Thursday, January 06, 2011

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 2, 2011): First Puzzle of the New Year

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 2, 2011): First Puzzle of the New Year:
Q: Take a plural noun that ends with the letter S. Insert a space somewhere in this word, retaining the order of the letters. The result will be a two-word phrase that has the same meaning as the original word, except in the singular. What word is this?
Hmm... the first puzzle of the new year is usually easy. I would like to say I have it, but the answer currently eludes me. I'm positive I'll get it eventually.

Edit: Yes, I had the answer despite what I wrote. Here are my hints: "Easy" is an anagram of the answer. "I have it" is close to the phrase "the ayes have it". If you combine "say" with the "e" in eludes, you also get the letters in the answer. And "positive" was a hint to "yes" being a positive response.
A: AYES --> A YES

52 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. No clue, or is there one in the puzzle?

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  3. We all need to get back into the holiday season!!!

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  4. This one reminds me of a friend who every time he passes the "Popeyes" chicken restaurant says it looks to him like "Pope Yes" - not sure that helps though.

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  5. Benmar, Blessed art thou amongst puzzlers.

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  6. Either everyone is on extended vacation or most of us are struggling.

    Blaine, (current)ly + positive = electricity? Popeye's sign?

    Currently, eventually, back to the holidays = tenses?

    Blessed holidays = religious connotation?

    I am curious to find out if this will be an AHA moment or an UGH moment.

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  7. I vote for Blaine's answer. I do. I think this is the best puzzle so far in 2OII. I might change my mind next week. I might.

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  8. If this were multiple choice, I'd say E: All of the above. (E is also for Engineering.)

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  9. I am sooo stumped. More hints?

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  10. Musical hint: "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing"

    Medicinal hint: Aspirin

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  11. Being clueless myself, I'm gonna follow Tommy Boy's lead:

    "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing" was written by Sayer.

    Aspirin is associated with Bayer.

    All the faith-based references, with the above, bring to mind Prayer.

    None of which helps me at all!

    I, too, thought Blaine's initial clues pointed toward electricity, charge flow, etc; made me think of ions, which is a common enough word ending, but that search led nowhere, too.

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  12. Thank you one and all.

    This puzzle has been nagging at me for days. I couldn't understand how splitting a plural noun into two words made it singular. My heart throb didn't get it either. Although I have the answer now, I have to give myself a low grade.

    Blaine, I hope you're feeling better.

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  13. Jan, I'm sure you noticed that Bayer, Sayer and prayer all contain the letters of the word "year", although that observation got me nowhere. Perhaps Tommy Boy's latest post that suggests a medical condition will prove helpful. But so far, no luck

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  14. Jan,

    As with an onion, peel back a new layer.

    You may have the answer if you've been a wild player.

    When you get the solution, don't be a displayer

    Or you'll likely get bleeped. Blaine's THE final sayer!

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  15. Lorenzo, my, my, my, my, my, my, my!

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  16. So happy to hear that this Honors guy is being let go of his command. What a disgusting guy and his name is the antithesis of his behavior. So you know what they say in the Navy. . .

    Happy New Years fellow bloggers.

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  17. OK, I finally have a possible answer that is consistent with Blaine's clues. However, it has nothing to do with holiday seasons, religion, years, tenses, medical conditions (or disgraced naval officers). And it assumes a broad interpretation of the phrase "has the same meaning as." If valid, the same technique could lead to other possible answers.

    I'll be very interested to see what you all came up with.

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  18. There would be a plethora of answers if the "two word phrase" qualifies as a sentence. So I don't think that's the right track, either.

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  19. Orangebus, interesting comment. I'm not sure it applies to my "answer", but does add to the list of mystery clues to ponder. We'll compare notes on Thursday.

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  20. Things to ponder:
    - A prominent feature of the London skyline
    - A feature of a tailoring tool
    - A feature of the U.S. Dollar Bill

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  21. OK. I am sure I have the intended answer now and if I interpreted Curtis' earlier clue properly, I believe he has also had a change of heart.

    With that said, Blaine's clue is dead on.

