Thursday, October 31, 2013

Enough to Drive a Puzzler to Drink!

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
Name a brand of beer. Rearrange the letters to name an activity often associated with beer.
Ross got this literally a) today, and b) only after I nagged him because I hadn't a clue! He did. He'd guessed, correctly, that he'd solve it from the activity, not the name of the beer.

He was right. The activity is TOASTING and the beer is Chinese: TSINGTAO. (The link takes you to their Wiki page.)

That was close. I really did not want to write a blog in which I had to admit we hadn't been able to solve it.

According to "Squashimono," who took the first photo, "Qingdao is a happy city. Laid back, full of charm, nice architecture, great seafood and tasty tasty beer."







Time for

Here are this week's picks:
Fewer than 50
 51 - 100
101 - 150
151 - 200
201 - 250
251 - 300 -- Ross
301 - 350 -- Joe Kupe
351 - 400 -- Marie
401 - 450 -- Magdalen
451 - 500
 
501 - 550 -- David
551 - 600 -- zeke creek
601 - 650
651 - 700 -- Word Woman
701 - 750
751 - 800
801 - 850
851 - 900
901 - 950 -- KDW
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

 > 5,000
 > 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, October 27, 2013

A Redneck's Last Puzzle?

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
Name a brand of beer. Rearrange the letters to name an activity often associated with beer.
We're working on it. It doesn't help that neither of us drinks beer.

But you're all way smarter than we are, so you've sent in your answer (using NPR's shy little contact form) and cracked open a brewskie in celebration.

Meanwhile, a joke:
Q: What are a redneck's last words? 
A: "HOLD MY BEER AND WATCH THIS!" 
Back to the puzzle. Which we haven't solved yet. And Henry's not answering his phone, darn him. (He's our resident beer drinker.)

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 or a contribution to The One Fund Boston (or the American Red Cross, presumably still helping communities hit by tornadoes) in the winner's honor.

They didn't announce any number other than there was a single "right" entry. But Will Shortz kindly allowed as how they got "about" 300 entries, which means Marie wins. And Mendo Jim wins. Puzzle books? Or a donation. Email us and let us know.

Is the beer puzzle easy? We're not finding it so. Pick a range and see if you can win.

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, October 24, 2013

New York, New York, It's a Populous Town

Here's this week's NPR puzzle:
Take a seven-by-seven square grid. Arrange the names of U.S. cities or towns in regular crossword fashion inside the grid so that the cities used have the highest possible total population, according to the 2010 Census. For example, if you put Chicago in the top row and Houston in the sixth row, both reading across, and then fit Atlanta, Oakland and Reno coming down, you'll form a mini-crossword. And the five cities used have a total population, according to the 2010 census, of 5,830,997. You can do better.

As in a regular crossword, the names must read across and down only. Every name must interlock with at least one other name. And no two letters can touch unless they are part of a name.

What is the highest population total you can achieve? And when you send in your answer, please include the names of the cities, in order, across and down.
This took a couple logical twists to get the highest total. First, use as many of the most populous cities in 7 letters or fewer: New York (duh), Chicago, Houston, San Jose, etc. Next, you needed to link them up in proper crossword fashion.

We invited our readers to send in their grids so that Ross could make them look pretty and I could use them as the art work this week. I've made a spreadsheet with everyone's totals, which I'll happily forward to those brave few who sent in their grids.

Here are the submissions we've gotten so far:

PW's Cities (total: 11,249,849)
(Note to PW: I couldn't find a 2010 Census total for Osier, Colorado. Nor could I find an alternate Osier. So while the grid is legal and pretty, Osier didn't up your total any.)

RF's Cities (total: 13,701,979)
JG's Cities (total: 13,868,994)
(Note to JG: Sorry we took so long to post your entry. Your claimed score is a little higher than what we make it based on the 2010 figures from Wikipedia.)

JW's Cities (total: 13,907,631)
(Note to JW: I maybe cheated in your favor by using Scio Township, Michigan (pop. 20, 081) as opposed to Scio, New York (pop. 1,833). Subtract 18,148 from your total if you think I should have used Scio, New York.)

WW's Cities (total: 14,007,612)
(Note to WW: The total is 5,754 less than what you gave, but I can't see where the discrepancy might have arisen. Did you have one more city on the top row?)

JK's Cities (total: 14,098,912)

CM's Cities (total: 14,628,173)

So far, Crossword Man (aka Ross) is the winner. But we don't send our entries in!

Time for
Here are this week's picks:
Fewer than 50 -- Mendo Jim
 51 - 100 -- zeke creek
101 - 150 -- Word Woman
151 - 200 -- Joe Kupe
201 - 250 -- Alex B.
251 - 300 -- Marie
301 - 350 -- Ross
351 - 400 -- Magdalen
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
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

 > 5,000
 > 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, October 13, 2013

Ooh, The Creative Challenge

Here's this week's NPR puzzle:
Take a seven-by-seven square grid. Arrange the names of U.S. cities or towns in regular crossword fashion inside the grid so that the cities used have the highest possible total population, according to the 2010 Census. For example, if you put Chicago in the top row and Houston in the sixth row, both reading across, and then fit Atlanta, Oakland and Reno coming down, you'll form a mini-crossword. And the five cities used have a total population, according to the 2010 census, of 5,830,997. You can do better.

