Sunday, December 28, 2014

[Insert Title Here]

Here's this week's NPR Sunday Puzzle:
Take the following 5-word sentence: "THOSE BARBARIANS AMBUSH HEAVIER FIANCEES." These 5 words have something very unusual in common. What is it?
Henry solved this one.

Here's your hint: THIS IS A NO HINT BLOG POST. Don't let me catch you hinting in the comments. You've got Blaine's blog for that sort of hijinks.

Ah, but you don't need a hint, because you've already solved this one. Here, then, is your prize: the colorfully festive NPR Contact Us form for sending in your answer.

Henry just uttered the sentence, "That's got to be one of the invisible mistakes." (He's solving a very difficult cryptic crossword, so his comment made sense in context.) In his honor, here are some photos found using "invisible mistake" as the search term.













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.

Over 800 entries for Holly Berry. No one won. [Cue the sad trombones.]

Here are the ranges:
Zero and fewer
  1 - 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, December 25, 2014

...Creature Was Stirring, Not Even a Sundry Bullock

Here's this week's NPR Sunday Puzzle:
Take the first and last names of a well-known actress. Her first name has two vowels. Change them both to new vowels, and the result names part of a common Christmas decoration. What is it?
Apologies for being a day late with this. Anyway, I promised you three answers:

Wrong: Jade Garland
Right: Holly Berry
Funny: Sundry Bullock (you know, one of the animals in the Nativity Scene)

There are sundry bullocks in the nativity scenes below...













MERRY CHRISTMAS, guys! (And/or HAPPY THURSDAY!!)

Time for

Here are this week's picks:
Zero and fewer
    1 - 50
 51 - 100
101 - 150
151 - 200
201 - 250
251 - 300
301 - 350 -- Joe Kupe
351 - 400 -- Curtis
401 - 450 -- Magdalen
451 - 500 -- Ross

501 - 550
551 - 600 -- B. Haven
601 - 650 -- Jay
651 - 700 -- Word Woman
701 - 750
751 - 800 -- legolambda
801 - 850
851 - 900
901 - 950
951 - 1,000 -- Phil
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, December 21, 2014

This Post Needs a Title. Here's One: Oops!

Here's this week's NPR Sunday Puzzle:
Take the first and last names of a well-known actress. Her first name has two vowels. Change them both to new vowels, and the result names part of a common Christmas decoration. What is it?
I need to check with Ross on whether he's solved this already. I'm pretty sure it's not Candis Cayne... 

Okay, he has two answers and I have one. That makes our count: 1 Wrong Answer (mine), 1 Right Answer and 1 Funny Answer. We'll share all on Wednesday.

You's solved it, of course, so all you're waiting for is this, the NPR Contact Us Form, all decked out in white twinkling fairy lights.

Happy Channukah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, and if none of those applies to you, Enjoy the Long Weekends.













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.

560 entries for Ahoy Yahoo. Sadly, most of you overestimated the number of entries so no one won. Better luck this week!

Here are the ranges:
Zero and fewer
  1 - 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, December 18, 2014

Ahoy = Sailor / Yahoo = Cowboy / ??? = Puzzler

Here's this week's NPR Sunday Puzzle:
Think of a common exclamation in four letters. Move the last letter to the start, and then add a new letter to the end, to get another well-known exclamation. What is it?
Here's the answer Henry came up with: AHOY -> YAHO + O = YAHOO. Is that the "right" answer? I have no idea. It's what we've got.

While I'm thinking of it, Sunday's blog post may be delayed by a few hours. (Or I will have conned Ross into posting it for me.) I'm off on Friday to Blantyre, a small hotel in Lenox, Massachusetts, to celebrate a cousin's 50th birthday. I'll be home on Sunday, but who knows when.

Let's see what Flickr has for Lenox, shall we?













