Sunday, April 26, 2015

We're on Vakay! (But Still Puzzling)

We're on vacation in, of all places, Mendo Jim's general vicinity. (He's been given rough descriptions so he can avoid us. We, of course, have no idea what he looks like and thus could walk right past him, so he's safe.)

Here's this week's NPR Sunday Puzzle:
Name a famous actor whose first and last names both are seven letters long. Change the first three letters of the actor's last name to three new letters and you'll name another famous actor. They share the same first name. Add the three letters you changed in the first actor's last name plus the three letters you changed to get the second actor's name, and you'll spell the last name of a third famous actor. Who are these three Hollywood stars?
Not hard if you cheat and use Ross's software, or you have an encyclopedic database of actors in your head. Ross solved it in his own clever way.

Whichever way you used, you've solved it and merely need the convenience of a link to the NPR Contact Us page, pinned in place here by several bungee cords.

I'll add the Pick-a-Range feature later, but for now, all I want to do is share our view with you:

Here's the Pick a Range feature, added after listening to the podcast.

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.

Around 960 entries for the relatively easy DEMOCRAT puzzle, so Margaret G. is our winner. Let us know which prize you would like, Margaret. Here's the real question, though--is this week REALLY hard, or merely "hard." Pick a range and we'll all find out together next Sunday.

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 mor


Maggie Strasser said...

251-300 please.

I'm not even going to try this week.
Already my brain hurts!

Word Woman said...

Beautiful CA spot, especially the rocks!

Not that hard but the three-parter part may keep folks away.

451-500, please.

Natasha said...

I select the 501-550 range, please.

Curtis said...

I'll guess higher this time: 1,351 - 1,400, please.

legolambda said...

skydiveboy wrote a very similar puzzle to this one (same answer, etc.) which he shared with me last autumn. I could have put it on Puzzleria!, and was planning on doing so, but I dawdled. Damn!

I think 701-750 is about right this week, please. Thank you.


Magdalen said...

Margaret -- You have a choice. We can send you a puzzle book (we used to offer them in the early days of the Pick a Range and we still have some to give away), or we'll make a $10 donation to EITHER the Red Cross or your NPR station. You pick.

B. Haven said...

1501-1550 for this week's correct answers, please. Finding these three actors didn't seem too hard but this puzzle was long.

Enjoy your vacation, the scenery and being near the ocean.

Unknown said...

I would love to have a puzzle book for my first win. Could you email me gibbsm at gmail?

And for this week, I think it was really hard. I'm going to pick the 351-400 range.

Jay said...

I've been high when its been low and low when high. It's the time to be right, or lucky-- 1301-1350

Mendo Jim said...

These guys each had at least one scary role. One has had a more varied career than the others.
I wonder if they are or were Democrats.
601-650. The hardest part of choosing a Range is making sure it isn't already taken.

Word Woman said...

Mendo Jim, any Magdalen and Ross sightings?

Alex B. said...

151-200 for me. Kudos if you got this one without computer assistance.

David said...

1001 to 1050, please.

Richard said...

Everybody has a computer with lists of actors. Please set aside 1001-1050 for me --thanks

Richard said...

whoops! How about 1051 to 1100?

Anonymous said...

I believe the puzzle is not unique. I have two answers already--more if you allow a liberal (no relation to last week's puzzle) interpretation of "famous."


Joe Kupe said...

801 - 850 please. Once I read the puzzle five times to make sure I knew what they were looking for it was not too hard!

Paul said...

What's left?
401 - 450?
If so, put me down for that.

Henry BW said...

I did not expect to be able, or seriously try, to solve this one, but I think I've stumbled on the intended answer.
And since somebody has taken my usual range, I'll move up to 1101-1150.