Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Thanks for All the Fish!

Here is this week's NPR Sunday Puzzle:
Name a famous actress who has four letters in her first name and four letters in her last name. Add one letter, and rearrange the result to name an animal and the sound this animal makes. Who is the actress, what is the animal and what is the sound that the animal makes?
Ross solved this by finding a list on the Internet of animal sounds. The answer is TERI GARR + O = TIGER ROAR. (Easy for all Princeton grads, I would assume.)

And now for the sad news. This will be our penultimate blog post. I can't tell you why I'm stopping any more than I can say why I haven't stopped before now. Something about my disproportionate reaction to the Seth Rogen / Green Hornet puzzle let me know the time had come.

We've loved supporting NPR stations as part of the Pick a Range game, but credit where credit is due: we wouldn't have sent any of it out if you hadn't been such great range pickers! (We donated $140 to eight different NPR stations in 2015 alone, plus sent out a couple of puzzle books.) We may have one more contribution to make--we'll post on Sunday to see if someone wins this week.

If you win this week, or if you've won recently, you can always contact me at Magdalen (at) CrosswordMan (dot) com to tell me which prize you want.

And I've loved the photo sections. I clearly have tastes about what I like to look at (was there a snowy landscape photo I didn't use?), which meant there were scenes you had to look at no matter what.

Let's see what I get from "penultimate."

Penultimate

Untitled

Encrustation

Choir staircase / Escalera del coro

penultimate sunrise of 2013 | crescent beach, anastasia island, florida

NX1000 Fistral Beach Newquay #1

ID Shot

La Dame Liberté

Penultimate Hurrah

Time for:
Here are this week's picks:
  0 - 25
26 - 50
51 - 75
76 - 100
101 - 125
126 - 150
151 - 175
176 - 200
201 - 225
226 - 250

251 - 275 - Ross
276 - 300
301 - 325
326 - 350
351 - 375 - Maggie Strasser
376 - 400
401 - 425 - Magdalen
426 - 450
451 - 475
476 - 500
501 - 550 - Joe Kupe
551 - 600
601 - 650
651 - 700
701 - 750 - Word Woman
751 - 800 - Marie
801 - 850
851 - 900
901 - 950 - B. Haven
951 - 1,000 - glen

1,001 - 1,050 - David
1,051 - 1,100 - Henry BW
1,101 - 1,150 - Margaret G.
1,151 - 1,200
1,201 - 1,250 - legolambda
1,251 - 1,300
1,301 - 1,350
1,351 - 1,400501 - 550 - Curtis
1,401 - 1,450
1,451 - 1,500 - Fred
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 - 2,250
2,251 - 2,500
2,501 - 2,750
2,751 - 3,000
3,001 - 3,500
3,501 - 4,000
4,001 - 4,500
4,501 - 5,000

More than 5,000
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 goes to the person who picked the range that includes that specific number. 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Award for Best Actress in a Puzzle Goes to...

Here is this week's NPR Sunday Puzzle:
Name a famous actress who has four letters in her first name and four letters in her last name. Add one letter, and rearrange the result to name an animal and the sound this animal makes. Who is the actress, what is the animal and what is the sound that the animal makes?
Ross solved this, and no, he won't tell you how he did it. (I just report the news, people.)

But what do you care? You've solved it, and have stopped here simply so that you can get this here link to the NPR Contact Us form, already togged out in its New Year's Eve finery. Don't forget--you need to get your answer in by Wednesday, which is when the next blog will go up.

Time for some Yule (and Yuletide) photos:

Northern hemisphere winter solstice 2009

Copenhagen Yule

December 3 - The magic starts to grow

Frosted Fields

Yule

Stretching across Harringworth Viaduct

Pendle mist

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. 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, either to the Red Cross, or, 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.

They received 390 entries this week. SarahE is our winner, and, like jan, she's a newbie to the blog so she needs to come back to find out that she won. [If you do, SarahE, please contact me at magdalen (at) crosswordman (dot) com and say which prize you want. Your choices are: a puzzle book, a donation to the Red Cross, or a donation to your NPR station.]

