Wednesday, May 12, 2010

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 9, 2010): Happy Mothers' Day Puzzle

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 9, 2010): Happy Mother's Day Puzzle:
Q: Think of a big name in the oil business, then drop the first and last letters to get another big name in the oil business. What names are these?
If you think like Will, this puzzle is so easy!!! If you don't, it might take you awhile. P.S. I'm sure there are long lists of petrochemical companies (and maybe even company executives) if you look on Wikipedia and elsewhere. P.P.S. Happy Mothers' Day.

Edit: The hint was the italicized word "so". If you pronounce the individual letters you get "Esso". (Esso is the international trade name for ExxonMobil and its related companies derived from the pronunciation of the initials of Standard Oil.) Will deliberately tried to misdirect with his wording to make you only think of companies refining petroleum. But think instead of other uses of oil (perhaps used by your mother in cooking) and you'll easily get the answer.
A: WESSON --> ESSO

35 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. So...the answer's got personality.

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  3. I thought last week's was so hard but this week's seems easy. The answer is interesting in that it includes a further phonetic reduction (not an accident)

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  4. Here's a story of a lovely lady, my mom. Happy Mother's Day!

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  5. Great clue, Al! So suited to the occasion.

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  6. Cookieface may have more than one advantage for solving this puzzle.

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  7. Had to think for a moment and then, BANG!, got it. Thanks for that Manuel.

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  8. I started trying to figure this one out as soon as I heard it Sunday morning. No luck. So I took a pause and got on with the rest of my day. Just now it came to me.

    Chuck

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  9. Google a homophone of the answer to return to the puzzle.

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  10. Ms Li a ne ite r ated tha t submission d e adline is 3:00 pm, E a stern, Mié r coles, 12 Maio y2010, for t h is week, fyi.

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  11. If one takes the name Igraine and, subsequently, bulldozes out and away its first and last letters, one then has a ... whole grain –––- actually an analogy for ... quite a kiddo.

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  12. When Aunt Olive, formerly of the East Indian backlands with its water buffalo – source there, lugged into the Dakotas, first by way of southern Europe, she continued on those bisons’ Plains her use of nik – nik ... for bulls******g her way ‘round its campfires and hearths.

    Ignore Blue's other clueLESS blither -- 'cept for the Wednesday / the 12th thingy. That'ne's legit. 'll expound re initial deal Wednesday eve.

    Kindly use this latter, bloviating blather 'bout bulls' crud ... instead.

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  13. On a day like today I would rather concentrate on Mothers not oil. I think it is so sad the way the oil turned into the gulf and saturated the Neo Orleans coast.

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  14. RoRo, your clues are priceless -- like the work of the great masters!

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  15. I wonder if the longer-named company has ever considered branching into the bio-diesel business.

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  16. MATHEMATICAL SEQUENCE
    Take the numbers 10³, 10³*³, 10³*³*³, 10², 0, and 4. What is the next number in this sequence?

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  17. So would the musical clue for this weeks puzzle be Abba (almost)?

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  18. phredp, I think that The Police is a better musical clue because of the song's title and lyrics. Know what I mean?

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  19. A musical clue for my MATHEMATICAL SEQUENCE puzzle: Mozart 12 Piano Variations

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  20. I was thinking of a Peter Gabriel album for the NPR musical clue (didn't get the Brady Bunch clue though - have to wait for Thursday)

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  21. The deadline is actually a day early this week (as Blue noted), so I've posted the answer and my hints.

    Incidentally, if you combine the Brady Bunch hint with the Mothers' Day hint you should think of Florence Henderson, longtime commercial spokesperson for Wesson oil.

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  22. re blither: ‘fore submission but with all of the allusions to mamas and Mr Shortz’s ‘thinking’, I was on to Mother ‘Earth’ and, thus, ‘art’ ––– as the two big names in the oil / … oils business.

    Thus, Igraine – reduced – to – grain ‘d be Mama – of – King Arthur.

    Then, … after that ‘ne … well, Mr Shortz’s actual, intended answers came

    … soooo all of the Aunt Olive clues head toward some form of energy for cooking …

    olive = not a ConAgra ( … eg, Wesson’s) source but certainly others’ basis of cooking oils

    East Indian / Native American fuels – for – cooking source = dessicated H20 buffalo and / or bison nik – nik ( … ie, dung)

    southern Europe = Earth’s huge font of olives / olive oil

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  23. I took another tack. I started with “Esso” and ended with “ss”, a phonetic equivalent of “Hess.”

    Chuck

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  24. Ken, nice sequence! I can figure out the next 3 terms, but not the term after that. There's no such thing as a gadjillion, right?

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  25. Peter Gabriel's 7th solo album was entitled "SO"

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  26. To return to the puzzle and the other programs on Weekend Edition Sunday, Google WESUN.

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  27. Florence Henderson sang the "Wessonality" jingle in her commercials. It was based on "Personality" by Johnny Mercer.

    Blaine, good job! I knew a Cal Berkeley grad would solve the puzzle! You got the next number in the sequence (and the two after that). You're right that the tenth (and the eleventh) numbers are problems; we have to use indefinite and fictitious numbers for them.

    For those looking for another clue: 274 kids, June 2-4, Washington, D.C

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  28. AN ALTERNATIVE SOLUTION

    A big name in the oil business: EARTH (all natural oil comes from Earth).

    Another big name in the oil business: ART (oil paintings).

    Petroleum and art are both big "oil businesses."

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  29. The NPR site says the deadline is Thursday.

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  30. If you listen to the on-air segment, Liane explicitly says the deadline was changed to Wednesday at 3pm ET. I think the Thursday note is boilerplate, much like my first comment. :)

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  31. Answer to MATHEMATICAL SEQUENCE:
    The next number is 8. The numbers in the sequence, spelled out, are one thousand, one billion, one octillion, one hundred, zero, and four. They are the first occurrences of the letters A, B, C, D, E, and F in the whole numbers. The next number in the sequence is 8 (eight), which is the first occurrence of the letter G.

    The musical clue, Mozart 12 Piano Variations, shares the same tune as the Alphabet Song. Coincidently, when played in its usual key of C Major, the seventh note of the song is G. The second clue refers to the 2010 Scripps National Spelling Bee.

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  32. Mario, I liked your solution. Baltimore has a summer artsfest (artscape) and one year the shirt for it was about E-art-H and its my favorite.

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  33. RoRo, that's cool! What did the logo look like?

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  34. Tom, I like it and it's perfectly legit. Did you submit it?

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