Thursday, August 25, 2011

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 21, 2011): Certain Amphibians Need Not Apply

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 21, 2011): Certain Amphibians Need Not Apply:
Q: Take the name of an aquatic animal, in two words, six letters in the first word and four letters in the second. Remove the first letter of each word, the remaining eight letters in order, will spell a word that might describe an animal that is not aquatic.
This seems to be a common problem for me. I should know this answer, but instead it is right on the tip of my...

Edit: My hints were "common" as in the "common seal" (also known as the harbor seal) and "tip of my..." referring to the way a trained seal can balance a ball on the tip of his nose.
A: HARBOR SEAL --> ARBOREAL
So, would a tree frog be both arboreal and aquatic?

40 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. Good Housekeeping will like this puzzle.

    When I win the Lotto jackpot I intend to buy an expensive bed with everything, including a canopy on top, and maybe one beneath as well.

    Did anyone notice how some NPR genius spelled the answer to our last puzzle on their website? I would say he really screwed the pooch on that one!

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  3. I have to listen better. The first time I heard the puzzle on the radio, I got the wrong idea about the desired answer. Thought about it in the shower and came up with what I thought was a cute wrong answer. Then heard the puzzle again, realized I had it right. Mustn't say any more, lest I get in trouble.

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  4. I got this one! Living in Boston I could find this animal at the New England Aquarium. I wouldn't climb the walls over the non aquatic description.

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  5. Musical clue might include Jimmy Buffett If you're not choosey.

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  6. Our friends on the other side of the pond might have a slight problem with this one.

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  7. Suzanne Vega + Elton John = U2

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  8. A big clue for me was what Mr. Shortz *didn't* say in his puzzle - a particular four letter word that might come immediately to mind that *isn't* in the answer. From there it was pretty much a short list to choose from.

    Musical hint might be Louis and Bebe Barron.

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  9. hi,

    I submitted my answer a couple of hours ago but did not get the NPR automated response. Did anyone else have that happen?

    BTW - this is not some sort of obscure clue!

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  10. I hope Jan didn't miss the northern lights while working inside.

    Does the word apply to us and our kin?

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  11. Jim:
    I received my automated response from NPR yesterday evening, shortly after I submitted my answer and sealed my fate for another week. I think sometimes it takes a while.

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  12. This one didn't take very long to solve. Musical Clue: Al Wilson.

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  13. Yes, a sticky wicket, Bryan.

    My musical clue: The Platters.

    Chuck

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  14. I submitted a wrong answer last week, and got stumped the week before. One word that applies to last week's puzzle and this week's puzzle on both ends: bark

    Is anyone clapping?

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  15. SDB: Concerning the Lotto, does it really pay to be a winner with such a slim chance of hitting the jackpot?

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  16. Musical clues: Patsy Cline or Gnarls Barkley.

    -- Other Ben

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  17. Doctechnical, I would have to agree. I spent many hours trying to come up with an answer using > as in :-)> to no avail.

    Well, sort of.

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  18. @Bryan, England and New England would have a different take on a number of things.

    @Tom W. is the hint inside Al Wilson's song and not in the title?

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  19. I got last weeks clue in about 2 minutes... probably because I was sitting next to one...

    This week I am STUMPED!!!

    (I'm new to this game btw and loving it)

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  20. Hi RoRo!
    It's the title of a song. Dave's musical clue may also be helpful for you.

    Ant,
    Good luck, and don't give up because solving the puzzle is a labor of love!

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  21. Ant - I had an experience similar to yours last week. As I was showing the grandkids one of the attractions in the San Diego area I found myself sitting close to this week's answer.

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  22. I guess the answer was so common - thanks for the help folks.... I hope I got it!

    Claps all around :)

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  23. OFF-TOPIC (at least, not pertinent to this week's puzzle, despite the "aquatic" nature of the title):

    Did anyone notice the New York Times Sunday Crossword Puzzle No. 0821, "Underwater Search"? The answer to <73 across> seems familiar. At least it would suggest how Will came up with the puzzle from a couple of weeks ago.

    I'm aware that some newspapers won't carry this crossword until next Sunday, so I'll say no more about it.

