Thursday, December 11, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 7): Rhyme Time

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 7): Rhyme Time
Q: The words "chic" and "squeak" rhyme with each other, even though they have no letters in common. Think of three words containing a total of 12 or more letters that rhyme and have no letters in common. The words must be common, uncapitalized words, and each will have just one syllable.
I have an answer that is 3 words, 4 letters each, but I'm not sure it is the intended answer. I expecially like one of the words (3rd alphabetically), but I'm questioning the second word. Everyone's heard of it but I don't know if it follows all the rules. For anyone that is searching, I think a rhyming dictionary might be the key to solving this. Also, it's important to note that chic has repeated letters, so that doesn't seem to be disallowed, as long as the words don't share common letters.

Edit: Initially I was thinking of KNEE, QUAY, PRIX, but my dictionary doesn't like prix except in grand prix and prix fixe.
SKI, QUAY (pronounced like 'key'), THREE
There are other possible choices like:
pooh, screw, gnu (or flu)

75 comments:

  1. At first I was inclined to give up, but after a number of attempts I finally found the right pitch.

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  2. Wonder how many different solutions exist. At least a few, I assume.

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  3. p.s. The one I came up with is both hinted at by Lorenzo and makes use of Blaine's important note above.

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  4. Ooh! I think I have one that goes 3, 4, 5. But the 4-letter word is iffy and icky at the same time. It's in any dictionary though, and isn't that all that matters?

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  5. I think I have the answer (3 4 and 5 letters)with no letters used more than once. The third alphabetically could be loosely associated with Lorenzo's clue and has 5 letters.

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  6. I see the clues and am not tuned in yet. Any more?

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  7. My 4 letter word is more regional and associated with the south around New Orleans. Spelled differently than how it's pronounced. If you get it, the rest will fall into place.

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  8. phredp I think you are cooking!

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  9. The 3,4,5 folks have it. There are at least ten words, all primary dictionary entries, that can be put together in various combinations. I haven't figured out what our powerful host has come up with yet. I left a message for Carl, and anyone else interested, on last week's comments.

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  10. I'll have to try to work on the 3,4,5 solution. I found that the 4,4,4 solution required an ending vowel sound. Can I assume that is true for the 3,4,5 solution too?

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  11. Well I haven't a clue. I'm not from the south so I might not be familiar with whatever is associated with New Orleans (even though I've been there.) If what Hugh says it correct, this one is coming to me very slowly.

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  12. Blaine, you are correct although not all the words end that way. I think that's the key to the answer.

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  13. Correct, vowel *sounds*, not necessarily vowels.

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  14. Natasha

    Very important that you choose a vowel sound that can be represented three different ways. A long 'o' can be represented by an eaux, for instance, but find the third way.

    I am still waiting on winncognito to fill us in on his pursuit.

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  15. Knock the ten posslble words down to five - a case of seeing what I wanted to.

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  16. This week's puzzle may be unique in that part of a possible solution appears in the wording of the challenge. Does anyone recall a similar case?

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  17. Lorenzo, glad you noticed that. Confirms we have the same answer.

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  18. Hey -- fake Ben here.

    I found a 4/4/4 solution that doesn't use a New Orleans cooking term (though it rhymes with one) and doesn't seem to be hinted at by anything here. Unless I'm missing the big picture. But they are all absolutely legit words. None verboten.

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  19. Thanks to lorenzo and phredp, I've just found a 3,4,5 solution. The interesting thing is it uses the same interesting word from my 4,4,4 solution. I guess we weren't that far apart.

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  20. Guess I will forgo this one. Natasha is not smug this week!!

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  21. And Carl is not especially intrigued by this puzzle. Still here, just a bit distracted by some personal stuff. All's well and still madly in love with my sweetie. Will try to figure this one out but not too hard maybe... Good luck all!

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  22. Couldn't last week's answer have been street thief and tree thief?

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  23. Sorry to barge in, but I just started doing the Will Shortz Puzzler around three months ago and discovered this blog.

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  24. Who the heck is this Dave guy? Any of you know him? I didn't invite him...

    Well, if you try not to be a nuisance we might let you stay for an hour or so...

    ;-)

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  25. Hey Dave, I'm kinda new here myself, and nobody ever told me to get lost. Happy puzzling. You wanna earn some extra cred on here you could always devise an interesting puzzle or two of your own and ask us to solve it...

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  26. Would be funny if you're in Seattle! Two of us on here so far. Heard on NPR a while back a great interview with these young guys who had formed a band. Three of them had been playing together for kind of a long time and had learned that, strangely, each of them had an aunt named Jane. They'd been looking for a fourth musician and had auditioned several people and they all pretty much agreed this one guy was the one they all liked and seemed to click with, musically. They were sitting talking with him and had mostly made up their minds and one of them asked him, do you have an aunt named Jane? He said, well, yeah, I do. Why?

    So they billed themselves as The Aunt Janes.

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  27. Natasha

    Try crazy, not false.

