Sunday, February 22, 2015

Will Saved You a Seat By the Aisle

Here's this (Oscar) week's NPR Sunday puzzle:
Name a famous living actress who goes by three first names, all of them traditionally considered male. The names are 5, 3 and 6 letters long, respectively.
Ross solved this one. It's not hard...

And you've solved it. (See? I told you it wasn't hard.) Here's the missing piece to the puzzle of submitting your answer: the Contact Us from from NPR.

As much as I was looking forward to pristine snowy vistas and dramatic winter scenes in the Canadian Rockies, I think it's time for 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 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.

We heard it as 930 entries for the Phoenix Knicks Fee. (Did we get that right, B. Haven?) Which still seems low for an easy puzzle. Oh, well. Guess again!

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...

This one is really easy. I'll go with 1,351 - 1,400, please.

Natasha said...

i select 501-550 range, please.

Mendo Jim said...

I had a great answer to this challenge within minutes.
A little research showed the first name to be 6 letters, not 5, the occupation singer, not actor and, annoyingly, a guy not a girl.
Otherwise that should do it.

David said...

1001 to 1050, please.

Word Woman said...

1501-1550, please.

Paul said...

Really looking forward to MJ's explanation. Other than that, I'm good.

legolambda said...

I have to admit I am licking my wounds over my overly optimistic “5,000 or more” pick from last week. I know this sounds incredible, but that was a serious guess! I shall temper my optimism this week and guess 1601-1650, please, on what is perhaps an even easier puzzle.

Because this NPR puzzle was so easy, I have just posted three “piggyback puzzles” (puzzles that are similar to or build-on another puzzle) on my Puzzleria! blog just now. (You can find the Puzzleria! link in this excellent blog’s “Blogroll” in the margin on the right. If you do visit Puzzleria! please return to AESAP afterwards.

One of the three puzzles I posted is:
Name a famous living actress who goes by three first names, all 6 letters long. The first is a state capital, the second is the surname of a late drummer and the third is a surname of a president.
Who is she?

It is also easy, like Will’s. But the other two are a tad tougher… but not TAN (Tough As Nails), as the excellent blog commenter Paul might put it.

Thank you.

LegoPushingThe EnvelopePlease…

Alex B. said...

Bryce Dallas Howard would have worked had the lengths been different. 451-500 for me.

B Haven said...

For this week's easy puzzle, 1701-1750 please.

This morning on air I hoped to hear "over 950" but in reality it was "over 930." Does anyone say "close only counts in horsehoes"? The interwebs show the idiom changed to "Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, a vivid expression laced with both humor and menace." I intend no menace here.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear. I am embarrassed to say how long it took me to figure out WS's answer (I assume) since not only have I met the actress (more than once) but I also spoke to a woman with the same first name today and spoke to a man whose first name is the same as the last name of the actress I'm thinking of.

I do hope I'm wrong, though. I believe the first name is not "traditionally considered male." Though I did know of one male with this name, the site lists the gender associated with this name as female.

I will assume I'm just wrong, but with the number of letters in all three names correct, I'm not convinced. Ugh.


Mendo Jim said...

Well Paul, you know how Mother Magdalen feels about hints, but I can't resist your enthusiasm. I hope this answer does not show up as one of Will's alternatives.
Still sort of asleep, I knew the actress in question was Billy Ray Vaughn. I gradually became less enamored of this feeling as I realized I was thinkng of Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Probably but not certainly disqualifying is the letter count, 6-3-7 instead of 5-3-6.
Also a little disturbing is that he is a he, not a she, an musician
not an actress and dead.
But heck, the Ray works and the Rays play some certain kinds of mean basketball.
This is why I play the Sunday Challenge.
CAPTCHA is not!

Word Woman said...

Phil, I took "traditionally considered male" to mean its popularity as a male name when this actress was born (and before). Remember male Ashley Wilkes in GWTW. . .and all the female Ashleys now?

Anonymous said...

WW, you mean Ashley Wilkes was a man? Wow, I completely misinterpreted that film. Scarlet was a letter, though, right?


Word Woman said...

He he, Phil, indeed she was.

Just learning all this terminology like cisgender. All new to me.

Joe Kupe said...

2001 - 2050 please. So much for my Raleigh/Lira answer!

Word Woman said...

Autocorrect changed hehe to he he. Scarlett and her letter(s) and spaces. . .

Now if we could just get autocorrect to fix our cars!

Anonymous said...

WW, I don't know about getting autocorrect to fix our cars, but I think Mendo Jim would join me in wishing for autocorrect for some of the puzzles (or, especially in his case, for reCAPTCHA).


Anonymous said...

Joe, I liked your Raleigh answer. It wasn't, I think, a perfect fit (since it gave only a currency, not a cost per se), but it at least fit a specific game, per the wording of the question.

It would have been interesting to know why it wasn't accepted. Did the interns simply see Raleigh, recognize that it is not Phoenix, and stop reading? Did WS reject it as clearly wrong for some reason?

Oh well. I'd offer you a lapel pin, but I'm afraid I don't have one to offer.


legolambda said...


Very good points. Your speculation about why Joe's very legit solution was rejected (or, at least, not acknowledged) is probably spot-on. I would argue though that "lira" (equivalent to the U.S. "dollar" and 100 centesimi Italian) is a "cost." And it's certainly more of a "cost" than "fee."
"What's the cost to get into this this game in Roma?"
"A lira? Great! I'll take two tickets."

On another subject, for those puzzle-solvers who may be better at "visual puzzles" (as opposed to auditory, written or tactile puzzles) I have posted on Puzzleria! this week what I believe to be a pretty decent visual puzzle. It is called the "Seeing Double Slice: Caption (not-quite-so) Obvious."


Anonymous said...


I'm afraid I can't agree with you. Here's my thinking:
"What's the cost to get into this game in Roma?"
"A lira? Great! Who's playing?"
"The Knicks."
"Oh, never mind."

(I know that particular game did not feature the Knicks, but I thought it was funnier my way.)


legolambda said...

Excellent retort, Phil. I laughed so hard I almost pi**ed my knickerbockers!

Jay said...

Dealing with the winter of our discontent, and a frozen pipe to the septic system, I just couldn't go to the puzzle. But things are better and sent THE answer. Since others may have more time, I'll guess 1851-.