Thursday, August 18, 2011

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 14, 2011): Dog Breed and Animals Puzzle

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 14, 2011): Dog Breed and Animals Puzzle:
Q: Name a breed of dog that starts and ends with the same letter of the alphabet. Drop that letter at both ends, and if you have the right dog, the remaining letters phonetically will name some animals. What's the dog and what are the animals?
It's a bit of a stretch to say that the remaining letters are pronounced exactly like the name of some animals.

Edit: My clue was "stretch" referring to the shape of this dog. The puzzle also reminded me of this Sprint commercial
A: Dachshund --> "achshun" --> Oxen

71 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. You can openly discuss your hints and the answer after the Thursday deadline. Thank you.

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  2. I *think* I have the answer, but it seems kind of vague. The dictionary seems to agree, though. Maybe it needs a caption or something...

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  3. I had my doubts with the phonetic pronounciation. Reminded me of an old childhood game.

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  4. Do you have to scramble the letters, or leave them as they are?

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  5. OK. I get it. I must admit, I was stumped last week. That puzzle really ate at me. This week's musical clue: Elvis

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  6. The key to the phonetics is to pronounce the remaining letters the same as in the dog breed—although there is potentially still a vowel mismatch in the last syllable, this is splitting hairs. I agree the "some animals" clue is rather misleading, though.

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  7. I wonder if this was an intentional trap that might cause solvers to come up with different counts for "some animals".

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  8. At least this week’s puzzle works – i.e., the clue reasonably leads you to the answer. Musical clue: Perry Como.

    Last week’s puzzle had the fewest respondents I ever remember. And no wonder – the clue wasn’t just misleading, it was downright false. Worst I can recall.

    Chuck

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  9. I have no beef with last week's puzzle, although many Blainesville teammates thought it a by-product of poor draftsmanship. Maybe I'm talking about this week's puzzle.

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  10. If I am correct, two of the animals are related to each other as well as ourselves.

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  11. I thought it was improper to badger Will Shortz to re-phrase last week's challenge, but the exceedingly low number of responses seems to have confirmed the complaints.

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  12. Last week's puzzle stumped me. This one I got before I had to turn on my computer. That's the long and the short of it.

    Now I'm going to fix myself some eggs, yolks and all.

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  13. In addition to the (intended?) answer that most of the clues are pointing to, there is possibly a second (see Bob K's clue)that starts with the full name of a common dog breed and leads to a variety of unrelated animals, including yet another female animal.

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  14. Lorenzo, I think I know where you are going. But, Bob K's comment could apply to the (intended?) answer too.

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  15. Lorenzo, are you using all of the remaining letters? I have the first and last animals you refer to (depending on you pronunciation). The middle part contains the proper name of several animals, two dogs and an elephant. Got a few leftovers.

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  16. Blaine, obviously I didn't pursue all the possibilities of Bob K's clue relentlessly enough!

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  17. I may be barking up the same tree as Lorenzo, but a variant name for a very popular breed works perfectly. It’s similar to the more common name and at least according to some accounts was the original name of the breed. But I’m not sure that Will would risk the flak he would get for using a variant.

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  18. After thinking about it, I'm pretty sure I don't have the answer Will is looking for, in that there's not really any "phonetic" pronunciation involved. That being said, the way the remaining letters are pronounced post-change is different from their pre-change sound.

    My musical clue is Blue Öyster Cult. And my ego being as monstrously huge as it is, I'll just assume I'm right, and Mr. Shortz is wrong :)

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  19. One breed yields a word that, without even changing letters, can refer to several different animals. As Will is always trying to outfox us, I decided that first answer was too simplistic. Another breed, the one I think he's going for, yields the name of one other animal (via some phonological leeway). After spending all morning thinking about this, I'm going to go fix myself some lunch - maybe a hot dog on a toasted roll with the good mustard.

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  20. I immediately thought of the dog that you thought about first, jsulbyrne, but then switched to the second one. After last week's paucity of correct answers (only 101), I don't relish the answer counter's task this week because there are going to a lot of correct ones.

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  21. Dave:
    Whatever makes you think there were 101 correct answers? I know my submission was incorrect and I know of others who submitted wrong answers too. I suspect fewer than 50 sent in correct answers.

    Anyway this is another stinker in my opinion. I doubt I will even submit my answer this week as I am rapidly losing interest in Will's lame puzzles of late.

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  22. This week was no chore. Not like last week's, which was impossible. It would have been easier to read Joyce's Ulysses or Finnegan's Wake than to get "eat at".

