Sunday, March 30, 2014

Another Movie Puzzle--Woot Woot!

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
This week's challenge comes from listener Mike Reiss, a former writer and producer for The Simpsons. The film Wild Wild West had three W's as its initials. What prominent film of last year had two W's as its initials?
Ross gets the "W" on this one (W as in win). I think this one deserves a No-Hints limit.

True winners send their answers in to NPR, using its Contact Us form like a March Madness bracket form.

Is it Spring yet where you live? We're still waiting here in the Northeast. In the spirit of the season-yet-to-be (and to avoid even the suggestion of hinting about the puzzle!), here are some photos of early Spring:













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.

I won! The stated range was just over 900, and that was my range. I have won in a long time. Which should give everyone else hope. Pick a range for 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."), 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.. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

John Phillip Sousa & I Only Got One Answer

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
Name a capital of a country. Change the first letter to name a familiar musical instrument. What is it?
Solved it...and then heard tell of multiple answers. We got JUBA (capital of South Sudan) and TUBA. What else did you guys get?

In honor of Sousa's father, who was Portugese, I had photos of Portugal on Sunday. Since I don't know what other countries to run, here are some photos of South Sudan...or nearby places in Africa (because, sadly, a lot of South Sudanese have had to seek refuge in nearby Uganda).













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 -- zeke creek
401 - 450
451 - 500
 
501 - 550
551 - 600
601 - 650 -- Paul
651 - 700
701 - 750
751 - 800 -- Marie  
801 - 850
851 - 900 -- Ross
901 - 950 -- Magdalen
951 - 1,000
1,001 - 1,050 -- Word Woman
1,051 - 1,100 -- Henry BW
1,101 - 1,150
1,151 - 1,200
1,201 - 1,250
1,251 - 1,300
1,301 - 1,350
1,351 - 1,400 -- Curtis
1,401 - 1,450
1,451 - 1,500

1,501 - 1,550 -- David
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 -- Mendo Jim
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

 > 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, March 23, 2014

Fiddling While Rome Puzzles?

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
Name a capital of a country. Change the first letter to name a familiar musical instrument. What is it?
Solved it.

This is a NO HINT puzzle. Remember--that means I shouldn't be able to recognize your hint as such. Want to give the game away? Go over to Blaine's blog. :-)

Of course, you can get as explicit as you want when you send the answer in to the cute & quirky Contact Us form at NPR! (In fact, I recommend it.)

Photos of Portugal. (Trust me, there's no instrument call the "hisbon.") However, there is a connection between the correct answer and Portugal. I will explain on Thursday.













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.

Are we going deaf, or did they not announce a range? We'll double check when the audio is available--or perhaps Dr. Shortz would care to comment?--but at the moment, we're leaving this bit blank.

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.. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Greased Lightning...or an Oily Miata?

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
Take the brand name of a popular grocery item, written normally in upper- and lower-case letters. Push two consecutive letters together, without otherwise changing the name in any way. The result will name a make of car. What is it?
We got this batting ideas around. I thought of an o or an a bumping into an l to make a d. Ross thought of Mazda. I confirmed that Mazola was a product in the supermarket.

The Mazda Corporation is based in Fuchū, Aki District, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan. Here are some non-controversial photos from Hiroshima Prefecture:














Time for

Here are this week's picks:
Fewer than 50
 51 - 100
101 - 150
151 - 200 -- Maggie Strasser
201 - 250
251 - 300
301 - 350 -- Magdalen
351 - 400 -- Curtis
401 - 450 -- Joe Kupe
451 - 500 -- EKW
 
501 - 550 -- Word Woman
551 - 600
601 - 650 -- Paul
651 - 700
701 - 750
751 - 800 
801 - 850 -- Marie
851 - 900 -- Ross
901 - 950 -- zeke creek
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 -- Mendo Jim
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, March 16, 2014

Someone's Been Shopping!

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
Take the brand name of a popular grocery item, written normally in upper- and lower-case letters. Push two consecutive letters together, without otherwise changing the name in any way. The result will name a make of car. What is it?
This is a great puzzle for working on together and out loud. Or it isn't and that's just the way we solved it.

You, of course, being a wildly efficient puzzle solver, knew the answer as soon as you'd heard it. And you've sent your entry in already, even before I've typed out the URL for the NPR Contact Us form here. (Wow! That's fast.)

Yay! I get to look at car photos. Or maybe supermarket photos...? No, cars are it:













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.

Over 150 entries, which means Mendo Jim wins. Hey, Mendo--would you like a real prize? We have a copy of Chambers Biographical Dictionary available. Weighs a ton, so useful as a reference guide that doubles as a door stop. Or you can have an only-slightly-dusty puzzle book, or a contribution in your name to the Red Cross. (The temptation to find a charity associated with looking for the Malaysian airline is considerable, but avoided.)

This week is easier than last week. That much I know. Pick a range and see what you know!

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.. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

"Learn Something New" or "Totally Obscure" -- YOU Make the Call!

