Thursday, May 19, 2011

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 15, 2011): Four by Four Crossword Square

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 15, 2011): Four by Four Crossword Square:
Q: Create a 4-by-4 crossword square with four four-letter words reading across and four different four-letter words reading down. Use the word 'nags' at 1 across and the word 'newt' at 1 down. All eight words must be common, uncapitalized words, and all 16 letters must be different.
You could use recent hints in my other post...

Edit: My hint last week was "a tan" which coincidentally works this week as a clue to the least common word in the grid. I'd put ecru in the same family as tan, beige and khaki. In addition, reading the first letter of each word in my clue (Y,C,U,R,H,I,M,O,P) gives you the set of letters needed to complete the crossword square.
A:
Across: NAGS, ECRU, WHIM, TYPO
Down: NEWT, ACHY, GRIP, SUMO

50 comments:

  1. Here's my standard reminder... don't post the answer or any hints that could lead directly to the answer (e.g. via Google or Bing) 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.

    You may provide indirect hints to the answer to show you know it, but make sure they don't give the answer away. Thank you.

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  2. The End

    Mother wicked called out to her wimp,

    "That damn monkey is clearly no shrimp.

    And if you don't shut his door

    Like I told you before,

    You'll be sorry when you lose your chimp."

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  3. Looking at color samples gave me a migraine, so I will relax and westle with the fact that the newspaper is filled heavly with mistakes, and come to terms with reality.

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  4. 2 of the words are a bit obscure, the others are more common.

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  5. All of the clues point to one unique answer, which EF's verse confirms conclusively. I would have expected multiple answers. Did anyone come up with something different?

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  6. I got that same unique answer.

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  7. @Emmanuel - I think I came up with the same answer you did. With the puzzle finished, I might see, on a lark, if there's any unusual martial arts competions on cable.

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  8. As I posted yesterday, I had to wrestle a bit with this one which left my neck a bit sore. Here is a clue for you all: My grandfather carried one on all his travels.
    Also a word of warning: There is a hidden snag in the puzzle.
    Finally we get a real puzzle for a change; perhaps Will thought he would see what would happen——who knows? But he is in China. No! Not Will——Hu.

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  9. For me, letters 4,1,2, and 3 seemed to be givens in that order. Dodging repeat letters from that point on was more of a problem. EF's hint helps a lot with that problem.

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  10. Is it too big a hint if I say: If there's a Will; there's a weigh?

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  11. If all of these words are "common", then I'm a vermicious knid.

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  12. Nag a Ram "Not My Symian"

    Each mouth should have a zipper
    Our clues should never tip her
    But "Bedtime for Bonzo"
    Starred our old Ronzo
    Here is one for the Gipper!

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  13. This was Will’s best puzzle in months - fun to solve. Plus, when you got the answer you knew you had it. For sure, I had to wrestle with it for a while but eventually I got a handle on it. The eight words were common enough for me...

    Chuck

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  14. Doc Tech: Do you prefer dark or milk?

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  15. Doc Tech: Perhaps Will was using Merriam-Webster's 5a definition of common: "falling below ordinary standards"

    However, I agree w Chuck. It was fun and I think the words are familiar. Good grief, you guys are so esoteric, I don't get half the clues even when I know the answers!

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  16. It pains me to say this, but getting a hold of this puzzle was a big fat mistake.

    -- Other Ben

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  17. Using an obvious method, finish this number sequence:

    13, 10, 11, 4, 9, 2, 4, 5, 2, 4, ?

    Use another method to solve these:

    1, 5, 9, 15, ?

    3, 7, 8, 13, 14, 16, 18, 19, 20, 23, ?

    Use the first method to solve this:

    13, 10, 2, 13, 9, 2, 4, 1, 16, ?

    ALSO:

    Name the only letter that satisfies both methods.

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  18. 80%, if I understand you. Tennis anyone?

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  19. TB- got it. E is the letter that has the same value in each system. (Y was the letter that completed one of your sequences using each method.)

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  20. Not a Brit. Third generation Seattle.

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  21. Mrs. L: I prefer Ghirardelli, when I can get it. Which isn't nearly often enough :)

    Am I the only one who never heard of the "E" word before? I wrote a program to help me crack this, and when it was kicking out possible "A" word and "E" word combos, both of the solution words popped up, but I discarded the latter as garbage in the source file (which contains abbreviations and proper names).

    And here I thought I had a fairly eclectic vocabulary... At least it was a novel puzzle for a change. Once I have time I'll see if I can find any alternate solutions... but I rather doubt there are any.

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  22. With a 25% increase in size it could become a mouse.

