Thursday, December 01, 2011

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Nov 27, 2011): Common 5 Letter Words Puzzle

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Nov 27, 2011): Common 5 Letter Words Puzzle:
Q: Think of a common five-letter word in one syllable. Change the fourth letter to the next letter of the alphabet, and you'll get a common word in two syllables, also in five letters. What words are these?
6, 2, 7, 6D --> 8, 9, 11, 29D

Edit: Since Will Shortz is the editor of the New York Times crossword puzzle, my hints are to those puzzles. On 6/2/2007 the clue for 6 down was Charm (Ans: ENDEAR) and on 8/9/2011 the clue for 29 down was Chasm (Ans: ABYSS).
A: CHARM --> CHASM

92 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. In last week's blog I posted the following re: this new puzzle:

    The new puzzle is up and I am delighted to not have to wait until after nine this week.

    I suspect this will be another week with few who get the correct answer.

    Jan I think you could have a Shortz moment in your sleep!

    If you are having trouble solving this one, then think of soup or comity.

    I suspected there might be more than just one that works. I wonder if I got the intended one. Anyway mine works perfectly.

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  3. There seem to be several possible answers. Here's a clue for one.

    The second word followed by the first word would make a catchy but irreverent bumper sticker!

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  4. There are plainly many, since the one I have doesn't seem to fit any of your clues. Skydiveboy, you can keep the soup, as long as you don't take away what comes at the other end of the meal.

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  5. There are a number of word pairs that fit the alphabetical requirement. As to those pairs that consist of two words both of which might be considered “common,” it’s up for grabs.

    I have found five pairs that appeal to me. However, there may be a gulf between what I think is common and what Will thinks is common.

    One pair may just out-common the others by a skosh. But once again, it’s a matter of opinion...

    Chuck

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  6. That's the allure of a wide open puzzle like this one; while there can be multiple answers (some like Crito's which may be accepted as alternate answers) there is an intended answer which makes it a little fun to guess what is in the mind of Mr. Shortz. While I do like the common words in Crito's pair, I like the pair that Chuck is hinting at more.

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  7. Seems like one word is more common than the other.

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  8. Only one of the possible answers I found also has the required syllable property if the last letter is omitted.

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  9. Following a lead from Jan, I have been playing with the reverse puzzle (2 syllable first word, 1 syllable second word). Here's a few that I found chaos/chaps, glacé/glade, lamas/lambs, passé/paste and value/valve. I don't like #1 and #3 for the plurals and #2 and #4 for the accent marks, so that makes #5 (value/valve) my favorite in the reverse puzzle category. Anyone have others?

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  10. Yeah, value/valve is what I was hinting at before I realized I was solving the wrong puzzle. I'm entranced by the gap between this week's puzzle and last's.

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  11. Movie clue: The Man Who Would Be King.

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  12. Do I detect sarcasm? Well, there's no harm in that.

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  13. Jan and Chuck - I just got the pair you were both hinting at, and I agree with Blaine that this is the most elegant of several (up to 6 now) possible answers.

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  14. Lorenzo:
    I only came up with the one answer and looked no further, so I want to thank you for your post confirming that I got the intended one. I already knew it though, as it is, as you say, most elegant. Anyway I submitted it yesterday.

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  15. Here are my numbers:

    275 total pairs that meet the alphabetical requirement
    7 pairs that are somewhat common
    5 pairs that would be common enough for me to submit
    1 pair that – in my opinion - takes “common” a skosh higher than the others.

    Chuck

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  16. Hm, yes, Chuck's is the best, I agree.

    I have another, thought the one syllable word is not common at all. I'll prepare my fingers to type it on Thursday.

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  17. Chuck:
    Then according to Levi Strauss, that will leave a bit more room for others.

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  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  19. I have the answer - with a little luck. But Blaine's number hints 6,2,7,6D - -> 8,9.11, 29D are really cryptic - unless they are Roman numerals or something.

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  20. After rejecting one syllable plurals, I still come upwith two possibilities. I'm not too concerned that I'm digging a deep hole for myself by guessing the the answer WS has in mind.

