Friday, May 13, 2011

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 8, 2011): Happy Mothers' Day

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 8, 2011): Happy Mothers' Day:
Q: Think of two common girls' names that are seven letters long and that start with the same four letters in the same order. Drop these four letters in each name, and mix the last three letters in each name to come up with another common girls' name in six letters. What names are these?
We were out all day in the sun celebrating Mothers' Day; I got a tan. By the way, is the six-letter name Barbie?

Edit: My hints: "a tan" reverses to be the first 4 letters of both names. "Barbie" referenced the phrase "put a shrimp on the barbie" which was popularized in ads for the Australian Tourism Board. Colloquially in Australia, a girl or woman might be called a "Sheila".
A: NATALIE and NATASHA --> SHEILA

55 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. As I posted yesterday afternoon:
    The unmanly may roar at this one!
    Another really stupid puzzle!!!

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  3. I hate these "Think of a common name for blah blah blah" puzzles: I'm not a mind reader, and it seems to me that one man's "common" is another man's "What the ....?!?"

    So using a *very* generous list of female first names I wrote a program to clunk through them all, and I have 121 distinct possibilities. Picking the particular "common" set that meets Will's criteria is a bit iffy. I'll pick what *I* think works, and say this:

    Padme hunts moose in the Outback.

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  4. The set of names I came up with matches Doctechnical's hint, so I think he must be right. I didn't use a list, other than thinking through the names of my colleagues (two of which happen to have seven letters each, sharing the same first four...). But I have the same annoyance as he does with this sort of puzzle.

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  5. Fatally flawed puzzles are bad enough.

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  6. G'day mates. Blaine, I like both of your clues. Incidentally, isn't Lianne Hansen's swan song coming at the end of the month?

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  7. Did you get the sense that they are doing away with "celebrities" announcing the weekly prizes? Now you can look the prizes online.

    Talking about Lianne's swan song, she will be missed. Few if any of the NPR replacements she's had in her absences can establish good rapport with Will, or make the players feel at ease. She is charming!

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  8. Should be easy for a certain resident of Blainesville.

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  9. Doctechnical's hint isn't bad enough.

    Is Mila Kunis replacing Liane?

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  10. Blaine, for once I got your clues right away. And I was going to use one of them. C u later.

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  11. "This is rubbish, a lie," I was told by my mother.

    "If you wrote this, you're surely demented"

    Quite sadly, I'd not take this hit for my brother.

    "'Twas not me. It was he," I lamented.

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  12. If I understand some of the clues given, I suspect that the names in Blaine's choice, on average, are more common than the names in the other group which may well be the intended answer. Enough mental gymnastics for this week.

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  13. What would Boris say?

    -- Other Ben

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  14. I've never seen the Lord of the Ring, but I have seen The Good Son.

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  15. I figured it out....what an odd spelling of the third name.

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  16. I posted the following thoughts last night in last week’s area while Blaine was AWOL. But I wanted to echo the thoughts of some others here and put my ideas in the right puzzle area. So here they are again...

    A problem with this kind of puzzle is that you never know if you’ve got the answer the puzzle’s creator (and Will) are looking for. I’ve known women with the names I submitted and all three names are ranked in the top 500 female names. But does that make them common? Common enough?

    I found some other names that – for subjective reasons – I liked more: one is in a poem, one is in a song – but they aren’t ranked as high as the ones I submitted. I went with the ranking.

    Chuck

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  17. In working this week's puzzle, I (arbitrarily) ruled out 7-letters names that were alternative spellings of the same name or that were "compound" names like Marylou and Maryann. I eventually came up with the answer we all seem to be hinting at. However, even in this case, the two 7-letter names are cultural variants of one another. Did anyone (perhaps DocT) get a pair of names that are truly unrelated and yet are as "common" as our common answer?

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  18. Ben,

    Would Will bore us with Boris? He would.
    Musical Clue: The Producers.

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  19. I find myself in much agreement with many comments made here. The answer I arrived at while driving Saturday is not what I settled on later on Sunday.
    Will needs to be more specific, but I do not think he is paying a great deal of attention to these puzzles this year. If they don't improve in quality, I may do the same as I am not finding the solving of them to be particularily satisfying lately. I'm tired of picking at gnats.

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  20. @Lorenzo: It's a crapshoot. I don't really have a subjective way to tell what's a "common" name or not. FWIW from my "answer" file I found 127 unique seven-letter names, and 83 unique six-letter names.


    If anyone wants my data I'm happy to share (obviously spoilers :), just drop me a line to my handle at gmail dot com and I'll send the files. Anyone who wants to do further analysis can be my guest.