Time for

Here are this week's picks:
Zero and fewer
    1 - 50
 51 - 100
101 - 150
151 - 200
201 - 250
251 - 300
301 - 350
351 - 400
401 - 450 -- Joe Kupe
451 - 500

501 - 550
551 - 600
601 - 650
651 - 700
701 - 750 -- legolambda
751 - 800 -- Ross
801 - 850 -- Margaret
851 - 900
901 - 950
951 - 1,000
1,001 - 1,050 -- David
1,051 - 1,100 -- Henry BW
1,101 - 1,150 -- Jay
1,151 - 1,200 -- Magdalen
1,201 - 1,250
1,251 - 1,300
1,301 - 1,350
1,351 - 1,400 -- Maggie Strasser
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 -- Mendo Jim
2,051 - 2,100 -- Paul
2,101 - 2,150
2,151 - 2,200
2,201 - 2,250
2,251 - 2,300
2,301 - 2,350
2,351 - 2,400 -- Curtis
2,401 - 2,450
2,451 - 2,500

2,501 - 2,750 -- Word Woman
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, December 14, 2014

Inclinations Toward Exclamations

Here's this week's NPR Sunday Puzzle:
Think of a common exclamation in four letters. Move the last letter to the start, and then add a new letter to the end, to get another well-known exclamation. What is it?
Even with three of us (Henry is here for Cookie Weekend) it took us a few minutes to get AN answer. (Is it THE answer? No clue.)

When you've got the answer, don't hint about it in the comments (what a waste!). Send it in to NPR using their Contact Us form, which has free shipping this week.

I'm writing this as I listen to the puzzle. The word "postcard" popped out at me. (Any of you go back to the postcard days? We don't. Henry and I started to listen to the puzzle in the late 90s.














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.

2040 entries for Sante Fe, New Mexico. Needless to say, no one won. Better luck this week!

Here are the ranges:
Zero and fewer
  1 - 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, December 11, 2014

Acheson, Topeka and the Answer...

Here's this week's NPR Sunday Puzzle:
Take the phrase "a few Texans come in." Rearrange these letters to name a geographical place. What is it?
Not hard. SANTE FE, NEW MEXICO is the answer.

David wanted to know what would happen if I asked Flickr for photos with "NPR" as the search. Answer: nothing. No photos. Then I changed the license from "any" to "Creative Commons" and lo! I had a few more options. Crazy Flickr.













Time for



Here are this week's picks:
Zero and fewer
    1 - 50
 51 - 100
101 - 150
151 - 200
201 - 250
251 - 300
301 - 350
351 - 400 -- Curtis
401 - 450
451 - 500

501 - 550
551 - 600 -- Jay
601 - 650
651 - 700
701 - 750 -- Joe Kupe
751 - 800 -- Ross
801 - 850 -- B. Haven
851 - 900 -- Paul
901 - 950 -- legolambda
951 - 1,000 -- Word Woman
1,001 - 1,050 -- David
1,051 - 1,100 -- Henry BW
1,101 - 1,150 -- Marie
1,151 - 1,200 -- Magdalen
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, December 7, 2014

Insomnia!

Here's this week's NPR Sunday Puzzle:
Take the phrase "a few Texans come in." Rearrange these letters to name a geographical place. What is it?
Not amazing. Moving on.

You've gotten over your disappointment with the answer, so it's time to send your answer in to NPR using this, their Contact Us form, festively decorated for the season.

I had insomnia last night, so I've been up for over four hours. The puzzle isn't even available, but I thought I'd get a head start on the photo section. Guess what my word is? Yes, that's right: insomnia. (There was a great photo of a guy sleeping on a public bench bearing the word "insomnia" but it wasn't Creative Commons.)













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.

Over 600 entries for Bert and Ernie. No one won. Better luck this week!

Here are the ranges:
Zero and fewer
  1 - 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, December 4, 2014

Bert and Ernie and Will

Here's this week's NPR Sunday Puzzle:
Bertrand Tavernier is a French director of such movies as Life and Nothing But and It All Starts Today. What amazing wordplay property does the name Bertrand Tavernier have? This sounds like an open-ended question, but when you have the right answer, you'll have no doubt about it.
We think the intended answer is that BERT[r]AND [Tav]ERNIE[r] are in his name. Cookie Monster is sad and blue over this one.

I can appreciate that this one was never going to "wow" an aficionado of elegant wordplay, and amazing is perhaps in the eye of the beholder. But I can guess why Will Shortz loved it--he was surprised and charmed by its simplicity and whimsy.

We heard a funny today. We bought a white car only to be told its color was actually "crystal white pearl." Our salesman's grandmother said that her paint color was a stripper's name: "Misty Dawn Metallic." Here, then, is CRYSTAL as the word of the day:















Time for


Here are this week's picks:
Zero and fewer
    1 - 50
 51 - 100 -- Phil
101 - 150 -- Paul
151 - 200 -- Joe Kupe
201 - 250 -- Curtis
251 - 300 -- Ross
301 - 350 -- legolambda
351 - 400 -- Maggie Strasser
401 - 450 -- Magdalen
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).