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  21. I've found two that work, both of which derive from one-syllable plurals. I'm rejecting one of the two because the transformed word is actually the proper name of an astronomical object. The pair I'm using, which don't seem to match any clues here, are very common. There will probably be several potentially correct answers this week, which is a breath of fresh air.

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  22. Ladies and gentlemen, I'm not sure what category this puzzle belongs in. As I posted in the end of last week's thread, I took a look at it after dinner, after I had removed some items from my honey-do list. Came up with four reasonable answers, two of which involve capitalized words. Will normally rules these out, but he did not mention capitalization this time.

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  23. I've got my pair,and I'm banking that they're acceptable to Shortz.

    Musical clue: Arlo Guthrie

    -- Other Ben

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  24. After ruling out the plurals I have one answer that seems to be more common, n'est-ce pas?

    How about Chile/Chime for a reverse answer ?

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  25. I got your first clue, Lorenzo, but that's the only pair I've come up with so far.

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  26. My favorite so far is the answer that Hugh and f5575a18-7651-11e0-8f0a-000bcdcb471e are both hinting at.

    It might have been easier to find it if WS had given us this one three months later!

    Science clue: 1976.

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  27. other reverse answers:

    passé/paste

    glacé/glade

    trios/trips

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  28. Oops, just realized that Blaine already listed two of those. Je suis désolé.

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  29. Although she had a certain je ne sais quoi, her face was eerily familiar. And while not so inclined to dig deep enough to resurrect the past, I find the issue quite puzzling.

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  30. I got a few pairs for satisfactory answers, not sure if I got the one people seem to think is the best answer. But Jan hints at one of the pairs I've found.

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  31. @William, I'm not sure if I'm reading your science clue but I wonder if you meant 1974? If I've misunderstood your clue, though, please give me some slack.

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  32. @William, after discovering a flaw in my logic, I now recognize why you picked 1976 instead of 1974.

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  33. @Blaine, you understand that the flavor is important!

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  34. I had spasms until I was lucky enough to find the intended answer.

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  35. All these oblique answers- yet my solution, once gotten, is unquestionably correct- no vagueness. This is why I am a math teacher, I guess.... it gives me a good breath, er, breadth of knowledge.

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  36. BicycleIreland25thAnniversary:
    I completely agree with you. And I think your trip has something in common with this puzzle.

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  37. Finally got it, thanks to the clues that everybody so, um, generously provided.

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  38. I've come up with many different options, but who knows whether it is the one that Shortz came up with.

    One of my favorite past-times is enjoying a cheesesteak with some ice cold Coors. I also enjoy watching cable in my favorite armchair (especially the Golden Girls).

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  39. You all must be geniuses or

    - is that genera?

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  40. Here's another variation on this week's challenge puzzle: think of a one-syllable word in 5 letters. Switch places with the 3rd and 4th letters to form a two-syllable word. (I've got two answers - maybe there are more.)

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  41. @ william, well my logic still has a quirk in it. This is my birth month and if there is going to be a revolution then I should know about it.

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  42. Day late and dollar short (again). New puzzle's up. Follow the link.

    Link

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  43. Great blog, but since u changed the color scheme to a brown BG with black lettering it's impossible to read on my iPhone!

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  44. CHARM & CHASM

    My Clues and Hints:

    "In last week's blog I posted the following re: this new puzzle:"

    "The new puzzle is up and I am delighted to not have to wait until after nine this week."
    DELIGHTED as in charmed.

    "Jan I think you could have a Shortz moment in your sleep!"
    The initial letters of: 'Could Have A Shortz Moment' spell CHASM.

    "If you are having trouble solving this one, then think of soup or comity."
    I thought if I said Super Committee it would be too obvious, so I used: SOUP OR COMITY as a hint at the Super Committee that to many of us represented a huge chasm.

    "I suspected there might be more than just one that works. I wonder if I got the intended one. Anyway mine works perfectly."
    PERFECTLY as in: like a charm.

    "Movie clue: The Man Who Would Be King."
    SPOILER ALERT!!!
    Sean Connery falls to his death into a huge chasm.

