Thursday, January 28, 2010

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan. 24, 2010): After the Operation, He Became a She...

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan. 24, 2010): After the Operation, He Became a She...:
Q: Think of a common first name for a boy, starting with the letter E, two syllables. Rearrange all of the letters to form a common first name for a girl, also with two syllables. What names are these?
I wanted to get this posted before bed, since I see the puzzle is on the NPR site already. It shouldn't take you too much to figure this out. Just go down a list of common boys names starting with E and play with the letters. When you get to one that can be scrambled to a girl's name, you are done.

Edit: The hints were "before bed" which leads to Good Night (Irene), and "done" which leads to (Irene) Dunne.
A: ERNIE --> IRENE

85 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. Got it fairly quickly. Everyone break out your baby name books and start with E. I really never get these anagram ones that fast, but I just checked online lists and did a quick mix up of the two syllable names, and poof, easy.

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  3. Do both names have alternate spellings? In fact the answers I came up with are the less-common ways to spell the names.

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  4. Dear Bloggers:
    I am happy to say that I got this one....
    CF

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  5. JenJen, While I know of people named with the names you are thinking of, I would say that your answer is not the intended one.

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  6. So, Blaine, it's safe to say that one of the names in last week's answer is not involved?

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  7. Neither in whole or in part...

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  8. Gotcha. Thanks Blaine. As you probably figured out, I was coming up with Erich and Cheri. Although even if that were the answer, Will probably would have given a clue about moving the first 3 letters to after the last 2 to come up with the female name.

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  9. We can always count on Lorenzo to come up with an obtuse clue.

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  10. Maybe I'm just not too bright or I'm barking up the wrong tree but I don't get Blaines clue or 14?

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  11. Is there a way to send a private message to blaine?

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  12. No doubt that Lorenzo's answer consists of the most common pair of names, but I wonder how many players would have bitten on JenJen's in-your-face reject.

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  13. I'm coming up with a couple of pair of names. I think I get Blaines clue now. My question is, do you think Will wants an answer with given names or shortened versions (nicknames like Al for Alfred). One of my answers works but it fits the shortened category.

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  14. I have an answer, but is the feminine name a name that can be both feminine and masculine?

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  15. Phredp, I think you need to give the form of the names that will anagram correctly.

    Dave, my answer for the girl's name is definitely feminine. I've not heard any boys with that name.

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  16. If my answer is correct, then this is true:
    Doubling the last letter in the boy's name creates the first and last name of an actor who voiced a character in a popular animated film. The woman who voiced the main character in that film also lent her voice to another animated film in which her character had the girl's name.

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  17. I have three answers. Two of them use unconventional spellings for the woman's name (ending in I instead of Y). The third one is, I assume, the intended answer. But all three would have to be accepted because they all work.

    - Original Ben

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  18. I too have come up with Original Ben's two unconventional answers, but the intended answer still eludes me, despite all the clues given.

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  19. Chezedog - I, too, have come up with two unconventional answers, but not the intended one.

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  20. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  21. I doubt if WS will accept any of the alternatives. Although (to be sincere), one of the intended names is an informality.

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  22. Like Ken said, one of the names can be used as an informal or "nick name" but in this day in age, one has to see the two names together to see the connection. Also, the two names are very uni-sexual.

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  23. In addition to the intended answer and the two other answers (one from JenJen and another very similar to that), I have a few more. The only problem is they don't meet the two-syllable or the common name requirements.

    Elias --> Elisa
    Elisha --> Sheila or Ashlie
    Elmer --> Merle

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  24. I am contemplating an answer in which the man’s name is definitely a man’s name and never a woman’s. It is a diminutive form (nickname) of a given name. The woman’s name is likewise a woman’s name and never a man’s. It is a given name, not a nickname. Do these attributes comport with anyone else’s ideas here?

    Chuck

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  25. Chuck, that jives with my answer

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  26. Chuck, ditto with what I think is the intended answer.

