Friday, December 29, 2006

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 31): As the Year Comes to an End...

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 31): As the Year Comes to an End...:
Q: Think of two words, one starting with O, the other starting with R. Both end with ING, and they have the same number of letters. In one sense the words are synonyms and in another sense they're antonyms. What are the words?
The only clue I'll give is the title.

Edit: 2006 is leaving us... it is the outgoing year, or the retiring year, is it not?
A: OUTGOING and RETIRING
Synonyms in the sense of leaving a position, as in the OUTGOING or RETIRING person.
Antonyms in the sense of having an OUTGOING (extroverted) versus RETIRING (introverted) personality.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas Puzzle 2006 Now Uploaded

Our Annual Christmas Puzzle is now available on the Christmas page of our personal website. The theme is "Close but No Rhyme"

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 24): Plural + S makes Plural

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 24): Plural + S makes Plural:
Q: Think of a five-letter word starting with T. The word is plural. Add an S at the end, and you'll get a six-letter word that is also plural. What words are these?
Indeed, what are these words? I can only think of one at the moment... I'll give you the second word after the session expires.

Edit: If you read the question carefully, I found it already contained a clue to the first word ("What words are these?") and then there were some hints in my comments. In case you missed them, read the following: "I'll give you the second word after the session expires." Did you catch those hints?
A: THESE (plural of "this")
THESES (plural of "thesis")

Thursday, December 14, 2006

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 17): Swans, Geese, Calling Birds, etc.

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 17): Swans, Geese, Calling Birds, etc.:
Q: Take the names of two birds, four letters each. Place these names side by side, then move the first letter of the string to the end and you'll get an eight-letter word that describes where birds fly. What are the birds and where do they fly? Hint: the first bird is a common one everyone knows. The second bird is seen mainly in crossword puzzles.
Obviously I started with the crossword puzzle bird. It's not ANIS, NENE or KIWI. I won't say anything more but I'm sure you'll get the two birds if you think about it...
Edit: The title should make you think of the 12 Days of Christmas. Counting down there are 7 Swans, 6 Geese, 4 Calling Birds, 3 French Hens and 2 Turtle *Doves* That was a clue...
A: DOVE + RHEA --> OVERHEAD

Friday, December 08, 2006

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 10): T for Two (or Five)...

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 10): T for Two (or five)...:
Q: There's a familiar five-word saying in which one of the words ends in the letter T and the other four words all start with T. What is the saying?
I couldn't have solved this week's puzzle without the help of my wife. We kept trying answers ("The best things take time", "Taking it to the top", etc.) and we finally stumbled upon what we believe to be the intended answer.
Edit: You caught the hint about not being able to do this without my wife, right? What's a saying that might echo that sentiment? And notice how our wrong answers kept including 'take' in them; that was another clue.
A: IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO

Thursday, November 30, 2006

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 3): Sacramento Anagrams

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 3): Sacramento Anagrams:
Q: Take the name 'Sacramento,' the capital of California. Re-arrange these 10 letters to spell two words that are synonyms.
There's barely a whiff of anything I can say that would be helpful but I'll tell you the words are both 5 letters long.

Edit: Okay, "whiff" was a pretty lame clue, I know.
A: SCENT and AROMA

Friday, November 24, 2006

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Nov 26): Giving Lots of Thanks

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Nov 26): Giving Lots of Thanks:
Q: Name a well-known American city, with 12 letters in its name, containing the letters of THANKS in left to right order, not necessarily consecutively. A hint: This is a city of more than 100,000 people. What city is it?
Thanksgiving is putting me in a giving mood, so I'll give you a link to a List of U.S. Cities by Population. That should be very helpful for solving this week's puzzle.
A: THOUSAND OAKS in Southern California

Friday, November 17, 2006

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Nov 19): A Political Scramble...

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Nov 19): A Political Scramble...:
Name a famous person in American politics, five letters in the first name, six letters in the last. You can rearrange this to spell the names of two countries, one of them five letters and the other six. The five-letter one is the current name of a country, the six letter one is an old name for a country, but both are well known. Who is the politician and what are the countries?
This person has been in the news recently. And one extra hint, one of the countries is in Asia.

Edit: I had to look through old names of countries to remember that Sri Lanka's former name (pre-1952) was Ceylon. Looking at the letters, Nancy just popped into my head and I got the answer.
A: NANCY PELOSI --> SPAIN and CEYLON

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Disguised Triangles

Count the trianglesHow many different triangles can you find in the hexagonal pattern to the right? I believe I correctly counted them all and will post my answer sometime in the future...

