## Thursday, November 19, 2009

### NPR Sunday Puzzle (Nov 15): How About Tele-Commuting?

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Nov 15): How About Tele-Commuting?:
Q: Name an auto manufacturer and a telecommunications company, both well-known companies, whose names are exact opposites of each other.
I'm still going through the following lists so I think I'll quickly step out of the way and let others provide their clues.
List of Automobile Manufacturers
Telecommunication Companies

Edit: It's after the deadline, so I'll reveal my hints (going through = wading, quickly step = sprint). I'm not sure my answer meets the "exact opposites" criteria. If you have a different answer, add it to the comments.
A:
FORD - to cross a body of water by wading (moving or proceeding with difficulty or labor)
SPRINT - to run or go at top speed especially for a short distance.

Update: I'm 99.9% sure that Ken has the intended answer. It fits the criteria of being tricky and also *exact* opposites.
A: KIA and NOKIA

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. Blaine: For a minute, I thought you were doing a Serpico or Vanunu by providing links to those lists, but apparently not.

3. Blaine, we seem to have the same answer. My only question is why Will called this puzzle "rather tricky".

5. Does the first letter of one word happen to fall directly after the other in the alphabet? I think we have it (esp based on your clue, Blaine) but hubby says he doesn't think they are exact opposites, although I think they fit just fine.

If using a defunct telecom company were allowed, Cingular and Infiniti would sorta fit the bill!

6. Sorry, I meant to say "Does the first letter of one word happen to fall directly after the *first letter of* the other in the alphabet?" i.e. if one word starts with X the other starts with Y.

7. JenJen, my answer also is consistent with Blaine's clue, but my words do not have the alphabetical property you refer to.

8. qu1dd1tch, I just finished reading Wikipedia on Mordechai Vanunu. Wow, what a life!

9. Does spelling count?

10. Is it technically a subdivision of a manufacterer?

11. As with synonym puzzles, I suspect this antonym puzzle will result in multiple answers - I have two so far which could be arguable, however I don't think either are correct. However, I have managed to amuse myself along the way. If only these were valid...
datsun dismoon
yugo hestay
hummer singer

13. Dave, I wouldn't worry about Hugh's post. Aloha is its OWN exact opposite!

14. DaveJ,

Isn't "youstay" the opposite of Yugo?

Anyway, after failing to see the clue in Blaine's post, I solved the puzzle on my own. Then, having solved it, I re-read Blaine's post and his clue smacked me right in the head.

Man, I'm dumb.

-- Other Ben

15. William, there's another answer besides aloha that works.

16. Geri: Hi. If you found that fascinating, pick up Yoel Cohen's "The Whistleblower of Dimona:..." Most excellent read.

17. Dave, I see what you mean, but my combo and your alternate fail the "well-known" test. Besides, the auto manufacturer is one word, and its "meaning" should be two words or hyphenated, but things like that don't seem to carry much weight.

18. Hugh, I guess my answer is in the minority. It probably doesn't matter how many words are in the auto manufacturer's name; what matters is that the telecom company is a name that means the opposite. You're correct about my answer failing the "well-known" test.

Are both of the companies on the lists that Blaine provided? My telecom company isn't on that list.

19. I first came up with the same pair as Blaine.

I've now come upon a second pair. I'm still sticking with Blaine's pair, as the answers for that pair are more perfect antonyms.

But the second pair is ok, the companies are more famous, and they do follow JenJen's rule. They might also explain why Will called this week's puzzle "tricky."

-- Other Ben

20. I think this week's answer is going to be a stretch of the phrase "exact opposites." I submitted an answer that I don't entirely like, but it was the best that I could do with the deadline approaching.

21. Still don't have it. I'm pretty sure I've got the automobile company, but...
Oh well, I'll find out tomorrow!

22. I first selected and eventually sent in DODGE and IMPACT. I think this must be Blaine's pair as well with his "step out of the way" clue. For me, DODGE and IMPACT are clear antonyms. I was only concerned that Impact Mobile is a cell company nowhere near as famous as Dodge is.

Later, I was considering TUCKER and SPRINT. Both well-known companies, and Tucker satisfies Shortz's note that the puzzle this week is "tricky" (since Tucker the company only lasted a few years and was famous mostly for the Coppola movie made about Tucker the designer).

The problem is of course that "tucker" means to tire out, whereas "sprint" is only to pick up the pace very generally, and really means to run quickly. Not a true antonym.

There must be *some* telco with a name meaning "to energize" but Excite Communications was really an Internet company and I couldn't think of any others.

What did others come up with?

-- Other Ben

23. I ended up submitting "Dodge" and "Embarq." Not perfect antonyms, but they could definitely be opposites in some contexts. Hubby went with "Cingular" and "Infiniti," although my feeling is that Will wouldn't be so tricky as to use a company that no longer exists by the same name.

24. I too first thought of "Dodge" and "Embarq" but then went with "Dodge" and "Alltel" (I know, not perfect, but I thought they fit the bill better than did the former). I would have gone with "cingularity" if it existed since that is more apt (from a pure Physics perspective).

25. I was thinking NOVA and SPRINT, but this requires two languages, Infiniti and Cingular are clear homonym/antonyms but I'm not sure that's what Will was looking for.
Sunday's gonna be interesting !