Here are the ranges:
   0 - 25
 26 - 50
 51 - 75
 76 - 100
101 - 125
126 - 150
151 - 175
176 - 200
201 - 225
226 - 250

251 - 275
276 - 300
301 - 325
326 - 350
351 - 375
376 - 400
401 - 425
426 - 450
451 - 475
476 - 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 - 2,250
2,251 - 2,500
2,501 - 2,750
2,751 - 3,000
3,001 - 3,500
3,501 - 4,000
4,001 - 4,500
4,501 - 5,000

More than 5,000
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.").  As of August, 2015, this rule is officially even more complicated than it's ever been, but at least it's consistent with what we actually do.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Notion of a Lotion Potion Motion

Here's this week's NPR Sunday Puzzle:
Think of four common six-letter words that all end in the same five letters, in the same order. And the first letters of these four words are consecutive consonants in the alphabet (like B, C, D, F). No other common six-letter words end with these five letters. What are the words?
Ross solved this the easy way: he used some software he created for jobs just like this one. There are other sets of four consecutive consonants (sowing, towing, vowing & wowing, to name just one) but those sets violate the second part of the puzzle, namely uniqueness (e.g., with bowing). So the answer--and we think it's unique--is LOTION, MOTION, NOTION, POTION. Nice puzzle. Edited to add: In light of Curtis's answer (see the comments), we freely admit a) that ours is not the only possible answer [I never thought it was, merely that there were no other "_otion" words; I apologize for my misleading statement] and b) ours may not be the answer Will is looking for. Nicely done, Curtis. Anyone else get anything else?

Time to see what SOLSTICE gets us over at Flickr:

Solstice Dawn

Solstice Fire II

Winter Solstice Sunset

Happy Winter Solstice

Norwich cathedral solstice day

Hammock on the Solstice I

Solitude on a Winter Solstice..

Time for:
Here are this week's picks:
  0 - 25
26 - 50
51 - 75 - Ross
76 - 100 - Wordnerd
101 - 125 - B. Haven
126 - 150 - Word Woman
151 - 175 - Fred
176 - 200 - Maggie Strasser
201 - 225 - legolambda
226 - 250 - Margaret G.

251 - 275 - Joe Kupe
276 - 300 - David
301 - 325 - Magdalen
326 - 350 - Jay
351 - 375 - Curtis
376 - 400 - SarahE
401 - 425
426 - 450
451 - 475
476 - 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 - 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 - 2,250
2,251 - 2,500
2,501 - 2,750
2,751 - 3,000
3,001 - 3,500
3,501 - 4,000
4,001 - 4,500
4,501 - 5,000

More than 5,000
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 goes to the person who picked the range that includes that specific number. 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

On Sonder, On Blitzen

Here's this week's NPR Sunday Puzzle:
Think of four common six-letter words that all end in the same five letters, in the same order. And the first letters of these four words are consecutive consonants in the alphabet (like B, C, D, F). No other common six-letter words end with these five letters. What are the words?
Ross is working on this. (Done!) The trick is that last element, namely that no other "common" six-letter words end with the same string of five letters.  Don't be fooled--for once, Will Shortz is correct.

You have solved this, double-checked that it is the answer, and are just sitting there, smiling benignly, waiting for this, the tinsel-covered NPR Contact Us form, so you can send in your answer and get on with your day. Enjoy!!

I give you SONDER, as requested by many, many readers!! (I had to look it up. It's a noun, defined as "the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own," but it's also a common word in German. The photos seem to reflect this. Oh, and it's a mountain in Australia.)

Mt Sonder at Sunrise

Loki & Shruti

The mandap

No i po paradzie :-(

West MacDonnell Ranges at sunset

Happyshooting Aufgabe - Sauerstoff

Mt Sonder

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. 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, either to the Red Cross, or, 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.

They received 120 entries this week. jan is our winner, and I believe he's a newbie to the blog (Hi, jan!) so I hope he comes back to check. If you do, jan, please contact me [magdalen (at) crosswordman (dot) com] and say which prize you want. Your choices are: a puzzle book, a donation to the Red Cross, or a donation to your NPR station.