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Nov 12): Lots of Lather...

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Nov 12): Lots of Lather... to clean one's conscience?:
Q: Take the word lather. Rearrange the letters and repeat them as often as necessary to name a famous literary work in 16 letters. Hint: The title of this literary work has three words, one of which is hyphenated. Name this famous literary work.
My son had recently gone on a class field trip and coincidentally they had seen this story performed as a play. Looking at the letters of 'lather' it was pretty apparent that 'THE' would be part of the title. I was the first to come up with the longest part of the title and then the other word, beating everyone else to the punch. I'll post the answer after the Thursday deadline.

Edit: The hidden clue above was "beating everyone to the punch"... beating, beating, beating...
A: Edgar Allan Poe's THE TELL-TALE HEART

Sunday, November 05, 2006

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Nov 5): Writer Turned Detective

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Nov 5): Writer Turned Detective
Q: Name a well-known writer of the 20th century, now deceased... an author of bestselling non-fiction. There are six letters in the first name and six in the last. Remove the letter 'C' somewhere from this name. The remaining letters can be rearranged to name a famous fictional detective with four letters in the first name and seven in the last. What names are these?

I will be honest that I didn't figure this out before the deadline passed. Certainly the author did write a famous book, but it is hard to classify someone as an "author of bestselling non-fiction" based on a single book. Anyway here is the answer:
A:
RACHEL CARSON - zoologist and marine biologist whose landmark book, Silent Spring (about pesticide use, especially DDT), is often credited with having launched the global environmental movement.
NORA CHARLES - From the Dashiell Hammett novel "The Thin Man", Nick Charles and his wife Nora Charles.

Friday, October 27, 2006

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Oct 29): And Now the President Will Sing...

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Oct 29): And Now the President Will Sing...:
Q: Name a famous American singer, one who's living. Six letters in the first name, six letters in the last. Write out this name from left to right. Cross out six consecutive letters from inside the name, leaving the start and end intact. The result will be the six-letter last name of a U.S. president. Name the singer and the president.
This one is really easy. All you need to do is get a list of presidents and find the ones with 6-letter last names (there are only 9).

Edit: So did you get the correct answer?
A: WIL(LIE NEL)SON --> Woodrow WILSON

Monday, October 23, 2006

Need help solving the FoxTrot Su-Dork-U?

A week ago Sunday (10/15), the FoxTrot comic strip featured a Sudorku where the grid included various math equations (hence the Dork reference) in place of the usual starting digits.

It's pretty straightforward once you get the starting digits. For those that need some help, here are some clues:

  • (1/3)^-1 is the reciprocal, namely (3/1)^1 or just 3


  • For all the square roots, obviously only take the positive root


  • d/dx 3x means take the derivative. In general d/dx ax^n = nax^(n-1). So you get 1*3*x^0 or just 3


  • For the integral from 1 to 2, you do the reverse. x^2 becomes x^3/3. Taking this from 1 to 2 results in (2^3)/3 - (1^3)/3. That gives you 7/3. But it is multiplied by 3 to get you 7.


  • 3! means factorial or multiplying all the numbers from 3 down to 1 (3*2*1) or 6.


  • The sum of k from k=1 to 3, is just 1+2+3 = 6


  • The log10(10) means that 10^x = 10. It's essentially the number of zeroes after the 1.


  • 0101 is binary (base 2). This is 0*8 + 1*4 + 0*2 + 1*1 = 5


  • By the Pythagorean theorem a^2 + b^2 = c^2. Some common Pythagorean triples are 3-4-5 and 5-12-13


  • -(i^2). In complex numbers, i represents the square root of -1. So this is just -(-1) or 1.


  • FF-F8 is a hexidecimal equation. In hex, A-F represent 10 through 15. So FF = 15*16 + 15 and F8 = 15*16 + 8. The difference is 7.


  • sin(pi/2 radians) is the same as sin(90 degrees) = 1



  • I'll post the solution in a later post...

    Friday, October 20, 2006

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Oct 22): A Politician's Name is Synonymous with...

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Oct 22): A Politician's Name is Synonymous with...
    Q: Name a well-known 20th century political figure, now deceased, with a two-syllable last name. The word spelled by the first syllable is a synonym of the word spelled by the second syllable backward. Who is this famous person?
    I have no clues this time, not a one. But you will recognize the person.

