Thursday, June 30, 2011

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jun 26, 2011): A Ballerina and a Fictional Character

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jun 26, 2011): A Ballerina and a Fictional Character
Q: Take the word "ballerina," drop one letter and rearrange the remaining eight letters to name a well-known fictional character. Who is it?
My wife asked me, "A hat puzzle, then a helmet puzzle. What's next?"

Edit: My first hint was "my wife asked me" as in being asked to a Sadie Hawkins' Day dance. The last two puzzles involved hats and a helmet. This week you can say the puzzle involves a Capp.
A: Ballerina (remove 'a') --> Li'l Abner

73 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. Good clue Blaine! Last couple of weeks puzzles have gone to the dogs though.

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  3. I've been sending Will answers to these puzzles almost every week for over 20 years. One of these days he may call me, but I'm not holding my breath...

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  4. I would suggest that anyone who has trouble with this week's puzzle to take a fearless approach. Soon you'll be the hero.

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  5. An obscure association with the Vatican?

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  6. Congratulations for getting your name on NPR two weeks in a row, LA BLAINE!

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  7. I won't be surprised if this puzzle trips up a lot of listeners.

    Hey, hardly anyone is posting. Did everyone concede?

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  8. Well butter my buscuits. Can't wait til November when I'll be marryin Sam

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  9. My wife solved this one, but the kids and I would never have - born too late in the wrong country I guess...

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  10. is the character male or female?

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  11. The Cards are in town today playing the Blue Jays so I was wearing my bright red Cardinals baseball cap and T-shirt as I was sitting at my computer typing in the answer to NPR.

    Chuck

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  12. SBD, what'd ya expect, 52 posts by noon? Them posters is probably gittin ready to march in the 4th of Jooooly parade next week.

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  13. Chuck are you a fellow St. Louisian??

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  14. From the answer, drop one more letter and rearrange to get a 7-letter word. Then drop another letter and rearrange to get a 6-letter word, and so on until only a 1-letter word remains.

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  15. As it shows us such beauty, such innocence and purity
    When it greets each new day in its early morn' hours
    And offers a stage on which insects can dance
    The Daisy may be the most splendid of flowers.

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  16. Emmanuel –

    The answer to your first question of the day is yes, the character is male or female :) The answer to your second question of the day is also yes, I am a St. Louisan though not a native. Live in the Soulard Historic District.

    Chuck

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  17. Chuck, thank you, Mr. Funny Man. LOL We're neighbors!! I'm reside in Benton Park West. Go KWMU!!!

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  18. Blaine:
    You might suggest to your wife that she take a straw pole.

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  19. Lorenzo,
    In other words, you believe the letter Will wants us to drop from "ballerina" is neither an "i" nor an "a".
    Lambaste me if I'm wrong.

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  20. I like Gina Lollobrigida, and Sophia Loren, but I can't find a way to make either name after dropping a letter! Fortunately, I have another answer, the same one as Blaine and the others.

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  21. Seems to me a lot of names are being thrown around that are not fictional, but belong to persons who deal in fiction.

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  22. When we email the answer to Will, should we type it in all caps?

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

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  24. This one took me a while. A musical clue would be a Musical clue. Isn't that comical?

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  25. @EnyaAlFan, we wait until after the deadline (Thu 3pm ET) and then people return to explain their clues. We don't discuss the clues until then because the discussion can provide spoilers for those that are still solving.

    So feel free to post that comment above in a few more days. You have some very valid questions and I think several of us would agree.

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  26. Once again, I'm a day early. Sadly, I'm still a dollar short. Have fun with this one.

    Midweek Puzzle Break starts right now

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  27. I'm thinkin' I don't know of a clue that won't spill the beans.

    -- Other Ben

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  28. I was stumped for a while, but your clues were somewhat generous this time around. By the way, several months ago I bought a Tilley and wear it all the time, including on trips to Diamond Head and to Charleston. While in Charleston, I was not able to visit Fort Sumter – maybe on a future trip.

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  29. The final clue from me is AMXCIIID.

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  30. Nice clue, Phil J. Somehow this puzzle reminds me of Andy Capp...

    www.curtisjohnsonimages.com

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  31. My clues:
    "I won't be surprised if this puzzle trips up a lot of listeners." Anagram the word "trips" and you get "strip." As in comic strip.

