Thursday, June 25, 2009

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jun 21): Find a TV Celebrity with No Curves?

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jun 21): Find a TV Celebrity with No Curves?:
Q: Take the name Kevin Kline. The first and last names both have five letters. Written in capital letters — KEVIN KLINE — each name consists of exactly 13 straight lines and no curves.

Name a well-known TV personality with five-letter first and last names. Each name contains exactly 14 straight lines and no curves. Who is this?
Though I could have probably figured this out the "normal" way, I approached this programmatically. I took a couple of lists of celebrity names (first and last) and put them in a spreadsheet. I modified a function I had created earlier to count vowels and instead made it count the number of strokes (I = 1, LTVX = 2, AFHKNYZ = 3, EMW = 4, everything else = 1000). I then filtered the list down to 5 letter names each with 14 strokes (39 first names and 44 last names). As it turned out, only one name fit the puzzle... I should have seen that sooner.

Edit: Clues: vowels, turned, solve the puzzle...
A: VANNA WHITE

40 comments:

  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'd like to solve the puzzle, click the link and submit it to NPR, but don't give it away here. Thank you.

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  2. The eye Is black, Is black, Is black. Blackened by one veIn Is the eye. Very. er, ver - I.
    ... that Is, for 13 to = 13 and for 14 to = 14.

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  3. My approach was similar to Blaine's. I filtered the 5,5 names first, then filtered out those containing curved letters. Only 5 or 6 names remained making it easy verify the obvious remaining name's line count by eye. No spreadsheet this time.

    It bugs me that WS made no mention of the alternate answers possible (and probably entered) for last weeks puzzle.

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  4. evan, harry and anita had sweated while bill stayed neat...

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  5. I don't know about spreadsheets and filters and the sort. My approach was more old school, writing down the straight letters and then making names using only those. You really need the alaphabet to solve this puzzle!

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  7. You don't need spreadsheets to get this name of a person.

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  8. At least there is only one combination of letters that fit this week - 'bout flipping time...

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  10. I was listening to a Blood Swear & Tears song this morning...One of my letters has three strokes by pen, but only one stroke (thanks Blaine) on the keyboard.

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  11. Brian, I think you gave away the answer.

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  12. Hugh, nice hint in your second paragraph!

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  13. Happy Father's Day everyone!

    "Envy grants men sinful leave..Beware, behold, arise, artful agents!"

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  14. Capital letters only. The straight-line count wouldn't work with lower case.
    Natasha, I agree. Brian gave it away.

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  15. Brian! You're almost as bad as, well, me. Last week. Anyway, safe bet this personage will never become a fixture of FOX News; basic philosophical differences...

    Was going to say something about hoping I look as good as this person when I'm their age, but then I realized I'm actually a bit older than the figure in question. I once angered someone by doing some, um, research, on this person using their computer...

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  16. Sorry, Brian... you revealed too much of the answer.

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  17. I'm going to guess that Alexa Kenin doesn't count for her 1 guest appearance as "jesse" on Facts of Life. Emily Wylie's history on obscure british soap operas isn't very famous. Tanya Allen did not set the world on fire with her portrayal of April on Kung Fu. And does anyone remenber Tanya Falan from the Lawrence Welk show?

    If I keep rotating through all of these bad answers I'm going to flip out....

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  18. Blaine,

    Thanks for keeping the site free of absolute giveaway answers.

    (I'm still feeling petty and bitter about the Galileo experience, but I'm a petty and bitter man.)

    The amazing thing about the TV Celebrity who solves this puzzle is that they are pretty much the only person on earth who does what they do. That I know of, at least.

    -- Other Ben


    The amazing thing about the TV Celebrity who solves this puzzle is that they are pretty much the only person on earth who does what they do. That I know of, at least.

    -- Other Ben

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  19. Nice hints, David, Wolftone, and especially--Blue of Central Iowa! (Unusually plain message this time.)

    And I agree with JR, Blaine's answer key made the stroke-adding process easier.

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  20. Oh man, I should have gotten this A LOT sooner than I did. I've actually BEEN on this show! I seriously almost have to say WTF?!?

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  21. There is another solution: it is an actress on a very popular TV show who is related to a rock musician

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  22. I don't know if she can really qualify as a famous TV personality but the conditions of the puzzle are indeed satisfied. Anybody up for a challenge?