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  28. This one occurred to me yesterday when I misread a headline while reading the news on the web. Two-word expression meaning something "is effective" or "has an impact." Change one letter in the verb and it means the opposite.

    Bonus hint: the new letter appears four places earlier in the alphabet.

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  29. Carl

    Packs/lacks force, perhaps.

    I left a comment for you on last weeks page.

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  30. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  31. Hugh, was going for "punch," but that works.

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  32. And yes, I saw your comment in last week's postings. There's one short story I read several years ago that I would really like to find again. In this story there was this older man, kind of an aging patriarch of a small, family farm in Europe during W.W. I. He had this younger female relative who drove him nuts. She would sit on the front porch all day while others worked to harvest the crops and at the end of the day this young woman would ask him, as he returned from the fields, if there was "any news." He never responded because what news would he have gleaned while working in the sun all day?

    Then one day a small fighter plane was forced to land in his field and he went to see if he could help. The pilot was astonished because the old man so resembled a high-ranking German officer. He was able to quickly repair his plane and while doing so he convinced this older man to accompany him to the front where they would perpetrate a ruse in which German prisoners would be exposed to the sight him in shackles, sure to demoralize the enemy ranks. Then these prisoners would be allowed to escape so they could spread the news that this officer had been captured.

    He was then returned to his farm, having been sworn to secrecy because it was vital that the Germans not discover any time soon how they'd been fooled.

    So he walks in from the field and as he ascends the steps to the house this young woman asks him if there's any news. He finally explodes at her, asking why she expects him to have any news!

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  33. Hey, I'm the Dave guy. I live in Eugene, Oregon. As I mentioned before, I recently started doing the Will Shortz Puzzler and discovered this blog. I won't intrude any more if you don't want me to. Did anyone else submit street thief and tree thief last week or was I the only misguided one? I'm having a hard time on this week's puzzler.

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  34. Dave, I think they were looking for single word answers last week.
    Clue for this week is "Bono would have stuck out picking the lock".

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  35. Thanks for the clue, but it's pretty cryptic. I'll sleep on it and see if I can come up with something.

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  36. And I'm still clueless. Bono, like U2, or Sonny? Either way and I still have no idea.

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  37. Dave, it's not a private club. I'm sure our host Blaine would agree that you, me and any non-jerk are welcome to post here. Sharing chitchat about the puzzle (and whatever else) is the whole point, and the more the merrier.

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  38. Ben -

    Of course it isn't a private club. But Dave does need to be warned about the hazing.

    - Other Ben

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  39. Dave, sorry if I made you worry about being unwelcome! I thought my intended irony was pretty obvious... I'm in 100% agreement with Ben(s).

    Again, happy puzzling! I've always believed one's brain has this in common with one's muscles: if you don't exercise it, it'll atrophy.

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  40. Still stumped on 4,4,4. Seems to be no problem using words from France. (Will used "chic".) I even stooped to French references while trying to give a pronunciation hint. My 3,4,5 solution is all English. The Bard used the icky one. I think I see Lorenzo's clue. Is he mechanically inclined?

    In another vein - I'm really bad at solving cryptic shaggy dogs. I got a previous one, though.

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  41. Yes, there seem to be several solutions, some that even share words, others that don't. It will be interesting after the deadline tomorrow (Thu 3pm ET) when everyone reveals their "hand".

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  42. von, Nachtricht, hof, von Richtofen?

    News from the barnyard?

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  43. Oh, and I've never said it officially, but welcome Dave. We can always use more members here in the club. I just hope nobody suggests that we start up karaoke again. You should have seen the two Bens and Phredp fighting over the microphone last time. Natasha didn't sound half bad though; probably the best at staying on pitch. I think Carl was away at Snoqualmie Pass on the bunny slopes so missed everything.

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  44. Carl's not getting much done today; first time for everything! That line about the bunny slopes made me think of Pulp Fiction, you know, the scene where John Travolta's character says, disdainfully (in response to Samuel Jackson's character having asked what a Whopper is called in Amsterdam), I don't know man, I don't eat at Burger King. I wanted to mimic that voice and expression to say, I don't ski, man. ;-)

    So, somebody has seen both Bens in the same place at the same time...

    The real mystery here, for me, is why I am so apathetic about this week's puzzle... I guess it's too random or something. Like I would have to do endless word-search on the internet to come up with an answer.

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  45. Rick. I Got You Babe! Tragedy how he died though. The trees are wide in Lake Tahoe (to quote a song after his death).

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  46. Ok, so now I see the 3 letter word. And I guess I have a 4 letter word that corresponds to the "stick out" part of the clue....I think. I had no idea it was pronounced that way...in fact, I would rhyme it with "way." (am I on the right track?) I see a 5 letter word I could use to complete the set but it has nothing to do with a lock or picking.

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  47. Ugh, now I see a different 3 letter word that deals with a lock but that throws off my previous 3 letter word that dealt with Bono! I'm so confused

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  48. Thanks for the welcome, guys! I'm still clueless about the puzzle. I've been pretty successful at solving these since I started out, but this one's a real stumper. Carl, I couldn't agree with you more. This is so random that it's not fun. It's just frustrating. By the way, have any of you ever been selected by Will to be on the air?

