Thursday, May 29, 2014

Please God, Not Photos of Teeth...

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
The word "sort" has an unusual property: the first letter, S, is found inside the word "first." The second letter, O, is found inside "second." The third letter, R, is found inside "third," and the fourth letter, T, is found inside "fourth." Think of a familiar three-word phrase in 10 letters that has the same property, in which every letter in the phrase is found inside its corresponding ordinal. Here's a hint: It's something most people have, lose and regain. What is it?
There was some discussion in the comments about how one solves this. Whether you used a computer or not, there is only one answer: SET OF TEETH

Now, there was also a discussion of whether the puzzle itself was accurate. I could go find a photo of a juvenile skull with both "baby" and "adult" teeth--but it's easily one of the scarier things I've seen online recently, so I won't inflict that on you.

What was missing in the comments was an explicit request for Flickr photos found using a specific word or phrase. Hmmph.

But first, let me explain Sunday's photos. The train is TOM CRUISE; the stream (a beck) is GLENN BECK (and yes, I had to cheat on this one because if you type in Glenn Beck with both N's, you get a whole hell of a lot of photos of people for Glenn Beck, people agin Glenn Beck, and people who are Glenn Beck); DREW BREES is the two women, although I have no idea why; NEIL DIAMOND is the Solitary Man; HOLLY HUNTER is the purple photo of the house, supposedly showing that it's haunted; and the frosty photo is TIGER WOODS.

Curtis stressed the word "pretty" in his comment, so let's use that, shall we? I like pretty things...













Time for
Here are this week's picks:
Fewer than 50
 51 - 100
101 - 150
151 - 200
201 - 250
251 - 300
301 - 350 -- Ross
351 - 400 -- Maggie Strasser
401 - 450 -- Word Woman
451 - 500 -- Alex
 
501 - 550 -- Joe Kupe
551 - 600 -- Magdalen
601 - 650
651 - 700 -- Paul
701 - 750
751 - 800 -- anonymous  
801 - 850
851 - 900
901 - 950 -- Zeke Creek
951 - 1,000
1,001 - 1,050 -- David
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
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, May 25, 2014

I'm Still Thinking About Neil Diamond and Holly Hunter

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
The word "sort" has an unusual property: the first letter, S, is found inside the word "first." The second letter, O, is found inside "second." The third letter, R, is found inside "third," and the fourth letter, T, is found inside "fourth." Think of a familiar three-word phrase in 10 letters that has the same property, in which every letter in the phrase is found inside its corresponding ordinal. Here's a hint: It's something most people have, lose and regain. What is it?
With Ross's software, this is trivially easy to solve. I'm still thinking about the Homophone (or is it Homonym?) Puzzle set by the caller.

BEFORE I distract you all, though, let me give you the link for the NPR Contact Us Page so you can send in the answer to the ACTUAL puzzle.

Okay. Here are the names I remember: Will Shortz, Holly Hunter, Neil Diamond, Tiger Woods. We've added Taylor Swift, Tom Cruise, Glenn Beck, Drew Brees. And the list goes on.

Or does it? Because there are two categories here: those whose names are spelled like regular words (Tom Cruise, Tiger Woods, Holly Hunter) and those whose names are homophones for regular words. So, Will Shortz doesn't have quite as much in common with Tiger Woods as he has in common with Neil Diamond.

Which leads me to this week's photos (remember to suggest a word or phrase for Thursday...). Match the photos below with the celebrity names I typed in (not Will Shortz, by the way). A different name for each photo. Answers 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.

Over 680 correct entries last week, a range that no one picked. So much for "the sky's the limit"! Your guess is as good as mine 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, May 22, 2014

Pass the Pepto Bismol to Will Shortz, STAT!

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
Name a famous actress of the past whose last name has two syllables. Reverse the syllables phonetically. The result will name an ailment. What is it?
Okay, the answer--in case you only just woke up from a 5-year nap--is Sarah BERNHARDT turning into HEARTBURN.

Here's my only question: Did Will Shortz know that he was repeating himself? And if he didn't, was he upset when he realized it? Or is it all a big shrug to him? Not that he has to care. I mean, if it was me, I'd be immured in some leaf mold someplace on our property, refusing to emerge because I was that embarrassed. But that's me, and there are many very excellent reasons why he's a multi-millionaire puzzle master and I'm...not. Inability to feel excessive shame being one of them.

Incidentally, the highlighting in the Honorable Mention that included "enormous" as the answer...that was ("sic") copied straight from the NPR website. No shame there!

Paul claimed to see the connection between the photos on Sunday of Beverly Hills and the puzzle. Well, if you did, I'm seriously impressed. Here's what it was: When I hear the word heartburn, I think of Nora Ephron's roman a clef about her divorce from Carl Bernstein. So I Wiki'd Nora Ephron and was surprised to learn that she was raised in Beverly Hills (her parents were screenwriters). She just doesn't seem all that Californian. Anyway, in her memory, I picked photos of her hometown.

Okay, I'm trying to get you guys to pick the Word of the Week that I use to pick photos on Thursdays. If you won't volunteer, I'll just pick. This week, it's "fair and square," which I found in Paul's comment. (Poor Paul, getting picked on twice.) Turns out to be a wonderful offering. (Yay, Paul!)