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  23. On the other hand, who wants to see a larger Newt!?

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  24. Doctechnical -- the E word shows up in Will Shortz's crosswords all the time. Not as often as "etui", maybe, but often enough. The others are pretty common there, too. My sister-in-law thinks Will should make up a crossword using ONLY the uncommon-except-in-Will's-puzzles words. If I see "Asian sea" (for ARAL) one more time this month.....

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  25. I would argue that knowing a word has little or nothing to do with it being common or not. A word I like is mufti which was common at least until the end of WWII. It is uncommon today in this country and when I use or mention it I find that no one knows this word. Having a large vocabulary indicates a familiarity with uncommon words.

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  26. When it comes to words frequently sourced for crossword puzzles, I wanted to pitch a movie idea to Will Shortz. Not a movie about crosswords – that’s already been done.

    Instead, I wanted a romantic EPIC starring SELA Ward and ESAI Morales. Stephen REA will co-star. The script will be adapted from the works of James AGEE and ERLE Stanley Gardener. Brian ENO will score.

    The plot? I don’t really care.

    -- Other Ben

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  27. Well Ben, it will be much easier to sell your movie idea without a plot, since it will be a Hollywood film. I don't think "plot" is even a common word in Hollywood.

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  28. The last time I heard the word Mufti was in a song...

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  29. The last time I remember hearing the word mufti was several years ago when General Norman Schwarzkopf was reported by our media to have testified before congress in civilian clothes. Mufti was screaming at me to be heard. Editors were probably saying that the public would not understand the word. I say, if you treat the people as fools then they will become fools.

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  30. Hey, everybody. This week I'm a day early with a double puzzle. Check it out at:

    Double Puzzle

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  31. Phew! Just got it. Is there only one answer? Also, he said they were common, uncapitalized words. That's a joke. They are not all common words.

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  32. Well, one of the words is not what I would call common, but with Will, what he means by common is likely to be more puzzling than the puzzle itself. It is common for Will to think uncommon words to be common. Does that make him a commoner, I wonder?

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  33. Puzzle answer has been posted...

    NAGS
    ECRU
    WHIM
    TYPO

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  34. Most of my hints are too obvious to point out, but in England a GRIP is a suitcase or similar bag, as TB knows. Also adding an E to SUMO and changing the letter order can spell MOUSE and the E would be a 25% increase in size or weight.

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  35. I have a suggestion, when Thursday 3pm Eastern rolls around, instead of posting the outright answer, how about increasingly obvious clues ? That way if anyone reading hasn't solved the puzzle yet, they could still enjoy the satisfaction of solving, just with a little help... (many regular posters know the answer on Sunday anyway !)

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  36. If there is a groundswell of support for a delayed reveal, I might consider it. But for most of us we've waited since Sunday to explain our hints and reveal the answer that I can't see people waiting even longer.

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  37. If you number the squares from left to right starting at the top, the solution to the first and last sequences are easy to solve.

    The 16 letters in the solution we all arrived at were put in alphabetical order, vowels first and then consonants. The numbers in the middle sequences represent each letters numerical position in the alphabet.

    "E" is a unique letter in the puzzle in that it is the 5th letter of the alphabet and falls in the 5th square.

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  38. It pains me (ACHY) to say this, but getting a hold (GRIP) of this puzzle was a big fat (SUMO) mistake (TYPO).

    -- Other Ben

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  39. Looking at (color samples= ecru) gave me a (migraine=achy), so I will relax and (westle=unintentionally misspelled "wrestle", which can stand for typo, but it was meant to lead to sumo!!) with the fact that the newspaper is filled (heavly=another example, misspelled "heavily" meant to lead to sumo) with (mistakes=typo), and (come to terms with reality=grip). By the way, has anyone ever used the word ecru in a sentence????

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  40. Emmanuel:
    As a matter of fact you, Emmanuel, hold the distinction of being the first person to use "ecru" in a sentence. Congratulations!

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  41. New puzzle is now out and we are back to having another stupid and easy puzzle again.

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  42. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  43. Jon Voight might know the answer to this one.

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  44. Doesn't matter where you live - the new puzzle isn't too hard....

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  45. The madam in the coral sedan with the kayak on top got the puzal.

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  46. I have to confess, I gave up trying to solve this one and came here for the answer before the deadline.

    My breakthrough clues this time were the multiple mentions of "mistake", posted on Sunday. I had a list with "ecru" in it, but having never heard it, didn't try it until I got sumo, from typo. Thanks.

    No one questions whether typo is really a word?
    How about "camo"?

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