    Edit: Time to reveal who the person is. Remember, I gave you *no* clues!
    A: Richard NIXON --> NIX and NO.

    Friday, October 13, 2006

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Oct 15): Chained Sentences

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Oct 15): Chained Sentences:
    Q: The challenge is a special challenge called, 'Chained Sentences.' The object is to write a sentence or other bit of writing in which the last two letters of each word are the first two letters of the next.
    For example: Give veteran Angela Lansbury rye yeast. Or, the heroic iconoclast stops psychological allusions.
    Well, I can't give you *the* answer since there are lots of possible answers. I will just give you my submission and you can judge it against what is announced on the air on Sunday. I think it has pretty good syntax and a reasonable length.
    A: Despite technological alternatives espoused, Edith, the head administrator, ordered education online, neglectful ultimate telecommunication onus usurious.

    Friday, September 29, 2006

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Oct 1): Is it Better to Plan, or not to Plan?

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Oct 1): Is it Better to Plan, or not to Plan?:
    Q: Think of a nine-letter word for something that is unplanned. Change the middle letter from I to U, and you'll get a new word for something that is always planned. What is it?
    I came by the answer almost accidentally. I wasn't really thinking about this puzzle, but was just pondering things that might be planned or unplanned. While I was thinking of unplanned things, the answer hit me.

    Edit: In response to the title, I wouldn't want to be involved in either of these events (unplanned or planned). By the way, there were a couple *big* clues in what I wrote earlier. The keywords were "accidentally" and "hit me". So it's time to reveal my answer:
    A: COLLISION --> COLLUSION

    Wednesday, September 20, 2006

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sep 24): I'm feeling i-l-l today

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sep 24): I'm feeling i-l-l today:
    Q: Name a famous person whose first and last names, together, total eleven letters. This person's first and last names each contain the consecutive letters 'I-L-L' in that order. Who is it? It's a person everybody knows.
    I'm not sure if this is the intended answer, but this is what I came up with. Is he known to everyone or is there another answer?
    A: Bill O'Reilly (host of The O'Reilly Factor on Fox News)

    Wednesday, September 13, 2006

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sep 17): Get to the Point!

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sep 17): Get to the Point!
    Q: Think of a seven-letter word that names a certain implement with a sharp point. Reverse the order of the second, third, fourth, and fifth letter, leaving the other three letters in place. The result will name a popular TV series. This series has other types of sharp implements in use.
    If you've heard of this series, the answer is obvious... although I wasn't as familiar with the original implement with a sharp point.

    Edit: Okay, so how many TV shows have you heard of with sharp implements. If you've heard of this one, you had the answer within seconds.
    A: NUTPICK -> NIP/TUCK

    Friday, September 08, 2006

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sep 10): O as in FISH

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sep 10): O as in FISH:
    Q: In most words containing the letter 'O' between two consonants, the O is either pronounced as a long O or a short O. Can you name a common word in which O appears between two consonants and the O is pronounced like a short 'i'?
    You can easily get this if you think a little. I'll explain the title after the deadline has passed.

    Edit: Okay, time to reveal the meaning of the title. English pronunciation has all sorts of anomalies. Someone said it is so confusing. We have GH sounding like F in ENOUGH, O sounding like I in WOMEN, and TI sounding like SH in ACTION. Wouldn't that make GHOTI a valid way to spell fish? Anyway, that was the clue to the answer.
    A: WOMEN ('wi-m&n)

    Friday, September 01, 2006

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sep 3): "And in the News today..."

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sep 3): "And in the News today...":
    Q: Take the phrase 'a correspondent.' Change one letter in it to a new letter, and rearrange to get the name of a famous correspondent who is still at work. Who is it?
    This actually took some thought. I missed the part about changing one of the letters. Coincidentally, I had half of the answer, but the remaining letters didn't spell a name, only a form of transportation. I'll tell you more about the answer after the deadline, but think of TV, both network and cable...

