Sunday, February 26, 2012

NPR Puzzle 2/26/12 Bye Bye Birdie

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
Name a bird. Change its second letter to an E to get the first name of a famous actor. Then name the female of that bird, and double one of its letters. You'll get the last name of this actor. What are the birds, and who is the actor?
Sadly, both Ross and I have been felled by "the dreaded lurgie" (which is, I gather, Britspeak for any nasty viral cold/flu thing). He's just getting over it, and I'm just starting mine. That's why this post is going live a bit later than usual. To be accurate, the delay isn't from solving the puzzle, which is pretty easy. More that I just didn't feel like getting out of bed this morning.

I'm sure you've all solved the puzzle in short order, so you'll want to send the answer in to NPR here.

Photos: I looked at the selection of photos associated with the bird's name and I'm afraid it's too much of a giveaway. So I went with the tried and true approach: All of the following pictures are of places mentioned in the actor's Wiki page. (So if you've solved the puzzle, go Wiki the name and see if you can tell where these photos were taken. No hints in the comments, though.)







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.

Ooh, we have two answers: 90 "correct" entries out of 270. That means Joe Kupe wins. Joe won in January so we have his address and we'll mail out his prize. And for everyone else, try to guess how many entries this week's relatively easy puzzle will yield and you too could win a cheesy 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, 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. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

NPR Puzzle 2/19/12 - What's Larger than a Minimart?

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.
Our answer, done rather hastily because of transatlantic travel for both of us, was MINIMART; MINnesota, Iowa, Missouri, ARkansas, Tennessee (or Texas, but I picked Tennessee for the photos.)

What were your words/states?

Photos were as follows:
Minnesota Sunset
Iowa County, Iowa
Ozark National Scenic Riverway, Missouri
Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park, Arkansas
Talimena Scenic Drive overlooking the Ouachita National Forest, Arkansas
Overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains, just off I-40 in Tennessee
Time for...
Here are this week's picks:

Fewer than 50
 51 - 100
101 - 150 -- Paul
151 - 200
201 - 250
251 - 300 -- Joe Kupe
301 - 350
351 - 400 -- Skydiveboy
401 - 450 -- Magdalen
451 - 500 -- Marie
 
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 -- David
1,051 - 1,100 -- Henry BW
1,101 - 1,150 -- Ross
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")

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. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

NPR Puzzle 2/12/12 -- Yes, Virginia, There Is a Will Shortz!

Here's this week's NPR puzzle:
Name two fictional characters — the first one good, the second one bad. Each is a one-word name. Drop the last letter of the name of the first character. Read the remaining letters in order from left to right. The result will be a world capital. What is it?
All you need is a list of world capitals (Wiki has this nice one here; I swear there are countries on here I've never heard of!) and a good eye. I had to read the list twice before I found it:

SANTA - A + IAGO = SANTIAGO (Chile)

Poor Jim. His granddaughter must be confused about Santa being allegedly "fictional." But c'mon, Jim, what do you tell her at the mall when she sees a Santa in the big chair taking requests from other little kids and then, half a mall away, there's another Santa ringing a bell and taking change for the United Way? I'm guessing you tell her a story about how the REAL Santa has helpers in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Well, tell her that mean ol' Will Shortz was talking about one of the fictional Santas in the mall.

Photos. I wonder if any of you guessed: all the places pictured have "Santa" in their name. I avoided the obvious Santa Monica Pier and went for more obscure places, but this does explain the rather Hispanic quality to the architecture.


The Sanctuary of Santa Lucia in Viana de Castelo, Portugal. Here's the Wiki page in Portuguese, I assume.
Santa Maria Cay, Cuba (the missing railing was, perhaps, a clue)
Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands
Santa Lucia, in the Basque Region of Northern Spain
Santa fe de Antioquia, Colombia

The Monastery of Santa Maria de Lebeña, Spain
Time for...
Here are this week's picks:

Fewer than 50
 51 - 100
101 - 150
151 - 200
201 - 250
251 - 300
301 - 350
351 - 400 -- Curtis
401 - 450
451 - 500
 
501 - 550 -- Marie
551 - 600 -- Henry BW
601 - 650
651 - 700 -- Skydiveboy
701 - 750
751 - 800
801 - 850 -- Magdalen
851 - 900
901 - 950 -- Dave
951 - 1,000

1,001 - 1,050 -- David
1,051 - 1,100
1,101 - 1,150 -- Ross
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 -- Tobias
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 -- Jim of Mendo fame
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")

Sunday, February 12, 2012

NPR Puzzle 2/12/12 Is Dumbledorvoldemort a World Capital?

