Thursday, August 30, 2012

NPR Puzzle 8/26/12 - Chopin's Nose Grew With Every Etude

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
Take the name of a popular children's character in nine letters. Several of its letters appear more than once in the name. Remove every duplication of a letter, so every letter that remains appears just once. This new set of letters can be rearranged to name a famous classical composer. Who is it?
This one wasn't hard unless, like us, you made it hard. I believe the intended means of solution was simply to think of PINOCCHIO and then think of CHOPIN. Or you could take the long way round, the way we did!

What was tricky this week, I gather, was the effort of sending in your entry into NPR. Thanks to Hansi Lo Wang, Producer at NPR, for stopping by with his assurance that the form was, finally, working again.

Photos: I looked at the Wiki pages for The Adventures of Pinocchio, Chopin, and Will Shortz. No one wanted to guess whose photos were whose, so read the captions.

This stunning photo (click on it for attribution) is of Crawfordsville, IN, Will Shortz's birthplace, although not precisely this spot, one imagines...

I cleverly picked a photo more reminiscent of northern European cities, but in fact this is Florence, the "birthplace" of The Adventures of Pinocchio, in that Carlo Collodi wrote it here.

This is Żelazowa Wola, Chopin's birthplace in Poland. (Again, I'm not suggesting these men were born in actual lakes & streams...)

Tuscany, an area of Italy mentioned however tangentially in the Pinocchio article. (Really? I just like infinity pools.)

University of Virginia law school, Will Shortz's alma mater, although he never took the bar exam.

Belweder Palace, where a young Chopin charmed the Grand Duke Constantine by playing the piano.

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 -- skydiveboy
701 - 750
751 - 800 -- Ross
801 - 850 -- Magdalen
851 - 900 -- Curtis
901 - 950 -- Dave
951 - 1,000
1,001 - 1,050 -- David
1,051 - 1,100 -- HenryBW
1,101 - 1,150
1,151 - 1,200
1,201 - 1,250 -- Joe Kupe
1,251 - 1,300
1,301 - 1,350
1,351 - 1,400
1,401 - 1,450
1,451 - 1,500

1,501 - 1,550 -- Marie
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. -- Mendo Jim
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). 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

NPR Puzzle 8/26/12 -- Will Shortz, You Be Illin!

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
Take the name of a popular children's character in nine letters. Several of its letters appear more than once in the name. Remove every duplication of a letter, so every letter that remains appears just once. This new set of letters can be rearranged to name a famous classical composer. Who is it?
Here's how we solved it. We used the Internet, we used Ross's software, we used specialty features in Ross's software, and after all that, I said, "Have we tried [composer's name here]?" and Ross said,"[Famous children's character]."

Easy-peasy.

And because we know you were able to solve it without any of our false starts and missteps, you can send the correct answer in to NPR using the expected form here.

Before we get to the photos, we have some celebrating to do. For whatever reason (such as, his Wiki page is wrong on this point), Linda Wertheimer did not mention that today is Will Shortz's 60th birthday!

(you can click on the cake to see who it was originally decorated for!)

In honor of Will's birthday, I want everyone to watch the clip from The Colbert Report concerning the January NYT crossword in which the answer ILLIN was clued as "Wack, in hip hop." Unfortunately, Viacom won't let me embed the clip, so I have to trust that you'll actually go watch it.

Here it is. Ooh, wait, I might be able to embed it (in violation of I don't know how many copyright laws...), so let's try:


I think that might work. Happy Birthday, Will! I really love that you're older than me.

Okay, for photos, we've got three names: the children's character (I give nothing away when I say it's got its own Wiki page), the composer, and Will Shortz. Which photos relate to whose Wiki page? Feel free to guess in the comments, provided you use the obvious attributions: Character, Composer, Puzzlemaster. No inadvertent revealing the answer, please.







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 1500 entries this week. Two things. First, my apologies to Dave, who got in a legal pick on Thursday but I'd already loaded the post for publication and Ross didn't make the adjustment. Of course you'd have won were it not for the minor detail that you picked the wrong range. Second, I thought for sure someone had won this week, I mean, 1500+ is such an appealing pick. What's wrong with you people? Guess smarter!
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). 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

NPR Puzzle 8/19/12 - We Are The Tealess Match Points

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
Name the winning play in a certain sport: two words, five letters in each word. These two words share exactly one letter. Drop this letter from both words. The remaining eight letters can be rearranged to name the person who makes this winning play. What person is it?
You can almost imagine the creator of this puzzle, Ken Rudy, watching Andy Murray winning the gold medal in tennis at the Olympics and thinking, "Hunh. Match point...Champion...Time to email Will Shortz!"

That's the answer, by the way: CHAM (from MATCH - T) and PION (from POINT - T).

One of the nice things about Ross being an ex-pat from the U.K. and a naturalized citizen of the U.S. is that he got to celebrate all the gold medals for both countries, including tennis.

Photos. The first two have CHAMPION in their descriptions (Champion Mine and Champion, NY); then MATCH (match stick lichen and the ruins of a Diamond Match Company site) and POINT (a different lichen, but photographed at Point Lobos, CA, and Point de Chateaux, Guadeloupe.) Click on any of the photos for more information.








