Friday, February 7, 2014

I Give Up--Does This Puzzle Even Make Sense?

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
It's a two-part question: Where in most homes will you see the words SHE and HIS, and what word will you see right after HIS?
From the comments on Sunday's post, I don't think we even have a consensus as to the correct answer. Here's what we came up with (and by "we" I mean "Ross"):

SHERRY & WHISKEY

So the answers would be LIQUOR CABINET/SHELF/CUPBOARD/BAR/etc. & KEY

Unless
  1. You don't drink
  2. You don't cook with sherry and/or whiskey
  3. You do drink or cook with whisky, but you spell it without the E
  4. You think anyone who drinks sherry is a ponce
  5. You nonetheless admit that bisque is a lovely soup and if it contains sherry, well, that must be okay
  6. You do drink and/or cook with spirits and fortified wines but they're stored under the sink with the other chemicals that children shouldn't get their pudgy fingers on and that's the cupboard with the best child-proof lock on it
  7. Other
What did you all get?















Time for
Here are this week's picks:
Fewer than 50
 51 - 100
101 - 150 -- Word Woman
151 - 200 -- Curtis
201 - 250 -- zeke creek
251 - 300 -- EKW
301 - 350 -- Mendo Jim
351 - 400 -- KDW
401 - 450 -- Ross
451 - 500 -- Joe Kupe
 
501 - 550 -- Magdalen
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).

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I do not believe you have the intended answer. If that were the intent, why did Mr. Shortz phrase the puzzle so badly? Here's what I mean.

The puzzle asks for "she" (a nominative or subjective form) and "his" (a genitive or possessive form). If your answer (which, I confess, was mine except that I rejected it for the reasons I'm in the process of explaining) is the intended one, why did Mr. Shortz seem to go out of his way to make the puzzle so ugly when he could have asked for "her" (sHERry) and "his," thus linking to possessives?

Granted, there is precedent for disregarding the wording of the questions. For example, the recent Tennessee Williams question was, according to the wording of the question, wrong. (Tennessee Williams's first name was Thomas.) And the perfectly good answer suggested here was rejected out of hand.

Still, because of the wording, I don't think that Sherry/Whiskey is the intended answer. We shall see, though.

Phil

legolambda said...

I thought this was a tough puzzle. I would like to pick the range "Fewer than 50," please.

Thank you.

Magdalen said...

Phil -- Your analysis is spot-on, as the Brits would say.

What bothers me is that the same level of detail you used on the SHERRY/WHISKEY solution also invalidates the written version of the puzzle. Will should have explained that you're looking for the letters S, H & E in order, and the letters H, I & S in order. I have no idea how you explain that immediately after H, I & S you get another three letters that also spell a word (S, I & S).

Basically, it was a cute idea that charmed Dr. Shortz enough that he didn't think through all the problems with the puzzle as stated and particularly as written.

I think getting only fifteen (!) correct answers speaks for the clarity or lack thereof.

Joe Kupe said...

We figured it was a dictionary and went with she, his, Hispanic. I will say during the week the old calculator read the numbers upside down trick did roll through our heads, i.e., shell oil is 11011345 or hello is 01134. We all agree, very poorly worded this week!