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
Take the name of a classical Greek mathematician and re-arrange the letters in his name to spell two numbers. What are they?
To state the puzzle in another way: Take the names of two numbers, put them together, and find an anagram of the result that names a classical Greek mathematician. Who is the mathematician and what are the numbers?
I thought Ross would get this immediately, what with all the ways we have of cheating -- I mean, solving it creatively. In the end, though, I had to point out that not all numbers are in the cardinal family. Like PI (which is tomorrow, with the BIG day being next year at precisely 3/14/15 at 9:26:53 a.m. and p.m.--had you all seen that?).

I'd also thought of THOUSAND but what I didn't know and hadn't ever heard of was "the father of algebra," DIOPHANTUS. I'm chalking that up to "learn something new every day."

Congrats to Maggie Strasser and Paul for guessing 314(1) in the Pick a Range game. Wouldn't it be funny if that won?

Happy Pi Day. I don't plan on making dessert, but I might make Guyanese Tennis Rolls, just because they look so divine.













Time for

Here are this week's picks:
Fewer than 50
 51 - 100 -- Ross
101 - 150
151 - 200 -- Mendo Jim
201 - 250 -- David
251 - 300 -- Phil
301 - 350 -- Maggie Strasser
351 - 400 -- zeke creek
401 - 450 -- Magdalen
451 - 500
 
501 - 550
551 - 600
601 - 650
651 - 700
701 - 750 -- Word Woman
751 - 800 
801 - 850
851 - 900
901 - 950
951 - 1,000
1,001 - 1,050 -- Sarah
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 -- Paul
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, March 9, 2014

Reminds Me of a Joke About Economists...

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
Take the name of a classical Greek mathematician and re-arrange the letters in his name to spell two numbers. What are they?
To state the puzzle in another way: Take the names of two numbers, put them together, and find an anagram of the result that names a classical Greek mathematician. Who is the mathematician and what are the numbers?
I've set Ross onto this while I write the blog. That's teamwork, right? [Edited to add: Solved.]

The joke: You can lay the world's economists end to end around the Equator and they still won't reach a conclusion. (Translation from the original Greek: Math is easier.)

Here's my unhelpful hint: Wikipedia's page on Greek Mathematics has a LONG list of Greek Mathematicians (or "Mathemagicians" as Ross called them) at the very bottom of the page. Enjoy.

And when you get the answer, send it in here to NPR's Contact Us page, which does not anagram to anything interesting.

Photo section is clueless today. Frankly, I had my work cut out just finding Greek statues with no naughty bits. I had no hope of finding any Greek mathematicians among Flickr's statuary. Oh, and if you have a pair of 3-D glasses left over from last's week's GRAVITY puzzle, try them on Photo #2!














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.

This week, the NPR Intern gladdened my heart by specifying "over 240." No one won, which may gladden Ross's heart as he's too busy working on our taxes to be charitable. By the way, when picking this week's range, you may take into consideration the fact that Ross hasn't solved it yet. He says, therefore, that it's hard. YMMV.

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.. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Maybe She Won the NPR Puzzle!

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
Take the first name of a nominee for Best Actor or Best Actress at Sunday's Oscars. You can rearrange these letters into a two-word phrase that describes his or her character in the film for which he or she is nominated. Who is this star, and what is the phrase?
Very sad. SANDRA Bullock didn't win and Oscar for her role in Gravity as a NASA DR. (Wouldn't it be awesome if she won the NPR Puzzle as the randomly selected person?)

About the wording of the puzzle. Ross and I do a lot of crosswords and related puzzles. (We're big fans of Andrew Ries's Rows Garden puzzles, for example.) Some puzzles--like the Times Crosswords--indicate an abbreviation. Others, like the Rows Garden or the Double-Crostics in the Times, say when the answer is two words.

Here, we got that it's two words, but not that one of the words is an abbreviation. I think that's fair, as the Sunday NPR Puzzle is not standardized on what it does and doesn't tell us. It's all about making the puzzle hard enough.

Now, if you want to argue that this was too hard--? That's a different discussion.

Photos!















Time for
Here are this week's picks:
Fewer than 50 -- Curtis
 51 - 100 -- Ross
101 - 150
151 - 200 -- Magdalen
201 - 250
251 - 300 -- jan
301 - 350 -- Maggie Strasser
351 - 400
401 - 450 -- zeke creek
451 - 500 -- Word Woman
 
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, March 2, 2014

Oscar Puzzle Day

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
Take the first name of a nominee for Best Actor or Best Actress at Sunday's Oscars. You can rearrange these letters into a two-word phrase that describes his or her character in the film for which he or she is nominated. Who is this star, and what is the phrase?
Very topical. I hope you all solve it early and then watch to see if this person wins an Oscar tonight.

Oh, and  don't forget to enter your answer using the handy Oscar Ballot Form uh, NPR Contact Us Form found here.














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.

Zeke Creek won with the 851-900 range, so we'll contribute to the Red Cross for you, ZC. My apologies for missing Curtis's pick of 351-400 when I compiled the range chart. Won't happen again, I promise. :-)

This week: easy? hard? squishy? Take your pick and see what you get! And good luck tonight with your Oscar pools!

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..