Wednesday, March 10, 2010

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Mar 7, 2010): Messing up the Receiving Line

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Mar 7, 2010): Messing up the Receiving Line:
Q: Take the phrase 'Receiving Line'. Rearrange these 13 letters to name a common profession
Okay, before I say something rude, isn't this about the 6th anagram puzzle this year? Really Will, can't you construct an interesting NPR puzzle that doesn't involve anagrams? And what's up with the NPR site? Where's the link to the puzzle on the NPR puzzle page? You know, I don't think I'm even going to bother supplying a hint this week.

Edit: not rude = civil, construct = engineer
A: RECEIVING LINE --> CIVIL ENGINEER

38 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. Blaine, I agree with you, we should be polite to Will. I have a suggestion: Let's suggest to Will a variety of puzzle formats/types other than anagrams to choose from for the next few weeks. Perhaps several of us can choose a different format/type and provide an appropriate example. Good puzzle design is not a trivial endeavor. What do you think?

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  3. As always, I find a bit of music useful in solving puzzles. Herbie Hancock did the trick this time.

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  4. We should all keep a polite tongue in our heads when discussing Will. The many puzzles he constructs do keep us entertained 52 weeks a year his penchant for anagrams, notwithstanding.

    Chuck

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  5. OK, here’s one to chaw on that’s not an anagram...

    Last September, I was with five of my friends at a bar after work. We were talking about getting together for dinner next month when I had to relieve myself. When I rejoined the group, the date for dinner was all settled - but they wouldn't tell me what it was.

    They explained that each of them would provide me with a clue. Only one clue was correct - all the others were false. If I could figure out when our dinner had been scheduled, they'd buy mine.

    Ed said the date was odd.
    Frank said the date was greater than 13.
    George said the date was not a perfect square.
    Hank said the date was a perfect cube.
    Irv said the date was less than 17.

    When's dinner?

    Chuck

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  6. Ridiculously easy and that's putting it nicely.

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  7. Chuck, no doubt Will constructs a number of puzzles every year, but mostly people send him puzzles they have constructed, and he makes sure those puzzles are properly designed. He plays the same role as editor of the NYT puzzle. That's why I thought we could submit for his consideration a variety of puzzle formats/types. Of course, for most people word puzzles are easier than number puzzles, but there are other types of puzzles that are not too difficult, such as logic puzzles, visual puzzles, etc.

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  8. Chuck, that's a logic puzzle, and I liked it, but it should be made harder. That's where ingenuity comes into play.

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  9. Puzzles come in all different stripes and it's unfortunate that Will continues to repeatedly use anagram puzzles that are fairly easy to solve. I sent in several puzzles and I hope that they're in the pipeline.

    Chuck, nice puzzle! You're a good puzzle poster.

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  10. Dave, I'm glad you've sent in several submissions recently. A challenge for Will is that he doesn't want to be labeled elitist by making/selecting extremely difficult puzzles. I'd think that NPR does care about the number of listeners it has on a Sunday morning, and by virtue of the day and time slot that number is not huge to begin with.

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  11. Chuck, this is to confirm I figured out your puzzle. I won't say anything other than Hank is pretty useless.

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  12. Some time ago, after a run of several very easy puzzles, Will aired a nice tough one. I told him that it was nice to see a return to form and encouraged him to stick with harder material. He replied that he felt a responsibility to air easy, medium, and hard puzzles so that everyone in the audience would have a chance to be challenged and have fun.

    You could complain that lately too many the puzzles have been easy, and you might have a point. However, it is just a matter of time until the pendulum swings. When it does, other people will complain that the puzzles are too hard. They can't please everyone at once, so they try to do so over time.

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  13. For a number of reasons, last weeks puzzle stumped me, but this weeks oxymoron didn't

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  14. During the week of y2010’s International Women’s Day, this courted puzzle design’s deadline is 10 March 2010, this upcoming Wednesday … trained, as we appear to be, for its coming due @ the usually conducted eastern standard time of 3:00 p.m. ––– standard, that is, for only a jurisdiction of yet seven more wintry days --- according to the law of the male construct known as the (papally decreed) gregorian calendar.

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  15. Mario, I'm hoping that Will chooses some more of my puzzles. They're definitely more difficult that the past few puzzles that he's aired. In fact, he hasn't had a decent puzzle since my Cleo/Cole puzzle (not to brag). In my humble opinion, the puzzles should be geared for people who are interested in spending some time trying to solve them, instead of those who try to solve them when they're easy. Although it drives me crazy when it takes a few days to solve a puzzle, I get a sense of satisfaction when I finally arrive at the answer. There's no sense of satisfaction solving puzzles such as this week's.

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  16. Dave, I hope so, too. I hope he is reading this blog. The question of who to target the puzzles to is at the heart of OUR predicament. Will's reply to Ben (see above) explains the predicament of someone in HIS place.

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  17. I think this blog is comprised of a bunch of puzzle geeks, myself included, and you can’t judge the general NPR listening audience by what appeals to us :)

    BTW, when I post a puzzle it’s not to stump anyone. I have a few quite difficult ones up my sleeve but that’s not the point. I post puzzles here when interest in Will’s weekly puzzle has waned and only for the pleasure any of you might get by solving it. Hard, easy or in-between that’s my motivation...

    Chuck

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  18. We complain if they are too easy and we complain if they are too hard. Everyone combusting over the quality of the puzzles gets us nowhere and it's certainly not worth a war of words like this.

