Thursday, January 14, 2010

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan. 10, 2010): I Love Anagrams!

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan. 10, 2010): I Love Anagrams!:
Q: Think of a familiar 10-letter hyphenated word that uses all seven letters of the alphabet from 'F' to 'L' plus three other letters of your choosing. What word is it? It's a word everyone knows, and it's in some dictionaries.
Is it just me or does Will seem to be in love with anagram puzzles?! In terms of the puzzle, I've checked a few dictionaries and only one had a specific entry for the answer. I agree we've all heard it, but you might have to seriously think awhile to get the answer. On a lighter note, did anyone read about the New York judge sworn in with his hand on a dictionary. I guess the dictionary should be considered the new Bible. ;-)

Edit: There were several clues, "seriously" and "lighter note" were two of them. Then there was "on a" which appeared a couple times. Those are the missing letters of the anagram.
A: HALF-JOKING

31 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 know the answer, click the link and submit it to NPR, but don't give it away here. Thank you.

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  2. I think I got it. Took me about 30 minutes.

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  3. In common usage, this word is often preceded by a four-letter word that is somewhat redundant.

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  4. Blaine,
    Kinda funny story about the judge and the dictionary. Obama didn't use anything in taking his oath because no one thought to bring a bible (or dictionary).

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  5. Not exactly true. First time, he used the bible used by Abraham Lincoln. But Chief Justice Roberts flubbed his lines (which was immediately blamed on Obama by the redneck idiots who post on Craigslist's Rants & Raves--surprise! Who needs a brain, anyway?). Second time, in the White House Map Room, there was no bible handy. How, you may ask, was this vital detail overlooked? Well, next time you experience a period of such hectic activity, under so much pressure and scrutiny, maybe you'll manage to overlook something you might otherwise have not...

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  6. The word is most likely found in an abridged dictionary (jk).

    By the way, tomorrow is a palindromic day, i.e., 01-11-10. I know we just had one on 01-02-2010, and we'll have another this month. But the one before these was 10-22-01.

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  7. Lorenzo, Only now after 18 hours do I understand your, Blaine's, and Dave's clues. No clue of my own after this headache. Neither my computer nor dictionarys were of much help.

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  8. Thanks for the formula Blaine. I think it's actually 10*10!/3! ways (6,048,000 ways) because you've got the hyphen and it can't go at the beginning. I'm pretty sure I now have the answer. I was helped by a small hint over at

    http://www.crosswordmanblog.com/2010/01/npr-puzzle-11010-string-of-alphabet.html.

    Staring at a bunch of 1000-word files generated by my program plus this hint finally were enough to get me there. I've submitted my answer to NPR (no doubt joining a bunch of others).
     

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  9. I got it before the puzzle aired; I had insomnia, and I just pulled it up online and wrote the 7 letters in a circle (an old Scrabble-anagraming trick), and changed the order until the answer dawned on me within about 30 minutes.

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  10. Well, I think I've come up with the right answer. It fits all the criteria. But, as with so many of my submissions, I'm only semi-happy with it until I hear whether I got it right.

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  11. Tinyc Tim, if you exclude the hyphen at the beginning you might as well exclude it at the end. That makes *nine* potential slots for the hyphen as I noted previously. 9*10!/3! = 5,443,200. As you discovered, the human brain's ability to see patterns will out do brute force in this case.

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  12. When I Google the answer, I get 635,000 hits. But that drops to only 127,000 when I put quotation marks around it! If I also specify "definition", it drops to 15,400 hits. Still quite a few!

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  13. William, Googling the answer with Lorenzo's 4 letter word produces 109,000 hits.

    Dan, I finally grudgingly solved it in the way WS wants us to using triangles vs circles.

    I had to find out why my computer approach didn't work, anagramming using a modified dictionary. Turns out it works OK producing only 3 possibilities. I had screwed up the modification.

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  14. I'm not sure which 4 letter word Lorenzo has in mind. When I use a particular 4 letter word, with all in quotes, I get 481,000 hits.

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  16. Without the hyphen google returned 4,630,000 hits, including a web site with the answer between www. and .net !

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  17. The answer reminded me of the NBA player (Arenas)response after getting caught with a loaded pistol in his locker.

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  18. For the facetious reason that I was curious about the label on the bottle that my daughter used to fortify my holiday eggnog, I decided to read

    "Empire of Blue Water"
    Captain Morgan's Great Pirate Army.
    by Stephen Talty.

    Today (by coincidence) I am on the last chapter which describes the Port Royal, Jamaica earthquake and tsunami of June 7, 1692. Scary stuff. I must say that I found the book most interesting - full of other things I didn't know - like why Brazil was not part of the Spanish Main thanks to a revision of Pope Alexander VI's first bull.

    Tuesday's Haiti quake was felt in Jamaica and tsunami warnings were issued there.

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  19. I couldn't find this 10-letter hyphenated word in my home dictionary, or even in several online dictionaries. The puzzle itself has declared that "it's in some dictionaries", which I took it as a clue. Well, the only online dictionary I found that has this word was "the free dictionary". This has been a tough week. I think I've the answer now, and I'm having the last laugh ... partially.

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  20. I sent in HALF-JOKING. The clues above didn't help me until I came up with the answer organically. Once I did, it was clearly what everyone else had as well.

    (Which is how clues *should* be, by the way!)

    -- Other Ben

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  21. Ben, I sent in the same answer. The hint that I gave was, "Are you kidding me?" This puzzle was a bit trickier than other recent ones.

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  22. I might be reading more into Eddie's comment than there is but isn't "I think I've the answer now, and I'm having the last laugh ... partially" a hint? I'm semi-serious.

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  23. Yeah, in retrospect, Eddie's hint was too obvious, but by the time I read it, it was so close to the deadline I didn't delete it.

    In my opinion, a good clue is one that shows you have the answer but doesn't obviously give it away. For example, those that said it took them 30 minutes to figure out the puzzle... 30 minutes is a *half* hour. Nice hint!

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  24. My favorite clue was Ken's comment about the "abridged" dictionary!

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  25. The abridged dictionary is best when you're looking for half-words.

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  27. it says "the last four" and "the first four" but I found one where the last is the same as the first...if thats the case, then this is too easy of puzzle

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  28. disregard my previous post....going back to re-read the puzzle, i see i only met one of the clues


    rhea pearlman
    caroline rhea

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