    After I went over this more than a dozen freaking times, the 15th change ment I was finally done. Thank goodness.

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  22. Oh, and congrats to the others. Excellent clues now that I understand them!

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  23. Sorry, Curtis. Now I get your first post, too.

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  24. Thanks Curtis, your latest clues did the trick. I don't know why I stubbornly overlooked the many other excellent clues. You guys and gals are really good!

    It seems that my electric car "answer" was wrong.

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  25. wow! I say this three times in a row each day and my grandson mimics me even though I got the habit from my Portuguese girlfriend.

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  26. I'm entering something that derives from a famous comedy duo.

    -- Other Ben

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  27. Still clueless. Does the word end with the features that Curtis mentioned?

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  28. Dave, use both of Curtis' posts with Jan's interpretation of the first.

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  29. Blaine, did you see any of these during your trip to Madagascar?

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  30. to clear my mind, i wrote a haiku (there are no capital letters in Japanese):

    haiku
    for
    puzzlers

    to
    regain
    serenity

    answers
    will
    be
    short

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  31. I
    changed
    my
    profile

    for
    the
    puzzlers
    on
    blaines
    blog

    I'm
    mrs.
    lorenzo

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  32. I can't believe it took me this long to get the answer to this easy puzzle. Now that I have it, I could swear it has been used before. Anyone else have the same thought?

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  33. Marie, a version of this puzzle was the Sunday puzzle in 2005.

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  34. Aaah, that explains it...thank you Lorenzo.

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  35. Thank you, Lorenzo. I finally got it! Great clues that I now understand since I got the answer. I don't want to plagiarize any of them, but how about Peter Gabriel, Eric Clapton and The Who for musical clues.

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  36. What about "headaches" or "heartaches". Don't those answers fit the puzzle?

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  37. I'm in a similar camp to FriarTech. I sent in "earaches" and insist it is a perfect answer.

    I'd also be inclined to accept headaches and heartaches, though you only have one head and one heart (at least I do), so it isn't as clear to me as a singluar.

    Will be interesting to see what Will says.

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  38. Thanks, Curtis. I dedicate Cielto Lindo to you

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  39. I was originally in the headache camp:

    Blaine will get it when he feels better.

    Benmar back to the holiday parties

    Curtis danced (partied) the night away and needed aspirin

    Headaches - (my) head aches (I have a headache)
    It's possible.

    My clue for the intended answer was "the 15th change ment I was finally done."
    The 15th amend ment - voting rights

    Great job everyone!

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  40. My immediate thought after reading the puzzle was that the word must begin with a singular article like "the" or "a". Unfortunately, I abandoned this approach prematurely (duh!). My next idea was to split the plural word immediately before the "s". This led to several possibilities in which the plural word represented a category and the singular word a specific example of something in the category. (Not exactly what the puzzle asked for, but I'v grown accustomed to occasional ambiguity in the puzzle wording!) I submitted "models" and "Model S" (the new electric car from Tesla Motors).

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  41. I came up with headaches from the clues given here (nagging, pounding, throbbing, aspirin, etc.), but it never occurred to me that headaches (or heartaches or earaches) is the correct answer. I think that ayes is a much better answer, but we'll have to wait to hear from Will for the definitive answer.

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  42. Oh Tommy Boy, I spent SO much time investigating IDES,March 15!!

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  43. I'm not sure why "ayes" is better than "headaches". The plural noun "headaches" split into two words is the singular noun "head" and the verb "aches". If "A yes" can be a two-word phrase, couldn't "head aches" be considered as well? Unless I missed something in the original puzzle, I believe this one was too ambiguous.

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  44. I was tempted to use Rick Wakeman (member of the band "Yes") as a musical clue. But, I thought the clues I gave were already obvious enough.

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  45. I started with "bus" and realized I should find more words that were not plural but end with S ... got YES and EYES and was stuck for a while.

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  46. Liane said they had fewer than 200 correct entries. I was stumped.

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  47. As Lorenzo noted, a version of the puzzle was already featured on the NPR website back in September 2005, though it never aired because of Hurricane Katrina coverage.

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