Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Blog with ALL the Puzzle Celebrities

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
Name a boy's name and a girl's name, each in four letters. The names start with the same letter of the alphabet. The boy's name contains the letter R. Drop that R from the boy's name and insert it into the girl's name. Phonetically, the result will be a familiar two-word phrase for something no one wants to have. What is it?
Pretty simple, really. Ross solved it while I was still booting up my computer. (Ross points out that Will might have wanted to reverse the order of last week's and this week's puzzles. Reason to be revealed on Thursday.)

In fact, I feel silly providing your with a link to the cleverly camouflaged NPR Contract Us form, as you've all already sent your answers in. Still, here it is.

Word Woman has asked for COLLIE to be the word of the day. Just like that, we've gone to the dogs!

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 in the winner's honor to the Red Cross.

Our very own lego lambda (real world name: Joseph Young) won the REAL contest for the second time (we didn't know him then), but who won the Pick a Range, with 101-150? B. Haven again!!! A two-peat! May we assume you're still passing on the puzzle book, B. Haven, and picking the Red Cross instead? (Just as we now know that lego lambda is really a Joseph, we also know that B. stands for Barbara. I followed her on Twitter.)

And this is why we have ALL the puzzle celebrities here: Our people win. Yay! So enter Pick a Range for this week's remarkably easy puzzle and see whether you can beat B. Haven from the hat trick.

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."), the prize will be awarded to the entrant who picked the range including that precise number, e.g., 551 - 600 wins if the announced range is "around 600." We retain the discretion to award the prize to an entrant who picked the adjacent range (e.g., 601-650) if that entrant had not already won a prize. 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 January, 2014, this rule is officially even more complicated than it's ever been, but at least it's consistent with what we actually do..


legolambda said...


Ms. B. Haven may well be (a celebrity, that is, not “misbehaving‘), but me, a celebrity?! Nice of you to say, but no way. (The word “celebrity” did, however, pop up in the June 13th edition of Puzzleria!.)

The only other nexus I have with CELEBRITIES is that BEER ELICITS in me loquacity and bombast, and that a superfluity of BEERS ELICIT in me a misperception that I am an ELITE SCRIBE.

My range 1951-2000, please. I dare anyone to pick the 101-150 range this week!


Anonymous said...

Well, this week's puzzle is a bit of a disappointment. But at least I "know"* that I have Ross's answer. Still, I don't think it took more than 10 seconds to get the answer. I'll take 451-500, please.

Now to try to find other answers, often the more interesting part of the puzzle.


zeke creek said...

1101-1150 please.
That is taking on the dare plus a click.
Zeke click crick : )

Mendo Jim said...

What an inopportune day for my elegance meter to burn out; at least I can't get any reading.

It could have taken 5 minutes to get the "wrong" answer last week. Under a minute this week for one of a couple of possibilites.

Well WW, it wasn't the "an" vs "the," but "name" that turned away a bunch, maybe a majority, of potential players.
I'll bet some won't be back.

And, on air at least, he gave LL and his new blog a pretty cold shoulder.

It looks like Shortz is drifting off to where he was a few years ago when there were more downs than ups to following the Sunday Puz.

Word Woman said...

Thanks for the collie photos, Magdalen.

Factoring in the summer factor and folks playing outside more and listening to NPR less, I' ll go with 601-650 please.

Anonymous said...

Mendo Jim, I thought I'd give you some fuel for your dissatisfaction with WS's reliance on the word "name."

You'll recall this puzzle: "Name part of a TV that contains the letter C. Replace the C with the name of a book of the Old Testament, keeping all the letters in order. The result will name a sailing vessel of old. What is it?"

So "V-chip" and "Viking ship" are "names" (or at least things that you can "name"), but "college" is not. Clear?

Actually, I have some sympathy for WS here. Coming up with the puzzles he does (even allowing for submissions) each week and determining that each has a unique solution must be difficult.

I know that when I've submitted puzzle suggestions, none of which have been used, I've tried to be careful about possible alternate answers, but I can't say I've ever been certain. Today's puzzle seems to have led most people to the same answer, but that's not to say that it is unique.

