## Thursday, April 30, 2009

### NPR Sunday Puzzle (Apr 26): I Thought NPR Always Did Word Problems

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Apr 26): I Thought NPR Always Did Word Problems:
Q: If 5=4, 7=5, 8=1 and 26=9, what does 12 equal?
It appears that Will has given us a rare puzzle involving numbers. Have fun figuring it out. I'll give you one clue: 23,041=500

Edit: My first thought was that the answer was the number of letters in the number when spelled out in English. FIVE has 4 letters, SEVEN has 5 letters, TWENTY-SIX has 9 letters. But the puzzle creator deliberately threw us a curve ball with EIGHT which is 1, not 5.

Okay, back to the drawing board. As I hinted in the title, this is still related to words and isn't purely mathematical. If you look closely at the English spelling of each number, you'll see there are ROMAN NUMERALS hidden inside.
fIVe = 4
seVen = 5
eIght = 1
twenty-sIX = 9
A: tweLVe = 55
And spelling out 23,041 in English --> twenty-three thousanD forty-one = 500.

1. Here's my standard reminder... don't post the answer or any outright spoilers before the deadline of Thursday at 3pm ET. If you know the answer, click the link and submit it to NPR, but don't give it away here. Thank you.

2. The B52s were one of the great bands when I was in high school, a seminal band of the late 70s. I never really listened to them later on, though they did have a couple of hits at the end of the 1980s.

- Other Ben

3. Last week's puzzle had 2500 correct entries!

4. I came here expecting another easy one. I saw the puzzle and had my doubts, but eventually I concurred with Blaine.

5. Looks like I got my wish for a new and different sort of puzzle. As a bonus, try this sequence:

50,51,1,1000,1,501,50.
What are the next two terms?

6. Oops, make that

50,51,1,1000,1,500,501,50.

7. This comment has been removed by the author.

8. As 23,041 = 500, then, as well, does 23,040 = same! As 23,040 said to 23,041, "Dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres;" --- and, as regards these characters as numbers, it'd better not be Sexist Larry Summers with whom it is you do ... walk. http://bluemaas.public.iastate.edu

9. Hey Other Ben -

I read Rex Parker too, and recently met him in Brooklyn at the ACPT. Nice guy.

If you're into crosswords, check out my writeup of last week's Chicago tournament:

http://benbassandbeyond.blogspot.com/2009/04/never-cross-word.html

- Original Ben

10. p.s. I have no clue how to solve this week's puzzle. Ben's B-52s reference makes me think of playing cards, but after that, I got nothing. At first I was thinking number of letters in the word; 5=4 and 7=5 work, but 8=1... not so much.

p.p.s. Forgot to mention I also met the great Will Shortz at the ACPT. I was fortunate enough to win a trivia contest among 800 or so people at "game show night" on Saturday night at the tournament, run by Newsday crossword editor Stanley Newman. Will gave me a prize of a book of 500 NYT Sunday crosswords. After 12 years of sending in the correct answer to his radio puzzle and never getting picked, it felt like closure. Also, I was sitting with a bunch of NYT crossword constructors, who passed around the book and autographed their handiwork!

11. As usual, this site is a forum for clever comments.

12. Maybe Suze Orman from an earlier week's puzzle could lend a hand in this one.

13. This weeks puzzle was like looking at one of those Magic Eye pictures.

14. I got the magic eye pictures down no problem...

15. Hugh: 1, 100 ?

16. This one had me so annoyed, I took leave of my senses; getting so angry it was like hot lava bubbling over in my head. Finally, after what I felt were many valiant attempts, less one, and perhaps a bit out of order, I think I found the solution.

17. Got there thanks to Jim and Suze Orman.

18. happysteve, Yes!

19. Been out of town so I haven't spent much time on the puzzle yet. I understand the Orman clue, but can't figure it out. Any more clues? Thanks.

20. ...ask marilyn, she's gotta know the answer...

21. ...this kinda reminds me of an old number puzzle: 3,3,5,4,4,3,5,5,4,? what's the next number?
in will's puzzle, the "8=1" throws me off---it could be a repeat of "7=5"...