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  23. I realized I left out the example of KEVIN KLINE from the original NPR puzzle, each name being 13 strokes. That makes it obvious that I is considered to be 1 stroke, not 3.

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  24. AlexB, gender. As in too much information (that was not included in the original clues). I'm going for some kind of hypocrisy award, after my too-obvious clue last week!

    This happens fairly regularly; when the solution to the puzzle is an individual's name and the gender is not specified in the original clues, we probably ought not to give away that pertinent fact. In my oh-so-humble opinion...

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  26. Wolftone - I'm actually old enough to remember Tanya Falan, and the she was married for a while in the 70s to Larry Welk (Lawrence's son). Your choices of celebrities is pretty clever. I'm amazed that the subject of this week's puzzle hasn't moved into more challenging work on the air, after having performed the same on-air role for more than 20 years.

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  27. AlexB, sorry, got confused by your two-in-a-row posting. Never mind.

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  28. I STILL have an ear infection; that's my excuse for everything. Antibiotics are doing the trick finally. But in the meantime, it's handy. Plan to use it as a defense tactic in my upcoming homicide trial (the next time someone in front of me takes more than seven or eight seconds to begin to follow the person in front of them at a left-hand turn light...).

    Do we have time for another puzzle?

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  29. Carl, How did your ear get infected? What medication do you use?

    Do you know about One Across. Google
    it; it's fun and helpful but be cautious; it can lead you astray

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  30. Geri, longish story. I've had chronic Eustachian tube dysfunction all my life. A few years ago I had tubes installed in my eardrums to allow air to get into my middle ear. Right one has long since fallen out but left one is a more permanent installation (it's the second one in that ear, called a t-tube). Never had ear infections until this tube allowed water to get into my middle ear every time I get it wet (too stubborn and lazy to use earplugs every time I shower).

    As soon as I can (after this infection's gone) I want this tube removed. Risks, hassles, nightmare ear infections outweigh ANY possible benefits.

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  31. For those who want another puzzle, here's one, along the line's of this week's official puzzle:
    Think of a television performer whose first name fits the parameters of the puzzle - five straight-line letters, made with 14 strokes. The first name of the person's TV's character is made up of six straight-line letters, each of which is a three-stroke letter. Neither the solution's last name, nor the character's last name, is made up exclusively of straight line letters; the person's last name has only one straight line letter, the character's last name has only one curved letter.

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  32. Thanks for posting the standard reminder...Let's not submit clues that are dead giveaways...

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  33. Still at a loss for a name to fit this week's NPR puzzle? In the time that is left, I recommend you sift through your Rolodex again--chances are you'll find it useful; the last name at least is a pretty common one.

    I admit it was thanks to some clues posted here that I was able to find out. Thanks again to David and Wolftone--and to Blue, whose clue was kind of complementary; it assured me I was on the right track.

    I never watched the show, I must say--well, not in this country, at least. I did on occasion watch one of its spinoffs produced and aired overseas; but that had different people in it, of course, so it wouldn't have helped me here...

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  34. OK, 3pm has come and gone (at least on the RIGHT coast).

    So for those who still cannot figure out our "personality," I'd like to buy a vowel.

    Perhaps an "A"?

    -- Other Ben

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  35. "Ding, ding!"

    _ A _ _ A _ _ _ _ _

    OK, wanna call a friend now? (Oh no--wrong show...)

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  36. chrisisore--when will you post the answer to your puzzle??

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  37. Chrisidore, I got it, but I don't want to state my answer yet. I wrote so many letter combinations that my fingers got achy.

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  38. Oh Wheely, you think you have the White answer ? I Vanna buy a vowel !!!

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  39. DaveJ: Yes!! Zat's how some participants in the show's overseas franchises would pronounce "really" and "right"! );->

    BTW, my clues were "Rolodex," "spinoff," and "complementary" (black--white), possibly even "Blue" (being a color).

    Still... no call from NPR! }%-[

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  40. For anybody who is trying to solve Chrisidore's puzzle, just go through the alphabet and write down all of the letters that are made up of only three straight lines. Make a six letter first name out of those letters and that should do it.

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