    "Hey, hardly anyone is posting. Did everyone concede?" Anagram the first syllable and the last syllable of this sentence to make a homophone for "hayseed." Need I say more?

    "Little dogs race." Anagram to get, "God's Little Acre." Just a hint.

    "Straw" as in straw hat.

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  32. My second clue above should refer to two, not one, sentences. Sorry.

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  33. SDB, my response to your post contained march and 52. In March of 1952, Capp finally conceded to public pressure and after 18 years, Abner reluctantly proposed to Daisy Mae. Just sayin'.

    Jan, speaking of Daisy Mae, I finally got it.

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  34. TB:
    Thanks, I never would have understood your clue as I NEVER read this comic strip. I used to see it when I was growing up, but I never was into reading comics. On the other hand, I love the New Yorker cartoons.

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  35. Who is that? Golly, that crap with the apostrophe shortening. Thanks Will! Not!

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  36. So now we have an apostrophe catastrophe! Oh me. Didn't Jesus have twelve apostrophes?

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  37. "Fearless Fosdick" was the name of a detective in a comic strip that L'il Abner liked to read (his hero). It was a take off on Dick Tracy. Hence my clue.

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  38. Since Li'l Abner was a country boy, that makes "a liberal" a fictional character in his mind.

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  39. dumpsterdivelad - yes, except for the missing beverage, that was the sequence I had in mind.

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  40. DDD: Where is your 3 letter word?

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  41. Just wanted to see who is still awake today!

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  42. Blaine said...
    @EnyaAlFan, we wait until after the deadline (Thu 3pm ET) and then people return to explain their clues. We don't discuss the clues until then because the discussion can provide spoilers for those that are still solving.

    So feel free to post that comment above in a few more days. You have some very valid questions and I think several of us would agree.

    Tue Jun 28, 07:14:00 AM PDT

    Ok, I'll try to repost. But first let me recap that benmar12001 said...
    I'll ask my Aunt Bessie.

    Sun Jun 26, 07:16:00 AM PDT

    ...and RoRo said...
    Well butter my buscuits. Can't wait til November when I'll be marryin Sam

    Sun Jun 26, 10:38:00 AM PDT

    ...and Tommy Boy said...
    SBD, what'd ya expect, 52 posts by noon? Them posters is probably gittin ready to march in the 4th of Jooooly parade next week.

    Sun Jun 26, 02:33:00 PM PDT

    ...after which I posted something like this:

    Blaine, I wonder if a forum could be set up for those of us who've solved the puzzle and submitted it, but who now would like to understand the CLUES given here so far.
    Some of the clues so far are a reference to the real life author of the fictional character asked for in this week's puzzle, and by now some readers are wondering if "author" is really what we should call him. It's like calling William Hanna and Joseph Barbera the "authors" of such fictional characters as Fred Flintstone and Yogi Bear, or calling Walt Disney the "author" of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, et al., or Walter Lantz the "author" of Woody Woodpecker. There are other media besides pure literature from which fictional characters may come.
    As to the real life author of the answer to this week's NPR puzzle, I understand that he's a master of "put down". He has given talks at Colleges and I've heard that at one of them, someone in the audience stood up and shouted the BS word, to which he replied, "We know your name, now what is it you wish to say?"

    Ok, that's pretty much my post as I remember, but I still wonder... those previous posts by benmar12001, RoRo, and Tommy Boy were OK, but my post above had somehow crossed a line and had to be removed?

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  43. It's always a fine line between letting people be creative in their hints and giving something away. Those posts hinted at some interesting language and characters which could certainly point someone toward Li'l Abner, but if you didn't know the context it might not give the answer away.

    On the other hand, mentioning that the fictional character was not the creation of an author and then naming lots of cartoonists gives a whole lot away. I hope you understand why I deleted your post.

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  44. SDB,
    What would you think of a remake of "God's Little Acre" starring Corban Bernsen? I think it might be enough to make some people sic.

    BTW, I don't believe "hey" and "cede" need to be anagrammed to provide the requisite homophones.

    However, my brain is notoriously untrustworthy, as exemplified by my comment Sunday, so...

    Lorenzo, I had:
    Li'l Abner
    liberal
    bailer (some sort of hydrogeological gadget)
    baler (farm machine that produces a....)
    bale
    lab
    ab (how could I miss a musical term?...damn those informercials!)
    a
    I tried and failed to find a sequence ending in "I".