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  49. I've not won but Will has used 3 ideas of mine as the challenge.

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  50. Any more clues from the karaoke singers? Is a French word involved?

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  51. Natasha and Rick,
    Don't give up. The clues from the kareoke singers and from the lock-picking reference will lead you to a three-letter word that is a homonym of the desired four-letter word. As for the five-letter word, Phredp and I have already referred to it in our clues.

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  52. Looks like the trio of words I submitted is indeed the same set hinted at by Lorenzo and phredp.

    Enough hints have been given. I'll just say that my first word is seasonal; my second word, the New Orleans word, doesn't involve cooking (though just thinking about New Orleans food makes me want to back to Bayona); and my last
    word describes the whole set.

    - Other Ben

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  53. Well, I think I may have and I'm submitting. Thanks for the help.

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  54. Times up!

    I submitted
    SKI
    THREE
    QUAY (pronounced key)

    Numerous people gave the last two and three was the word Lorenzo was refering to in Will's clue.

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  55. My submissions were:

    flu
    pooh (the exclamation, not Winnie)
    screw

    As a former Navy guy and currently in the marine business, I would pronounce quay as kwa, with a long 'a'. I see that it can be pronounced three different ways, tee hee, so we shall see on Sunday!

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  56. Even though I submitted the same solution as Phredp, Ben and others, my dog Teddy ("Bear") identified (in more than one way)with the one submitted by Don, Al, and Hugh.

    Blaine, what was your 4-4-4 solution that included the word quay?

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  57. Blaine,

    Our posts must have crossed in the post. Prix (grand or otherwise) sounds good to me. And, speaking of "gnu", am I the only one old enough to remember the urbane British musical duo of Swann & Flanders and their delightful "Gnu song" with the refrain "Oh g-no, g-no, g-no, I'm a gnu!"

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  58. carl and don, The English language
    is a mess because we refuse to change
    spelling when pronunciation changes,
    unlike Spanish and Swahili. The
    Japanese had sense enough to invent
    a syllabary to represent the sounds
    they made. I NEVER would have come
    up with "quay" that sounded like
    "key." Another absurdity we put up
    with is "colonel" for a word that
    sounds like "kernel." I've noticed
    the changes occurring in "candidate"
    which is now pronounced without "did"
    and the "date" has become a "dit."
    We could make an "e" out of "c" and
    turn it upsidedown and use it to
    represent the schwa sound. We don't
    need the "c" because of "k" and "s."

    Apathy is GOOD.

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  59. Regarding quay:
    This word is an etymological cousin of the words key and cay, which both mean "a low offshore island or reef." Quay is traditionally pronounced like key, although the pronunciations "kay" and "kway" are now also considered standard in American English.

    Regarding colonel:
    Check out Oddest English Spellings (part 8)

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  60. I did get those answers too, right away. But thought they were not acceptable for some stupid reason. Oh well....Did anyone get the "call"?

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  61. Speaking of Flanders and Swann, did anyone catch "Filth" on "Masterpiece Theatre". The unlikely theme song "Pee, Po, Belly, Bum, Drawers" was played throughout.

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  62. For pointers to the rudeness (be warned):

    http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/reviews/filth-the-mary-whitehouse-story-bbc2br-painted-babies-growing-up-bbc4br-imagine-bbc1br-a-taste-of-my-life-bbc2-837612.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flanders_and_Swann

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3E9UYJ5xGYk

    http://www.crazyontap.com/topic.php?TopicId=17056&Posts=1

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  63. Everyone interested in spelling reform should certainly read the classic essay by Dolton Edwards (1946):
    http://www.ecphorizer.com/EPS/site_page.php?issue=7&page=29

    Of course, that would eliminate a lot of interesting puzzler challenges!

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  64. I went with pooh, thru, view. I know "thru" is a variant, but that is where I went anyway.

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  65. But that has a repeated h in pooh and thru, doesn't it?

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  66. Sean, Had you not been bothered by
    the scatological connotations you
    could have dropped the "h" and
    submitted "poo." It's on the net
    in the "Free Dictionary."

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  67. Sean, I did not mean to imply that
    you WERE bothered.

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  68. Remember you need at least 12 letters in the three words...

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  69. No need to wait until tomorrow. The answer is already posted on the NPR website, along with next week's puzzle.

    According to NPR, the "answer" was Screw (or strew), pooh and flu (or gnu). "Also acceptable" was Three, quay and ski.

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  70. lorenzo, HELP. I've been searching
    for next week's puzzle to no avail.
    Can you help?

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  71. lorenzo, Request withdrawn. I kept
    trying and found it. My problem was
    that I was not starting my Google
    search with the date December 14.

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  72. The puzzle for this upcoming week is a cakewalk compared to the previous week. I was even trying to work on possible solutions while I was dreaming!

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  73. The easiest path to the website is:
    npr.org/puzzle

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