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  24. My clues:

    "Good Housekeeping will like this puzzle." As in their seal of approval.

    "When I win the Lotto jackpot I intend to buy an expensive bed with everything, including a canopy on top, and maybe one beneath as well." Canopy as in a forest canopy.

    "Jim:
    I received my automated response from NPR yesterday evening, shortly after I submitted my answer and sealed my fate for another week." Another use of the word, seal.

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  25. Harbor Seal -> Arboreal

    Because Will used the words "aquatic animal" instead of "fish", I guessed that the creature in question didn't have "fish" as part of it's name - certainly the first 4-letter word I would have thought of given the first part of the clue. From there I made a list of aquatic animals with 4-letter words (carp, lion, seal, etc) and then worked backwards from there.

    My clue (Louis and Bebe Barron) referred to the film "Forbidden Planet" (a favorite of mine)... in one scene a crewman is looking at a plaster cast of the footprint that the invisible monster left, and points out that on one hand it looked like a ground animal, and on another it looked arboreal, like some sort of impossible tree sloth.

    The Barrons did the score for that film, however they were credited for "electronic tonalities", as they weren't members of the musician's union.

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  26. This one was too easy. I posted my clues near the end of last week's blog. Both referred to "arboreal":

    William said...
    New one is UP.
    Sat Aug 20, 04:14:00 PM PDT

    William said...
    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!
    Sun Aug 21, 06:12:00 AM PDT

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  27. @SDB I thought you were referring to "Seal"y Posturepedic. When I mentioned England's difference on a "number of things" I referred to the different spelling of harbor (harbour) which could have been correct except that would make 7 and not 6 letters in the first word. The Al Wilson song confused me cuz he has a song title about a dolphin but I did not findd any other matches.

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  28. RoRo:
    Very funny, but I did not think of that.

    Mattresses seem to always be on "sale." I have never seen a seal on a mattress however.

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  29. The first four sentences of my comment were simply factual. In the last sentence, "Mustn't say any more," meant to convey that I was "harboring" the answer, and "lest I get in trouble" meant that I would fail to get the "Seal" of Approval. I came to the blog intending to make a more direct reference to Good Housekeeping, but sdb had beaten me to it.

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  30. My indirect clues explained: Labor of Love, where labor sounds like harbor, Al Wilson's song: "The Snake" as in arboreal snake, and The US Navy Seal motto: "It pays to be a winner."

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  31. I gave musical clues of Patsy Cline and Gnarls Barkley. Very different artists, but each of them had a hit record called "Crazy." Cline in 1961 and Gnarles Barkley in 2006.

    The one I left out -- who also had a hit called "Crazy" -- was Seal (1991).

    -- Other Ben

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  32. What I posted last Sunday:

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Yes, a sticky wicket, Bryan.
    My musical clue: The Platters.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    I was affirming Bryan’s nod to the English spelling of harbor (harbour) with no such variant available for arboreal. In addition, sticky was a shout out to seal because you frequently seal something with something sticky.

    In 1960, the Platters had a Top 10 hit, Harbor Lights.

    Chuck

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  33. Doc, since the puzzle said "might describe", I really tried the f(ish) angle . Ha ha.

    > refers to goatee in :-)>

    An alternative spelling, ghoti, is also an alternative spelling of the word fish.

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  34. I initially tried the fish route too. I figured Will wouldn't say "take the name of a fish..." if it were actually something that had "fish" in the name (e.g. angler fish) so that made me think it might be (something) fish, and the "ish" ending seemed like it *might* describe an animal that was non-aquatic.

    Fortunately I didn't spend too long going down that path before I figured out the answer.

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  35. I too went down the f(ish) path for a bit.
    Well, since I live on the east coast our weather is about to be very hurricanish. I do have a battery operated radio so I don't think I will miss the Sunday Puzzle. Be safe!!

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  36. RoRo, I drove thru Baltimore during the early 50's on Rte 301 (pre tunnel) during a flood. Lost my brakes. Hope you're on higher ground. My town on LI sound is getting set.

    Otherwise, "northern lights > AuRora BOREALis,
    and "us and our kin" in the family trees.

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  39. Hurricane dumping lots of rain on NJ right now. Warm and humid. Hope the A/C stays on.

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