Thursday, November 20, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Nov 16): Authors Beginning with C

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Nov 16): Authors Beginning with C:
Q: Name a famous author whose last name starts with the letter C. Cross out four letters in it. The remaining letters, in order, will name another famous author also starting with C. Who are these two writers?
I'm not sure if I have the intended answer but I have a pair of authors that will work... it helps if you have a list of authors starting with C

Edit: It's after the deadline, so I'm going to reveal what I think is the intended answer.
A: Miguel de CERVANTES (famous for "Don Quixote")
(cross out e,v,t,s)
Stephen CRANE (famous for "Red Badge of Courage")

44 comments:

  1. Here we are again hanging on "who is
    famous." I have two answers for the
    first writer. One is certainly famous
    but the other ???. For the second
    writer derived from the first one
    (two writers with the same last name)
    there are SIX that fit the formula.
    BUT I have doubts that any are . . . .
    "famous"--whatever the definition.

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  2. I came up with three possibilities for which the longer name is a famous author, but the shorter name is not very famous. Let me know if you want me to drop some hints for the three famous authors. (I've never posted hints before on this blog, so I don't want to do it prematurely in case I ruin for everyone else).

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  3. I've come up with two names that fit the puzzle, but I'm not sure if either is the intended answer. I found my first author in the list, but I didn't find my second one. I had never heard of either author until now, which means that the definition of "famous" is in question again.

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  4. I think I might have figured it out. I came up with several possible combinations and then searched to see how "famous" the authors might be... I think with writers you can't base on your own experience with their names any judgment as to whether they're famous; I think a better barometer is how many titles you find listed when you search them.

    Anyway, I think it's quite possible I'm wrong and Will is looking for some other answer. Between that and the reality that many, many people have never heard of the two names I came up with, I don't see any point in giving clues...

    Well, anyway, quite a gang of regulars on this blog and it's a pleasure working with this assemblage.

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  5. Did anyone watch the Simpsons with Will Shortz and Merle Reagle? I meant to but I forgot. Will have to try to catch it someday...

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  6. I don't know what's the biggest mystery each week--the actual puzzle, or trying to figure out the hints left here...

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  7. I wish I was brave enough to post my guess at the answer, but I don't want to look like an ass.

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  8. For my guess to this puzzle which probably has more than one answer, the longer name belongs to a well known mid 20th century author and editor. Both authors have the same first name. The shorter name belongs to a Pulitzer winner and well known author who has published using his/her true name (which I am using for this puzzle) and who also publishes using a pseudonym. The middle name suggests the genre of the other author. To quote MWCD: “FAMOUS implies little more than the fact of being,sometimes widely and popularly known.”

    To go back 2 weeks - I'm in the middle of John Sandford's new book Phantom Prey. On the second page of Chapter 10 he uses "nimrod" in its current sense.

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  9. I've come up with several possibilities, but I'm finally confident that I know the two authors Will was shooting for (and they are in fact both famous as authors). I think Yngvai got it (although I'm not sure where he was going with the second half of his clue).

    One hint that I'll give is that the shorter named author is most famous for writing about a subject matter that the longer named author actually had experience with in his own life (only about three centuries earlier.... --now that's a big hint).

    I think the second best pair of authors is the one mb is hinting at. If you take his hint, you will get a famous author. Then take off four letters and you will get a famous person, who also happened to write a memoir that was published, as well as a cook book. (However, I don't think this person is famous for writing.)

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  10. You can also form names of two lesser-known authors from those first two names.

    Then there are two more longer names that work as famous authors, but the shorter names are significantly less famous.

    1) He is very famous, and I believe one of his books was a best-seller fairly recently, but he is much more famous in a different capacity. There are then several authors with the same last names you can form when you extract 4 letters, but none are very famous.

    2) The other is a Nobel Prize winning author (so certainly famous as an author), but then you can only form the same shorter last name as the one above.

    I am struggling to figure out the pair that Hugh has suggested, though.

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  11. Ah, I just realized Yngvai got both the famous authors I was thinking of. (Hint: the first half of his clue refers to the shorter-named author, while the second part refers to the longer-named author.)

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  13. David:
    The true name of the author is not on Blaine's list, but if you don't make assumptions, and let curiosity guide you, you should pick up the trail to both authors from my previous remarks. I learned of the true name from a mistake made by amazon.com, but it's available in a more direct manner. Its an easy transition from the short name to the long name.

    Yngvai's pair is probably better. Despite what he said, he did stick his head out after all.

    Although I saw the movie based on the author with the shorter name, his name never really stuck in my memory (lousy with name recall.)

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  14. I just wanna whine about this Seattle weather; it's been raining for so many days I think I might need a psychiatrist...

    But all seriousness aside I think I figured out what seems to be the favored combination of names.

    A little bird told me there's a famous musical based on one of these authors. Oh, now you're hungry for more clues? What do you want of me? Anyway, whatever I would have to say could be nothing but a little gossip... It's all the same to me. And the other author? I really like him.

    But I gotta go. Seriously, this rain has me wanting to look in the phone book to see what this area has to offer in the way of mental health professionals...

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  15. Both names are in the list I posted. Call me crazy, but I don't think either had a different name at birth. Interestingly, my son had just read one of the books by the shorter-named author for his English class. Then he had to create a music CD with 8 tracks that matched themes from the book. That's not an easy task given the subject matter. He chose songs like Iron Maiden's "Fear is the Key", Mos Def's "I Against I" and Ben E. King's "Stand By Me". This might help confirm you have the right answer, but I don't expect it will give anything away.

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  16. I gotta say, I know this has nothing to do with anything, but I think we all need to recognize that the fossil fuel model of energy generation is a rotting corpse that needs to be buried, the sooner the better. Every time I hear the wind blowing I think how wonderful it would be if that force was generating the electricity that powers my computer...

