Sunday, March 29, 2015

Big Mistake! HUGE!!

Here's this week's NPR Sunday Puzzle:
[Warning:] it's a little tricky. Given a standard calculator with room for 10 digits, what is the largest whole number you can register on it?
Ah, calculators. I remember when my brother, a computer programmer from WAY back, bought his first Texas Instruments calculator for $100. (It would sell now for about two bucks.) Anyway, we have an answer.

And you have a BIGGER answer! Go forth, and submit that bad boy here, at the hugely large (but is it the largest?) Contact Us form over at NPR.

Let's see what a WHOLE NUMBER gets you at 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.

I won! That so rarely happens that I'm quite chuffed. The correct answer was 570 entries for DIE = PASS FAIL. Any clue what the correct answer will be for a BIG! HUGE!! number this week? (Me neither.)

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


Maggie Strasser said...

My usual 351-400 please.

Curtis said...

I think the trickiness of this puzzle will throw a lot of puzzlers off track. I'll guess low at 51 - 100.

Anonymous said...

Finally, a challenge where the answer and the Range might be the same!

David said...

1001 to 1050, please. The range of answers over the last several weeks is quite confusing.

Natasha said...

I select 101-150range, please.

legolambda said...

I have and answer but I am not sure it is what Will and Henry Hook intend. Mr. Hook has as estimable puzzling pedigree. Mr. Shortz has used his puzzles before; the last time was late last September.

I guess you could call this week’s NPR puzzle a “number puzzle.” I have posted a few pretty decent “word puzzles” on Puzzleria! this week.

I guess 151-200 this week, please. Thank you.

Yours truantly,

Mendo Jim said...

I shouldn't say what I immediately thought "tricky" meant.
I think I was right and I think it led to the answer.
I get a kick out of the robot patrol's routinely accepting my posts as anonymous, but not under the name that Magdalen has email and snail mail addresses for. Some protection.

Unknown said...

I am constantly surprised by the number of people who submit a correct puzzle answer. I tend to believe that I only get the correct answer if it's easy, which means that there should be lots of people submitting right answers. But what I find hard, another finds easy, and vice-versa. Aesop's Fables did not immediately come to my mind. So... after that long-winded explanation, and thinking this time it was pretty easy, I'm going to choose the 1601-1700 range. And when I guess wrong again, it will not be a surprise. :-) --Margaret G.

Unknown said...

Whoops - I shouldn't pick that big a range. I know that. But I can't edit my comment... so please put down 1601-1650 for me. Thanks! Margaret G.

Word Woman said...

1-50 for me please.

Word Woman said...

1-50 for me please.

Mendo Jim said...

I'll assume, for the fun of it, that the 3200 fableists and the 2800 actress-namers are exclusive groups.
If 6000 admitted puzzle solvers can't submit 600 answers to this tricky but not hard Willy offering, then phooey on 'em.
The solving process was a three part one for me and took more time than the fables and less than JLC.
So 600 +, please.

Henry BW said...

I hate these puzzles where there is no way of knowing whether you have the right answer, whether there is a hither answer, or whether your answer will be disqualified for being too tricky.

And I just don't know whether that will deter people from sending in answers that they don't know are right, or whether they will all send in their best guesses. So I predict we will be given the total number of entries, and not told how much smaller the number of "right" entries is.

Any road up, my usual 1051-1100, please.

Henry BW

legolambda said...

Henry BW,
I agree 100% with your second paragraph, but not your first. I like puzzles that keep you guessing. (Like what is a "hither answer"?)

I have a non-tricky answer to this puzzle that Will will not accept (and rightfully so) because he warned us the answer is "a little tricky."

I have a handful of somewhat tricky answers, a few which Will should accept and, I believe, Will will have to accept to retain credibility.

I have one really tricky answer which may actually be Will's/Henry Hook's intended answer, or may just be another defective by-product of my delusional mind! Still, this is the one I am submitting.


Mendo Jim said...

"...Will will have to accept to retain credibility."
Will who?

legolambda said...

Mendo Jim,

Okay, okay:

"...Will will have to accept to begin acquiring credibility!"


Anonymous said...

Henry BW,

If I submitted answers as a rule, your second paragraph this week would truly apply to me. (Confession: I do submit answers, but only ones that I believe will not be accepted. My goal is to see whether answers I firmly believe satisfy the puzzle but not the intent will be accepted. So far, none have been.)

This week, I have a few answers, but because I don't understand the puzzle, I don't even have an idea what is intended.

I don't know what a "standard calculator" is in this day and age when the calculator I use has digits, a pi symbol (not a whole number, I know), infinity (not a whole number either), and much more. My best guess at a "standard calculator" is one that has only the capability to display numbers (so that "9*9*9" would not be possible, for example). But that's just a guess.

I do have an answer that is a very large whole number, but I also know that I can make it bigger easily. The problem, though, is I don't have any idea whether that result would be accepted.

When I don't understand the puzzle's constraints, I don't venture guesses. And if I were someone who submitted serious answers regularly, I certainly would skip this week.


B Haven said...

201-250 for this week's puzzle please. I think more than 200 people will think of ways to get the correct answer. You don't see many standard calculators around these days, except among the hourglasses, spinning wheels and butter churns.

Definitely posting the puzzle as a question on Quora is NOT a way to get a correct answer.

Maggie Strasser said...

80085 ??

Anonymous said...

B Haven,

I don't know, I found Quora quite useful. My previous high answer was 8,888,888,888, but after checking your link, I see I could have gone with 9,999,999,999. It never even occurred to me to use 9s.


Anonymous said...

Oh, and Maggie, I'm not even going to touch your answer.


Joe Kupe said...

We stopped at Shell Oil to get gas and said Hello to the attendant on our way home from the movies. 251-300 please.

Marie said...

301, thank you.

legolambda said...

Joe Kupe,

Was it the Lego movie? Did you have to wear some of thoe 3-D goggles to see it?