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  21. I came up with several answers, two of which yielded variations of the same name, which I *THINK* is what Will was thinking of. But if I'm right, there are a few comments above that I would have thought Blaine would've axed. Anyway, none of the other hints here mean anything to me. And I agree that this is not one of the better puzzles.

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  22. It's a beautiful day in Ann Arbor, MI. I'm going home from work early but I'll leave you all with something to work on until Sunday.

    Click here for a new challenge

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  23. NPR just announced the selection of Audie Cornish as Liane's successor.

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  24. Let me see. Take the last name of Liane's replacement and add a three letter word to come up with something delicious.

    What is it?

    (Just joking!)

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  25. I first thought I would not even bother with this stupid puzzle as I did not want to waste my time going through looooooong lists of names. Later, as I was driving across town, I started to go through the alphabet and see if I got anything. When I came to M I got what I thought would be an acceptable answer that has been mentioned above by others here.
    I later posted my clue: unmanly may roar. This is an anagram of Marylou & Maryann. A short time later I came up with Natalie & Natasha = Sheila. I used gnats as a clue. I came up with that answer by continuing through the alphabet.

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  26. Blaine, C u later. Cu - copper, as in coppertone.

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  27. Mine was probably pretty obvious... "Padme hunts moose in the Outback."

    Padme = "Natalie" Portman.

    Moose hunting = "Natasha" Fatale, partner of Boris Badenov, who together hunt Moose und Svirrel, dahlink: Rocky and Bullwinkle.

    And there are lots of "Sheila"s in the Outback, I'm told.

    Anyone else think Natasha Fatale is a hottie? Darn that cold war anyhow :)

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  28. Doc:
    Not obvious to me. I don't watch TV much.
    But you reminded me that I was thinking of posting a hint referring to Julia Gillard, the Aussie PM. I forgot to do it though.

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  29. What happened to all the missing posts from yesterday(thursday)?

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  30. Very strange!!! Natasha and Natalie; Shiela

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  31. Well in Austrailia they would both be called Sheila's.

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  32. Has the blog developed a black hole or perhaps Homeland Security is lurking nearby?

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  33. Evidently a recent incident caused the blog software to swallow some posts, so here's take two on my "Padme hunts moose in the outback" clue:

    Padme was played by Natalie Portman.

    Hunting Moose ("und svirrel, dahlink") is a reference to Boris and Natasha, from the old Bullwinkle cartoon series.

    In the Outback they have a lot Shielas, or so I'm lead to believe.

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  34. My entries were Maryann and Marylee -> Leeann, and Rosalia and Rosanne -> Lianne. (All names from the Moby list.) I figured Will was tipping his hat to his retiring host, which is why I was surprised the discussion was allowed here. Lots of other possibilities, clearly.

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  35. F55? I got the two Nats but know someone named Elisha and did not connect all the outback talk. But what music from the producers?? I get the Russian vibe for Natasha but not German?

    Glad to know the access problem was with the bloggers company and not my computer.

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  36. My reference to Liane Hansen's swan song was a reference to "The Black Swan," featuring Natalie Portman.

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  37. Doctechnical deftly charted a course, of which Lorenzo's "cultural variant" was the ultimate refinement. I would, however, reddily admit that someone else (not me) arrived at the destination first.
    I believe that Phredp, JenJen, and RoRo may comprehend that every destination is a point of departure.

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  38. "This is rubbi[sh, a lie]," I was told by my mother.

    "If you wrote this, you're surely demented"

    Quite sadly, I'd not take this hit for my brother.

    "'Twas not me. It wa[s he," I la]mented.

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  39. I entered Kirsten, Kirstie & Nettie

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  40. New puzzle is up. Good news is that it's Something Different. Bad news is that it still has a "common" element to it. I think Ben Franklin would have liked this puzzle, though.

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  41. I came up with words that work, but how to tell for sure if they are the ones Will is expecting?

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  42. DocT: how many answers do you think there are this week? SDB: wonder if we have the same solution?

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  43. Mrs. L:
    I don't think there are many correct answers.
    Did you have to wrestle with it awhile?

    Nate H:
    Really? Are you serious? Go back and count the letters. Also pay attention to S & T.

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  44. Nate -
    each of the 16 different letters will be shared by two words.
    Maybe if you draw the grid you will see.

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  45. Anyone notice the hidden snag in the puzzle?

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  46. Had to work on this one for a while. Thought I made a mistake, but now I've got a handle on it. Good puzzle!

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  47. After all those crappy puzzles lately this was a sight to behold!

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  48. Color me jaded, but one of those words is not very common - good puzzle though !

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  49. Just as a quick check with other grids, humour me, and taking into account the glitch pointed out by SDB, do the diagonal letters anagram a follow up to "keep mum"?

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