## Thursday, October 01, 2009

### NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sep 27): Name That Country...

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sep 27): Name That Country...:
Q: Take the family name of a famous world leader in history. Drop the last letter, then switch the last two letters that remain. The result will name the country that this leader led. Who is it and what is the country?
Gee, I planned to get this puzzle posted earlier, but I've had a lot on my plate. My hint this week: Work backwards; it's much easier.

Edit: The hiddens clues were Gee (G) and Plate (China). Put them together and you have the answer.
A: Chiang Kai-Shek (CHIANG) --> Country (CHINA)
I actually found it easier to work backwards thinking of country names, flipping the last two letters and seeing what letter might be added to make a name. CHINA became CHIAN which immediately made me think of CHIANG (Kai-shek).

1. I see that the San Francisco NFL team lost today. Too bad.

2. Ken, I think I understand your hint. Did you notice that the film was mentioned in two news stories of the past few days?

3. For the answer that I have I need to change
the last letter and move it to the next-to-last
place.

4. Clue: Born in DÃ¼sseldorf, Germany, she was the first two-time Oscar winner in an acting category and the first to win consecutive acting awards. The first award was controversial because her role in the film was very short, and many critics thought she should have been nominated for best supporting actress category. However, in the following year, she was universally applauded for her powerful performance in a film that was both timely and consequential. When she won her second Oscar, there was virtually no disapproval among the critics.

5. Eddie, I'm totally lost. How can you
consider that person "a famous world leader"?
How do you define "country"?

6. Eddie, p.s. Are you referring to
Luise Rainer in "The Good Earth"?

7. These clues have me more confused than ever.
I bet I'm making it too hard...

8. Chezedog, It seems to me that Eddie is not referring to THIS week's puzzle.

9. Actually, I think Eddie IS referring to this week's puzzle.

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11. Ooooookay. That one did it for me.
And suddenly most of the other hints make sense.
Not all, just most. The country was one of the first ones I thought of Sunday morning, too...

12. I think this puzzle is ambiguously worded to mislead listeners into looking for a two letter country name.

13. It should say, "Switch the last two OF THE
letters that remain."

14. Well stated, Geri.

15. I gave up on Will's puzzle and made one of my own: Change the last letter of a leader's last
name and move it to being the next-to-last
letter of his country.

16. Geri, are you just reversing the last two letters of the leader's name?

17. Curtis,
That's how I first interpreted the puzzle (remaining two letters). Took awhile to realize I was just running into a wall (aren't too many two letter countries anyway). Then I started thinking two letter abbreviations. Again, another wall. Finally, got it looking up the spouse clues posted at the end of last weeks puzzle comments.

18. Dave, Yes and no. Reversing, yes. "Just", no.
Change the last letter before reversing--an "r"
to an "i".

19. Brute-forcing this one from http://www.state.gov/misc/list/ doesn't seem to be working. Does this country still exist?

20. wolftone, I think the best answer to your question is, "yes and no".

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23. Yes Curtis....that little issue threw me for a while.

24. oo, I just couldn't break a long chain of wrong thinking on this then I found a niche.

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26. Sorry, I had to delete some comments that gave too much away.

27. That's OK, Blaine. Sorry, I didn't realize the comments were giving away too much. Here's the edited version:

Geri, I wasn't ignoring your questions. I just got back to the blog. I chose to reference old Hollywood films because that's what I know and like. My clue wasn't as good as the one two weeks ago, when I used "The Little Mermaid" to get to the French word. But then again, it wasn't nearly as oblique as most of the clues in this blog.

Curtis, that's an excellent point. Surprisingly for me, the "family name" issue never came to mind.

28. Sorry about that, Blaine. I didn't mean to cross the line.

29. Where is everybody today? Did anyone get called?

30. Re: Monday September 28 9:50 pm puzzle I proposed: The answer is Bolivar/Bolivia.

I'm anxious to know the answer to the NPR puzzle for this week.