As in a regular crossword, the names must read across and down only. Every name must interlock with at least one other name. And no two letters can touch unless they are part of a name.

What is the highest population total you can achieve? And when you send in your answer, please include the names of the cities, in order, across and down.
This should be fun.

Here's what Ross has offered: If you send your entry IN AN EMAIL, not in a comment (!), he'll use his crossword constructing software to make your puzzle all pretty. We'll then use YOUR puzzles as our art work in the "answer" post on Thursday, October 24. The email address is Ross (at) Crosswordman (dot) com.

Oh, and of course you should send your answer in to NPR using their lovely, if a bit shy, contact form.

For this week, let's look at some of the more populous cities, shall we? You can click through on any of the photos, but for the top ten cities, here's Wiki's list.








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 (10/24) post is up, the entries are closed. The winner gets a puzzle book of our choosing or a contribution to The One Fund Boston (or the American Red Cross, currently helping communities hit by tornadoes) in the winner's honor.

Ross committed the ultimate sin--he talked over the announcement of how many entries they got. I heard it as 184; we checked with Henry who heard 180. (Anyone hear anything different?) Either way, Joe Kupe won, so let us know if you want a puzzle book or a contribution in your name.

Take your time constructing your puzzle, but when you've sent your answer in to NPR, send it here as well. Oh, and pick a range and see if you can win in two weeks.

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, October 10, 2013

Shattering Glasses

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
What familiar saying in seven words has seven consonants in a rows? (Could also be expressed in nine words.)
The answer is PEOPLE [WHO LIVE] IN GLASS HOUSES SHOULDN'T THROW STONES.

As I mentioned on Sunday, we disagreed how to solve this. My approach was to use TEA, Ross's wunderbar software. Ross had tried that, but hadn't found the phrase in question, so he was going to look through a list of adages. I won, mostly because I asked TEA for a list of words that ended in four consonants, not counting Y.

If you count Y as a consonant, you get IF AT FIRST YOU DON'T SUCCEED, TRY TRY TRY AGAIN. Ten faux consonants in a row.

Glass. Well, I'm old so I thought of Philip Glass and not his younger, hipper cousin Ira. All of Sunday's photos are of places mentioned in Philip Glass's Wiki page.

Here are some glass houses, starting with the most famous Glass House, Philip Johnson's in New Canaan, Connecticut:







Time for

Here are this week's picks:
Fewer than 50
 51 - 100 -- KDW
101 - 150 -- Ross
151 - 200 -- Joe Kupe
201 - 250 -- zeke creek
251 - 300 -- Word Woman
301 - 350 -- Paul
351 - 400 -- Curtis
401 - 450 -- meaghn
451 - 500 -- Marie
 
501 - 550 -- David
551 - 600 -- Maggie Strasser
601 - 650 -- Magdalen
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

 > 5,000
 > 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, October 6, 2013

A, E, I, O, U, and (for the purposes of this puzzle) Always Y

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
What familiar saying in seven words has seven consonants in a rows? (Could also be expressed in nine words.)
A bit of marital dissension on this one, mostly about how to solve it. (Remember, we cheat but we also never send in our answers.) I won, in that my approach yielded the answer before Ross's approach did.

Incidentally, NPR doesn't seem to have the puzzle online at this time. Here, nonetheless, is the contact form.

Photos will be fun on Thursday (nod to those of you who have solved it already) but for now I'm going a different route.

Nothing about the following photos hints to the answer, so click on them and enjoy.







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 or a contribution to The One Fund Boston (or the American Red Cross, currently helping communities hit by tornadoes) in the winner's honor.

Last week's headache-inducing AND headache-curing puzzle garnered around "350" winning answers. Word Woman won, so let us know if you want a puzzle book or a contribution in your name.

Is this week's puzzle easy or hard? Kind of depends on whether you've solved it already. Pick a range and see if you can win 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, October 3, 2013

Did This One Give You a Headache?

Here's this week's NPR puzzle:
Name something in seven letters that most people keep in their homes. Take the first, third, fourth and seventh letters and rearrange them. The result will be a four-letter word naming something that the seven-letter thing is commonly used for. What is it?
Well, no one can say Dr. Shortz doesn't make house calls. In this case, he even told us what to take if he was being a pain in the neck: ASPIRIN (for PAIN).

I looked up aspirin on Wiki. I then clicked on this and that to come up with a collection of photographs that didn't all look like they could be in Germany. You can click on them to see what they're of.

(What? You were expecting willow trees???)

(Okay.)




Time for
Here are this week's picks:
Fewer than 50
 51 - 100
101 - 150 -- Curtis
151 - 200 -- KDW
201 - 250 -- Ross
251 - 300 -- zeke creek
301 - 350 -- Word Woman
351 - 400
401 - 450 -- Joe Kupe
451 - 500
 
501 - 550 -- Magdalen
551 - 600 -- Mendo Jim
601 - 650 -- Paul
651 - 700
701 - 750
751 - 800
801 - 850
851 - 900
901 - 950
951 - 1,000 -- Marie
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
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

 > 5,000
 > 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).