26. I prefer SPRINT and MARATHON.

27. I submitted Kia as the auto manufacturer. The exact opposite of Kia is Nokia, the telecommunications company.

My second choice would have been Infiniti and NetZero.

28. OHHHH Ken that is a really good answer! Never would've thought of it (or your alternate, for that matter), but it would definitely fit his "tricky" comment!

29. Ken - you aced it!!

Don

30. Great answer Ken, I think it fits all the criteria (including 'tricky'), I had previously only thought of NOKIA as a cell phone manufacturer but indeed they describe themselves as a "leading supplier of mobile and fixed telecom networks"

31. Like Ken, we had NetZero - Infiniti, Kia-Nokia, also Nexus - Infiniti, and Dodge- Qwest.

32. I went with Infiniti and Netzero. I thought when Will said it was 'tricky' he meant the fact that there isn't really an exact opposite of infinity. I like Kia and Nokia though, my bet's on that one.

33. Ken: Very nice--hurray for you. Even if it's not the "official" answer, it deserves to be!

34. I like Ken's answer too, but I went instead with TATA (Indian car manufacturer) and HELLO (UK telecom, not so well known). However these names are exact opposites too.

35. I'm sure Ken's answer is correct. Very clever! I submitted Sprint and Dodge as opposite techniques for avoiding oncoming danger.

36. I submitted the same answer as Mario, TATA and HELLO. They're exact opposites, but they're not well-known.

I like Ken's answer, KIA and NOKIA, but I also like William's SPRINT and MARATHON.

37. Hi All -

I'm brand new here. The answer I picked for this week is Dodge and Qwest. Interesting puzzle, eh?

38. I was thinking along the lines of "FIDO" and "JAGUAR"--anybody?? What do you all think??

39. i went with Kia and Nokia too, but I had misgivings because it seems kind of gimmicky. I needed to submit soething though because I kept getting into near accidents on 101 looking at car names in front of me and Tele Com companies along the highway here in the Silicon Valley.

40. Didn't submit, but I guessed Dodge and Cross (as in cross an obstacle, cross paths). The latter isn't exactly well-known though so I'm not betting the ranch or anything.

41. I thought Tata for the car manufacturer because "tata" also means "bye bye" and Hello for the Telecom. Hello and goodbye seemed more exact opposites.

42. Meaghn, looks like your answer agrees with Mario's and mine. I submitted a clue, "Your mother should know this one," referring to the Beatles' song, "Your mother should know." It's on Magical Mystery Tour, the same album that has "Hello Goodbye."

43. The best I could settle upon was Dodge and Qwest. Based on this answer I interpreted the "tricky" description as a reference to the spelling of Qwest (Quest). I agree that Kia and Nokia is a good answer but it never crossed my mind that Nokia is a well-known telecommunications company - a well-known cell phone manufacturer, yes. In fact I don't see them on any searched list of telecoms such as the one linked to by Blaine. If that is, in fact, the answer, it will just add to my list of recent puzzles with ambiguous or misleading statements.

44. Wow! We're all over the place. I played with Tata, but Dave asked me to delete that. I really like Ken's answer. I interpreted Blaine's "quickly step out of the way" as Dodge. I'm with Alice I went with:
Qwest ~ quest = seek
Dodge = avoid
in spite of the qwestions raised by phredp and Tony Frolik.

45. As appealing as Kia/Nokia is, there is a problem. Both are proper nouns that are not also words. I don’t think non-words can have opposites. For example, take Microsoft. Can it truly be said that the opposite of Microsoft is Nomicrosoft? I don’t believe it can.

Dodge and Qwest are proper nouns but are also words (at least the phonetic equivalent of Qwest is a word) and therefore can have opposites.

Chuck

P.S. Like others here, I, too, have played the game live on-the-air with Will and Liane. My turn was in 2005. I did fine but was nervous as hell beforehand :)

46. Hello,
I have to admit that it made my day to have my answer sprint to the lead as the consensus correct choice, especially given the very smart people here in Blainesville. It gave me a feeling similar to a marathon runner's high.

It is not my qwest to disparage the other answers, so I'll dodge that exercise. However, I'll answer the doubts that have arisen about the Kia/Nokia answer.

First, is Nokia really a telecommunications company? It definitely is. DaveJ points out that Nokia is self-described (in its website) as such a company. Also, in the Wikipedia entry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia, the company is first and foremost called a telecommunications company. No, it does not show up on the list Blaine gave us, but WS did not give us that list and say the company had to be on it.

Second, can Kia and Nokia even have opposites, not being real words? Kia is not a real word, but it is an entity that exists. The opposite of existence is non-existence, and vice versa. Maybe that is a trick philosophical argument, but WS did say that the puzzle was rather tricky.

Tata for now

47. Given the source (crossword puzzle creator) and that Will said on the air that it was "tricky", I agree on 'abc' and 'NOabc' as exact opposites. My mistake was in only linking to a list of U.S. telecommunication companies, so I apologize for that. If it is any consolation, I didn't get called for my (wrong) answer of FORD and SPRINT.

48. What about: Virgin (mobile) and Rambler? Maybe not necessarily exact opposites, but...