Thursday, August 12, 2010

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 8, 2010): To Yo, or not to Yo

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 8, 2010): To Yo, or not to Yo:
Q: Take the letters in the name of cellist Yo Yo Ma, and rearrange them to form the initial letters of a familiar six-word question. What is the question?
I could give a musical clue, but it would give it away.
P.S. She might spell the word "Colour".

Edit: My first hint was to Victoria Beckham. The "P.S." was a hint to her nickname (Posh Spice) and the "Colour" clue was the fact that she is British. Her first solo single was "Out of Your Mind". In addition, if you anagram the letters in "Colour" you get "R U Loco?"
A: Are You Out of Your Mind

48 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. *She* might spell...?

    Yo-Yo Ma is a *he*! You weren't thinking, eh?

    P.S.: My thinking cap must be dysfunctional, too--I honestly don't know what "musical clue" you mean.

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  3. Well now, I can think of at least two questions that fit this puzzle. One is definitely recession-related, but I hear it constantly in conversations these days. I doubt if that is the one WS had in mind, tho. Of course, I hear both in most conversations today. . .

    Don't mean to sound sour grapes-ish, but I was a little underwhelmed by the winning selection of the spoonerisms. Anyone else have a similar feeling? I thought it was okay, but thought some of what I saw presented here was equally good, if not better. I wrote an entire poem of spoonerisms---thought I could've been an contender. . . alas. Who knows if he even reads all of them. Happy for the one that won and hope I'll get my chance someday. Gotta be in it to win it!!!!

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  4. just posted my last week answers on previous blog. I know no one cares but I have never been able to do these before. Yea me! But enough. I have a feeling the she Blaine refers to is to the musical artist and not yo mama?

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

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  6. RoRo, you are right. My "she" clue is the musical artist, not the esteemed cellist Yo Yo Ma.

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  7. Got it after Williams clue. You might call me crazy but I thought that was way too big a clue!

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  8. Phredp, I almost gave a way-too-big clue myself in the P.S. Anyway, I hope I didn't go too much off the deep end with my flogging the "she/he" stuff.

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  9. This is the toughest puzzle of the year - Right?

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  10. I’ve come up with a question that seems to fill the bill. However it’s a question that would be asked via the inflection of the speaker’s voice not by containing a specific query word such as when, where, what, why, etc. Anyone else come up with a solution of this kind?

    Chuck

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  11. Chuck, this is not a journalism assignment. Many questions don't start with a "query word": who, what, when, where, why or how. Take, for example, the plaintiff cry of children in the back seat of a minivan on a long trip:"Are we there yet?"

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  12. I can think of a song that answers the question.

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  13. Was anyone else initially misled by the slightly ambiguous use of the word "initial" in the statement of the puzzle?

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  14. Lorenzo - yes. I guess we shouldn't be surprised by Will's loose use of words/phrasing to make the challenges tougher.

    Here was my first (but not initial) answer, South Philly style, which hopefully passes Blaine vetting:

    Yo! Mayo on my freakin' cheesesteak?
    (Followed by the actual answer, with an “se” suffix on the second word and the insertion of the fifth word above as word 6 of 7)

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  15. I'm with Lorenzo.

    Do people here think he means "initial letters," as in:

    "Might You Open Your Avocado Outside?"

    Or do people think he means "initial letters," as in the opening of any City Hall press conference here in New York, which would be:

    "Yo Mayor, when are they going to finally give us a subway line straight to the airport?"

    -- Other Ben

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  16. I can see your confusion, but given that there are 6 letters in Yo Yo Ma and 6 words in the question, I'd go with your initial thought.

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  17. OK, I feel better now. Oh, and about last week, I'll post the answers Monday.

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  18. StarchRival, never did get through the impasse.

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  19. dear blaine and gang,

    my original phrasing of the question was as follows: "the name of cellist YO YO MA can be rearranged to form the initial letters of what common six-word question?" will changed it to "familiar," which i think makes it less common than "common," but other than that it was posed on-air almost exactly as i sent it to will.

    and i hate to say it but i agree with jutchnbev about the spoonerism winners. i have a feeling that a lot of folks sent in ones they'd heard before and will had to weed through them and toss them out. but it also may be that spinking of thoonerisms is sarder than it hounds. --merl reagle

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  20. Merl, It's an honor to have you posting here. Thanks for the clarification. I love your crossword puzzles and always enjoy when Will picks one of your puzzles for the weekly challenge.

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  21. Blaine, congrats on bringing the Big Dog.

