Sunday, January 11, 2015

Ooh, it's a Pick-a-City Puzzle! No, It's a Math Puzzle!

It's two puzzles in one!

Here's this week's NPR Sunday Puzzle:
Think of a U.S. city whose name has nine letters. Remove three letters from the start of the name and three letters from the end. Only two will remain. How is this possible, and what city is it?
Ross got this immediately. I needed a bit more time.

Hopefully this will draw a few more answers than the Capital-Country-Capital puzzle did. In any event, you've sent in your answer, using the Special New Year's Contact Us form (now a bit hungover) provided by NPR.

I got Word of the Day suggestions from Paul and Word Woman. First come, first served, so here's what TRIFECTA gets you on Flickr:

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.

They received 165 entries for the Berlin-to-Beirut puzzle, which means no winner last week. It also means we're back to wondering why there were so few entries...

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..


Curtis said...

It took me longer to look up the name of the city on a list than to solve the basic premise of the puzzle. Total time invested: 30 seconds. I'll go with 1,351 - 1,400.

Maggie Strasser said...

Ugh. The stupid inside my head. It hurts. Need more coffee.

1101-1150 please.

jan said...

I hear Russian oligarchs are hoping to trade in their rubles for Weekend Edition Lapel pins. 2501 - 2750, please.

Henry BW said...

Aw, c'mon! Even I solved this one by the time Will had finished repeating the question.
My usual 1051-1100, please.

And as Wikipedia rather pedantically explains, Aruba is not part of the Netherlands. Aruba and the Netherlands are both part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

That's weird, I checked the "I'm not a robot" box, and it simply believed me.

Word Woman said...

How about 10 times the number of entries last week which includes 1601-1650.

B Haven said...

901-950, please.

Maybe people get it, but don't send in the answer. Only some of us would want to play the puzzle on the air.

Mendo Jim said...

I have a seven letter city that meets the overall theme. The nine will eventually show.

Did I hear Will say that fast solvers finish the end-of-the-week NY Times toughies in four (4) minutes?
I haven't spent a lot of time doing crosswords, but:
1) Four minutes seems pretty quick to enjoy the experience,
2) It seems analogous to 9 holes of golf in 7 minutes or speed-reading Robert Frost and 3)I timed myself reading the clues to today's NYT X word in my local paper and it took me 4 minutes.

B Haven: On the rare occasions when I actually submit an answer, I leave off my phone number. If I were on I would ask Dr. Shortz how much NPR (i.e. we) pay him.

900 + seems possible.

Mendo Jim said...

Got the nine letter one and am happy with my 900+ Range.

My mother was born in Lompoc, so often mispronounced. 'Tis "Lompoke" long "o"

David said...

1001 to 1050, please.

Mendo Jim said...

Well, shame on me, stomping on B H's tranche.
Slip down fifty to 850+, please.

legolambda said...

Mendo Jim,
All three points you make are right on the mark, especially #3. Who are these solvers, anyway, Supermen or Brainiac computer robots!?

My favorite poet is Charles Lambda. When I speed-read, I prefer Jonathan Swift or Salman Rushdie. I like others too. The first time I read “No Man is an Island,” I was Donne before I knew it!

I like Will’s puzzle this week; it reminds me of one from last March.

451-500 is my guess, please. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

I have to confess that I'm stumped here. I had a solution almost immediately, but it was pretty clear that my solution was not unique (a fact I subsequently verified). So I'm flummoxed, at least for the time being. And then there's the fact that I don't even understand the questions--with my misinterpretation, once you get one of the cities, it's pretty clear that you understand the first question. So I'm missing something here.


David said...

I'm pretty sure that the reason the number of entries was down last week is because Magdalen did not give a link to the NPR submission page. The link is back this week, so the submissions will be higher.

Unknown said...

I'll guess 651-700 please. I found it a lot easier to get the premise than getting that one city I (ie my friend) could think of that fit the bill. And she's one of those people who would much rather not solve puzzles on-air.
--Margaret G

Mendo Jim said...

Think of an American city in 7 letters.
Drop the first two and last two letters and only tu (too or two) will remain.

Think of a 7 letter synonym for "really sucks." Answer "captcha"

The "how can that be?" part of this challenge could be answered easily, not so with the city IMHO.

Paul said...

Thanks for the pictures.

I've been reading up on poisonous frogs; it pays to be careful.

I'll let someone else have a turn.

Jay said...

Perhaps the few responses to last week's puzzle is due to not knowing the number of letters to start with! This week's is a bit easier, so I'll go with 351-

Joe Kupe said...