Thursday, January 15, 2009

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 11): The Sound of Letters

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 11): The Sound of Letters:
Q: Take a very common three-letter word. Say the letters phonetically and together they'll sound like a six-letter word meaning knockout. What word is it?
I think I have the answer, but I'm not sure. I don't usually pronounce the six-letter word that way.

Edit: I've checked 3 dictionaries and none of them have the 3-syllable prounounciation, though I'm sure we've heard it pronounced colloquially with 3 syllables. You shouldn't have needed much help this week, but if you did, I've included it a couple times in this post.
A: BUT --> BEAUTY (bee-YOO-tee)


  1. This one is pretty easy. So here's a somewhat cryptic clue (that also contains some misdirection): "Just get up, expend a bit of energy and rearrange things, and you'll score a TKO."

  2. Feeling a little spacey and can't think of anything original, so I'm tempted to just give the hint I gave for the Don Quixote puzzle, however I think there should be a limit on rectal clues.

  3. Yngvai, I don't know what your hint was for the Don Quixote puzzle, but based on the end of the sentence, I got the same answer as you did.

  4. If and when you think you have it, you probably do.

    - Other Ben

  5. This one is easy. Don't let it knock
    you out.

  6. My colonoscopy came out okay BTW!

  7. carl, Don't abandon us. This week
    is a "too easy." Did you get last
    week's "heart burn"? herblady, Where
    are you?

  8. Not much interest this week. Try this:

    Using a generalized description of words like:
    "overimaginative", and
    find a word that is 16 letters long.

    Once you recognize what's going on, there is a hint given.
    No computer required.

  9. hugh, How about the best new word of the decade: MISUNDERESTIMATE?

    It's such a beautiful word it knocks me out. It makes perfect sense. We
    needed it badly.

  10. hugh, I thought of another one, but
    it's one we can do without:

  11. Personally, I like VERISIMILITUDE, if only it were a little longer.

  12. However, I think Shakespeare went overboard with HONORIFICABILITUDINITATIBUS

  13. MISUNDERSTANDING has sixteen letters.

  14. Only Blaine has the idea so far (one short and one that beat me). The question now is, did he follow up on the hint which leads to my treasure and HONORIFICABILITUDINITATIBUS?

  15. Now I see my words don't fit the

  16. Think of the original puzzle as the map of a treasure island. The map has a coded "X" on it that points to a particular 16 letter treasure. The "island" should be obvious - not too small a one. Remember to dig a hole bigger than the treasure.

  17. Geri, the word that really wows me is "oversight". Such a perfect word for people who are supposed to keep an eye on things - and don't. It's almost like the word "egregious". I don't always explain whether I'm using it in it's archaic or current sense.

  18. Hugh, I can regulate ukeleles, but I don't know if I can do it in a sixteen letter word. I don't understand your hint. Is it the name of an island?

  19. Hugh, I used to work in a research lab that studied the depolarizability of aluminosilicates. Do you know anything about that?

  20. Does treasure imply it has an X in it? If we are thinking of places, there is the UNITED ARAB EMIRATES.

  21. Blaine, wow! That's eighteen letters, so it's even better than the sixteen letter answer.

  22. The only location with sixteen letters that I could find is Basavana Bagevadi, India.

  23. OK, originally I had picked a particular 16 letter word of alternating single syllables and consonants for you to find. It wasn't a contest to find the longest word - but I was impressed by Blaine's monster. I said that there was a hint to that word - which was the word "generalized" (note its format)- it's not the desired word, but a pointer. If you had looked it up in a dictionary ( I checked two), you should have found "generalizability" nearby.

    So for the later clue:

    X = generalized
    Island = dictionary
    dig a hole bigger than the treasure = check the neighborhood.

    Yes, Dave, "aluminosilicates" did crop up in my original word search. That's why I pointed to a particular word.

  24. That's funny. I saw that the word "generalized" matched the pattern, but I figured I was trying to find a prefix (looking at over-, un-, re-, non-, etc.) rather than a suffix change. Doh, I was on the right track!

  25. carl, Don't miss Merl Reagle's puzzle "Study Group" which I got in
    The Argonaut dated 1-15-09. It's a
    great one. He deserves a gold star
    for 78d.

  26. The Argonaut Marina del Rey California

  27. Geri, I haven't seen that puzzle yet. What's the clue and how many letters?

  28. Dave, The clue says, "What Pop has
    that the Pope doesn't"--six letters. There is a hint I can give you if you
    need it.

    I usually get this Merl Reagle puzzle
    a week or ten days ahead of any other

  29. That reminds me of an old riddle:
    The Pope has one but doesn't use it. Your Dad has one but your Mom uses it. A nun has no need for one. Arnold Schwarzenegger has a big one while Michael J Fox has a little one. What is it?

  30. Blaine, Merl Reagle's 78d in his new
    puzzle "Study Group" is a bit more
    obscure than your riddle. When can
    we disclose the answer? Is there a

  31. No specific deadline, but let's give some others a chance to guess.