Thursday, June 28, 2012

NPR Puzzle 6/24/12 - Shove That Stack of Chips Over the Goal Line!

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:

Think of a familiar three-word phrase that might be used in poker and add an "E" at the end and you'll get a two-word phrase that's common in football. What phrases are these? (The spaces in between the words changes in the two phrases but the letters stay in the same order.)
I was surprised with the comments that so many of you claim not to have heard of the poker term (GO ALL IN). But that's okay, the football term (GOAL LINE) is pretty ubiquitous.

We had some interesting comments in the Comments from Sunday, all about whether hinting on this blog (or Blaine's blog) can actually affect the number of NPR entries. Such an affect would be relevant for our Pick a Range contestants. We *used* to have Google Analytics set up for this blog, but Ross has informed me that it got "broken" or something and there's no way to turn it back on retroactively.

So I can't test out the theory, namely that with the very hard NPR puzzles, more people come looking here or at Blaine's blog (or other blogs that discuss the NPR puzzle, if there are other blogs), get the hint(s) that help and thus send in a correct entry for a puzzle they couldn't have solved otherwise. I figured if last week's Sunday post had significantly more hits, that could support the theory. Ross is turning analytics back on, so if the Puzzlemaster would kindly hit us with another bear of a puzzle, we will see what we can see.

Photos. The football photos were pretty obvious, even if it's the "wrong" sort of football in two of the three pictures. (I love the University of Michigan Law School gargoyle!!) But how many of you figured out the poker photos? Two of them are of Poker Flat Research Range in Alaska, the largest land-based rocket range in the U.S. The final photo is of red-hot pokers, a flower that (I learned when I looked for it on Wiki) is an environmental weed in Australia. You can click on the photos for more information; the one of the red hot pokers was taken at Sissinghurst, the famous gardens in Sussex established by Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicholson, so these very specific red hot pokers are not noxious weeds. (You're welcome; I know you worry.)








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
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 -- Natasha
1,051 - 1,100 -- Henry BW
1,101 - 1,150 -- Dave
1,151 - 1,200
1,201 - 1,250
1,251 - 1,300 -- Ross
1,301 - 1,350
1,351 - 1,400 -- Curtis
1,401 - 1,450 -- Marie
1,451 - 1,500

1,501 - 1,550 -- David
1,551 - 1,600
1,601 - 1,650 -- skydiveboy
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 -- Magdalen
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 + 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, June 24, 2012

NPR Puzzle 6/24/12 - Chips in the Pocket?

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
Think of a familiar three-word phrase that might be used in poker and add an "E" at the end and you'll get a two-word phrase that's common in football. What phrases are these? (The spaces in between the words changes in the two phrases but the letters stay in the same order.)
As Ross put it, "Great. Two things I know nothing about, poker & football." Luckily for him, I know a little something about both football and poker. Puzzle solved.

When you've solved it, send your answer in to NPR here.

This one is super-easy to hint at, so please be clever, subtle, obscure even. There are no points for obvious, and we'll yank any comment that really gives the game away.

Photos. Enh, Nothing wonderful here. I typed in "poker" and then, in a second search, "football" and selected among the results. No prizes for guessing which are which.









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.

NPR had a wopping 1,100 entries this week. As none of us picked higher than 650 last week, no prize will go out. Just goes to show, this game can still surprise us. Pick a range for the number of entries to be announced next Sunday on the radio. Don't think too hard about it, as that doesn't seem to help.

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, June 21, 2012

There's No Whining in Puzzles!

Here's this week's NPR puzzle:
Think of a common French word that everyone knows. Add a "v" (as in "violin") to the beginning and an "e" at the end. The result will be the English-language equivalent of the French word. What is it?
Yes, the answer is WINE. V+VIN+E with the trick being that two Vs make graphically make up one W.


Wasn't that fun? In the comments, Mendo Jim remarked that this reminded him of some other stinker puzzle, but I don't remember what puzzle that was. Ross suggests searching for "tricky" as code language for devious puzzles.