    "BicycleIreland25thAnniversary:
    I completely agree with you. And I think your trip has something in common with this puzzle."
    Ireland is frequently referred to as charming.

    NOTE:
    I wanted to also post a hint by mentioning EVEL KNIEVEL, and this would reference his failed attempt to jump across the Snake River Canyon in Idaho. The problem I had with using this clue was that I felt everyone would immediately associate Mr. Knievel with his charming personality and give the puzzle answer away. (Of course I did.)

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  45. On Sunday I wrote: “I have found five [word] pairs that appeal to me. However, there may be a gulf between what I think is common and what Will thinks is common.”

    “Appeal to” was intended to evoke “charm.” “Gulf” was intended to evoke “chasm.”

    Your mileage may vary.

    Chuck

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  46. Although she had a certain "je ne sais quoi", her face was eerily familiar. And while not so inclined to "dig deep" enough to resurrect the past, I find the issue quite puzzling.

    In all seriousness, this puzzle does sound eerily familiar. I was "not so inclined to dig deep enough" through possibly years of Sunday Puzzles. Anyone else experiencing deja vu?

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  47. Also
    Gents and Genus
    Vents and Venus

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  48. It is now December. Three months from now it will be MARCH, an anagram for CHARM.

    The Nobel Prize for Physics in 1976 was awarded for exploring the 4th quark, CHARM. (No doubt Blaine was aware that the 4th quark was actually first discovered in 1974!)

    @RoRo: "quirk"? quark?

    Also jests and Jesus. @Lorenzo: this would indeed reverse to a catchy but irreverent bumper sticker!

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  49. My hint was as follows:

    One of my favorite past-times is enjoying a cheesesteak with some ice cold Coors. I also enjoy watching cable in my favorite armchair (especially the Golden Girls).

    Cheesesteaks = Philadelphia
    Coors = Denver
    Cable (cable cars) = San Francisco
    Armchair - "arm"ie - Army - West Point
    Golden Girls - Gold - Fort Knox

    These are the locations of the actual facilities of the U.S. MINTS

    MINTS - MINUS

    This worked, but obviously everyone else came up with a better one not involving a plural.

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  50. @Berkeley B, can you let me know if the mobile template looks better now?

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  51. In my reply to Crito and Chuck, "That's the allure of a wide open puzzle like this one..."
    "allure" hints at CHARM
    "wide open" hints at CHASM

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  52. In my reply to William, "...after discovering a flaw in my logic, I now recognize why you picked 1976 instead of 1974.". 1974 was the discovery of the charmed quark while 1976 was when the SLAC team was recognized with the Nobel Prize.

    Anyway, William gets my award of favorite hint this week. :)

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  53. Kilns and kilos (Weight! Weight! Don't tell me!). I like the fact that this works as a pair of 4-letter words without the "s". (Of course, if Will had been looking for a 4-letter answer, he would have said so.)

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  54. Also,

    torts -> torus (as in Dunkin Donuts)

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  55. Like Lorenzo, I also submitted KILNS and KILOS.

    My musical clue was Arlo Guthrie, who sang "coming into Los Angeleeez, bringin' in a couple of keys," as in KILOS of some illicit substance or another.

    I also wrote that I was "banking" that my word pair would be acceptable to Shortz.

    Money banks have KILOS of various things and river banks are made of clay, which of course go into KILNS.

    Alas, still no call.

    -- Other Ben

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  56. Wow Blaine! I don't know why I didn't get those crossword puzzle clues right away!

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  57. The Charm of You - Frank Sinatra

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  58. My first hint alluded to Mints/Minus (breath of fresh air), which I submitted as an alternate with Charm/Chasm

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  59. Benmar, I sent in dight/digit too.

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  60. Is "dight" a common word? (I am not a native English speaker)

    I submitted "blare" and "blase" (I *am* a native French speaker, which helped with this one)

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  61. Dight is archaic (13c), therefor not common. Even spell check does not recognize it.

