Sunday, October 12, 2014

Pick Yet Another Country...

Here's this week's NPR Sunday Puzzle:
Name a certain country. Change one letter in its name to a new letter and rearrange the result to name another country's capital. Then change one letter in that and rearrange the result to name another country. What geographical names are these?
If I say we haven't solved it yet, it's only that we haven't started yet. But you know how it is with these "pick a country" puzzles. You Wiki a list of countries and go from there...

Edited to add: Ross wrote a program to find ALL the answers. Yes, folks, there are four answers that we believe meet the puzzle parameters. Can you find them all???

And you know how it is when you've solved the puzzle. You submit your answer using this cleverly concealed Contact Us form.

It's been a quiet week here in Lake Woebegon Northeast Pennsylvania. No, no stories--that's what a quiet week means.

Word Woman asked for "tour des 300 metres" as the word of the day, so here (finally!) it is:

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 choice: they can receive a puzzle book of our choosing or they can ask that a charitable contribution is made in the winner's honor. As of this week, we are providing an alternative to the Red Cross. If the winner wishes, we will make a contribution to his/her NPR station. Send us the call letters and we'll do the rest.

zeke creek won this week, with 1230 as the magic number. I know most of you thought the puzzle easier than that. And this week? What do you think?

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..


Word Woman said...

Merci, Magdalen! C'est magnifique! What an eclectic group of images.

Next question: When did the Tour de 300 metres come to be generally known as the Eiffel Tower? It is labelled as the former on a map of Paris monuments (circa 1925).

Let's go with 701-750, s'il vous plait.

Maggie Strasser said...

351-400 please

Anonymous said...

Are there four possible country-capital-country sequences, twelve names in all?

Mendo Jim

Magdalen said...

Yup, 12 different names. Enjoy! (One is pretty obscure, but legal.)

B. Haven said...

301-350, for me, please.

When the puzzle has two steps, I think fewer people solve it. First, country to capital will be easy but then changing the capital to another country will have fewer solvers. This reasoning may be totally wrong.

Alex B. said...

I only find three answers so I'm curious to see what your fourth is.


Paul said...

Yell, but don't hit!

legolambda said...

Nice Gwen Ifill photos! Quite and eyeful, not at all awful (except in its original sense). Good suggestion, Word Woman. Good choices, Magdalen.

901-950, please. I have discovered but one solution.


David said...

1001 to 1050, please. Next Sunday, in honor of Joe Kupe, you should use "Empire State Marathon" as your word(s) of the day.

zeke creek said...

851-900, please. WYSO,

Mendo Jim said...

I have to admit that I don't have all four good answers, but I am looking forward to how Will deals with the situation.
One of the most disappointing facets of the Sunday Puzzle has, over the years, been the PM's handling of alternative answers. Instead of delighting in the intelligence and ingenuity of his listeners and welcoming unexpected responses, he has usually discounted them in favor of his "intended" answer or ignored them altogether.
Having to deal with three alternatives in one challenge might be his undoing.
I would recommend to him that he report the number of each one of the possible responses and thank everyone for their efforts.

Joe Kupe said...

Thanks all for the well wishes this weekend for the Empire State Marathon. Got an answer this week and agree as a two parter he may not get as many answers. 501 - 550 please.

HenryBW said...

I got one answer in less than a minute, without even having to reach for the list of countries, so it's pretty easy.
My usual 1051-1100, please, and I look forward to Ross's full set of answers.