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  27. I was feeling a little less than nothing but then I had a spark and it came to me. So now I think I have the answer, but I have to agree with Dave, that the female name can be used for a male ... in fact, I know a pretty big fella with that name and while I genearlly think of it as a feminine name, I wouldn't want to make that charge to this man.

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  28. BTW, only 350 correct entries last week ... i guess my chances were better than ever for getting a shot to particiapte on air. Don't think that will be the case this week, however.

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  29. My answer shows my male suggestion as a male name only, and the female as female only. Not nicknames. Not unisex. I think the other suggestions are a trap!

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  30. I love these anagram puzzles - so many creative alternatives !

    For a while I thought it might be ELVIS and SILVE (I know someone with that name but realize it's not common.)

    I believe the names Will wants can be found in a comedy song and a comedy movie...

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  31. When I said uni-sexual, I meant that they are specific to their sex. The male name is markedly male and the female name is markedly female. I suppose you could call a male by the female name, but it'd be weird, like calling a burly guy Nancy.

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  32. I doubt if this is correct, but did anybody else come up with a boy's name that's also a dock from the 1960's and 1970's?

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  33. No anagramming here!

    As long as you're puzzling, here's another puzzle for your enjoyment...

    A man leaves home, travels a ways, and then makes a left turn. In a short while, he makes another left turn. A little later he makes yet another left turn. He then meets a man with a mask. Who is the man with the mask?

    Chuck

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  35. Sorry Curtis, I give you credit for having the answer, but I think that clue is going to give it away.

    Chuck, was a diamond involved? :-)

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  36. Answer submitted. Now I can get
    a night's sleep...GOOD NIGHT thanks
    to Lorenzo.

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  37. I'm pretty certain I have the same answer as Chuck, Sam, and Blaine.

    Did you catch that, Chuck?

    Here are some that I won't be submitting:

    EZRA and REZA, cause she's too Persian.

    ELLIS and LISLE, cause she's too French.

    And did I mention I was a child star on TV? That was 40 years ago, though.

    -- Other Ben

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  38. No worries, Blaine. I realize my clue was marginal.

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  40. Chrisidore, just a few too many explicit hints... sorry.

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  41. Finally got the answer late last night. Whew! You can replace the first letter of the boy's name and the last letter of the girl's name with the same letter and get another boy's name and another girl's name.

    DaveJ, I have the same answer as you do.

    Ben, I also thought about the two pairs of names that you mentioned, but they're not common names. My clue about the boy's name being a dock from the 1960's and 1970's referred to Dock Ellis, the Pittsburgh Pirate pitcher who pitched a no-hitter while on LSD.

    Lorenzo, is the number 14 a reference to the number of letters in a certain song?

    DAVE'S EASY PUZZLE NUMBER 1: Anagram a two syllable boy's name that starts with the letter "E" to get the last name of a well known actor.

    DAVE'S EASY PUZZLE NUMBER 2: Anagram a two syllable boy's name that starts with the letter "E" to get an article of clothing that most Americans have.

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  42. Dave –

    Dollars to doughnuts Lorenzo’s “14” is _not_ a reference to the number of letters in a certain song :)

    Chuck

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  43. Dave, how common are these boys names?

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  44. Sam Lee, the boys' names are not very common, but you've heard people with these names.

    Chuck, do you know what 14 refers to? Do you know what song's title I was referring to?

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  45. For Dave's #1 - I've only known one person ever with this first name, but it does anagram to an actor of gigantic fame.

    As for Lorenzo's 14 clue, I think the comedy song DaveJ refers does have 14 letters, if squeezed correctly. But I don't know if that's what Lorenzo means. I thought Lorenzo was a baseball fan and/or an amateur astronomer. That would be an obscure clue too, but obscurity is the trademark of Blainesville.

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  46. The comedy song I was referring to came out before Doc's wild-eyed pitches - I counted way more than 14 letters...

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  47. Dave, as Ken suggested, 14 is a sports clue.

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  48. I was in the middle of posting another numerical clue when I decided that Blaine might find it too revealing. Didn't want to get in trouble with the boss!