Here's this week's NPR puzzle:
Name two fictional characters — the first one good, the second one bad. Each is a one-word name. Drop the last letter of the name of the first character. Read the remaining letters in order from left to right. The result will be a world capital. What is it?
Not particularly hard. Ross and I did it together with a Skype connection. (He's in the UK but the time difference wasn't a problem for once.)

If you've solved it, with or without the help of Skype, send your answer in to NPR here.

You know what's coming next. Photos. I'll leave you to surmise their connection to the puzzle. To the best of my knowledge, none of the photos is of the capital city or its corresponding nation.







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.

This week, there were "over 800" entries, which means in some abstract sense I won. Again. (My prize was not having to change this paragraph much from last Sunday's post.) You will get a MUCH better prize if you successfully pick the range for this week's puzzle. So enter!

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. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

NPR Puzzle 2/5/12 -- At Least They Don't Eat Each Other

Here's this week's puzzle:
Name an animal. Add the letters "A" and "T," and rearrange the result to name another animal. These are both animals that might be found in a zoo, and the last letter of the first animal is the first letter of the last one.
Ross solved this using TEA, I believe. But he's in the UK now so I can't ask him. Anyway, the answer is GORILLA + AT = ALLIGATOR

Yup, it's my turn to keep the home fires burning. Literally: here's our wood stove which heats 2/3 of our house!

Photos. I didn't ask you to guess what these photos had to do with gorillas and alligators, but I'm curious if anyone did. It's a variation on a now-familiar theme: I go to Wikipedia, look up the answers, and find photographs of something in the relevant Wiki pages. Clearly I couldn't use habitat photos: the relevant regions of Africa for the gorilla are pretty specific and thus too much of a hint. Ditto the habitat of the alligator. So I settled on the stuff these animals eat (or in the case of the larger mammals shown, the stuff that alligators ambush because I honestly don't know if alligators eat Florida panthers, or just kill them).

First up: the alligator's "diet" includes:
The Black Bear (teeny splodge in the center of the picture)

The Florida Panther

The Razorback, here in metallic form in Little Rock, Arkansas
By contrast, the gorilla eats rather lower on the food chain (and, one might say, more healthily):
Bananas (yes, this is just a banana leaf, but don't you think an actual banana would have been too much of a hint?)

Ants. That's an anthill in Mali, by the way. Using the foliage for scale, it's freaking huge.

Bamboo, in this instance used as a decorative element in Paris.

Time for...
Here are this week's picks:

Fewer than 50
 51 - 100
101 - 150
151 - 200
201 - 250
251 - 300
301 - 350
351 - 400
401 - 450 -- Paul
451 - 500
 
501 - 550 -- Joe Kupe
551 - 600 -- Henry BW
601 - 650
651 - 700 -- Ross
701 - 750
751 - 800
801 - 850 -- Magdalen
851 - 900
901 - 950 -- Dave
951 - 1,000 -- KJ

1,001 - 1,050 -- David
1,051 - 1,100
1,101 - 1,150
1,151 - 1,200
1,201 - 1,250
1,251 - 1,300 -- Skydiveboy
1,301 - 1,350
1,351 - 1,400 -- Curtis
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 -- Marie
1,801 - 1,850
1,851 - 1,900
1,901 - 1,950
1,951 - 2,000

2,001 - 2,050 -- EKW
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 -- Jim of Mendo fame
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")

Sunday, February 5, 2012

NPR Puzzle 2/5/12 - Animal Crackers

Here's this week's puzzle:
Name an animal. Add the letters "A" and "T," and rearrange the result to name another animal. These are both animals that might be found in a zoo, and the last letter of the first animal is the first letter of the last one.
Ross solved this while I was otherwise occupied, leaving me to ponder the real question of what photos to use. But we'll get to that in a moment.

If you solved it, congratulations! You don't have to pick photos, so you can go straight to the NPR site and log in your answer.

Photos. There's a connection to the answer(s) to the puzzle, but I'll give you a BIG hint. Any animals you see in the following photos ARE NOT the answer.







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.

This week, there were 330 entries, which means in some abstract sense I won. (I don't actually send myself a puzzle book.) I'll send one to YOU if you successfully pick the range for this week's puzzle. So enter!

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.