31. If I may, I'll give this week's answer: Chiang Kai-shek & China.

32. I noted that the San Francisco Forty-Niners lost on Sunday. The team is named for the people who rushed to California in 1849 during the Gold Rush. A century later, another group of people lost more than a game. Chiang Kai-Shek and his Nationalist (Kuomingtang) Party lost control of China in 1949 to the Communists. They (also dubbed Forty-Niners by students of Chinese history) rushed to Taiwan and set up the Republic of China there.

33. Anybody want to hazard a guess on the number of entries or correct entries? I'd guess fewer than 1000.

34. Curtis and Ken, THANK YOU!

35. I thought WS misspoke and that the answer was Bolivar. Later I came up with Chiang.

36. Eddie: Can you explain your hint ?

I'm guessing less than 500 entries this week.

I think Chiang Kai-Shek also ran Taiwan for a while so "_the_ country that this leader led.." may not have been worded perfectly.

37. I don't understand how "plate" is supposed to be a clue, rather than just a way for you to show off to the other solvers that you found the answer?

38. Well, I didn't want to be too obvious. You're right that my "clues" do tend to be ones that don't give away the answer but instead help others confirm that they have the same answer.

39. DaveJ, this is in reference to your question about my clue to last week's puzzle. All I wanted to do was point to "China" without being too obvious doing so. I've already been penalized by Blaine several times for giving too much away. In one of Geri's comments, she mentioned actress Luise Rainer and the film "The Good Earth", and still thought I was working on another puzzle. I'm guessing both of you were born decades after Japan's full-scale invasion of China. That was in 1937, and Chiang Kai-shek was already the leader for several years.

This 1937 film was based on Pearl S. Buck's Pulitzer Prize winning novel published in 1931. The author went on to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1944. The novel was about a poor Chinese peasant family (during the final decades of the last Imperial Dynasty), and their never-ending struggle against poverty, flood, epidemic, drought, social unrest, revolution, famine, and even locusts. Unfortunately, it was a realistic portrayal of Chinese society at the time, which made it even more depressing.

By the way, "Taiwan" was never an official name of a country. When Chiang and his forces retreated to the island of Taiwan, they called it, "The Republic of China", which was the name they used when they were still in the mainland of China. When the victorious communists took over the mainland, 60 years ago this week, they called the new China, "The People's Republic of China". Both sides have always considered Taiwan as an island province of China; and both sides to this day have declared themselves the legitimate government of China.

41. For Sun Oct 04

A pair in the chain (which may be jargon unacceptable to some) allows for a chain of either 5 or 8 words between WS's 2 words. A clue to that pair means:

broken apart in a particular way

I dislike jumping the gun again, but after my Sunday shot, I can't usually make it back until Tuesday.

Did anyone get the Jay Leno CHIN association for last week's puzzle.

42. I have a chain of nine words total. That is seven word between "carbon" and "circuit". I don't know if WS meant the chain had to be seven words. Although he did mention it could be different then his.

43. Richard, my chain also has seven words between "carbon" and "circuit" for a total of nine. I believe this is what WS had in mind. I was surprised how easily each word led to the next. The chain practically wrote itself. I had expected something much harder, with many false starts and paths to nowhere.

44. I agree with Lorenzo. It practically writes itself. I just took the most common word starting with "c" that would follow each previous word. It only took me a minute or so to complete the puzzle. I don't think I'll post any clues to the words, just because my clue have been too obvious lately.

45. I don't know if the goal here is the shortest chain, the most creative chain, or just to have fun. I can up with one that has thirteen transition words and puts a smile on my face, even if it doesn't get me on the radio.

-- Other Ben

46. I only had 6 words "in the middle". Two had to do with a keyboard shortcut.

47. This was a fun challenge, kind of two challenges in one as I tried working it in both directions, forward from carbon, back from circuit.

The toughest part was coming up with the "keystone" answer that linked the two chains reaching towards each other. I stumbled along for a while because one of my chains went off in the wrong direction, one that wouldn't link up easily the other chain. It took me a while to realize the keystone would link up with a word early in the other chain.

The only concern I have with my answer is that two of the interior "pairs" of words are, in fact, not two-word phrases but in fact a single compound word. Dictionary.com lists one of them also being a two word phrase, but not the other. I wonder if anyone else's string ran into this problem.