Thursday, December 25, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 21): What?! Same Puzzle as Last Week?

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 21): What?! Same Puzzle as Last Week?
Q: Name two things Santa Claus carries. Put them together, reading one after the other, and you'll name a musical instrument. What musical instrument is it?
Currently the NPR website has last week's puzzle repeated as this week's puzzle. The real puzzle can be heard if you click "listen now". Guess what? It's another musical instrument puzzle. It might be a little easier to play Christmas carols on this week's instrument, but I haven't heard any. I can't think of any other good hints that don't give things away immediately, so I'll just remind everyone to be as good as possible if people expect a visit from St. Nick.

Edit: The hidden clue was in the last phrase:
"...Be As Good (as) Possible If People Expect..."
A: BAG + PIPE = BAGPIPE

73 comments:

  1. An easy one. On the other hand, you can lead ducks to water,but you can't make them swim.

    Danny Kayes description of a different musical instrument that begins with the same letter also describes the instrument in question. I recently learned the semi-onomatopoeic German word for the instrument which gives me a chuckle.

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  2. Perhaps easier for you if your family name has more than one capital letter...

    Can't drive anywhere here without chains, is this really Seattle? Of course, can't buy chains because they've all been sold... Running out of food!

    Maybe I'll walk to that corporate fast food franchise for lunch...

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  3. Finally, I think I am smarter than a fifth grader!!

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  4. Whoops! Forget the first letter clue, I misremembered Danny Kaye's instrument as a larger related one.

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  5. Carl quite the time here, eh?? I shoveled ten inches off of the driveway this morning. Had a great time x-country skiing with my wunderhound. He pulled well on the unplowed streets!!

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  6. Hugh,
    Did you notice that the last syllable of the German word is also something carried by Santa?

    In Italian, the name of this instrument (plural form) is made up of two English words. The first is a crop widely grown in the Midwest and the second means "entertain".

    By the way, an excellent site for translation dictionaries is www.wordreference.com.

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  7. Too easy this time.

    But if Santa now carries one of those expensive new telephones from Apple, we may have two answers this week!

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  8. This puzzle is so easy that it is disappointing.

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  9. I've stopped moaning about my failure
    last week. I had this one almost
    before Will finished. I would not
    use the verb "carry" with one of the
    words, however. I hope Santa Claus
    stays well and happy, no unhealthy
    habits.

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  10. Hi Geri! I was thinking of you earlier. I'm kinda bored today; girlfriend (her name's Chin) was here for three days but had to work today so went home to Lynnwood yesterday. So today, since I can't go anywhere (need chains to drive and I don't have any and can't buy them because of unprecedented demand) I've been enjoying guilt-free relaxation with movies and puzzles, etc.

    Little sister gave me, long ago, a book of NYT crossword puzzles. I'd done about half of them and decided to knock out a few today. Been working my way toward the front of the book and have been pretty consistently disappointed that they're too easy.

    First one I did today was by far the most difficult one I've found in the book; so challenging it even made me angry; seemed unfairly difficult! Finally got mad and looked in the back at the answers, and threw the book on the coffee table and watched movies.

    So you see, I'm mortal after all...

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  11. I'm pissed. Someone posted the answer on NPR even before the question was up (in the comments section). It was taken down quickly but I saw it. I kinda look forward to solving these each week and this guy ruined it. Cold in KC today (10 was the high)and supposed to get down to -6 tonight. Guess I'll be forced to actually turn my heat on!

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  12. We look forward all week to the puzzler and this is what we get? Pretty disappointing.

    Here's one that I thought up this evening. Take the name of a well-known city. Change the first letter and you will get a word that consists of a country and a city (in that order) with no extra letters. Good luck!

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  13. Hi Carl! "Speaking of Cold Season..."
    is the title of the Merle Reagle I'm
    struggling with now. I did well last
    week with his "Crosswordville" which should be available on the Internet by
    now. What's that old saying, "Keep
    your chin up'?