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
401 - 450
451 - 500
 
501 - 550
551 - 600
601 - 650
651 - 700
701 - 750
751 - 800  
801 - 850
851 - 900 -- legolambda
901 - 950 -- Joe Kupe
951 - 1,000 -- Ross
1,001 - 1,050 -- David
1,051 - 1,100
1,101 - 1,150
1,151 - 1,200
1,201 - 1,250 -- Zeke Creek
1,251 - 1,300
1,301 - 1,350
1,351 - 1,400 -- Curtis
1,401 - 1,450 -- Magdalen
1,451 - 1,500

1,501 - 1,550 -- Word Woman
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 -- Mendo Jim

2,501 - 2,750
2,751 - 3,000 -- Paul
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, May 18, 2014

Deja Vu All Over Again

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
Name a famous actress of the past whose last name has two syllables. Reverse the syllables phonetically. The result will name an ailment. What is it?
According to Ross, this puzzle was used--almost verbatim, tsk tsk--on Sunday January 4, 2009. Ross was blogging back then, so his post (you can look it up; I'll link to it on Thursday) is very rudimentary. I took over blogging about the Sunday NPR Puzzle shortly thereafter.

Anyway, this will gin up numbers for the Pick-a-Range puzzle, so guess big, would be my advice. We have Henry here; he got it in no time, probably because it was super-easy.

So easy that you should enter your answer immediately, using the Official NPR Contact Us With The Same Answer Five Years Later Form, lest you forget for a day or two and then think, "But I already sent that answer in," because you had...in 2009!

I do recommend looking at the Honorable Mentions for last week's puzzle--some of the ones Will didn't use on air are quite fun. My favorite of that bunch: Like N.F.L. linemen or Mouseketeer ears

Photos. I've chosen Beverly Hills for its connection NOT to the actress but to someone else (who is NOT an actress) for a reason you'll see on Thursday. (Trust me, there are no hints 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.

Over 450 correct entries last week, a range that no one picked. All I know about the winning range for this week's puzzle: BIG! Huge! The sky's the limit!!!

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, May 15, 2014

Which Upstart is Toulouse-Lautrec?

Here's this and next week's NPR Puzzle:
(Please note this is a two-week challenge): Write a clue for a word in the style of today's on-air puzzle, in which the answer has six or more letters. The clue should both define or describe the answer and contain the answer in consecutive letters.
We didn't make much effort to come up with an entry, given that we don't actually enter these contests. Ross says there's a famous example of this sort: Abraham Lincoln's vice president, because the answer is HAMLIN. I suspect anyone sending that in won't win, simply because it's a well-known crossword clue.

Tune in on Sunday and see what does win!

Photos. I typed "beautiful" into Flickr's search box (Creative Commons only, of course) and here's my selection. If you have a word you'd like me to search with (the wackier the better, I guess?), let me know.












Time for
Here are this week's picks:
Fewer than 50 -- Zeke Creek
 51 - 100 -- Word Woman
101 - 150
151 - 200 -- Mendo Gym
201 - 250 -- Ross
251 - 300 -- Magdalen
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 -- Joe Kupe
951 - 1,000
1,001 - 1,050 -- Paul
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 -- David
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, May 4, 2014

Create Your Own Hidden &Lit (Sort of)

Here's this and next week's NPR Puzzle:
(Please note this is a two-week challenge): Write a clue for a word in the style of today's on-air puzzle, in which the answer has six or more letters. The clue should both define or describe the answer and contain the answer in consecutive letters.
This style of clue is known as a Hidden &Lit (said as "and lit") in cryptic cluing. The answer is hidden in the clue (that's the "hidden" part) and the entire clue tells you the answer (&Lit). Except that in a cryptic clue, there would have to be an indicator of the hidden-ness of the answer.

Before you send in your awesomely witty clue, let's get get some of OUR rules straight. The answer is due no later than 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 15 to the NPR Contact Us Form (found here), so there will be no blog posts this Thursday or next Sunday. Whoo-hoo! Will's vacation means we all get a vacation from the blog! (Don't worry, we'll miss you.)

Here are some nice, short examples of Hidden &Lit clues, and photos of the answers. Match 'em up! (Remember, you can click a photo to see what it's of, and who it's by.)

Daily Planet journalist
Ape candy
Play an instrument
Insane Roman? (from Henry Hook, this one)
Devilish
Within earshot
Static attractor
Deflated


















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 450 correct entries last week, a range that no one picked. (I would like to thank those at NPR responsible for giving the answer in the form that works well with our Pick a Range game. I know you're doing that for us, so I'm grateful.)
Double week creative challenges are tough. Still, no reason not to 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."), 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, May 1, 2014

Offering Cate a Carte Blanchett

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
Name a famous actor or actress whose last name ends in a doubled letter. Drop that doubled letter. Then insert an R somewhere inside the first name. The result will be a common two-word phrase. What is it?
I mentioned on Sunday that Ross solved it inadvertently. What I meant was this. Ross got started working on it, then said out loud, "crate blanche?" To which I replied, "Do you mean carte blanche?" It took me a second to hear that he'd solved the puzzle, and it took him about two seconds longer to realize he'd inserted the R into CATE BLANCHETT in the wrong place.

I secretly hinted--so obscurely that no one was going to get the hint--as to the actress's identity with my photos of San Francisco. She just won an Oscar for her performance in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine, which was set in New York and S.F.

Here are some photos of her homeland, Australia. Specifically, Melbourne. (She was born in Ivanhoe, which is near Melbourne, I gather. I tried for photos of Ivanhoe. I don't think there's much there there. That's when I went to the metropolis!) I figure, you have to love a place where even the parking garage ("car park") is way cool.














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