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  62. DAPF:
    Interesting, because I at first tried to think of a second answer word with an accented E as the fifth letter, but I did not think of one that worked.
    BTW: Isn't Tony Blare English? :)

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  63. Some alternate solutions that I don't think have been mentioned (or hinted at) yet:

    limns/limos

    bolts/bolus

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  64. I so wanted the --ght combination to work. I thought I had it with light, until I realized ligit wasn't a legit word. Even if I had known about an archaic 13th century word like dight, I don't think it would have met the "common" criteria for me.

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  65. One other word combo I found that hasn’t been listed here yet is quake and quale, although again I reject it as not being common enough.

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  66. Quake and quale are both one syllable words, though, perhaps depending on a person's accent.

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  67. Blaine, would you please send me an email? I have a question for you. Thanks.

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  68. Quale has two syllables: see for example

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quale

    but is it really a common word?

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  69. Blaine,
    Yes the new mobile version is great! Clean, elegant and easy to read on my iPhone 4s. I liked the old crossword graphic, but this new design is crisp. Thanks.

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  70. @William yes my Quirk was Quarky. I was about to comment on the common use of dight in the Brahms Lullaby until I learned the words were roses
    bedight and not roses be dight as I grew up
    be lieving

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  71. I wrote a quick program to check through a list of 'common' 5-letter words. Enjoy!


    anime + anile
    blase + blare
    blate + blase
    bolus + bolts
    caffs + cafes
    camps + camos
    casus + casts
    chaps + chaos
    chasm + charm
    chime + chile
    combe + comae
    combs + comas
    digit + dight
    farms + farls
    genus + gents
    gript + griot
    helps + helos
    heros + herns
    hilus + hilts
    kilos + kilns
    lambs + lamas
    limbs + limas
    limos + limns
    limps + limos
    marls + marks
    minus + mints
    paste + passe
    pomps + pomos
    serfs + seres
    sorbs + soras
    sorus + sorts
    taros + tarns
    tarps + taros
    torus + torts
    valve + value
    venus + vents

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  72. Whoops. "anime" and "anile" are both two syllables. Nix that one. :)

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  73. Whoops again. I also forgot that the first word has to be the one with 1 syllable, and the altered word has to be the one with 2 syllables. Here's the reduced list...

    blare, blase
    bolts, bolus
    casts, casus
    charm, chasm
    dight, digit
    gents, genus
    herns, heros
    hilts, hilus
    kilns, kilos
    limns, limos
    marks, marls
    mints, minus
    sorts, sorus
    tarns, taros
    torts, torus
    vents, venus

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  74. Solutions to my alternate puzzle (Think of a one-syllable word in 5 letters. Switch places with the 3rd and 4th letters to form a two-syllable word) are: trail/trial and louts/lotus.

    Answers using proper nouns are: brain/Brian and pairs/Paris.

    There may be more.

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  75. New puzzle just came up and it is a real crock this time!

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  76. Agreed - I don't think we should even try to fix it !!!

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  77. This really is the lamest puzzle I can remember. If Will lowers the bar any further we may as well throw in the collective towel.

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  78. DaveJ:
    Wok do you think we should do about this?

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  79. Makes me think of the famous words of Bill Clinton: "It depends upon what the meaning of the word 'is' is"

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  80. okey I was just browsing through this blog for the heck of it. Those of us in "charm city" won't hear broadcast 4 another 8 hours (I prefer to hear radio version) But it sounds like I won't be charmed.

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  81. i found one thats appealing, reminds me of the song by Bob Dylan, "Blowing in the Wind."

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  82. I can't handle this puzzle. It rubs me the wrong way.

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  83. My computer must be broken because I can't find the NPR web link for the new puzzle.

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  84. Two weeks ago it was Yo Mama, now it's this style of cooking. Does anyone else see a trend?

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  85. Reminds you of Bob Dylan, you say? Hmmm,...

    One of the protest songs from the '60's during the Viet-Nam war.

    Actually, the new puzzle reminds me more of the President at the time, Lyndon Johnson, than of Bob Dylan.

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  86. I submitted DREARY and DREAMY. Most likely, this week will be one where Will will say "Well, my intended answer was.....but we also received.....so we accepted all of these as being corrrect."

    LMP

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