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  14. Geri, was googling to find Merl Reagle's Crosswordville puzzle and when I found it I realized it's the 95th birthday of the crossword puzzle (knew the first one ever published was on that day but don't often think of it)... It's also my birthday, but I'm a little younger. If you want to know my age you can find out by looking up Joe Paterno; I was born on his thirtieth birthday. And I even grew up about eleven miles from Penn State University.

    I've been to parties on my birthday, where nobody there knew it was my birthday. It's the solstice, and that's really all I care about: the fact that the days start getting longer again!

    I guess I should offer a clue to this week's puzzle but I don't suppose many are needed...

    Anyway, I think it might be about time I watched So I Married an Axe Murderer again; great wedding scene... Rod Stewart's If You Think I'm Sexy played like you've never heard it!

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  15. Hi Dave,
    You made a very nice Christmas puzzle! Anyway, in figuring out the correct answer, I came up with two wrong answers: Granada and Calimesa.

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  16. Um, Blaine, did I do something wrong?

    ~Samkizzle

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  17. Samkizzle, I just felt your prior post was too much of a giveaway to the answer, albeit an already easy puzzle. Try for more in the way of obfuscation.

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  18. Phred: assume the worst and don't look there before you know the answer! This is a more dependably non-ruinous place to hang out. :)

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  19. Ken, did you come up with the correct answer? If so, send me some kind of subtle clue and I'll let you know if you're answer is what I was thinking of.

    Anyone else care to take a crack at the puzzle I posted on Sunday? Let me know if I should submit it to Will.

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  20. Micro Piranha, Sunday? What time?
    I cannot find your puzzle.

    Dave, I need a hint for your city.

    Carl, Belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

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  21. Geri, I accidentally logged in with my son's log-in (Micropiranha) when I posted yesterday.

    Here's a hint: The city has nine letters. After you change the first letter, the resulting country has four letters and the resulting city has five. The original city isn't in the U.S. Let me know if you need more hints.

    Dave

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  22. Dave, I figured it out. Here's a pretty good list of cities of the world:

    http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/full.html

    I absolutely think you should submit it to the NPR puzzle.

    I suspect there are actually at least a few states with cities/towns with the starting name, and probably a few with towns named for the country. I should probably try to find a list of interesting town names...

    I remember a Jeopardy question from long ago about the only two towns in the U.S.A. that begin with "the." One was The Dalles, OR, and I can never remember the other.

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  23. Dave,

    I got your puzzle and absolutely think you should submit it. Nice work!

    Here's another, similar one:

    Take an American city. Remove the last letter. You should be left with the name of a country and the name of a foreign city, reading left to right. The foreign city will be spelled as the people of that nation spell it.

    What is the American city?

    (Is that one too easy?)

    - Other Ben

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  24. I was just talking about wrapping paper...

    ~Samkizzle

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  25. Carl and Ben, glad that you liked my puzzle. I'll definitely submit it. Throw me an obscure message so I know that we're thinking of the same city. Geri, did you figure it out yet?

    Ben, I'll let you know when I have your puzzle figured out.

    Carl, it's The Big Apple, natch.

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  26. Nope; the big apple is a nickname. Doesn't count. Somewhere there's a town with a name that starts with "the."

    Obscure message? I really love it when I find a wool sweater at Goodwill and when I pick it up it's so thick and heavy that I know: it gets cold where that sweater was made... I think even Mr. Leno would have to agree on that point.

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  27. And yes, I have a shelf packed full of sweaters like that, from other places too, like Nepal and... well, some country the mere mention of which could be deemed too blatant a hint for the current puzzle. But it's a place with lots of wooly critters.

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  28. I think you got it. Mr. Leno or a very athletic doctor. Witch is more accurate?

    I was just kidding with The Big Apple.

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  29. Dave,

    I'd love to help, but it is Chanukah tonight and there is a Matisyahu concert in Brooklyn I have tickets to. I hope he sings his earlier hits.