That said, I would, were I he, be more forgiving of alternate answers. With the "two W's" question, I think he should have accepted "War Witch," which seems to satisfy the puzzle. I agree on the dismissal of "bus rides/curbside" for the trip one, though I admit that's a clever answer. And I disagree with denial of "college" last week. But that's just my thinking.

Now back to four-letter men's names with R to find unintended answers.


David said...

1001 to 1050, please.

Paul said...

101 - 150, please.
Taking on the dare point blank. Yeah, I feel lucky.
Just hoping B. Haven doesn't call me a coward next Sunday.

Anonymous said...

Easy, easier, easiest, that is what I have to say about this week's puzzle. 1,351 - 1,400 please.

legolambda said...

It would seem curtisjohnsonimages speaks for most of us with what he has to say about this week’s NPR puzzle. He speaks for me anyway, with my 1951-2000 pick.

But I like your range-pick pluck, Paul. Good luck with your lucky feeling. Who knows? Perhaps your guess will be too high.

Who knows? Probably B. Haven, that‘s who! Perhaps the “summer factor” of which Word Woman speaks will spike during this Fourth of July week and, as you imply, B. Haven will execute the range “hat trick” (as Magdalen puts it) by undercutting all of us with a “fewer than 50” or “51 to 100” pick.

I wouldn’t put it past her. She seems like a savant in this regard. But she also seems too classy to taunt and tar you with the “coward” epithet.


Mendo Jim said...

Is it fair to say that Will has established a new rule that
"name" is in the future to be understood as only for proper nouns?
"Colgate," that elegant answer, fits the rule, whereas "college" is just a general word, so out of bounds.

This is going to be a challenge for the ol' puzzlemaster, since his command, "Name," is probably the most commonly used term in all the hundreds of puzzles past.
This is based on a quick and random review of about 20 of them.
So it is so long safari, hot turkey sandwich and pi.

I guess we start next week since the on air portion yesterday asked for the names of animals. Dog, sheep and bear should never have made it, with Lassie, Dolly and Yogi allowed.
Dr. S doesn't care much for alternate answers.
And my sympathy for him is modified by the fact he apparently likes this job and gets paid for it.
So far as I can tell, he also doesn't acknowedege the receipt of submitted puzzle ideas.

Anonymous said...

Mendo Jim,

I've never received any acknowledgment for my submissions except maybe a form NPR email saying that my submission was passed along. Here's my favorite puzzle that I submitted.

Think of a four letter word. Switch the first and last letters, and you have a new word. Now switch the middle letters of the new word, and you have a newer word. Finally, switch the first and last letters of the newer word to produce a fourth word. NAME one of the words.

The correct answer is "Buffy," which is what I named the first word. OK, just kidding. I won't give away my answers in case someone wants a challenge that, I think, is more difficult than this week's WS question. I will note that one of the four words is somewhat uncommon.


Word Woman said...


Buffy, the umpire slayer? ;-)

I believe I have a word/name that works.


Anonymous said...

WW, it wouldn't surprise me if you did. The denizens of this blog strike me as a fairly astute lot.


Mendo Jim said...

Speaking of getting paid, should the amount of Will's compensation for entertaining us millions of listeners be public (as in NPR) info?
His NYT salary is easily available.

B. Haven said...

Nice week for puzzles and a holiday. Good suggestion for collie photos, WW.

This week I guess 851 - 900 and don't know why.

Joe Kupe said...

Ha, can see how it goes with last week's puzzle, and we have toured there and we can attest to the origin of the name. 501 to 550 please.

Ross Beresford said...

Just donated $10 to the Red Cross for disaster relief. Fifth week in a row? I think that's unprecedented ... good guessing viewers.

David said...

Phil, I too have an answer, in which the less common word is related to autumn. My words are spelled with 4 different letters. There are some trivial answers like DOOM or NOON.

Word Woman said...

I plan to reveal a portion of my answer Thursday afternoon.

I imagine there must be at least a dozen words that Ross's software would delineate. Ross?

Natasha said...

I select 201-250, please.

B Haven said...

You all might like Will Shortz (aka the "Puzzle Master") on this linked podcast:

I haven't seen this mentioned here, but could have missed it.

Listed as one of the 30 most famous people with law degrees, Will join RIchard Hsu for this conversation about his law school days from his home.