Sunday, January 3, 2016


For old time's sake, here's this week's NPR Sunday Puzzle:
This is a variation on the old word ladder puzzle. The object is to change WHOLE to HEART by either adding or subtracting one letter at a time, making a new, common, uncapitalized word at each step.

For example, you can change RED to ROSE in five steps. Starting with RED, you could add a U, making RUED; drop the D, leaving RUE; add an S, making RUSE; add an O, making ROUSE, and then drop the U, leaving ROSE.

Changing or rearranging letters is not allowed, neither are plurals or verbs formed by adding -S. No word in the chain can have fewer than three letters.

How many steps are needed to change WHOLE to HEART? I have my best answer. We'll compare results next week.

And here's the NPR Contact Us form, so you can send your word ladder whizzing through the ether to clatter at the feet of the current Hapless Unpaid Intern.

You wrote such lovely things about this blog and us in your comments to Thursday's announcement that we're stopping. We thank you. No, really, we thank YOU, because it's been so much more fun to feel that there's a community here, and not just a vacuum. Thank you for all the ranges picked, photos requested, hints obscured, and so forth.

My thanks--and sadly I can't do everyone--go as follows. For Mendo Jim, I thank you for being our "curmudgeon." Here's a curmudgeonly photo (and a fascinating rant about invasive species in California):


For David, who would have parked himself at 1001-1050 forever if it hadn't become completely obvious that we rarely see a thousand entries these days, I give you a photo of "consistent."

lightning over the oilfields

For legolambda, here is a "puzzle" (I checked; they didn't have any photos for "puzzleria"):

Ice on the rocks

For Maggie Strasser, here's a photo for "good guess":

Norway Postcard 4 of 6: Morning sunbeams

For Margaret G., I have a photo for "anonymous":

Anonymous / Anónimo

For B. Haven, here's "behaving":


For Joe Kupe, who seemed always to be the last guess in our Pick a Range game, here's "latecomer":

Temari sakura for latecomers

And for everyone else, a simple...

Thank you

Oh, and the magic number this week was 410. I won the Pick a Range! Whoo-hoo!!


legolambda said...

In the "Puzzle(ria!)" photo you chose to go with "legolambda," my puzzle answer would be: "would-be fish a-jumpin'!"

Thanks again for the forum and fun!


Maggie Strasser said...

Thank you for my lovely photo and a big "awwwwwww, no, really? Well, okay" and goodbye/goodluck to you & Ross and Thanks for all the fish! ;)

Mendo Jim said...

I finally pried "my" picture and caption out of Flickr.
I am a native (third generation) Californian, but of course as invasive as any of us.
I like the idea that native plant species, unlike those in the pic, can be considered curmudgeons and welcome them to the team.

I really thought Shortz would have something to say about the denouement of this blog. He and David Brooks learned their couth together.

Joe Kupe said...

Thanks for the salute in pictures! We were thrilled to be a part of this community and glad you could help me celebrate my on air experience with Will. Even when we were not working on the puzzle right until the deadline we waited to see where everyone else was falling in pick-a-range before we made our guess. Thank you for all the blogs and donations. Puzzle onward! Joe Kuperberg

Curtis said...

All I can really say at this point is Thank you. It has been an honor and a pleasure to be a part of this group.

Unknown said...

Oh my! I am so sorry to be saying "goodbye" to you, when I feel I've just started to get to know you. Thank you SO much for all the time and effort and dollars you've spent making this community what it is, and I am truly honored to be called out with the "Anonymous" picture.

with best of wishes for your upcoming adventures!

--Margaret G.

Henry BW said...

Oh, drat you, legolambda. Now I've got "So long, and thanks for all the fish" as an earworm.