## Thursday, June 03, 2010

### NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 30, 2010): Mind the Gap

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 30, 2010): Mind the Gap:
Q: Take the name of a nationality and write it in lower case letters. Remove the first letter and rotate one of the remaining letters 180 degrees. The result will be another nationality. What nationalities are these?
Some would say these countries are rather close, but I wouldn't try to build something like a bridge between them.

Edit: My hints were "rather close" (dan-ish) and "something like a bridge" (span-ish).
A: spanish --> danish

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. Other Ben is hungry.

3. Mz Suzanne __ø____ , as well as her good friend, Mz Lone _ø__ å__, both help themselves along as they write with oxiuxs and orruhcs.

4. JenJen, thanks for the nice words.

Cookieface, make sure that you write the two nationalities in lower case. Rotating one of the remaining letters 180 degrees means turning it upside down.

5. Dave--well done today. I understand the rotation but am still stumped

6. Dave, just to be clear about the 180-degree rotation. If the rotation is around the x-axis, then b becomes p, or d becomes q. If the rotation is around the y-axis, then b becomes d, or p become q. Other letters go through other transformations.

7. I think the intended rotation is about the z-axis, keeping the letter in the plane of the paper on which it is written. Let's not make this too complicated. Think of it as "upside down".

8. The other possibility is that the rotation is around the z-axis (an axis which is perpendicular to the page). In that case b become q, or d becomes p.

9. Blaine, now that we have covered three dimensions we are on the same plane.

10. THE hugest non - contrarian / straight - forward / unresisting linguistic discourse already stated: "Let's not make this too complicated."

11. Mario, rotate the letter, don't flip it. A b would become a q. An s becomes an s. An o becomes . . .

12. Dave and fellow bloggers, a virtual latte and croissant to celebrate this Sunday morning!

13. z-axis, eh? I see a new world of Morse coding opening before us...

IRISH: .-.--
LAOTIAN: ----.--
IRAQI: .---.

and so forth...

@Mario: breakfast cheerfully accepted.

14. I don't care much for sweets in the morning so feel free to replace the croissant with your favorite treat.

15. Approximately 7.44 to 1.

16. Dave, you were great! (By the way, do you or anyone else happen to know whether being chosen once to play on the air makes you ineligible to be chosen a sectond time?)

17. Has anyone ever been called a second time?

18. Dave, great showing!

We could use a w-to-m rotation on Rwandan or Swede, but the second nationality will perhaps be obsolete.

19. I was picked a second time. But when the Producer called I explained that I had been on-the-air a little less than a year before. I’m all for randomness but I guessed that some folks might be offended by the outcome. _I_ was willing, but were they?

The Producer suggested that it might be a better idea to pick someone else. What could I do? I agreed :)

NPR has certainly cleaned up its answer-repsonse page since then to make such filtering easier. But whether this is now a rule or not I can’t say. Perhaps someone should ask...

Chuck

20. You are quite welcome, Dave. I have to say if I ever got the call, I'd need to have a pen and paper in front of me to be able to solve any of Will's clues.

Hope everyone has a safe and happy Memorial Day.

(No clues hidden above.)

21. Dave - I thought that you did a great job and represented Eugene (and Blainesville) well. I was born at Sacred Heart and my wife earned her B.A. and M.A. at the University of Oregon.

Have a great Memorial Day everyone. Remember our Veterans.

22. Hey Tom, go Ducks!!! Small world that you were born here and your wife went to school here. Did you grow up in Eugene?

Chuck, I can't believe that you told the producer that you had been called less than a year prior to your second call. I would have acted dumb, which comes naturally for me.

JenJen, that's exactly what I did. I wasn't even concentrating on figuring out the answer. I just wrote the word down and then tried to figure it out. I probably could have responded quicker to some of the words had I been solving instead of writing.

While I was recording with Will and Liane and Friday, Will had to excuse himself because the lawnmowing crew had just shown up and he had to go outside to ask them to take a break for a few minutes. I had a nice chat with Liane and asked her some questions about the show and I found out that:

1) Liane is at NPR headquarters in D.C. while Will is somewhere else. I always assumed that they were in the same room while recording the show.

2) Being on the show doesn't preclude contestants from being on a second time.

3) They actually count all of the correct entries and randomly choose one of them to be the next week's contestant. I had assumed that they randomly picked an entry, and if it was correct, then that person would be the next week's contestant.

I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have about how the show is recorded.