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  19. Christian, that's one of the nice features of the blog: to talk about stuff and to learn new things. I don't see it as a war. One issue that I've always wanted to explore is HOW different people approach problem solving. Will Shortz and NPR don't have the time to go into that. Liane Hansen will ask people on the air how long it took them to solve the puzzle, but that's it. I wonder how many people would respond that they have a computer program to solve anagrams. With technology and the internet so ubiquitous it's hard to imagine solely relying on "brain power" to solve a puzzle.

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  20. Well I love solving puzzles, gives my tired brain something to do. I would go as far as saying I am a *cryptic thinker* that needs help.

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  21. DMK, do you mean with this week's puzzle?

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  22. OK, the deadline for this week is today at 3 pm. So here is a clue for the first word in the answer to this week's puzzle: A vehicle introduced in the U.S. market almost 40 years ago that has gotten larger with time but has remained a good value.

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  23. court(ed) puzzle = the particular one being paid attention to this specific week;
    court as in civil

    design = engineer

    trained = engineer(ed)

    conducted / time / standard = other train terms including model train gauging

    jurisdiction / law = civil

    construct = engineer

    papally decreed = references whatever bull is constructed and engineered by any male human who believes himself in religious hierarchy to be a pontiff of this elevated level

    gregorian calendar = the most widespread one of "civil calendars," that is, of those used within countries for civil, official and administrative purposes

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  24. Hey, Blue. Call me crazy, but I think it is still only Wednesday.

    -- Other Ben

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  25. Ben, the deadline this week was Wednesday for some reason. Not sure why, but that's what Liane said on Sunday.

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  26. Some of you may not know the important difference between civil engineers and mechanical engineers.

    Mechanical engineers design weapons. Civil engineers design targets!

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  27. Indeed, the NPR puzzle deadline is today, not tomorrow. I've updated the post with the answer. So can we give the answer to Chuck's logic puzzle now?

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  28. Blaine, you are right that Hank is useless. I'm betting on Irv.

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  29. Mario - My comment was less about criticizing the community and more about providing a hidden hint by stating lesser used words

    Combust = Engine
    War of Words = Civil War

    I thought any more obvious than those hints would lead to a post removal which I try to avoid.

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  30. Christian, got it. Very clever. I guess our whole blog was mined with clues.

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  31. Here's _my_ answer...

    Question: Last September, I was with five of my friends at a bar after work. We were talking about getting together for dinner next month when I had to relieve myself. When I rejoined the group, the date for dinner was all settled - but they wouldn't tell me what it was.

    They explained that each of them would provide me with a clue. Only one clue was correct - all the others were false. If I could figure out when our dinner had been scheduled, they'd buy mine.

    Ed said the date was odd.
    Frank said the date was greater than 13.
    George said the date was not a perfect square.
    Hank said the date was a perfect cube.
    Irv said the date was less than 17.

    When's dinner?

    Answer: In the following table, e and E stand for Ed, f and F stand for Frank, etc. An uppercase letter marks an October date on which the dinner could have been planned had the speaker been telling the truth. A lowercase letter marks a date on which the dinner could have been planned had the speaker been lying.

    As you can see, there is only one date for which there is only one uppercase letter. Irv was the only one who was telling the truth and everybody bought me dinner on October 4th.

    1 E f g H I
    2 e f G h I
    3 E f G h I
    4 e f g h I
    5 E f G h I
    6 e f G h I
    7 E f G h I
    8 e f G H I
    9 E f g h I
    10 e f G h I
    11 E f G h I
    12 e f G h I
    13 E f G h I
    14 e F G h I
    15 E F G h I
    16 e F g h I
    17 E F G h i
    18 e F G h i
    19 E F G h i
    20 e F G h i
    21 E F G h i
    22 e F G h i
    23 E F G h i
    24 e F G h i
    25 E F g h i
    26 e F G h i
    27 E F G H i
    28 e F G h i
    29 E F G h i
    30 e F G h i
    31 E F G h i

    Chuck

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  32. My logic was as follows:
    Frank said the date was greater than 13.
    Irv said the date was less than 17.

    They can't both be lying because no value of x would satisfy x ≤ 13 and x ≥ 17. That means one of them is the truth teller.

    That also means that the other 3 are lying. If we reverse their statements we know:
    x is even (Ed)
    x is a perfect square. (George)
    x is not a perfect cube. (Hank)

    The even perfect squares in the range 1 to 31 are 4 and 16. Neither are perfect cubes, so we don't even need Hank's statement.

    If the number is 16, both Frank and Irv would have to be telling the truth, but we only have one truth teller (Irv) and the number is 4.

    Therefore the answer is October 4, and my hint to that was, "this is to confirm I figured out your puzzle". In CB radio speak, it would be "10-4"

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  33. And now I will reveal the answer to my clue:

    Here is a clue for the first word in the answer to this week's puzzle: A vehicle introduced in the U.S. market almost 40 years ago that has gotten larger with time but has remained a good value.

    Answer: Civic --> Civil

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  34. Blaine, my reasoning was exactly the same as your.

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  35. Chuck, I also arrived at four. I inserted a clue in, "You're a good puzzle poster." As in a four poster bed.

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  36. Years ago I dated a civil engineer for a few months. Probably why I got it at a glance. So was annoyed six ways from Sunday, so to speak, as it was too easy and also anagram puzzles are getting tiresome.

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  37. Sunday Puzzle is available. Another easy one!!

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