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  23. I spent so much time working on our last stupid puzzle it made me late at tea.

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  24. TB, my "middle letters" (mispronounced slightly) named a group of animals (in the order: "animal", "group") with no letters left over.

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  25. OK. Your three letter canine yields an animal, an animal name, a term for a certain group of animals and a female animal (if the original animal name was spoken by a cowboy).

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  26. Yes – they said there were 101 answers submitted, not 101 correct answers. I expect they don’t really know how many correct answers are submitted any week of the year, not just last week… Too time-consuming, labor intensive and, at root, unnecessary. If I were NPR here’s how I would approach the winner-selection task.

    Each submission generates an auto-reply e-mail back to the submitter. And each such reply has a sequential number associated with it. (In addition to the steps I write here NPR may do some sort of preliminary checking for duplicate names or e-mail addresses but that does not materially affect the process I describe.)

    Then I would take the number of the first submission and the total number of submissions and use a little random number generator program to randomly select a number between the first and last submission numbers, inclusive. (I actually wrote such a program a few weeks ago in QBasic. It took 5 minutes and 6 lines of code.)

    The producer reads the answer associated with that lone submission and if it’s correct the submitter gets the call. If the answer’s incorrect – or if the submitter is unavailable or is unwilling to play on the air – another random number is selected. This process continues until the randomly-selected submitter has the correct answer, was able to be contacted and wants to play.

    It’s fast and foolproof. You know the number of submissions and have a randomly-selected player. You don’t know the number of correct answers submitted but I don’t think the world at large or NPR or Will Shortz really cares about that.

    If you really wanted to get into it, you could randomly sample 10 or 20 answers and apply the percentage of correct submissions to the total number of submissions to estimate the number of correct entries. But as I said, puzzle geeks like us may care about this stuff like this but I don’t think casual listeners do.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    What I disliked so much about last week’s puzzle wasn’t the _idea_ of the thing which I actually think was rather clever word play. What sucked was the wording of the clue: “Take a common two-word phrase that's the present tense of a verb. Move the last two letters to the front without making any other change, and you'll get a new two-word phrase that is the verb's past tense.”

    If you start with

    EAT*space*AT

    and follow the instructions you end up with

    ATEAT*space*

    Surely whoever wrote that could have done much better with some minor editing or re-writing.

    Chuck

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  27. I went ahead and submitted my answer, which I am sure is correct (to Will, anyway)(and I am willing to stake my reputation on it), but I despise this puzzle, perhaps even more than the poorly worded last puzzle.

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  28. TV show: Kukla, Fran and Ollie.

    Let's also toss in Iran-Contra for good measure.

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  29. I'm reminded of one of my favorite cartoon characters from the mid to late sixties.

    *whispering* "Chuga-chuga-chuga-chuga, chuga-chuga-chuga-chuga, chuga-chuga-chuga-chuga,..."

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  30. Ah, my little Azusa puppy! When I take off the duplicated letters I get a phonetic term that means LOTS of animals!

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  31. A Congressional District in New York and a famous Talk Radio host.

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  32. Another lame puzzle. Thought of this breed right away. Was like, "No, I don't think that works." Talked to a friend and he convinced me. And I was like, "Oh yeah!"

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  33. I thought of a really obscure answer. The remaining letters are a word that might describe a variety of animals.

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  34. Third time's a charm. (Blaine, we need a clean up on aisle 3). New puzzle's up. Follow the link.

    Link

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  35. Skydiveboy:

    Pretty straight forward given the number of breeds that qualify.

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  36. Benmar:
    I already have the answer. I was asking about a clue for your "really obscure answer."

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  37. Thanks, Blaine. Can I now assume that font color can't be changed in the link?

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  38. Musical clue: Yippy-ti-yi-yay

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  39. My clues:
    " I am willing to stake my reputation" Stake = steak = tube-steak = hot dog = our pooch.

    "TV show: Kukla, Fran and Ollie." & "Let's also toss in Iran-Contra for good measure." These are both referring to the name Oliver, as in Oliver North, (sorry for using the name of such a dirt bag) and Ollie is short for Oliver and kids play a game where they chant, "Ollie, Ollie oxen free." I have no idea why as I was never a child and I still am.

    Note:
    I am not sure if I would have solved this puzzle were it not for a clue or two as I lived in Germany for several years and this word is not pronounced anything like that over there. In fact, I used to hear Germans inform those who mispronounced it that it was spelled dachshund, but it is pronounced: lah hoy ah.