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 -- musettesmom
851 - 900
901 - 950 -- Mendo Jim
951 - 1,000
1,001 - 1,050 -- David
1,051 - 1,100 -- HenryBW
1,101 - 1,150
1,151 - 1,200
1,201 - 1,250 -- Magdalen
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
1,801 - 1,850
1,851 - 1,900 -- Ross
1,901 - 1,950
1,951 - 2,000
2,001 - 2,050 -- Joe Kupe
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 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). 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

NPR Puzzle 8/19/12 - The Winning Answer

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
Name the winning play in a certain sport: two words, five letters in each word. These two words share exactly one letter. Drop this letter from both words. The remaining eight letters can be rearranged to name the person who makes this winning play. What person is it?
Ah, sports. So much for having an advantage with Henry here. I solved it on my own.

Of course, you didn't need a house guest to help you solve it, which is why you need this handy NPR page to submit your answer.

It's been all go here at Casa Crossword. Henry's up celebrating his birthday by building a toy ballista and a toy trebuchet, all to go with the toy onager from a few weeks ago. Yesterday, we traveled to Newark Valley, NY for a "steam up," a get-together of steam train enthusiasts all vying to run their trains around an outdoor track. Henry took one of his engines, but I'm not sure he actually ran it. It could just have been the "Get In Free" calling card he needed so he could do what he most loves: watch other people run their engines.

Me? I'm just writing a lot. Tons of deadlines, as far as the eye can see.

Photos. Let's go see what Flickr has for the three words in the 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.
There were more than 700 entries this week; we all guessed too high. Last week, we all guessed too low. Anyone know which way we'll err this week?
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). 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

NPR Puzzle 8/12/12 -- Attack of the Killer Bee!

Here's this week's NPR puzzle:
Name two insects. Read the names one after the other. Insert an H somewhere in this string of letters, and you'll complete a familiar word that is the opposite of what either of these insects is. What word is it?
The answer is BEHEMOTH = BE(H)E + MOTH

Full marks to Ross, who could see that "moth" could be the ending of an adjective. I got stuck on "ant" for that purpose! Silly me.

Photos: All I could think of was MOTHRA (the notable exception to the rule that all moths are small), and on MOTHRA's Wiki page, there was a mention to MOTHRA's similarities to a phoenix.

I promised you some photos of actual insects:







Time for...

Here are this week's picks (N.B. to Joe Kupe--Skydiveboy beat you to that range.):
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 -- David
1,051 - 1,100
1,101 - 1,150
1,151 - 1,200
1,201 - 1,250 -- Magdalen
1,251 - 1,300
1,301 - 1,350
1,351 - 1,400
1,401 - 1,450
1,451 - 1,500

1,501 - 1,550 -- Barbara
1,551 - 1,600
1,601 - 1,650 -- KDW
1,651 - 1,700
1,701 - 1,750
1,751 - 1,800 -- Kenneth
1,801 - 1,850 -- skydiveboy
1,851 - 1,900 -- Ross
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 -- Mendo Jim
2,351 - 2,400 -- Curtis
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 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). 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

NPR Puzzle 8/12/12 - Take the Sound Of an Annoying Insect...

Here's this week's NPR puzzle:
Name two insects. Read the names one after the other. Insert an H somewhere in this string of letters, and you'll complete a familiar word that is the opposite of what either of these insects is. What word is it?
I could see how this one worked, but I'll admit it proudly: Ross is better at these puzzles than I am. Which is why I keep him around. And not just to swat buzzy things dead...

If you've absolutely killed this puzzle, be sure to send the answer to NPR using this handy online form.

I had insomnia last night! Whoo-hoo. That makes it official: I'm not sick any more. Because for a while there, I was sleeping 8-10 hours a night and that's so unlike me it was unnerving. Of course, now that I'm 100% healthy, I'm also really, really sleepy.

Photos: I got to this set in a really weird roundabout way. All the photos are of Phoenix. (And you can click on each to read more about it.) Don't even try to guess how this relates to the puzzle; I'll explain on Thursday. I promise, I'll post photos of pretty bugs then.







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 1700 entries this week; we all guessed too low. Do we guess higher this week?
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). 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

NPR Puzzle 8/5/12 -- The Post in Which I Quote Nash

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
Take the name of a well-known U.S. city with four syllables. The first and last syllables together name a musical instrument, and the two interior syllables name a religious official. What city is it?
The answer is KALAMAZOO: kazoo around lama.


Time for some Ogden Nash:

 The one-l lama,
 He's a priest.
 The two-l llama,
 He's a beast.
 And I will bet
 A silk pajama
 There isn't any
 Three-l lllama.*
to which Nash appended the footnote
  *The author's attention has been called to a type of conflagration known
  as a three-alarmer. Pooh.
My thanks to the Wandering Minstrels. I have nothing witty to say about the lowly kazoo.

As for the photos, the only interesting thing to note is that there appears to be a Kalamazoo, Florida, at least according to the folks who posted Photos 3 & 4 on Flickr (everything else is of Kalamazoo, Michigan):








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 -- Ross
451 - 500
 
501 - 550 -- Joe Kupe
551 - 600 -- Magdalen
601 - 650
651 - 700 -- skydiveboy
701 - 750
751 - 800 -- Curtis
801 - 850 -- Anonymous
851 - 900
901 - 950
951 - 1,000
1,001 - 1,050 -- David
1,051 - 1,100 -- Henry BW
1,101 - 1,150
1,151 - 1,200 -- KDW
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 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).