22. ...the 5.6.7.8's has a song titled "woo hoo" (kill bill)... blur has one titled "song 2" (the woo hoo song)... the who has one "who are you?"...
...there was a song called "52 girls" on the b-52's first album..."53 miles west of venus" on their second...i was expecting "54-something" on their third---it didn't happen...six oh six oh eight four two and i'm waiting for you...

23. Timmy, now I'm really confused. Do those songs have anything to do with the answer? Do the groups? Thanks.

24. Some of these comments contain a number of clues - let 'er rip !

25. This puzzle reminds me of an Audrey Hepburn & Gregory Peck movie. Does anyone remember the copyright date on that one?

26. ...suze took the day off...

27. That was ridiculously tough, yet really simple. URG!!!

28. ...curtis...during that same year, (if i have the right one, which was a nickle before i was born) there was a film directed by alfred hitchcock (not "the 39 steps") and one based on an h.g. wells story (disambiguation became a word, according to webster, ten years after)...here are a few more that came out (or in) that same time:
"four-sided triangle"
"stalag 17"
"the 49th man"
"99 river street"
"the beast from 2,000 fathoms"*
"the 5,000 fingers of dr. t"
*2,000 fathoms equal how many yards? (i cannot fathom six feet under)...

29. Timmy,"5000 Fingers" was one of my favorite childhood movies. Thank you Dr. Seus! And Dave, we didn't make it to Saturday market in Eugene or the one in Portland either...Maybe in June.

30. I'm totally lost on this one. The only thing I can relate is the 8 = 1 clue to 8 notes in 1 octave. This will be the first time in a while I haven't submitted an answer. Whine, whine....

31. MFL, I'm in the same boat as you are. Frustrating, isn't it?

32. MLF & Dave, this one is tougher than usual. But, if you look at the numbers for a spell, you might get it.

33. BINGO!!! I'm not an idiot. Thanks, Curtis.

34. Here's another clue: Sammy Hagar can't do this.

35. Okay, the deadline has passed, so I think it is safe to spell out the answer, literally.

Look for the Roman numerals in each number:
fIVe = 4
seVen = 5
eIght = 1
twenty-sIX = 9

Therefore:
tweLVe = 55

36. OK, I am new to this discussion (but I think I like it). Is it fair game to ask some of the posters what they meant by their comments ? I solved the puzzle before the deadline, but still don't understand references to the B52s or the 5,000 fingers of Dr T...

37. ...if you kept going, you woulda reached fifty-fIVe...some states allow you to go sIXty-fIVe (does that equal XCIV or XIII?)...those orman numbers get me every time...

38. ...don't forget to cross your i's and dot your m's...

39. Curtis-I was on a Roman numeral Holiday. And I love math puzzles! Foiled again...Thanks anyway for your great clue.

40. I especially liked herblady's clue:

"I came here expecting another easy one. I saw the puzzle and had my doubts, but eventually I concurred with Blaine."Julius Caesar used the phrase "veni, vidi, vici" in his report to the Roman senate describing his victory in the Battle of Zela.

41. The Sammy Hagar clue told me it was 55 but i didn't submit because I couldn't figure out WHY it was 55. I was trying to do math :(((((

42. Hugh and/or happysteve,

So please explain the logic of the sequence. I'm guessing they are related to Roman numerals somehow, but I'm not seeing it:

50,51,1000,1,500,501,50,1,100
L,LI,M,I,D,DI,L,I,C

Hint?

43. Blaine,
Read the first two lines of the post taking into consideration that the Romans had no numerical notation for zero.

44. A few folks asked about my clue.

The B52s did indeed have "a couple" of hits in the late eighties -- "Love Shack" and "ROAM."

I was using the latter to point people towards Rome, as was Jim with his Suze ORMAN hint.

I've always found Roman numerals to be a bit ridiculous, but as a crossword geek you just can't avoid them.

-- Other Ben

45. There were only about "400 correct answers" for the Roman numerals.