    Edit: The deadline has passed so it's time to reveal my answer. As I said, I originally missed the note about changing a letter. We were working on names like PETER and PETERSON when I noticed ANDERSON, which I thought to be a last name. The remaining letters only spelled COPTER. I didn't think there was a COPTER ANDERSON so I discarded the idea. It wasn't until I reread the puzzle that I figured out the real answer. I was so close!
    A: A CORRESPONDENT --> change T to O --> ANDERSON COOPER (Anderson Cooper - correspondent for ABC News and co-anchor of World News Now who has now moved on to CNN)

    Sunday, August 27, 2006

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 27): Company - TE times 3

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 27): Company - TE times 3:
    Q: Name a well-known company in U.S. history, still in existence today. There are three words in its name. Each word contains the letter pair T and E. What company is it?
    My wife and I were on the way up to Crater Lake with the kids last week and this puzzle kept us occupied. (This also explains why I didn't post before the deadline) I kept focusing on AT&T (American Telephone and Telegraph). I also had "United States..." but couldn't complete it. Once again my wife trumped me and came up with the answer first.
    A: UNITED STATES STEEL

    Friday, August 18, 2006

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 20): "And the Oscar goes to..."

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 20): "And the Oscar goes to..."
    Q: Name a well-known person in show business, who might be seen at an awards ceremony. Take the first letter of this person's first name, plus this person's last name, in order, from left to right. The letters will spell something this celebrity might say at an awards ceremony. Who is the celebrity and what might this person say?
    Well, I've given away a large clue with the title of this post. The answer would not apply to a music awards show; instead think of people involved with movies. I had the answer within a minute, so I don't think it is that hard. The answer for what they might say is a single word, not a phrase.

    Edit: Did you figure it out?
    A: TOM HANKS --> THANKS

    Tuesday, August 15, 2006

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 13): You Put My Car in What!?

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 13): You Put My Car in What!?
    Q: Name a make of car containing the letter 'N.' Rearrange the letters to get a new word starting with 'N' that names something you might put a car in. What is it?
    My wife and I figured out the answer together. Like last week, we worked backwards. I figured out the 'N' word, she figured out the car make. And I'll reiterate that it is a car make not a model. Think also about the clue for the 'N' word. It's obviously not something like a garage or a carport. So what do you put a car in?

    Unfortunately, we are taking five days vacation starting Thursday, so I won't be able to post the answer until after the answer is revealed on the air... hopefully we've given enough hints here so you can figure it out (while we are spending our time idling on the beaches in Cancun!)

    Edit: We are back safely with only minor delays from the increased security. We had to transfer all our liquid/gel items into a single bag which then got checked as luggage. Anyway, the answer has already been announced on the air, but here it is:
    A: RENAULT --> NEUTRAL

    Thursday, August 03, 2006

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 6): Clockwise or Counter-Clockwise

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 6): Clockwise or Counter-Clockwise
    Q: Take the last name of a well-known 20th century world leader -- seven letters. Write these letters in a circle, reading clockwise. Then, starting with the fourth letter of the name and reading counter-clockwise, you'll name an important period in human history. What is it?
    This answer came to me almost immediately but I worked on it going backwards. The name should be familiar to anyone who has paid attention to history in the last 3 decades or so.

    Edit: Well, you would have heard this name in the news in the late 1980s. And to the person that asked, yes the country would be a big clue, wouldn't it?
    A:
    NORIEGA (Manuel Noriega, the de facto military leader of Panama from 1983-1989)
    IRON AGE (As in Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age)

    Thursday, July 27, 2006

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (July 30): What's Your Drink Order?

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (July 30): What's Your Drink Order?:
    Q: Name something you might order in a bar. It's two words; three letters in the first word, five letters in the second. Change the second letter of the first word from a U to an A. The result will be a new two-word phrase, naming something you don't want to be seen in. What is it?
    There are so many clues given in this puzzle (letters, word lengths) that you don't need any help from me. But I will say, one word is short for another word...
    Edit: "Hey bartender, give me a light. No, I mean..."
    A: BUD LIGHT --> BAD LIGHT

    Friday, July 21, 2006

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (July 23): He, she or they? Figure in Greek Mythology...

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (July 23): He, she or they? Figure in Greek Mythology...
    Q: Name a well-known figure in Greek mythology, whose name consists of two consecutive pronouns. Who is it?
    I would debate the well-known part of this question. I think you'll recognize the answer but it may not be the first Greek figure you think of. Don't forget to try all the possessive and demonstrative pronouns you can think of and consider the subjective, objective and possessive forms. My first thought was HERMES, but that isn't exactly right... think a little more and the answer will come to you.
    Edit: In addition to pronouns like he, she, they, him, her, we, us, me, my, mine, ours and yours I hope you remembered it, its, that, this, these and those. Here's the answer I came up with.
    A: THESE + US --> THESEUS (Greek Θησεύς) was a legendary king of Athens, son of Aegeus (or of Poseidon) and of Aethra. Theseus was a founder-hero, like Perseus, Cadmus or Heracles, all of whom battled and overcame foes.