If you want some more oenophilic fun, can you guess which vineyards are in which countries? Click on the photos for the answers.


One more:

Time for...
Here are this week's picks:
Fewer than 50 -- Ross
 51 - 100 -- Curtis
101 - 150 -- Blaine
151 - 200 -- skydiveboy
201 - 250 -- phred
251 - 300 -- Marie
301 - 350 -- David
351 - 400 -- Magdalen
401 - 450 -- Ben
451 - 500
 
501 - 550 -- Natasha
551 - 600
601 - 650 -- Kevin
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 + 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, June 17, 2012

Eureka! (No Hint: That's a Greek Word)

Here's this week's NPR puzzle:
Think of a common French word that everyone knows. Add a "v" (as in "violin") to the beginning and an "e" at the end. The result will be the English-language equivalent of the French word. What is it?
Not easy. Or it is, and we've just not thought of it.

Four hours later...

Okay, we got it. Nice marital teamwork: I thought what the puzzle might be and Ross thought of the actual answer.

If you and/or your snuggle-bunny solved it, either or both of you can submit your answer here.

For the hardcore fans (and Blaine, whose blog is justly famous and who solved it HOURS before we did -- thanks for visiting, Smartypants) who commented on my placeholder, don't worry, I'll count your picks in the Pick-a-Range contest. For everyone else, know that some of the super-low ranges have been picked. To see which ones, go here.

We're instituting a NO HINTS rule for this one. Two reasons: 1) way too easy to hint (although I won't say why), and 2) Blaine's right: this could be the one with a small enough number of entrants that if you solve it you have a better-than-average chance of getting on the radio. So no hints, no jokes, no puns, and all violators will have their comments removed.

Photos: My NO HINTS rule applies here as well. So I'll tell you precisely what I typed into Flickr to get these photos (France + beautiful + landscape), and all the links to the photos are live. On Thursday, I'll have properly thematic photos.






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.

Just over 1,100 entries this week. No winner. As noted above, you'll probably want to snag one of the low ranges for the number of entries to be announced next Sunday on the radio. Who knows, you might be lucky.

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. 

Place holder

We are experiencing some mechanical or technical difficulties with our Internet connection. Is it the router? Is it the modem? Is it some cable connection? Or will updating the software make a difference?

At this point we don't know.

But in addition, we haven't solved the puzzle, so we're stuck on both counts.

We will endeavor to post some pretty pictures of circuit boards or something as soon as we're back up.

Feel free to drop us a really cagey hint in the comments if we're being stupid about the puzzle. And if you know how to solve our Internet connection problems, do tell!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

NPR Puzzle 6/10/12 -- A Puzzlemaster Walks Into a Bar...

Here's this week's NPR puzzle:
Name something to sit on. Divide the letters of this exactly in half. Move the second half to the front, without changing the order of any letters. The result will name some things seen on computers. What are they?
The answer is BARSTOOL which becomes TOOLBARS. I think this was one that you either saw or you had to hunt for really hard. I might never have gotten it. (Yes, Puzzlemaster, cheating did not work for me. You are very wise and clever. You have earned your smugness justly-deserved title this week.)

Photos. Did anyone get my meta-puzzle? Here it is again:
Okay, clearly the answers to this week's NPR puzzle are anagrams of each other. If you take a single letter out, you can anagram the remainder. The photos all have that third, one-letter-shorter, anagram in their Flickr info. (And if you're playing at home, it's not the fish.)
The answer I was going for was BORSTAL (the fish is ROBALOS), which is a place in Kent, England, but it's also the British term for a juvenile detention center, or "juvie." Occasionally one of our pets will have to go into borstal, usually by being removed from the room. (When we lived in England, we loved the show, "Dog Borstal" where the owners have to live in tents and get trained to be better dog owners.)

The River Medway, Kent, looking over at Borstal.

Luddesdown, near Borstal

The abandoned chapel at a borstal. Remember, England has a national religion, so even a state-sponsored reform school would have a chapel.

