Thursday, August 20, 2009

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 16): Beware of Invisible Cows

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 16): Beware of Invisible Cows:
Q: Think of a common street sign with three words: four letters in the first word, four letters in the second word and three letters in the last. Drop the last letter of the first word in the sign and you'll get a new word that is a synonym of the last word in the sign. What is the sign?
Mr. Shortz states that it is a "common street sign" so I'm sure it's not Beware of Invisible Cows. However, I'm suspicious; I've looked up and down a list of Road Signs and don't see the answer. No doubt I'm thinking too hard so let me ponder this a bit more.

Feel free to add clues in the comments, but no outright answers or spoilers, please.

Edit: Remember Will didn't say traffic signs. That was a clue. In addition, hopefully my clue indirectly made you think of animals.
A: CURB YOUR DOG (Cur = Dog)

19 comments:

  1. The answer is not an instruction to drivers nor an alert about road conditions.

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  2. The same message can be conveyed using a 2-word rhyming phrase.

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  3. I amused myself with BUMP AREA END but I'm sure that's not it, so I'll keep trying...

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  4. Using the word "street" was a bit confusing since the message has nothing to do with streets or vehicles. Of course, if someone didn't obey the sign you might have a big mess on your hands!

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  5. Lorenzo and Phredp, I got the same answer as you did. This is actually a very easy puzzle since there aren't that many possibilities, given the number of letters in each word, and you should be able to spot the answer in no time.

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  6. Like the Do-Re-Mi puzzle, I suspect this sign is not as common as Mr. Shortz suggests. I've heard of this as a street sign, but have never actually seen it used here in the Mountain West where the coyotes howl. My wife actually found a version of this online, and had never heard of the synonym in question.

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  7. I agree that the "common street sign" is misleading. I give credit to my older son for helping. He was thinking of 4 letter words that might be somehow related to a road and/or appear on a sign. He was ready to discard one of the words he was pondering, but I told him that the shortened word did have a synonym...

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  8. The newsy week very soon after Ms Katharine had just posted her personal history, she stepped into what was, for her, an unfamiliar state of mind to attend there a conference.

    Subsequently and accidentally, Ms Katharine stepped off of part of said state incurring such bodily injury that ... within three days and without benefit of any belovéd synonyms ... she was, indeed, ... dead.

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  9. I was assuming that the remaining TEN letters formed the synonym, but it's just the three letters from the first word that form the synonym with the last word. Maybe this will help, maybe I was the only one chasing the wrong phrase.

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  10. Thanks for the great clues, especially Lorenzo and Phredp. While I understand some of you don't think of this sign as common, I can assure you that millions of people see it every day. And every one of them is better off for its command being followed.

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  11. Couldn't figure it out at all on Sunday. I tried sleeping on it, but woke up in a cold sweat.

    In my dreams, I was being chased by a Bounty Hunter who was out to get me. The strange part is that he looked like Larry David.

    I panicked, but then figured it out. Please pick me, Will.

    -- Other Ben

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  12. Out here in California there is a six word phrase that is much more common, an anagramatic acronym for which would be PUPDAY. I was also thinking that in England they spell the first word differently - and they do but then I realized I had the wrong meaning of the word...

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  13. DaveJ, Since the word is a verb, It is spelled the same way in both the US and UK. The Merriam Webster College Dictionary, 10th edition, is quite specific on the usage in this particular case. It is the noun, however, which is unrelated and is spelled differently, which seems to come to mind (including mine) as an easier alternative.

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  14. To be a little more clear, The noun occurred to Ms. Katherine's Nemesis.

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  15. Yes - I wondered if this was the "Briticism" (humour relating to Anglo-American Language) alluded to on the Englishman solves Crosswords blog. The noun is a heterograph of the verb and is very often found in close proximity - chortle !

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  16. Darn - Will didn't call

    Who's Ms. Katherine - and does she Curb (not Kerb) her dog ?

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  17. Ms Katharine Meyer (Graham), herself many – a – belovéd – dogs’ owner and of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katharine_Graham and many, many other websites, in her own private area when attending a conference in Idaho at age 84 stepped off a piece of it, a curb, fell unconscious -– and died from subsequent head injury within three days.

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