    Friday, July 14, 2006

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (July 16): Criminals and the Crimes they Commit

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (July 16): Criminals and the Crimes they Commit
    Q: Think of a word meaning criminals. Think of another word for a certain crime. Read these words one after the other, and you'll get a new word for something that may be a crime. What is it? Also, the longer word is unrelated etymologically to the shorter word.
    The first word is obviously a plural. As a hint, the second word starts with a consonant and its vowel sound changes in the final word. And yes, all the answers are words, not phrases.
    Edit: My wife gets the credit for coming up with the answer first.
    A: CONS + PIRACY --> CONSPIRACY

    Thursday, July 06, 2006

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (July 9): Roman Numeral Name

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (July 9): Roman Numeral Name
    Q: Name a well-known American of the past consisting of eight letters. This is the person's full name, as he or she was known. Six of the letters are consonants, and all six of these consonants are Roman numerals. Who is this famous person?
    First it helps to know your roman numerals (I=1, V=5, X=10, L=50, C=100, D=500, M=1000). The consonants are V, X, L, C, D and M. The other thing is to remember that it is the person's full name. But don't be thrown by this. I thought the first name might be something short like AL, ED, MAX, etc. You might be surprised by the answer. One hint, the person's name has 3 syllables.
    Edit: The deadline has passed, so it's time to reveal my answer...
    A: Black Nationalist and spokesperson for the Nation of Islam, MALCOLM X (born Malcolm Little).

    Sunday, July 02, 2006

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (July 2): Boy to Bird to Brit

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (July 2): Boy to Bird to Brit
    Q: Think of a boy's first name in six letters. Move the first two letters to the end, and you'll get a word meaning, a bird. Then, move the first two letters of that to the end, to name a well known English writer of the past. What words are these?
    Well, I struggled with this one and never got past the bird... Now that I've heard the answer I realize it was a type of bird, not a species of bird. And I'm not familiar with the author either... anyway, here's the puzzle answer they gave.
    A: ERNEST (Boy's first name, e.g. Hemingway)
    NESTER (Bird that builds a nest)
    STERNE (Laurence Sterne, English Writer 1712-1768)

    Thursday, June 22, 2006

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (June 25): A Country and Two 20th-century World Leaders

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (June 25): A Country and Two 20th-century World Leaders:
    Q: Think of a certain country in the world. Change its first letter to name a well-known 20th-century world leader. Or change its third letter to name another well-known 20th-century world leader. What is the country and who are the leaders?
    It shouldn't take too long to come up with this answer. First be sure to focus on 20th-century leaders, not 21st-century leaders. Also, it helps to have an atlas at hand or at least a list of countries.
    Edit: If you looked through an alphabetical list of countries, it definitely shouldn't have taken long... I had the answer almost immediately
    A: Republic of BENIN (Country in Western Africa)
    Vladimir LENIN (First Premier of the Soviet Union, 1917-24)
    Menachem BEGIN (Prime Minister of Israel, 1977-83)

    Thursday, June 15, 2006

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (June 18): R-blank and F-blank become Synonyms

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (June 18): R-blank and F-blank become Synonyms:
    Q: Think of a phrase of the form, Blank and Blank. The initials of the two words in the blanks are R and F. Change the first letter of the second word from an F to a V, and the two words will become synonyms. What are they?
    The way I solved this was to look for words in the dictionary... I started with words starting with V and considered which would make words starting with F. Once I hit the word, it was obvious that it was the right answer. I won't give any hints since I think this puzzle should separate the elite from the run of the mill puzzle solvers. My answer after the deadline.
    Edit: Who are the opposite of the elite? I guess I did give a clue.
    A: RANK and FILE --> RANK and VILE

    Sunday, June 11, 2006

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (June 11): People and Region in Europe

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (June 11): People and Region in Europe
    Q: Name a people of Europe. Remove the second and third letters of this word. The remaining letters, in order, will spell an area of Europe, that is unrelated to the people. Who are the people and what is the area?
    I've got an answer to this question but I'm not sure it is the intended answer. Anybody want to post a comment on this? My answer involves the ancient city of Troy.
    Edit: Okay, we'll see if this answer is correct or not...
    A: ITALIAN --> ILIAN (Ilian is related to Iliad and an alternate spelling is Ilion. It relates to the city of Troy. Again, I don't know if this is the right answer or not but I'll update you on Sunday when the NPR puzzler airs...)
    Edit: The official answer was FINLANDERS --> FLANDERS...

