Thursday, April 30, 2015

Norman, Meet Hannibal...

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, as you've all remarked. ANTHONY HOPKINS . . . ANTHONY PERKINS . . . HOP + PER = [Dennis] HOPPER.

There is a coffee shop in Mendocino that seems to have daily accumulations of delightfully curmudgeonly I mean erudite gentlemen, but we've had no way of knowing if any of them is our own Mendo Jim.  Sadly, we leave tomorrow without meeting him.

Ross has been busy with his point-and-shoot camera:







Time for


Here are this week's picks:
Zero and fewer
    1 - 50
 51 - 100
101 - 150
151 - 200 -- Alex B.
201 - 250 -- Ross
251 - 300 -- Maggie Strasser
301 - 350 -- Magdalen
351 - 400 -- Margaret G.
401 - 450 -- Paul
451 - 500 -- Word Woman

501 - 550 -- Natasha
551 - 600
601 - 650 -- Mendo Jim
651 - 700
701 - 750 -- Legolambda
751 - 800
801 - 850 -- Joe Kupe
851 - 900
901 - 950
951 - 1,000
1,001 - 1,050 -- David
1,051 - 1,100 -- Richard
1,101 - 1,150 -- Henry BW
1,151 - 1,200
1,201 - 1,250
1,251 - 1,300
1,301 - 1,350 -- Jay
1,351 - 1,400 -- Curtis
1,401 - 1,450
1,451 - 1,500

1,501 - 1,550 -- B. Haven
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

 > 5,000
 > 5,000 + 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."), AND two separate people picked the ranges of numbers just before and just after that round number, the prize will be awarded to whichever entrant had not already won a prize, or 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 July 2012, this rule is officially no longer obsolete (and also I still just like having fine print).

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

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Marco & Ted's Excellent [NOT Democrat] Adventure

Here's this week's NPR Sunday Puzzle:
Take the first names of two politicians in the news. Switch the first letters of their names and read the result backward to name something that each of these politicians is not.
Totally not hard, given that both men have announced their candidacy for the presidency in the past few weeks. MARCO Rubio and TED Cruz => TARCO + MED => DEMOCRAT.

Word Woman (who moonlights as my editor, since my live-in editor can't be bothered) called S (for shotgun?) this week's photo section. Let's see what a single letter gets us:














Time for

Here are this week's picks:
Zero and fewer
    1 - 50
 51 - 100
101 - 150
151 - 200
201 - 250
251 - 300
301 - 350
351 - 400 -- Curtis
401 - 450 -- Jay
451 - 500

501 - 550 -- Natasha
551 - 600 -- Legolambda
601 - 650 -- Joe Kupe
651 - 700
701 - 750
751 - 800 -- Richard
801 - 850 -- B. Haven
851 - 900
901 - 950
951 - 1,000 -- Margaret G.
1,001 - 1,050 -- Word Woman
1,051 - 1,100 -- Henry BW
1,101 - 1,150
1,151 - 1,200 -- Ross
1,201 - 1,250 -- David
1,251 - 1,300
1,301 - 1,350
1,351 - 1,400
1,401 - 1,450 -- Magdalen
1,451 - 1,500

1,501 - 1,550
1,551 - 1,600
1,601 - 1,650
1,651 - 1,700
1,701 - 1,750 -- Marie
1,751 - 1,800
1,801 - 1,850
1,851 - 1,900
1,901 - 1,950 -- Mendo Jim
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

 > 5,000
 > 5,000 + 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."), AND two separate people picked the ranges of numbers just before and just after that round number, the prize will be awarded to whichever entrant had not already won a prize, or 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 July 2012, this rule is officially no longer obsolete (and also I still just like having fine print).

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Two Politicians Walk into a Puzzle

Here's this week's NPR Sunday Puzzle:
Take the first names of two politicians in the news. Switch the first letters of their names and read the result backward to name something that each of these politicians is not.
Seriously not hard. Here's your apolitical NPR Contact Us form so that you can send your answer in.

I'm declaring this a no-hints puzzle, not so much because it's a tricky or hint-worthy puzzle, but because politics is the third rail of blogging. Let's keep our political views private, shall we?

Hmm, what does the word "private" get us on 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.

Over 250 entries for the relatively hard PROMOTER/PROMPTER puzzle. Shall we donate to your favorite NPR station, B.Haven? And this week is easy, so which range will win? Pick and see!

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

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Brought to You By the Guild of Prompt Promoters

Here's this week's NPR Sunday Puzzle:
Think of a job, in 8 letters, that names someone who might work with actors. Change one letter in this to the following letter of the alphabet to name another person who works with actors. What jobs are these?
I have the distinct luxury of not solving the puzzle, knowing that my brilliant husband will. And he did: PROMOTER - O + P = PROMPTER. Do promoters work with actors? Maybe. Who knows. Who cares. (Or, Ross got the answer wrong.)

Sometimes when I go to the Flickr well, it's dry. I've asked for an obscure word, there's a band by that name whose photos clog the search, something. Other times, I go and it's incredible. Today is in that latter category. I typed in April and had a dozen photos before I knew it. After culling out the ones with the photographer's name/website as a watermark on the photo (I don't begrudge them the stamp, but it's a bit counter-intuitive with the Creative Commons license), here's what I have for you today.