    Some have asked me to post the answer to last week's side puzzle.

    Each first word was a sandwich of 2 postal abbreviations: More and Less --> M-OR-E, Oregon inside Maine, etc.

    Here are some M-OR-E to play with this week:

    Next to Cliff
    Our neighbor
    Spelling variation of a certain coyote
    An I.O.U.
    Gore no more

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  22. Thanks, Merl and ditto to what Blaine said above. Your puzzles are fun, but attainable with a bittle thit of lought. Does anyone know how to shut off the sponerism switch in your brain??????

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  23. Wow, Merl - so honored. Feel like visited by a celebrity!
    Jutchnbev - I feel your grapishness. I think any of Eleanor's were on a higher plane. However, I could not get her number two and thought she was referring to a bush topper, but then I would not really want to attend that party.

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  24. RoRo, in your latest comment you made an assumption (not related to puzzles) that may not be valid. Take a look at Eleanor Fitz' personal blog.

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  25. Thanks, Lorenzo. I'm starting to feel a little wierd about the pen name thing. Eleanor Fitz is the pen name for the novel I haven't quite written yet. My real name is Tom and I'll change it as soon as I figure out how. T

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  26. Very cool having Merl visit the site!

    Any hints on this week's puzzle? I've been on vacation the past couple of weeks and my brain is still in vacation mode.

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  27. Dave, I believe you just gave a hint! Was it intentional?

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  28. There are six intelligent people here (well, five anyway) and we have not made much headway on this one.

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  29. Lorenzo, I didn't give a hint because I don't have the answer, but I see something in common with Morton's post. Is that the hint?

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  30. Ok T. Sorry I missed prior info. I do sort of like to imagine what people would look like. I think it would be future fun to meet each other at some point. Some people may think that's A REALLY STRANGE IDEA but it's not like a dating blog or anything like that.

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  31. Lorenzo, I was going crazy trying to get the answer, but it finally came to me.

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  32. Me too. I hadn't solved it, checked back in here for no apparent reason, and saw that we had been visited by the Giant Unkind Donut himself.

    Wow.

    Anyway, that got me working on the puzzle again, and I sealed the deal in a few minutes. Answer submitted.

    -- Other Ben

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  33. I was passing time with family last Sunday, and gave them the puzzle. The boy figured out the AYY words. As a hint I said that it was a question his mom asked dad sometimes. Son came up with the answer a beat before mom. Big laugh all around including dad.

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  34. OK, so Blaine has already posted the answer in a new blog entry.

    My comment that "I SEALed the deal" was a nod to the singer/poseur Seal, whose first big hit was "Crazy."

    Anyone get the call?

    -- Other Ben

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  35. Blaine knows what Posh Spice's first hit was. Hmmmm . . .

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  36. Interesting...

    Besides “Are you out of your mind”?

    “Must you always offer your opinion”?

    also works.

    Chuck

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  37. Dave, equally surprising to me was that Blaine knew what Victoria Beckham's Spice Girls nickname was. Things that make you go hmmmmm indeed.

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  38. If someone would have given a Patsy Cline clue I may have figured it out but not Posh Spice; I'm not cool like Blaine. Vickie

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  39. Sorry to say, but I knew that Victoria Beckham's name is Posh Spice. I shouldn't admit that to people.

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  40. OK, my clues were "you weren't thinking"; "thinking cap...dysfunctional"; and "go...off the deep end" for an approximation of "going out of your mind." This one took me no time at all to figure out (a rare occurrence).

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  41. Eleanor, just to close the loop on your M-OR-E clues: I answered the first three with my own clues in last week's thread. I believe the recipe for #4 is a Yale lei. I ain't gonna study Gore no more, so you'll have to tell me the answer.

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  42. Are
    You
    Out
    Of
    Your
    Mind?

    UGH.
    the puzzle question was badly worded. The letters in Ma's name spelled out the INITIAL letters, not the initial as in first few letters. I'm sure most people thought the same as I did.

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  43. Are you out of money yet? also works, especially in a recession.

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  44. For Sunday Aug 15

    Sadly for Cherry and Chelsea, someone else got the diamond ring.

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  45. I got the correct answer but a familiar saying that fits the bill in these tough economic times might be:

    Are you overdue on your mortgage?

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  46. Niki, I did think of the question the same way as you did. And since I was on vacation, I didn't get to look through Blainesville to correct my misconception. All through like 12 hours of driving, I'm thinking of ways to arrange yoyoma into 2, 2.5 and 3 word phrases. GAH!!!

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