    Thursday, June 01, 2006

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (June 4): Synonyms in the News

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (June 4): Synonyms in the News:
    Q: Name two people who have been in the news together recently. One of them has a three-letter last name. The other has an eight-letter last name. Move the first letter of the eight-letter name to the start of the three-letter name. The result will be two words that are synonyms. Who are the people and what are the synonyms?
    My first thought was that the three-letter name had to be an Asian name, but I was completely wrong. Just think about people in the news and you'll have this puzzle licked.
    Edit: I was trying to give a clue where I said 'have this puzzle licked' but it was rather obtuse. So who has been in the news recently?
    A: Former Enron executives Kenneth LAY and Jeffrey SKILLING were recently found guilty. The answer is: LAY + SKILLING --> SLAY + KILLING

    Friday, May 26, 2006

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 28): Highway Dance

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 28): Highway Dance:
    Q: Think of a five-letter name of a company that is often seen while driving on the highway. Drop the first letter, and re-arrange the four remaining letters to name a dance. Or, go back to the company's name and drop the second letter, then re-arrange the four remaining letters to name an event where the dance may be performed. What is it?
    This one doesn't take long to figure out; I had it within about 2 minutes. I focused on the name of the dance and the location, and worked backwards to the company name.
    Edit: Okay, just in time for the 3-day weekend, here's the answer.
    A: UHAUL --> HULA dance at the LUAU

    Thursday, May 18, 2006

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 21): Boggling Happy Mother's Day Puzzle

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 21): Boggling Happy Mother's Day Puzzle:

    Draw a five-by-three square rectangle, five squares wide by three squares high. Fill it with the letters from Happy Mother's Day, in order:

    HAPPY
    MOTHE
    RSDAY

    The object is to spell the longest common English word in the grid, following the rules of Boggle. That is, proceed from letter to letter, following connected squares horizontally, vertically and diagonally. Repeating a square is not allowed.

    Well, I've been wandering through the letters. The best I've been able to accomplish is a set of three 8-letter words, none of which would be used to describe most mothers. Anyone been able to do better with a 9-letter word perhaps? If not, I'll give you my three 8-letter words after the deadline.
    Edit: Okay, time is up. Since I first posted, I've found one more potential answer, so I have four 8-letter words.
    The words I found were:
    HOTHEADS - Quick-tempered or impetuous persons.
    POTHEADS - Slang term for habitual smokers of marijuana, see Stoners.
    HOPHEADS - Slang term for drug addicts.
    MATADORS - Bullfighters who perform the final passes and kill the bulls.

    The first 3 aren't very flattering for a Mother's Day puzzle, so I sent in my official answer as 'MATADORS'.

    Thursday, May 11, 2006

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 14): Transportation Fill in the Blanks and Blanks

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 14): Transportation Fill in the Blanks and Blanks
    Q: Take two words that go together to make a familiar phrase in this form: 'blank and blank.' Both words are plurals, such as 'bells and whistles.' Move the first letter of the second word to the start of the first word. You'll get two new words that name forms of transportation. What are they?
    Sorry about the delay in posting, it took a little while to figure this one out. I don't have many clues other than in the first 'blanks and blanks' one word starts with a vowel and one starts with a consonant. I'll reveal the answer after the deadline, but before the airing...
    Edit: I'm sure others tried this and tried to include TRAINS, RAINS, STRAINS or SCARS, CARS or PLANES, LANES, etc. without success. I was looking at the word RAFTS and trying to make AFTS work when my wife figured out the answer.
    A: ARTS and CRAFTS --> CARTS and RAFTS

    Thursday, May 04, 2006

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 7): Formaldehyde anagram

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 7): Formaldehyde anagram:
    Q: Take the word formaldehyde. Rearrange its 12 letters to spell two shorter words that are uncapitalized and very common. Each one has just one syllable. Not counting a slight variation, the answer is unique. What words are they?
    The hard letters to deal with in this puzzle are the H and Y, though you'll figure what to do if you give it a try.
    Edit: If you looked at the my clue above, you'll notice that it rhymed. And if you didn't give it a try, well I guess you just loafed!
    A: FORMALDEHYDE = RHYMED + LOAFED (or less commonly FOALED)