    I can tell from the above comments that we're thinking the same thing, though.

    Ben

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  30. Carl, I found The Colony, TX; The Crossings, FL; The Hammocks, FL; The Pinery, CO; The Village, OK; The Villages, FL; and The Woodlands, TX. Which one were you thinking of?

    Ben, could you please give me a hint? Thanks?

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  31. Ben, nice job. You pulled that one out of the darkness.

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  32. Dave, I think you need to keep looking. The names you listed are all of CDPs or census designated places. If you look them up on Wikipedia that's how they're described, as opposed to The Dalles, which is an incorporated city.

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  33. Dave, okay, I opened this can of worms...

    I went, state by state, through all the states on Wikipedia. Came up with several more "places" and a few "plantations" that start with "the." Only found one incorporated city (besides The Dalles), and that's The Village, Oklahoma, population 10,157.

    Also found one "town" called The Plains, Virginia, population 266. Robert Duvall once operated a restaurant there and still resides just north of it.

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  34. oops, The Village, OK, is on your original list.

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  35. dave, Thank you. Great hints.
    I'm working on it.

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  36. Regarding the NPR puzzler, my hidden clue was in the last phrase of my post:
    "...Be As Good (as) Possible If People Expect..."

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  37. Carl, "Crosswordville" 97a the clue
    says, "Number of doctors?" And the
    answer is "ten." I don't understand
    the connection.

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  38. Dave, Thanks to your hints and
    Carl's city list link I GOT IT!
    I'm looking forward to hearing it
    on NPR's Puzzlemaster. Great FUN!

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  39. Geri, I wondered about that clue/answer when I did the puzzle but not enough (until now) to try hard to fathom it. So, I looked around a bit and all I can figure is it pertains to this:

    http://comics.shipsinker.com/2007/03/10/a-doctor-who-comic-the-10-doctors/

    And Blaine, I was a little worried you'd deem my reference to So I Married an Axe Murderer too revealing; anyone could look it up and find that the wedding scene features Rod Stewart's If You Think I'm Sexy played on bagpipe... Actually it's part of the boozy reception after the wedding. Loved Mike Meyers' character's father (also played by Mike Meyers) saying, We have a paper down! I repeat, we have a paper down! This being a reference to the bagpiper's having keeled over from so much drink; paper being piper with a Scottish accent.

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  40. OK, now that the cat is out of the bag, I have to side with Plummew.

    I sent "bagpipes" into Shortz, but I prefer to think that Santa Claus must be carrying a phone (in this day and age, with Mrs. Claus at home, the entire globe full of Christian children, and a long night of travel ahead).

    And given that all those gifts couldn't really fit into a single sack, the answer is clearly SAXOPHONE (as in "sacks" "a phone").

    - Other Ben

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  41. Carl, you must have spent a lot of time looking through every state on Wikipedia. That's dedication!

    Ben, it has to be bagpipes.

    Geri, glad that you were able to figure out my puzzler.

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  42. Here's another puzzle that I thought of last night when I was trying to figure out Ben's puzzle. Once again, let me know if I should submit it to Will.

    There is a six letter American city. Change the fifth letter to the letter preceding it in the alphabet (i.e., if it's a p, change it to an o). When read backwards, the word is a type of cat. Good luck!

    Ben, please throw me a hint for your puzzle. Thanks.

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  43. Dave,
    I got the answer to your puzzle. Thanks for the fun.

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  44. Natasha, which one? The one from the 21st or the one that I just posted?

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  45. Geri and Carl,

    I'm with you guys. I loved Merl Reagle's Crosswordville puzzle, but couldn't figure out where the "ten" came from.

    And I know that word geeks are, by definition, geeks. But I think Dr. Who is still a bit of an obscure reference.

    What are we missing? Could it be a number as in something making someone numb? Could it have to do with ten fingers or toes? I'm at a loss.