23. Tom, what time did you actually receive the call? If listeners have until 3pm EST to submit the answer, I would imagine it takes NPR at least 15 minutes to count all the correct entries. Am I right?

24. Mario. when my wife and I were called a couple of years ago, the call came in at 3:01.

25. Mario, I got the call at 12:10 PST. I was in a meeting that started at noon. Someone's cell phone started vibrating and the lady across the table from me looked at her phone, as if it were her phone that was buzzing. I looked at mine, too, and noticed that a call had just come in. I grabbed my phone, left the room, and immediately called back since the call came from area code 202. Sure glad that I did that.

Dave (not Tom)

26. Thanks, Dave and Lorenzo. I guess a computer program can quickly identify the correct entries. Dave, I'm surprised that you were able to call back after missing the call from NPR. If you had waited longer, they would have moved on to the next person.

27. It was very exciting to listen to a fellow blogger on the program Sunday. Congratulations Dave! You did really well--got those answers fast. Went downstairs, turned 180 degrees and made myself a big cup of coffee and had a cherry cheese coffee cake to celebrate!! Still celebrating today: I made a big pot of paella for tonight's barbecue.

28. Hey jutchnbev, watch those triglycerides (and watch out for Blaine!)

29. Mario, I don't think that the post is going to last long. Someone must be at a BBQ.

30. I wonder how many of the about 1000 correct entries last week were from folks associated with this blog. Those of us who are more or less regulars are probably no more than 30. Blaine, do you have data on the total number of distinct weekly visitors of this blog?

31. My musical hint this week is Three Dog Night. Sorry, can't narrow it down beyond the band.

32. Curtis, I see that the band is currently doing a North American concert tour. (No clues here, just an observation.)

33. That I would get around to posting this earlier turned out to be a forlorn hope and delusion.

Besides, I believe WS came up with a couple of outstanding puzzles in the 5/30/10 NY Times Magazine – page 50. I got sidetracked by these:

“MASHED P’S” should convince otherwise those who believe that all anagram puzzles are trivial.

“PLUS TWO” was probably a puzzle that was considered for an on-air contestant. I think that some youngsters might enjoy this one.

34. wow, mom (and Mario) Contemplating the wideness of possibilities makes me famished for an omelet but if I stick to the quicky continental I won't feel obligated to tip the chef.

Congrats Dave - you did great!

35. Cookieface - My bad I was referring to SuzyQ but you are right, oddly enough I am looking forward to the blogging almost as much as the puzzle itself.

I went to a belly dancing conference this weekend and some of the workshops hit on dances from regions a little more north than you would imagine. My fingers and palms got as much of a workout as my stomach muscles.

36. Congrats Dave.... you did wonderfully. It's exciting when someone from here gets chosen. Has anyone ever made a shout-out to Blaine or the blog on air?

37. Good question. Are we on the edge of legal here?

38. I really wanted to give a shout out to everyone who participates on Blaine's blog, as well as my family, but the opportunity never arose. It was pretty much down to business when I got on the line.

39. The answer is posted. Feel free to explain your hints. Did anyone get mine?

40. "Croissant" and "sweet treats" were indirect references to "danish."

41. My clue: Currency conversion: Approximately 7.44 DKK to 1 EUR.

42. My clue, Three Dog Night, refered to their song "Never been to Spain." I was really surprised that Blaine didn't cull that hint, cuz I thought I was being pretty overt. And, Lorenzo, thanks for the heads-up that they're touring. I hope they play Red Rocks, which is ten minutes from my house.

43. Mz Suzanne __ø____ and Mz Lone _ø__ å__ are Ms Suzanne Bløgger (Bloegger) and Ms Lone Nørgård (Norgaard), feminist writers, their last names blanked except for the quite characteristic linguistic markings of the written Danish language, prehending, as snacks, two different types of Spanish danishes or pastries (spelled backwards, then pluralized): xuixos and churros.

44. Curtis, no concert at Red Rocks, but they will be playing at Beaver Ranch - Conifer Mountain Music Festival on August 7.

45. "and delusion" an Andalusian is an inhabitant of the southern region in Spain.

46. Good one Hugh. Mine were so obvious but I did go bellydancing and learned some spanish gypsy dances using "castanets" (a word I considered using in some fisherman fashion but did not)

47. Blue,
The best treat I've had was sitting in a cafe in Lima and eating chocolate filled churros with hot chocolate made with Spanish cream - Yum!