    Friday, April 28, 2006

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Apr. 30): "Here's Looking at You, Kid"

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Apr. 30): "Here's Looking at You, Kid":
    Q: Name a boy's nickname in three letters. Name another boy's nickname in four letters. Say these names out loud, one after the other. The result, phonetically, will be a familiar two-word phrase for someone who is good looking. The phrase is an entry in the dictionary. What is the phrase?
    The credit for this answer goes to my wife this week... The only clue I'll give is that the final answer is 3 syllables.
    Edit: This one seemed a little harder for some people to figure out, myself included. Fortunately, my wife was able to come up with it in about 30 seconds...
    A: IKE + ANDY --> EYE CANDY

    Sunday, April 23, 2006

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Apr. 23): Household Entertainer

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Apr. 23): Household Entertainer:
    Q: Think of a six-letter word for a common household activity. Change the second letter to the following letter of the alphabet, and you will have the name of a well-known American entertainer. This is the person's full name as he or she is popularly known. And a hint: This person is still performing today. What is the word and who is this entertainer?
    Actually my son was the one that came up with the answer. He didn't even know the entertainer, but worked at it from the standpoint of guessing "household activities". Don't limit yourself to thinking that it has to be someone like Prince or Cher...
    Edit: Once again the deadline has passed so it is time to reveal my answer. The hint was that the answer is the person's full name as they are popularly known. I thought this meant performers that go by a single name, but it doesn't. Here's the answer with credit to my son who got it first.
    A: BAKING --> B.B. KING

    Thursday, April 13, 2006

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Apr. 16): "Bartender, make it a double!"

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Apr. 16): "Bartender, make it a double!":
    Q: Name two drink orders you might make at a tavern. Each is a single word. Read these two words one after another, and you'll get a familiar two word phrase that names something you never want to be seen in. What is it?
    I'm a little late in posting this because I hadn't figured out the answer. But last night my wife and I were mulling it over and she came up with what we think is the right answer... I'll post it later today. My hint is that the drink orders aren't specific types of drinks (e.g. not 'ale', 'beer', etc.)
    Edit: Okay, as promised here's the answer we came up with.
    A: MUG + SHOT --> MUG SHOT

    Thursday, April 06, 2006

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Apr. 9): Pythagorean Anagram

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Apr. 9): Pythagorean Anagram
    Q: Take the letters of PYTHAGOREAN and rearrange them to make two familiar math terms.
    So there are 11 letters to anagram. I'll give you a hint, the two words aren't close in length. Neither GRAPH, nor THEORY is part of the answer.
    Edit: And now for the answer...
    A: HEPTAGON and RAY

    Thursday, March 23, 2006

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Mar. 26): Fill in the Blank

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Mar. 26): Fill in the Blank
    Q: Think of a familiar three-word phrase in the form of 'in the blank.' The word that fills the blank will start with the letter 'S.' Move the 'S' to the end you'll get another familiar phrase in the form of 'in the blank.' What phrases are these?
    Well, I completely missed posting this before the deadline, but here's my answer...though the official answer might be different.
    A: In the SWING --> In the WINGS

    Thursday, March 16, 2006

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Mar. 19): Four letters, change P to a B

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Mar. 19): Four letters, change P to a B
    Q: Name an object in four letters, starting with the letter "P." Change the "P" to a "B" and you'll get a verb that names something you do with that object.
    I'm not going to help you out with a hint this time... you'll have to figure it out yourself.
    Edit: Well, actually there was a subtle hint there. I could have said, "I'm not going to bail you out this time" but that would have been too obvious. And now the answer:
    A: PAIL --> BAIL

    Thursday, March 09, 2006

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Mar. 12): S before B, makes it a plural

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Mar. 12): S before B, makes it a plural
    Q: What eight-letter noun -- containing the letter 'B' -- is pluralized by inserting an 'S' immediately before the 'B'?
    I figured the answer had to be something like 'mothers-in-law' where the plural goes inside the word. I didn't think too long before the answer came along. I'll tell you after the deadline passes.
    Edit: And along comes the answer... since the deadline has passed. There were a couple clues there.
    A: PASSERBY --> PASSERSBY

    Thursday, March 02, 2006

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Mar. 5): Food anagram

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Mar. 5): Food anagram:
    Q: Take the phrase, 'take bets on.' Rearrange those 10 letters to name something to eat. What is it?"
    This one took almost no time at all, which is rare... and now I'm hungry. I'll post my answer after the deadline on Thursday.
    Edit: Did you figure it out? Did you notice the clue above? Well done!
    A: TAKE BETS ON --> T-BONE STEAK

    Thursday, February 23, 2006

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 26): Getting rid of two desires

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 26): Getting rid of two desires
    Q: Think of two different words meaning desire. Add the same letter in front of each of them, and you'll get two new words, each meaning "get rid of." What words are these?
    Since we were away in Hawaii, I didn't post this earlier in the week. Instead, I'll just have to post the puzzle and my answer all at the same time.
    A: URGE and ITCH --> PURGE and PITCH

    Tuesday, February 21, 2006

    What's the next number in the sequence?