    I had no idea that a Merl was a blackbird until yesterday.

    I'll also note, for Dave's pleasure, that although I'm a native New Yorker, my favorite pizza places are actually in the SF Bay Area. Specifically, Lococo's, Pauline's, and Zante's are all incredibly delicious. Lococo's is a five store chain with something approaching a more Sicilian pie with a thick, rich crust. Pauline's specializes in a thin crust pie, and their pesto pizzas are to die for. And Zante's is another universe entirely. Try them all.

    - Other Ben

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  46. Ben, I live about five blocks from a pizza place that would probably rival at least some of your favorites. It's called Tuta Bella, and the ovens are all wood-fired. Their Napoli salad is one of the best salads I've eaten in Seattle. And their tiramisu is, I'm told, just incredible; I haven't eaten it because I have to watch my dairy intake.

    And I posted what I think is the meaning of that clue/answer from Crosswordville. Look above.

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  47. Ben, was there a clue hidden in your post? I was in the Bay Area over Thanksgiving and had pizza from Zachary's, which has won all sorts of awards. It was good, not great. The best pizza I've ever had is from Bay & Goodman's in Rochester, NY. It's on the corner of Bay and Goodman Streets. Even if it still exists, I'm sure that it's not as good as was when I lived there thirty years ago.

    Natasha, drop me a clue so I know that we're thinking of the same city.

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  48. Dave, Congratulations! You've
    created another NPR candidate.
    Don't be shy about submitting it.
    It's a GOOD one.

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  49. Ben, Wed Dec 24 at 10:58 am you
    posted a puzzle involving an
    American city resulting in a
    country and a foreign city by
    removing its last letter. I
    need some hints, please!

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  50. Carl, I could get nothing definite
    from your link (for which I thank
    you) except that 10 doctors is
    associated with Dr. Who. Wikipedia
    has a page "Tenth Doctor" which
    discusses the incarnations of the
    original DOCTOR which now has
    reached TEN. A chat with Merl
    would be fun.

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  51. Yes, Virginia, there were indeed two clues hidden in my last post.

    I've also written Mr. Reagle, letting him know about Blainesville, asking about "ten," and begging him to come clean.

    The Honorable Mr. Reagle may soon be racing through this blog and I'm requesting that you all sit up straight and behave! (And put down that malt liquor, Samkizzle!)

    - Other Ben

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  52. Dave,
    On Christmas eve love old tunes.

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  53. Natasha, you rock! How long did it take you to solve the puzzle?

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  54. Dave,
    I solved it in about 5 minutes using the internet. I think it is a great puzzle.

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  55. Dave,
    Are you from the Bay Area? I live in Berkeley so am very familiar with Zachary's. The best pizza I ever had was in Indiana. They used better spices like oregano which doesn't seemed to be used anywhere.

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  56. Am I the the one left standing in Dave's old version of "musical chairs?"

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  57. I received an email back (!) from Sir Merl Reagle himself, lord of Cruciverbalists:

    # # #

    dear ben,

    that TEN clue is a reference to the expression often heard in commercials, "nine out of ten doctors ...", but as soon as i saw it in print i had a "what the heck was i thinking?" moment. i changed it to "Easy multiplier" on my master version and i actually got some papers to run the corrected version, since they hadn't gone to press yet. i guess it's also possible that i was in the middle of the clue and got interrupted, like, it was gonna be "number of doctors cited in tv commercials" and the phone rang or something. hard to know now, but i'm just gonna chalk it up to one of those screwy things that seemed like a good idea at the time!

    # # #

    So there you go! If you've seen the "unkind donuts" scene in the movie Wordplay, you know how quickly his wheels are spinning.

    - Other Ben

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  58. Dave,
    I just solved your other puzzle too. Time: 1 minute. Clever puzzle.

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  59. Hugh, I don't understand your post.

    Ben, great job in getting the venerable Mr. Reagle to elucidate the clue. I still haven't figured out your puzzle.