    Wind turbines are where it's at. Oh sure there are other good sources of renewable energy but if you live inland then tidal generation might not do you much good. And solar, as far as it goes, only goes so far. But a wind turbine? Now there's a good source... Just look at how long we've used the power of the wind to accomplish things...

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  17. Wind turbines might be the solution but some might perceive them as ugly beasts on the landscape.

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  18. Al, I think that's a rather tilted, er, I mean slanted view of things...

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  19. The real, main, original, primary, essential Ben here. (What's up, other Ben!)

    This was one of those weeks the answer just popped into my head. When I tried to think of a famous author with a long surname starting with C, boom, there it was. I felt like I was on the right track because there were so many crossword-common letters in the name, and sure enough, there was the other author lurking in there.

    Same thing happened last week, when Berlin was the first world capital I thought of. They have been doing so many world capital puzzles that the standard capitals (Berlin, Milan, Lima, etc.) are burned into my brain.

    p.s. Of all the pretty girls on my block, Donna is the key hottie.

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  20. p.p.s. As good as Shortz and Reagle were on the Simpsons (and the puzzles were great too), Burns and Smithers on Weekend Edition Sunday took the cake.

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  21. Thank you, everyone, for all your
    great hints. I finally arrived at
    two authors who are unquestionably
    FAMOUS.

    Answer submitted!

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  22. Thanks Carl and Al. Your clues spearheaded me in the right direction! Even my smart sidekick (um, I mean spouse)couldn't figure it out.

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  23. If the longer name is the windy author, I'm still not seeing the short name...

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  24. Rick, you've got to be brave, stick your neck out a little, and above all, be civil to your fellow puzzlers.

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  25. Rick, you'll figure it out; I have faith in you. It's sunny outside this morning in Seattle; I might just go to Seattle Center and take the elevator to the top of the Space Needle! Cheers!

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  26. I'm guessing that geri used a different list than blaine. My count is eleven, not SIX.

    I also assume that herblady was cautioning against a particular piece of rudeness.

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  27. Maybe Rick needs a new car.

    http://www.connectwithlife.com/audi-dealers/in-murphy-id.html

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  28. I wasn't cooking on this puzzle. Any more clues?

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  29. Natasha, there was once this group of old-lady motorcycle baddies who called themselves the "aunties." They were real troublemakers and people in town got soooo tired of dealing with them. The owner of the bar started losing his regular customers and, between that and the money he was having to spend to repair the damage done to his establishment every time they came in and tore the place up, he was about to lose his business. It was tough-love time, simply a matter of survival. One night they pulled up in front of the bar on their bikes and were met by a phalanx of beefy bouncer dudes who directed their attention to a new sign that said, Sorry, we no longer...

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  30. I don't imagine you'll have too much trouble figuring out the second name; the clues above are so obvious even my cute little dog, Eddie, could do it...

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  31. So now that we can "come clean," I'll say a few things:

    1) Hi to the other Ben, who calls himself the "real, main, original, primary, essential Ben." I feel so secondary and superfluous. Sigh.

    2) I got Stephen Crane (Red Badge of Courage) and Miguel de Cervantes (Don Quixote). I don't know precisely how famous those two are, but I certainly couldn't get through high school without plawing through those two books.

    3) I don't know why David was doubting Yngvai. I kinda enjoyed his whole "ass" routine. Anyway, I think I've got company, since Donna the Key Hottie and Yngvai's Donkey both imply Cervantes.

    Yours,

    Superfluous Ben

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  32. Can we get more FAMOUS than
    Cervantes and Crane?

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  33. If this had gone on much longer I probably could have incorporated the entire (primary) cast of Frasier into my clues... in an effort to make people think of the second author's name.

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  34. Hey secondary or whatever Ben, that's kind of a mouthful... can we just call you Super Ben?

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  35. Matter of fact, has anyone on this blog ever seen both Bens at the same time?

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  36. Rocinante, Don Quixote's HORSE was
    old and skinny.

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  37. And Sancho Panza's donkey was named Dapple.

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  38. How about Cheever and Che? Che Guevara wrote famously and influentially, he is better known as Che, and the puzzle didn't specify last name. Hmm?

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  39. Who's Cheever? I thought we were looking for authors who were famous... Never heard of him. Wait, Cheever... is that a wop name? Did he get shot? I think I saw something about that in the Chronicle... Bit of a scandal, as I recall.

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  40. Carl and patdug, I can't believe that
    anyone could live a life like the one lived by John Cheever. Check him out
    on Wikipedia.

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  41. I can't imagine, Geri, that John Cheever made a choice to have his life play out that way. Sometimes people just feel helpless to change their nature. It sure sounds like he wished many times that his life could be different. If you've read some of his stuff you'll understand that he was an exceptional person with great potential and a depth of sensitivity that can make many aspects of existence overwhelming.

    Yeah, I'm sad he experienced so much unhappiness and tended to be so self-destructive, but glad that some wonderful literary works resulted from his having had the opportunities he did in his life. I haven't read Falconer; might have to borrow it from the library...

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  42. Nov. 23 puzzle is pretty easy. Good Luck!!

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  43. I don't think I ever figured out Hugh's pair.

    The other possibilities were: Raymond Chandler & Cher (famous person, published a memoir and a cookbook...); J.M. Coetzee (nobel prize winning author) and Coe (several possibilities with that last name, but none are very famous); you could also do Stephen Colbert (I think his book was on the best-seller list) and one of the Coes.

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  44. John Wood CAMPbell, Science fiction writer and author.

    John Roswell CAMP, aka John Sandford (mentioned with my clue). Roswell suggests science fiction.

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