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  40. I went with Akita as my answer. Musical clue is "Godzilla", from Blue Oyster Cult, as Akita is a city in Japan.

    "Kit", according to some dictionaries, is a name for any number of small furry animals.

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  41. ... get a long, little doggie. (I know, I know...)

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  42. Led Zeppelin's Hot Dog (1979), Anthony Weiner, NY 9th Congressional District, and Michael Savage (Weiner), host of The Savage Nation...DACHSHUND <-> OXEN.

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  43. Jan, outstanding clue. One of our all-time favorites. We're still smiling.

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  44. Help! Lorenzo and Blaine refer to "second answers" that might be hinted at in my clue. I only had in mind "Badger - Dachs, auf Deutsch", so simple that I thought it might be removed as a blatant giveaway. What did I say without knowing it?

    And although "akita" is a cute answer, I don't see how it meets the "phonetically" requirement.

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  45. Here’s what I said last Sunday:

    - - - - - - - - - -

    At least this week’s puzzle works – i.e., the clue reasonably leads you to the answer. Musical clue: Perry Como.

    Last week’s puzzle had the fewest respondents I ever remember. And no wonder – the clue wasn’t just misleading, it was downright false. Worst I can recall.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    At least here in the metro St. Louis area dachshunds are humorously referred to as Hot Dogs or Wiener Dogs. In 1956 Perry Como had a #1 hit song, Hot Diggity Dog. And though I completely stand by my assessment of last week’s puzzle as being the worst I can recall, a wiener is a type of “wurst.”

    Chuck

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  46. Bob K - Starting with "German Shepherd Dog" (the official name of the breed) you get (taking lots of liberties with pronunciation) "ermine" (related to badger), "sheep herd" and "doe".

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  47. Chuck:
    In this country wiener is used to describe a type of wurst, but in German, Wiener means Viennese. Wien is the proper name of what we call Vienna and is pronounced "VEEN."

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  48. Lorenzo:
    I also saw that German Shepherd Dog could be the answer, but I did not think it was, however I came up with: ermine, sheep, hare & doe. YUK, I know.

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  49. SDB, I was working along the same lines.
    ermine, Shep, hare & daw.
    Shep certainly names a dog - somewhere.
    Daw is used for jackdaw.


    I also tried to force something from
    German rough haired pointing dog,
    but "pointing" seems to be necessary.
    with that deleted I got
    enmine, ruff, hare, daw
    which only works if it's said quickly and the adjacent d d are elided.

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  50. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  51. On nth thought, using Lorenzo's "herd":
    ermine, Shep, herd, daw:
    works fairly well.

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  52. On the clue which I posted:

    I'm reminded of one of my favorite cartoon characters from the mid to late sixties.

    *whispering* "Chuga-chuga-chuga-chuga, chuga-chuga-chuga-chuga, chuga-chuga-chuga-chuga,..."

    That cartoon character was Chuga-chuga, a wiener dog or dachshund amongst the animals in Mr. Peebles pet shop in "Magilla Gorilla".
    You would never see *all* of Chuga-chuga on the screen at one time, and as he walked he would say (or kinda whisper) "Chuga-chuga-chuga-chuga, chuga-chuga-chuga-chuga, chuga-chuga-chuga-chuga,..."

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  53. Some corrections:

    It seems I misspelled that cartoon character's name. It was Chugga Chugga; two g's in each "chugga". Also I looked up some clips and he *could* be entirely seen in a number of them.

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  54. Shep was also the gorilla friend of George of the jungle.

    ermine - Shep - herd - doe (as in get along little doggies))

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  55. I got the right word, but I broke it down as follows: achshun as "achs" = ox and "hun" = hound.

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  56. I thought Lorenzo was going for the alternate name of that breed:
    German Sheepdog --> Ermine, Sheep, Doe

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  57. Tommy Boy - I'm pretty sure Shep was the name of George of the Jungle's *elephant*. The ape was named "Ape".

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  58. Musical clue for the new puzzle: Something by Louis and Bebe Barron, I should think.

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  59. Easiest puzzle ever. Rest, ice, compression, elevation.

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  60. Right in the middle between Easter and Christmas, I'm working around the house.

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  61. Jan:
    Would Good Housekeeping approve?

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  62. SDB -- That's why I'm working around the house.

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  63. There were 2000 entries this past week for the dog breed question! Now we will have to acknowledge that Will's animal puzzles are looking up!

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  64. Well, it finally happened! Visiting Blainesville has now made me an honorary 'Murrican.

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