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  45. Paul:
    I do not know who Corban Bernsen is. I do not watch TV.
    I agree that "hey" and "cede" do not need to be anagrammed. Perhaps in 30 days they can be married in New York.

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  46. Paul misspelled his name. Corbin Bernsen is best known as Attorney Arnie Becker on "L.A. Law". He has also been Ken Graham on "Ryan's Hope", Brett Sooner on "A Whole New Ballgame", USAF Col. Henry 'Bull' Eckert on "The Cape", Captain Owen Sebring on "JAG", Jack Sherwood on "Cuts", Father Todd Williams on "The Young and the Restless", and Henry Spencer on "Psyche". Ah, the IMDb!!!

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  47. Regarding my clues:

    Tilley is a highly-regarded brand of wide-brimmed hat favored by many hikers, campers, sportsmen (and women), photographers, etc. I do own one, and it’s great. Of course, “hat” relates to Al Capp, author of the Li’l Abner comic strip.

    Diamond Head alludes to Diamond Lil, a play written by Mae West.

    Fort Sumter, in Charleston Harbor, was the site of the first battle of the Civil War. The second senior Union officer at Fort Sumter, who is credited with firing the first Union shot of the Civil War, was Captain Abner Doubleday – the same Abner Doubleday that is traditionally credited with inventing baseball.

    I noticed that there were several dog references in the clues, but no one so far has mentioned Dogpatch, the home of Li'l Abner.

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  48. Before the next puzzle is revealed tomorrow, I wanted to re-ask the question I posed in my first post this week.

    Blaine, I wonder if a forum could be set up for those of us who've solved the puzzle and submitted it, but who now would like to understand the CLUES given here so far.

    Now seriously, couldn't a forum be set up for which inputting the answer is required to enter?
    This would allow discussion of all the clues BEFORE the Thursday deadlines, and also allow Blaine to consider proposed clues and provide feedback so as to allow folks to polish their clues so they can submit them to the main forum in confidence of knowing that Blaine has already given his approval of them.
    For some puzzles, folks might just have to email Blaine with their guesses as to the answer, and Blaine could email back with a congratulations and an entry password. In some cases, Blaine might post into the inner group a message of "Guess what, folks? The bar's been raised! So-and-so submitted a response that gets a score of ... (new high score)!"

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  49. @EnyaAlFan, certainly anything could be done. As to whether or not I have the desire and energy to set up and manage such forum, I do not. It is effort enough trying to solve the puzzle every week before I post the puzzle and some hints and then monitor the subsequent comments. Currently I find the process fun, but any more and it might feel like work. :)

    I still think people get a chance to participate and show their creativity, and that's what I enjoy. It's also a place for people to "brag" when they get it, or commiserate when a puzzle is poorly worded or otherwise hard to solve.

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  50. Enya, here's my two cents. Instead of a new forum, the posters here could simply come back Thursday after the deadline to explain their clues. More often than not, deciphering others' clues is as much if not more fun than solving the puzzle.

    For example:

    Jan posted this:

    I've been sending Will answers to these puzzles almost every week for over 20 years. One of these days he may call me, but I'm not holding my breath...

    It took me until Wednesday to notice "days he may".

    I ask for clarification on my own puzzle blog, Midweek Puzzle Break after I post the answer on Saturday.

    Blaine, perhaps you could ask your devoted followers in your first disclaimer post to come back on Thursdays. Just a thought.

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  51. I find it interesting that we now have computers and the Internet which are supposed to help make our lives easier, but there is always someone who comes up with a way that will surely do the exact opposite. Now, who hid my nail clippers so I can't mow the lawn?

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  52. The new puzzle has me thinking of another comic strip.

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  53. It resembles a standardized test.

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  54. Best puzzle in a while, and not too hard if you listen carefully. The statement that "everyone" knows the French word may not be correct.

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  55. Did anyone notice they spelled the answer incorrectly?

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  56. Associated with Vatican:
    Papal See
    PAPALC
    Al Capp

    Straightforward puzzle this week.

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  58. It comes as a real blow that after almost eight straight years of entering every single Sunday puzzle I've yet to be picked. It's enough to make my blood boil. (Okay, I made that last part up.)

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  59. If you assume 1000 entries/week, the probability of getting picked after 8 years is about one in three. Still have to get lucky.

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  60. Next thing you know, Bill Richardson will announce his candidacy for president again.

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