Just a great photo, really, but it was taken near Borstal, in Kent

This is a photo taken at a bus stop in rural England. There's a large building on the horizon that's a borstal. Click on the photo to see the helpful box showing you which blob is the borstal.

The abandoned chapel at Eastmoor Reformatory, near Leeds

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
451 - 500 -- Magdalen
 
501 - 550 -- Dave
551 - 600
601 - 650 -- Mendo Jim
651 - 700
701 - 750 -- Marie
751 - 800
801 - 850 -- Ross
851 - 900
901 - 950
951 - 1,000

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
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
1,801 - 1,850 -- skydiveboy
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 + 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, June 10, 2012

NPR Puzzle 6/10/12 - The Hot Seat

Here's this week's NPR puzzle:
Name something to sit on. Divide the letters of this exactly in half. Move the second half to the front, without changing the order of any letters. The result will name some things seen on computers. What are they?
Ross just got this, which is a good thing, because it makes the Photos so much easier to do when I know the answer. Given that it took us 45 minutes (and we cheat!), would this be considered a hard puzzle?

Well, you would know because you've solved it. And sent your answer into NPR using this form right here.

Photos. Okay, clearly the answers to this week's NPR puzzle are anagrams of each other. If you take a single letter out, you can anagram the remainder. The photos all have that third, one-letter-shorter, anagram in their Flickr info. (And if you're playing at home, it's not the fish.)







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.

Just over 1,200 entries this week. We have a winner! Dave has won again. (We have your address, Dave, so your puzzle book will go out this week.) If anyone else wants a prize, pick a range for the number of entries to be announced next Sunday on the radio. Who knows, you might be right.

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, June 7, 2012

NPR Puzzle - Does NPR Get Product Placement Fees from NBC?

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
Take the names of two state capitals. Change one letter in each one, resulting in a phrase naming someone you will see soon on TV. Who is it? (Hint: You don't really have to know anything about TV to solve this puzzle.)
The state capitals are OLYMPIA, WASHINGTON and DOVER, DELAWARE. Change a letter in each and you get OLYMPIC DIVER.

Now, I said on Sunday that without the hint, this could have been a really elegant & challenging puzzle. What I meant by that was that we could have figured out that it had to be someone generic (as opposed to a specific person) and that the time of year was significant. Royal Jubilee (or, as Ross calls it, "the Jumbilee")? No, because that was hardly as ubiquitous as the Olympics. Presidential candidate? Well, yes, they really are ubiquitous, but not in every state...at least not as compared to "swing" states. And anyway, they won't become ubiquitous (please, oh please) until after Labor Day.

See? You could have figured out that it had to be the Olympics. But once he said the hint, the Olympics were almost a foregone conclusion. Or so it seemed in this household.

I thought the "hints" in the Pick-a-Range comments were all much more elegant and subtle than Will Shortz's hint. But then I would. :-)

For the photos: I could have gone with Greg Louganis's Wiki page, but I kept it simple. I simply typed in the key words and names, Olympia & Olympic and Dover & diver, into Flickr, and here's what I got:

Dover Castle, Dover, England
Olympic National Park, Washington
Acapulco Cliff Diver (there's one in there; click on the photo to see the original in Flickr, which has a helpful box showing you where he is!)
A garden in Olympia, Washington
A rather more typical picture of Olympia, Washington (it's a rain forest, after all)
Silver Lake, Dover, Delaware

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
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 -- HenryBW
1,101 - 1,150
1,151 - 1,200
1,201 - 1,250 -- Dave
1,251 - 1,300
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 -- Ross
1,651 - 1,700
1,701 - 1,750
1,751 - 1,800
1,801 - 1,850 -- Magdalen
1,851 - 1,900
1,901 - 1,950
1,951 - 2,000

2,001 - 2,050 -- David
2,051 - 2,100
2,101 - 2,150 -- skydiveboy
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 -- Mendo Jim
4,501 - 5,000

More than 5,000
More than 5,000 + 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")