Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Anagrammmmgooding & Smother Day

Here's this week's NPR Sunday Puzzle:
The letters of the one-syllable word "groan" can be rearranged to spell "organ," which has two syllables. Here's the challenge: Think of a common one-syllable, five-letter word whose letters can be rearranged to spell a common two-syllable word — and then rearranged again to spell a common three-syllable word. I have two different answers in mind, and it's possible there are others, but you only have to think of one.
Notice how he's allowing alternates? I'm expecting you guys to come up with LOTS of answers!

And to send any, or all, of them in, you'll need this three-syllable, two-word Contact Us form.

Happy Mother's Day to everyone who celebrates, and "Hi!" to everyone else.

Here's what I culled for "Mother's Day" on Flickr:

Unknown waterfall

the new dog...

Ageless Daisy

mom always knows what's best  (happy mother's day #1)

Five Paper Lanterns

Moving at the Speed of Life ...

Happy Mother's Day

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.

Precisely (?) 662 entries for the seemingly WAY easy CAKE PAN / PANCAKE puzzle. We all (even Ross!) guessed too high winner this week. I mean, really -- that was fewer entries than the Perkins/Hopkins/Hopper puzzle garnered. I ask again: Are we going up or down in "degree of difficulty" as we move out of the kitchen and back to straight words? Pick a range based on your guess, or by shooting a dart at the chart, your choice.

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.


Maggie Strasser said...

351-400 please.

Happy Mother's Day to all Moms out there! Happy Sunday to everyone else. :)

Word Woman said...

Happy Mother's Day, Happy SNOW day here in Colorado, and Happy Sunday to all.

No clue how to guess this time. 701-750 via the dartboard.

Curtis said...

I'll go with 401 - 450

Word Woman said...

You would make me so happy if you'd add another 'M' to anagramming in your headline, Magdalen. ;-)

MMMMMMM, good.

Paul said...

Nothing could make me happier than either of those raccoons. [Spellchecker and I have a disagreement here. I'm going with my spelling. Let Gideon sort it out.]

Word Woman said...

Magdalen, as Andy Warhol would say "souper!"

Word Woman said...

Magdalen, as Andy Warhol would say "souper!"

Word Woman said...

Magdalen, as Andy Warhol would say "souper!"

Word Woman said...

^^^ Five minutes of fame for each post above ;-).

Word Woman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Curtis said...

WW, how about a full 15 minutes of fame for each, giving you three times Warhol's estimate...

Mendo Jim said...

I think maybe Wee Willy and his understudy use the dart board technique on the Range rather than bother with actually counting submissions correct or not.
If there ever was a gimme, it was the cake pan.

My suggestion is that the NPR folks gird their loins and offer a Weekend Lapel Pin to all submitters for one challenge.
That'll give a nice baseline for future Ranges.

662 is a good as guess as any this week.

Mendo Jim said...

And I am not going to tell you that again!

Henry BW said...

My usual 1051-1100, please.
I found an answer so quickly, once I started a systematic search, that there must be a lot more than two answers.

Natasha said...

501-550 range this week. Thanks. Does anyone think plurals are acceptable?

Anonymous said...

The challenge, or more particularly its wording, strikes me as interesting, in part because of my job, too much of which involves moving misplaced modifiers. In this challenge, WS says, "[Y]ou only have to think of one."

The placement of "only" is often problematic, and here, it would seem to modify "have to think" rather than "one." In other words, we don't have to submit. We just have to think of an answer. Compare this interpretation to the one that comes from "You have to think of only one," in which case "only" modifies "one."

I'm not saying that the placement of "only" here is automatically wrong, but it's problematic.

And it does allow for the fascinating possibility that NPR will psychically determine the number of correct responses.


Anonymous said...

Phil again. I forgot to add something. I listened to the show online, and I wasn't sure what to think about the on-air contest and contestant. On the one hand, I thought she did an astounding job. On the other, I thought that adding the states almost made the puzzle trivial.

If I tell you to name a city in Georgia, are you really going to think of Macon? And when it comes to Massachusetts, how many would think of Natick or Newton rather than Boston.

So I'm curious what others thought. Was this an amazingly good contestant, a too-easy puzzle, or a combination?

Word Woman said...


Word Woman said...

I agree, Phil, that adding the state names made the puzzle much too easy.

Mendo Jim said...

Yep. It was a clever concept but one the PM just couldn't quite bring off and another example of his increasingly tin ear.

I have to admit I searched out some word lists and, besides some really arcane ones, have been finding some that whose claimed number of syllables seem iffy.

David said...

451 to 500 this week, please. I couldn't get the answer during my run yesterday but took only a couple minutes once I got home. I guess running does divert oxygen from ones brain.

legolambda said...

801-850 this week please.

I like this Shortzian trend(?) of allowing alternative answers... even before he starts getting them!

I suspect, alas, that the Puzzlemeister will be hazy about the number of different solutions he accepts, and perhaps even the total number of correct entries. (Doesn't he understand the concept of our "Pick a Range"?!

Phil's comment on Will's misplaced "you only have to think of ____ one:
"And it does allow for the fascinating possibility that NPR will psychically determine the number of correct responses."

Love the way your mind works, Phil.


Henry BW said...

Phil, are you familiar with Marghanita Laski's "If only the peacocks"?

Unknown said...

I'll guess 901-950. and I got the book - THANK YOU!!! --Margaret G

Anonymous said...

Henry, I believe I recall the reference. I searched for "if only the peacocks" but came up empty. So I have to go on my foggy memory.

Didn't she take a sentence like "The peacocks are seen on the hills" and place "only" in every place?

Or am I misrecalling things? Perhaps it was something about Ruth's peacock laying an egg on Sally's lawn and then a big lawsuit about the impropriety of male birds laying eggs. I think the judge cried fowl.

At any rate, if my recollection is good, the version I use is "I like you." Placing "only" in the four available spots (one at a time) produces three very different meanings.

Or for fun, look at California's attempt to ban same-sex marriage for a problematic placement of "only." (No politics here, just grammar.)

Lego, thank you. I'm just happy when my mind works.


legolambda said...

You are welcome, Phil. Your posts are very entertaining, as are the posts of others on this great blog site.

"At any rate, if my recollection is good, the version I use is "I like you." Placing "only" in the four available spots (one at a time) produces three very different meanings."

With a little punctuation, I think we can eke out a fourth very different meaning:

"I like you, only..."

That's the one I use with my significant other friend, Mary.


B. Haven said...

551-600 for me this week.
The puzzle said common words, but what does "common" really mean?
I don't think they'll get many alternate answers that are really common. If there are, I hope we hear the total correct answers and how many sent the other correct sets.

legolambda said...

This NPR puzzle, I sense, was easy for most of us, and npw we have some free puzzle-solving time on our hands. If anyone would enjoy a nice U.S. geography puzzle, I just posted a bonus slice to the menu of this week's Puzzleria!

It is called CSI: USA.


Joe Kupe said...

Harder than we thought but finally got one! 151 - 200 please.

Mendo Jim said...

I think I have the answers to the CSI:USA Puzzle.

Since I couldn't read the robot thing, I wrote down nonsense. And passed!

Jay said...

Where does one start with this? Got many ones and twos, or twos and threes or ones and threes, but only one one, two three! Will go with 321.

And that verification test was unreadable for four tries!