Here are the ranges:
   0 - 25
 26 - 50
 51 - 75
 76 - 100
101 - 125
126 - 150
151 - 175
176 - 200
201 - 225
226 - 250

251 - 275
276 - 300
301 - 325
326 - 350
351 - 375
376 - 400
401 - 425
426 - 450
451 - 475
476 - 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 - 2,250
2,251 - 2,500
2,501 - 2,750
2,751 - 3,000
3,001 - 3,500
3,501 - 4,000
4,001 - 4,500
4,501 - 5,000

More than 5,000
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.").  As of August, 2015, this rule is officially even more complicated than it's ever been, but at least it's consistent with what we actually do.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Green Made Me See Red And I'm Still Buzzing

Here's this week's NPR Sunday Puzzle:
Name a well-known character of TV, movies and comics. Two words. Replace the 8th, 9th, and 10th letters with an S. Then rearrange the result to name a well-known actor who played this character on film. First and last names. Who is it?
This one nearly killed this blog. Seriously, I got that mad. Then Ross solved it. I could discuss how and why I dislike this puzzle, but instead I'll just write the answer: GREEN HORNET > GREENHOST > SETH ROGEN.

Let's look at some green things. (I actually like the color green, in a normal week.) Edited to add: I forgot SONDER. I will do SONDER. I will, promise!

Green Pastures

Green

Green leaves

green in autumn

Green curls

green ragrug

green generation

green

Time for:
Here are this week's picks:
  0 - 25
26 - 50 - Ross
51 - 75 - Curtis
76 - 100 - Margaret G.
101 - 125 - jan
126 - 150 - Word Woman
151 - 175 - Paul
176 - 200 - legolambda
201 - 225 - Joe Kupe
226 - 250 - Jay

251 - 275 - Magdalen
276 - 300 - David
301 - 325 - B. Haven
326 - 350
351 - 375
376 - 400
401 - 425
426 - 450
451 - 475
476 - 500
501 - 550 - Natasha
551 - 600 - Fred
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 - 2,250
2,251 - 2,500
2,501 - 2,750
2,751 - 3,000
3,001 - 3,500
3,501 - 4,000
4,001 - 4,500
4,501 - 5,000

More than 5,000
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 goes to the person who picked the range that includes that specific number. 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

And We Couldn't Care Less

Here's this week's NPR Sunday Puzzle:
Name a well-known character of TV, movies and comics. Two words. Replace the 8th, 9th, and 10th letters with an S. Then rearrange the result to name a well-known actor who played this character on film. First and last names. Who is it?
This one has not gone down well in the Crosswordman household. As a general rule, Ross's and my skill sets complement each other--I can do pop culture, he does classical stuff. But comics (so sorry, graphic novels!) and the attendant TV shows and movies is an entire universe I know next to nothing about, and Ross knows even less.

And, truthfully, we just don't care. Sorry, Puzzlemaster, but you've lost even us--and we're contractually obligated to solve it.

*sigh*

You, dear reader, are much, much more attuned to all things Comic Con, so you got this one right away. Congratulations! Here's your prize--the NPR Contact Us form all tricked out in twinkly lights ready to convey your winning answer!

I haven't yet posted photos located with "December" so let's do that now!

Lake Water

Hot air in cold air

Manduria, il Natale

December sand

Ice on St. Joe Light

Sunrise over Long's Peak [Explore]

Milky Way behind little trees

Snowflake macro: gardener's dream (explore 2015-04-02)

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. 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, either to the Red Cross, or, 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.

They received 133 entries this week. Really low, right? Not even Ross went that low, and he's a pretty pessimistic conservative guesser. Word Woman came closest. Which prompts my question: is this week even harder, or are we (Ross and I) just super (superhero) clueless? Pick a range and let's find out.

Here are the ranges:
   0 - 25
 26 - 50
 51 - 75
 76 - 100
101 - 125
126 - 150
151 - 175
176 - 200
201 - 225
226 - 250

251 - 275
276 - 300
301 - 325
326 - 350
351 - 375
376 - 400
401 - 425
426 - 450
451 - 475
476 - 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 - 2,250
2,251 - 2,500
2,501 - 2,750
2,751 - 3,000
3,001 - 3,500
3,501 - 4,000
4,001 - 4,500
4,501 - 5,000

More than 5,000
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.").  As of August, 2015, this rule is officially even more complicated than it's ever been, but at least it's consistent with what we actually do.