Time for



Here are this week's picks:
Zero and fewer
    1 - 50 -- Joe Kupe
 51 - 100 -- Curtis
101 - 150 -- Mendo Jim
151 - 200 -- Word Woman
201 - 250 -- Margaret G.
251 - 300 -- B. Haven
301 - 350 -- Legolambda
351 - 400 -- Maggie Strasser
401 - 450 -- Magdalen
451 - 500

501 - 550 -- Natasha
551 - 600
601 - 650 -- Ross
651 - 700
701 - 750
751 - 800
801 - 850
851 - 900
901 - 950
951 - 1,000
1,001 - 1,050 -- David
1,051 - 1,100 -- Henry BW
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

 > 5,000
 > 5,000 + 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."), AND two separate people picked the ranges of numbers just before and just after that round number, the prize will be awarded to whichever entrant had not already won a prize, or 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 July 2012, this rule is officially no longer obsolete (and also I still just like having fine print).

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Vernal Verbicruciste

Here's this week's NPR Sunday Puzzle:
Think of a job, in 8 letters, that names someone who might work with actors. Change one letter in this to the following letter of the alphabet to name another person who works with actors. What jobs are these?
I've got Ross cycling through the options, but we haven't solved it yet.

You have, though. You're always faster than us! As resentful as that makes me, I'll still provide you with the Vernal Version of the NPR Contact Us form, complete with daffodils.

I'm going with "vernal" as the word of the 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.

Over 470 entries for the formal baby look (bootie & bow tie), so Paul won. Let us know what prize you want, Paul! We still haven't solved this week's; does that mean it'll be harder?

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

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Bootie Pasta, Anyone?

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.
Intended answer (we think): BOOTIE => BOW TIE

Guess what the words are for today's photo section? You got it! (Is it me, or have we seen the Pikachu bow tie before? Anyone remember the context? Oh, wait, I found it: Tae Bo becoming Bow Tie, blogged and pictured here.)













Time for


Here are this week's picks:
Zero and fewer
    1 - 50
 51 - 100
101 - 150
151 - 200
201 - 250 -- Natasha
251 - 300 -- Ross
301 - 350 -- Maggie Strasser
351 - 400 -- Curtis
401 - 450 -- legolambda
451 - 500 -- Paul

501 - 550 -- Margaret G.
551 - 600 -- Magdalen
601 - 650 -- Joe Kupe
651 - 700
701 - 750
751 - 800
801 - 850
851 - 900
901 - 950
951 - 1,000 -- David
1,001 - 1,050 -- Jan
1,051 - 1,100 -- Henry BW
1,101 - 1,150
1,151 - 1,200
1,201 - 1,250 -- Word Woman
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 -- B. Haven
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

 > 5,000
 > 5,000 + 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."), AND two separate people picked the ranges of numbers just before and just after that round number, the prize will be awarded to whichever entrant had not already won a prize, or 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 July 2012, this rule is officially no longer obsolete (and also I still just like having fine print).

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

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Googoling the Answer

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?
At least there is only one right answer. What we've got--and what we think Will Shortz believes is the "right" answer--is this:

which is 9999 GOOGOL (or 7060066666 upside down). GOOGOL is ten to the power of one hundred. Wiki explains all about it. If there was a way to get GOOGOLPLEX on the calculator, that would be even better.

9999 GOOGOL is not the largest number, though. Henry BW has thought of a larger one but we suspect Will won't accept Henry's answer, even assuming someone (Henry?) sends it in. That answer is this (I asked for a pretty picture but I may not get one in time):
On scientific calculators, the symbol E is standard for “times 10 to the power of”.
If you key in 6636363636 and then turn the calculator upside-down, you get:
9E9E9E9E99, which expands to:
9 x 10^(9 x 10^(9 x 10^(9 x 10^99)))
which is a lot.

Though if you insist on reading it from the other end as:
(((9 x 10^9) x 10^9) x 10^9) x 10^99
Then I think that
9E99GOOGOL
(which is 7090096636 upside down) and which expands to:
9 x 10 ^ (99 x 10^ 100)
is larger. 
Good to know. What did you all get?

I asked Flickr for pictures of GOOGOL (or GOOGOLPLEX; I wasn't fussy). Here's what I got:













Time for

Here are this week's picks:
Zero and fewer
    1 - 50 -- Word Woman
 51 - 100 -- Curtis
101 - 150 -- Natasha
151 - 200 -- legolambda
201 - 250 -- B. Haven
251 - 300 -- Joe Kupe
301 - 350 -- Marie
351 - 400 -- Maggie Strasser
401 - 450 -- Ross
451 - 500 -- Magdalen

501 - 550
551 - 600
601 - 650 -- Mendo Jim
651 - 700
701 - 750
751 - 800
801 - 850
851 - 900
901 - 950
951 - 1,000
1,001 - 1,050 -- David
1,051 - 1,100 -- Henry BW
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 -- Margaret G.
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

 > 5,000
 > 5,000 + 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."), AND two separate people picked the ranges of numbers just before and just after that round number, the prize will be awarded to whichever entrant had not already won a prize, or 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 July 2012, this rule is officially no longer obsolete (and also I still just like having fine print).