    Natasha, that was quick! Maybe because the answer is seasonal. No, I'm not from the Bay Area. I live in Eugene.

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  60. Geri and Carl and Other Ben (OB1 ? ;-) . . . thank you all for having this discussion about " Number of doctors?" because I also couldn't figure out the connection. It was fun to read Merl's explanation!

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  61. So I've dished four clues to my puzzle and it appears that two have solved it, if I'm reading between the lines correctly. Anyone else still in need?

    - Other Ben

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  62. Ben, I guess that's what all the talk about pizza was for... I guess I inadvertently revealed part of the answer to your puzzle in my plug for a local eatery earlier.

    Anyone else try the Crossword Blaine created for us?

    Weather update, Seattle: it's in the forties and snow is melting so fast it's fascinating to watch. Already about 20% of what was on my truck when I got up.

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  63. Ben and Carl, now I'm really confused. Robert Duvall has a restaurant called "Rail Stop" in The Plains, Virginia. It's an Italian restaurant and you mention pizza places in your post, Ben, so I assume that the answer is somehow related to pizza or Italy. You also mention that you "dished" out four clues, so the answer is somehow food related. Is that correct? How many letters in the American city?

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  64. Oh man, now you really want me to serve it up for you.

    How many letters in the American city? A lot!

    - Other Ben

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  65. Some amazing coincidences happening here (insert Twilight Zone theme...). I had no idea, for one thing, that Robert Duvall's restaurant was Italian, and it never occurred to me that all the talk of Italian restaurants was meant to be hints to Ben's puzzle. So when I mentioned Tutta Bella, I all but gave the puzzle away.

    So, Dave, since you apparently are about as clued in as me (I got the puzzle pretty quickly when I looked up a list of American cities; I'll give you a good link at the end of this), and you could really benefit from a very helpful hint, I'll try for a modicum of "obfuscation" and say that the name of the city ends with the sound of a famous fictional city featured in DC comics.

    Here's that link:

    http://www.americantimezones.com/cgi-bin/atz.cgi?Action=List

    And remember, as you go down the list, that the only thing you're doing to the city name is removing the last letter.

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  66. Carl,
    I am confused. Can you tell me what puzzle your last message refers to? tks

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  67. Natasha, everybody's gotta do what they're good at; I'm good at confusing you. Anyway, since there are so many posts since Ben posted this, I'll copy and paste:

    Take an American city. Remove the last letter. You should be left with the name of a country and the name of a foreign city, reading left to right. The foreign city will be spelled as the people of that nation spell it.

    What is the American city?

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  68. Finally I got it. The city and country have nothing in common.

    By the way, as of 5:30pm PST, tomorrow's puzzle was posted on npr.org. It's way too easy. Perhaps next year's puzzles will be better.

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  69. I must be blind. I went through the list three times on the website that you mentioned, Carl, but couldn't find the answer.

    Does it rhyme with Gotham or Metropolis?

    Find an American city. Change the fifth letter to the letter preceding it in the alphabet (i.e., change it to an o if the fifth letter is a p). When read backwards, the resulting word is a type of cat.

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  70. To recap the puzzles posted here:

    Dave's Puzzle #1:
    Name a famous city with nine letters. After you change the first letter, you will have a four letter country and a five letter city. Hint: the original city isn't in the U.S.

    Ben's Puzzle:
    Take an American city. Remove the last letter. You should be left with the name of a country and the name of a foreign city, reading left to right. The foreign city will be spelled as the people of that nation spell it.

    Dave's Puzzle #2:
    There is a six letter American city. Change the fifth letter to the letter preceding it in the alphabet (i.e., if it's a p, change it to an o). When read backwards, the word is a type of cat.

    Dave, a belated Merry Christmas, quite a holy... night.
    Ben, I had to look through ~500 names until I found the right city.

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  71. Dave, the city has lots of letters, lots of syllables. Keep looking. Don't lose heart. As in heartland...

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