Thursday, December 31, 2009

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec. 27): Last Puzzle of 2009

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec. 27): Last Puzzle of 2009:
Q: Take the phrase 'pray when.' Double four of these letters. Using these letters plus the four singles, rearrange all 12 letters to spell a familiar phrase. What phrase is it?
Anyone else think this is one of the easiest puzzles of the last twelve months? Let's hope the puzzles for 2010 are more challenging.

Edit: I really don't know the answer to this week's puzzle so I'll just wish everyone a...


  1. 2000 for last week's "clean plate/clean slate."
    I agree with Blaine. This week's answer
    couldn't be more obvious. Amswer submitted.

  2. This puzzle could also be used for April Fool's Day or Valentine's Day...

  3. Oh well. Season's Greetings, all. And best wishes for a more challenging puzzle next week...

  4. Next week's on-air puzzle will probably be the Will Shortz tradition in which he names people who had their 15 minutes of fame during the past 12 months. The player must tell why they're famous.

    Anyone interested in compiling our own list? I'll start things off with some easy ones:

    Falcon Heene, Joe Wilson, Maria Belen Chapur, Tareq Salahis, Naadya Suleman.

  5. Is this the easiest one ever, or what?

  6. Obviously many of us have – and many more of us will – get around to answering Will’s newest puzzle. I’m sure we can all agree it’s not one of his trickiest. To while away the rest of the week, here’s a math puzzle I hope you find to your liking:

    Write an equation that equals 100 using each of the digits 1 through 9 once and only once.


  7. No one will drop the ball on this week's puzzle.

  8. Chuck, can one use subtraction in your puzzle?

  9. Since there are numerous answers to Chuck's question, I'll give a couple of my favorites. These keep the digits in order.

    1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 8 x 9 = 100

    98 – 76 + 54 + 3 + 21 = 100

  10. Dyma awgrym i mewn Cymraeg: Daddy LBW Neddy Wynd. Just another puzzle, what's this?

  11. Nice work, Blaine.

    YY U R, YY U B
    I C U R YY 4 ME

    My favorite answer is:
    100 = 97 + ((5 + 3) / 8) + (6 / 4) + (1 / 2)
    Given the nature of the problem one is usually focused on digits and integers but this answer uses fractions – eighths, quarters and halves – to solve the puzzle :)

    Yes, Natasha, you can use a minus sign or any common mathematical operator. Find a new answer to call your own!

    And because we’re approaching our national decennial headcount, here’s another math / logic puzzle for your enjoyment.

    A census taker is making his rounds. All is going well until he comes to Margie's house. She answered the first few questions cooperatively but then things got complicated.

    Census taker: "How many children do you have"?
    Margie: "Three. All daughters."
    Census taker: "Fine. What are their ages"?
    Margie: "The product of their ages is 36."
    Census taker: "I'll need more information than that."
    Margie: "The sum of their ages is one more than the address of the house across the street."
    Census taker: "I think that's all I need to know. Thanks."

    Alas, the census taker was wrong. He had to return the next day.

    Census taker: "I'm sorry. I couldn't figure out the ages of your daughters after all."
    Margie: "Well, my oldest plays the piano rather well and she's at least a year older than the others."
    Census taker: "Ah! That'll do it. Thank you very much."

    How old were Margie's three daughters?


  12. *Spoiler to Chuck's puzzle*

    If I've figured it out correctly, the younger two are twins in the process of being potty-trained.

  13. Blaine, Should your "ascending" series
    look like this: 1*2*3*4*5*6*7*(8x8)=100?

  14. Blaine, oops typo...(8x9=100)

  15. In response to Lorenzo's suggestion of coming up with the people with 15 minutes of fame in '09, here's my entries: Conrad Murray, Rachel Uchitel, Kimberly Munley and James Crowley

  16. chrisidore, nice entries. I particularly liked Kimberly Munley and James Crowley.

  17. Geri, multiplication has a higher order of precedence than addition, so the multiplication is performed first, but if you want to make it explicit you could add the parentheses.

    1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + (8 x 9) = 100

  18. Let's not forget Chesley Sullenberger.

  19. Wow do any of you have lives???

  20. Hannah, I'll give you a "Palin" answer:

  21. Others who found fame in '09 - Neda Agha-Soltan and Fritz Henderson. Although that fame didn't work our so well for either of them.

  22. Census Puzzle

    As is obvious from Blaine’s spoiler, he found the correct answer. Here’s the complete explanation.

    To solve the problem, first consider all the possible combinations of three numbers whose product equals 36 then examine their sums. Here’s a list of all possible integer triads whose product equals 36 and their respective sums:

    1 1 36 38
    1 2 18 21
    1 3 12 16
    1 4 9 14
    1 6 6 13
    2 2 9 13
    2 3 6 11
    3 3 4 10

    From this list, if the census taker found out the number of the house across the street he would know the ages of Margie's daughters except in one case: if the sum of their ages was 13. Two sets of factors sum to 13.

    When the census taker went back the next day, Margie said that her "oldest" played the piano rather well and that she was at least one year older than the other two. This information eliminated 1, 6 and 6 as a possibility leaving only 2, 2 and 9 as the ages of Margie's daughters.


  23. Other newsworthy figures, these, like some of those listed above, were either the victim or alleged perpetrators of crimes: George Tiller, James W. von Brunn, Jaycee Lee Dugard and Philip Markoff