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  49. Another NPR host helped me with the 14 hint, but as far as Blaine's hint, I'm clueless
    (how twisted is this- working on other people's hints when you already have the answer ?!

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  50. Lorenzo, I got your sports hint. Nice. He was a class act.

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  51. Sam Lee, and others, some of the baby-name websites consider these names "very common," but that doesn't jive with my meeting people with these names.

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  52. Blaine - sorry it was too explicit. Like Curtis, I knew my clue was maybe a bit close to the edge. If there's to send you an e-mail in the future if we're worried we're too close to the line, I'd be happy to do so. Thanks so much for running the site, and for keeping it honest. You have my earnest thanks.

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  53. Agree with Chrisdore....

    Blaine - You are awesome for keeping this site up and running and actually moderating.

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  54. Okay, just for that you can both have one free commment that I won't delete. :-)

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  55. Chuck, there are two answers to your quiz. There's the obvious answer, but the other answer is zebra.

    Lorenzo, see if you can figure out this one. It's related to your '14' clue. Who does 7, 27, 17, 2, 35, 4, 5, 9, 8, 6 refer to?

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  56. Dave, if these are the numbers a player wore, he certainly played for a lot of teams!

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  57. Lorenzo, he didn't play for a lot of teams.

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  58. ERNIE__0.015_IRENE__0.252_0.003780
    EDWIN__0.148_WENDI__0.010_0.001480
    ERIK___0.068_KERI___0.018_0.001224
    ERIC___0.544_ERIC___0.002_0.001088
    ERIN___0.007_ERIN___0.141_0.000987
    EVAN___0.042_NEVA___0.013_0.000546
    EUGENE_0.230_EUGENE_0.002_0.000460
    EDGAR__0.080_GERDA__0.004_0.000320
    ERICH__0.007_CHERI__0.025_0.000175
    ELLIS__0.024_LESLI__0.003_0.000072

    Just out of curiosity, I took data from old census records which give the percentage of occurrence of each name of its gender. Multiplying the values for each name of the pair gives a measure of how common that pair is.

    I suppose I could argue that the ERIK KERI combo is also a legitimate answer since both names are/were more more common than ERNIE.

    On third thought, maybe I should stop this nonsense and add some or all of the unofficial ERNIEs, (ERNEST 0.215), to the official ERNIE 0.015 to make that the undisputed answer.

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  59. I think some of Hugh's answers must be disqualified. A close reading of the puzzle indicates the answers must be names where ALL of the letters are rearranged ("rearrange all of the letter...")thus Ernie/Irene, Eric/Eric, Erin/Erin, and Eugene/Eugene don't qualify.

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  60. It's after 3 PM. These are the common two-syllable names I had. They'r not nicknames.

    EDWYN -- WENDY
    or
    EDWIN--WENDI

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  61. suzyq, while I agree with the exact interpretation o the question, I don't think that's quite what Will was expecting. Thus I do believe Ernie/Irene is the correct answer.

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  62. Benny Hill and Jim Carrey - two funny guys:

    Ernie (the fastest milkman in the West)
    Me, myself and Irene

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  63. As many of you indicated, the intended answer to my “man with the mask” question was a catcher. Dave, I am intrigued with your additional “zebra” answer. Please elaborate...

    Chuck

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  64. Dave, I give up! These numbers could possibly be an entire team, but they are unlikely to be the numbers worn by a single player. Perhaps some collection of individual stats.

    Here's one for you: The clue I was in the middle of submitting when I decided not to get in trouble with the boss was 16.

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  65. I got 14 as Ernie Banks' jersey number, but I'm not getting the 16 clue (Peyton Manning, Joe Montana, Whitey Ford, Hal Newhouser, Bobby Clarke, Brett Hull, Henri Richard, Trevor Linden or Greg Biffle?)

    Actually when you said you had another numeric clue I thought it was going to be something like, "brought to you by the number 14 and the letter N."