    Here's a sequence puzzle that will make you think. It's an infinite sequence so be prepared to show the next 7 or 8 terms.
    Q: Can you figure out the next few terms in the following sequence?
    5, 15, 5, 18, 5, 24, 14, 20, 5, 14, 14, 5...
    I'll post the answer later in the week.
    Hint: Changing the sequence to the letters in the alphabet we have EOEREXNTENNE.
    A: The sequence is now part of the Online Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences. Looking at onE, twO, threE, fouR, fivE, siX, seveN, eighT, it should be apparent that we are looking at the last letter of each number (in English) which is then converted to its position in the alphabet (E=5, O=15, etc.) following the pattern, the next few terms are ...14, 14, 14, 14, 14, 14, 14, 25...

    Thursday, February 09, 2006

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 12): Two forms of communication

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 12): Two forms of communication
    Q: Name a traditional means of sending a communication, in eight letters. It contains the letter 'R.' Drop the 'R' and rearrange the remaining letters to name another means of communication, in seven letters. This is a modern means of communication. Hint: Both words start with the same letter. What words are these?
    With all the news recently about Western Union discontinuing telegrams I figured the eight letter word had to be 'telegram'... well, after lots of attempts at rearranging, I can tell you the answer isn't telegram. I will tell you that the second form of communication is definitely a more modern form of communication and it didn't exist, say twenty years ago, maybe less.
    Edit: My wife and I worked on this in the car and game up with what must be the right answer. It's after the deadline, so here it is.
    A: POSTCARD --> PODCAST

    Thursday, January 26, 2006

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 29): G to O - name anagram

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 29): G to O - name anagram
    Q: Take the nine letters from 'G' to 'O'. Change one of them to the following letter of the alphabet. And re-arrange the result to name a famous person. Two hints: The answer is this person's full name. And it is a person who's been in the news lately.
    This puzzle isn't too difficult if you just look at the mix of letters. As always, I'll post my answer after the deadline.
    Edit: Time's up!
    A: Change the H to an I, and you can rearrange to get the president of North Korea: Kim Jong-il

    Thursday, January 19, 2006

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 22): Carburetor anagram

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 22): Carburetor anagram
    Q: Take the word carburetor, add two letters and rearrange the result to name another car part. And the answer is one word. What car part is it?
    I won't give the answer away until after the deadline, but I will give one hint. My Eagle Talon had one of these, but my current car does not.
    Edit: Okay, it's after the deadline again, so here's my answer.
    A: CARBURETOR + G and H --> TURBOCHARGER

    Monday, January 09, 2006

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 15): Indian Tribe --> Two Trees

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 15): Indian Tribe --> Two Trees:
    Q: Name an American Indian tribe. Somewhere inside this name, phonetically, is a kind of tree. Remove this tree, close up the remaining letters, and the remainder, phonetically, will name another kind of tree. What Indian tribe is this... and what are the trees?
    I don't think any hints are necessary for this one. How many Indian tribes can you name? One of them is bound to be the answer...
    Edit: It was so simple you hardly need the answer, but here it is anyway.
    A: CHEROKEE Indian tribe --> OAK + CHERRY trees.

    Thursday, January 05, 2006

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 8): No "E"s allowed!

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 8): No "E"s allowed!
    Q: The numbers 2, 4, 6 and 30 are the first four numbers whose names lack the letter "E." What is the 23rd number whose name lacks an "E?"
    So we start off 2006 with another numeric puzzle! I've seen this sequence before, called the "eban" sequence... I'll tell you my answer after the deadline, if you haven't figured it out already.
    Edit: A simple search, or even just thinking about the answer would tell you what it is. Here's an article on the Eban number sequence which is sequence A006933 in the On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences. So without further ado...
    A: The answer to the first puzzle of 2006 is 2006!