Sunday, April 5, 2015

Not an April Fool's Day Prank, Then

Here's this week's NPR Sunday Puzzle:
Name something that might be worn on the foot. Change one letter in it without changing the order of the other letters. The result will name something one might wear on the upper part of the body. What is it? Here's a hint: The thing on the upper part of the body is a two-word phrase.
I've got both Henry and Ross working on this, so it'll be done in no time.

But first, we have to listen to Will Shortz tap dance around the stupidest puzzle answer conceivable. GOOGOL? Just GOOGOL? Why did he specify that it had to be a 10-digit calculator? My objection to that answer is that it's flat wrong. Literally wrong. Like, Will should have rejected it. "Cute idea, Henry Hook, but I can think of several larger whole numbers, so I'm afraid I can't accept it."

Disappointed. ::shakes head::

Okay, back to today's puzzle. We haven't solved it yet, but I'm certain you have. You just want the easter-egg-colored NPR Contact Us form so you can submit your answer. (Ross solved it over breakfast. Good job, Ross.)

Ross suggest RISIBLE as the Word o' the Day. I couldn't find enough photos there, so I added LAUGHABLE to the parameters. Have a chuckle on us:

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 confess (and apologize)--I was shouting my indignation at the radio when Rachel announced the number of entries. Over 200--? Does that sound right? If so, B. Haven won, and we can make a contribution to her NPR station when you all confirm that. On to a more wearable puzzle...

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


Curtis said...

Not a terribly hard puzzle, but, I'll keep my guess down to a lower number: 351 - 400

jan said...

Really, Ross? RISIBLE as the Word o' the Day, on Easter? That wouldn't be a Monty Python reference, would it?

I'll take 1,001 - 1,050, for no particular reason.

Natasha said...

I select 201-250, please.

Maggie Strasser said...

Curtis took my favorite range. :(
I'm literally pouting here!

So, I guess I'll go for 301-350.

Good Luck Curtis! :)

B Haven said...

Good morning and happy Easter. Last week's lame puzzle received so few entries, but they did say "over" 200, which makes my selected last range a winner.

Thank you, Magdalen and Ross!

My NPR station is KXJZ in Sacramento, the poorer metro region outside of Northern California's mostly expensive Bay Area. Bay Area NPR stations probably do much better on pledge drives than my local.

B Haven said...

1550-1600, please, for this week's puzzle about wearables.
I'm not sure there is only one answer that fits this puzzle, or only one that Mr. Shortz will accept. After a low number of correct answers for the puzzle, does he try to boost the numbers?

Mendo Jim said...

Last week was not what you would call the Puzzlemaster's finest.
Besides mumbling about what other "actually higher" answers they accepted, the official transcript says "..Google - G-O-O-G-L-E.."
I can't remember if that was the way he spelled it out or if it is a helper's error.

I think that perhaps "99 googols"
was the right answer.

Perhaps Mr. Hook could help Will with the answering process as well as the asking one.

jan said...

Mendo Jim, it was the transcriber's error; Will spelled googol correctly.

Word Woman said...

1201-1250 please. Thank you.

legolambda said...

401-450, please.
At the end of last Thursday's thread I wiped the Easter egg from my face for my wrongheaded "hands are a 10-digit calculator" hunch about last week's NPR puzzle.

I followed my heart (answer I hoped it would be) rather than my head (answer I knew it likely was).


Anonymous said...


First, I think you can be forgiven for letting escape googol's obviousness. Perhaps it was just meant to be for you.

As you brought up the previous thread, I suppose I should address your issue of playing equestrian rugby in lingerie. Frankly, that just seems, well, I don't know. As if there's some sort of danger (for lack of a better word) involved. If only there were something less dangerous, like slapping alligators for Easter.


So it wasn't clear to me. Did you like last week's puzzle and the explanation? I did like WS's statement that the "correct" answer is a googol but that he gave credit for higher values. That's kind of like saying that the correct answer for the team that scored more points in the last Super Bowl is Seattle, but I'll give credit to people who said New England.

And as for this week's puzzle, I have the answer and have it because of a recent experience. (The story that follows is true.)

One morning, I was in the bathroom when I noticed my bare foot was bleeding. I had no bandages in the bathroom, but there was a T-shirt on a hook. So I wrapped my foot in a T-shirt to avoid leaving bloody toeprints. Later that day, what did I wear on the top part of my body? Answer: "a shirt." One changed letter.

Sometimes, I'm stunned by my own brilliance. Or perhaps clumsiness in cutting myself.


Unknown said...

I am laughing at Phil's response. I got the answer after a day of thinking. So I'll say 501-550. --Margaret G.

legolambda said...

Phil, I think we are all stunned at your own brilliance.
Alligator Slapping Is Never Intelligent, Not Ever!
Love your Super Bowl analogy to Will's googol comments.


Curtis said...

Maggie - I didn't mean to jump on your favorite. It happens to be a favorite of mine, as well. If you look at the past entries, I have picked that range many times over the years. My apologies.

legolambda said...

Magdalen and Ross,
I have never won the "Pick-A-Range" gold. My judgment regarding correct entries is abysmal! So here is my request:

Install some type of "range randomizer" on your site, so that schmoos such as I might have a shot at winning. It's like the people who buy a lottery ticket and let the "machine" pick the numbers for them instead if picking their "lucky numbers" themselves.

Even if you grant my request, of course, my odds against me actually picking the correct range will likely remain Alpine high!


David said...

951 to 1000, please.

Paul said...

451 - 500 seems to still be available. WVIA probably needs a new transmitter or something.

Seth said...

But the other higher numbers had flaws as answers. 9999googol's flaw is that there's no space between 9999 and googol. While I like 9E9E9E9E99, I could see rejecting it because it uses numbers as both letters and numbers.

"Googol" as the correct answer is pure. Although I do think that he should have rejected any other answer outright. If he's going to accept other answers, like 9999googol, it's stupid that he also accepts lower answers. That was bad form.

Final comment: specifying 10 digits was purposeful misdirection. He never said you had to use them all. That's clever puzzle writing, in my opinion.

Magdalen said...

Seth -- If your limitations on the nature of the answer (all letters, no numerals; or homogeneous; or unmixed--however he wanted to word it) were hinted at in some way in the puzzle, I'd agree that GOOGOL is the only answer. But they weren't.

If you say nine-nine-nine-nine-googol out loud, that's a single whole number. I don't see that there needs to be a space between the numerals and the letters--again, a fault in the phrasing of the puzzle.

I would suppose that Will Shortz acknowledged any answer with the word GOOGOL in it because the puzzle, as stated, was insufficiently clear to have a single right answer that he could defend.

So, with all due respect, I don't think this was clever puzzle writing at all. It was a cute idea that neither Will Shortz nor Henry Hook considered sufficiently. In my opinion.

Word Woman said...

Yes, if 9999googol was accepted (or 999 googol with a space if you prefer) then googol by itself is clearly not correct.

Poorly worded puzzle in my opinion as well.

Ross Beresford said...

Congrats B Haven. I just donated $10 to Scrabbly KXJZ in honor of your Pick a Range win.

Joe Kupe said...

601 - 650 please!