had the rare opportunity to solve the puzzle before we learned what the puzzle was. All we had to do was read the puzzle between 1:00 am and 2:00 am daylight savings time (DST) and solve it in less than an hour, but after DST ended.

I read the puzzle too soon to be able to do so, but I did run a 5k race that started at 1:50 am and finished a little after 1:12 am.

Magdalen, thanks for the prize. If you haven't already mailed it, send it instead to someone affected by Sandy. I'll take my standby 1001 to 1050 again

EKW said...


I agree with your arithmetic, but the size of the number is mostly due to the fact that 7 distinct items can be ordered in 5,040 different ways, and 7 items two of which are identical can be ordered in 2,520 different ways. You really have only 36 sets of 7 items to examine. I use Andy's Anagram Solver on problems like this, and it works like a charm. I found 12 words. Of course the puzzle itself is so easy that all this is just for curiosity in any case.22

Paul said...

36 lrkp bb 7 rgq rk njrzerj ekshg afiaj pvke zu ricilnyy, uhk F bjcr sfraz 2 nheup...pdrex zq hl kh...vebepzt.

Dave said...

Call me nuts, but I'm going for 1,301 to 1,350.

Anonymous said...

My usual 1051-1100, please.

I found one good answer the old-fashioned way, then stopped looking. I make it 48 sets of 7, assuming that you're allowed to use both A's, and that the letters are neither bosons nor leptons. That gets me to 181,440 permutations.

Henry BW

Mendo Jim said...

I'm still standing in the corner where I sent myself after my precipitous criticisms of last week's puzzle,
This one is back to the five minute variety, but with Merl Reagle's concision.
How did anyone spot this arrangement?

David said...

Henry BW-
I think you are double counting the combinations with two As.

Joe Kupe said...

901 - 950 please. And no worries on the prize delivery, take your time! I'll just wait and have some organic chocolate milk!

KDW said...

May I have 1,551-1,600, please?