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  66. 16 refers to Tennessee Ernie Ford? I don't think 14 and 16 are giveaway clues. One pretty much has to know the answer already.

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  67. Ah, as in "Sixteen Tons"... now I get it.

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  68. Also, I'm still trying to figure out what answer Banje was thinking of. Anyone?

    "If my answer is correct, then this is true:
    Doubling the last letter in the boy's name creates the first and last name of an actor who voiced a character in a popular animated film. The woman who voiced the main character in that film also lent her voice to another animated film in which her character had the girl's name."

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  69. ED WYNN
    KATHRYN BEAUMONT -- > WENDY

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  70. Blaine, you may have given an unintended clue when you said "play with the letters" which naturally led me to Sesame Street. Then I got the answer immediately.

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  71. Blaine, I thought your use of the word "scrambled" was a reference to a golf tournament designed to lead us to Ernie Els.

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  72. Wow! I had more clues than I thought. :-)

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  73. I tried to stay away from nicknames (like Ernie) and thus submitted Ellis and Liesl, which is why I mentioned "trap" (von Trapp) in my posting.
    Perhaps it the lawyer in me parsing words, but when I see instructions that say "rearrange all the letters" then I think the answer has to do exactly that!! But then again, I've only started playing the puzzle this month so I will defer to you folks who have played the on-air puzzle much longer. Are the clues/instructions/directions fairly maleable?

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  74. I didn't take the "all" literally. It's like when someone says, "Tell all your friends". I assume they mean, talk to a significant number of them but not necessarily every last one.

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  75. My hesitation to post the clue "16" was that a Google search under "sixteen" leads almost immediately to the song and its singer. This "Google test" should probably be one of the criteria for judging whether a clue is a spoiler.

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  76. The difference I see, Blaine, is that even a long common boy's name has a limited number of letters, such as "Christopher" (a total of 11 letters). Thus, an instruction mandating that we "rearrange all the letters" is not a Herculean task.
    For those of you who regularly play the puzzle,do you all concur that I am reading the puzzle instructions too literally then?
    I guess we'll have to wait and see on Sunday. If Ernie/Irene is acceptable, then we'll know for sure that "rearrange all the letters" doesn't really mean that (or maybe we take the capital "E" and put it at the end..., so the answer is Ernie/IrenE!!!
    Having fun with these posts as much as my limited time allows!! Thanks all!!

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  77. suzyq, welcome aboard. I think that you read the question too literally. I agree with the others who submitted Ernie/Irene. I also liked Ellis/Lesli.

    Lorenzo, Ernie Lombardi was a Hall of Fame catcher who, for some reason, frequently changed his number. He played for a few teams, but he changed numbers even while playing for the same team. Ernie's claim to fame was that he was probably the slowest man to ever play in the major leagues.

    I initially thought that your "14" clue referred to the number of letters in the song, "Goodnight, Irene."

    Blaine, my original solution was Elmer/Merle, and I thought that your "scrambled" clue referred to eggs served at Elmer's Restaurants, a small chain of IHOP-type restaurants on the West Coast. Then it dawned on me that not only is Merle an uncommon name, but it has only one syllable.

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  78. I debated the Elmer/Merle answer too. I know a female Merle and was convincing myself it was two syllables ("mer-uhl") but if that was true I'd have to rethink girl, curl, twirl, etc.

    Also, I knew you were thinking of Goodnight, Irene.

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  79. Agree with Blaine and others on the puzzle interpretation.
    Liked Banje's clue.
    Sincere = Earnest
    Like suzyq's answer and clue. It would definitely be the answer in Austria.
    Fastest Milkman ("squeezed" title) has 14 letters.
    Irene-14 asteroid is known to astronomers.
    Chuck, Dave must be referring to the home plate umpire.

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  80. Chuck, Ken hit the nail on the head. I was referring to the umpire as a zebra. Refs are called zebras in some sports because of their black and white striped tops.

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  81. I came up with Ernie and Irene but also considered Elan and Lena

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  82. Eirene aka on Wikipedia as
    14 Irene, an asteroid.

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