Thursday, December 29, 2011

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 25, 2011): Unusual, Uncommon Entertainer

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 25, 2011): Unusual, Uncommon Entertainer:
Q: Name an occupation in nine letters. It's an entertainer of sorts — an unusual and uncommon but well-known sort of entertainer. Drop the third letter of the name, and read the result backward. You'll get two four-letter words that are exact opposites. What are they?
I'm sorry for the late post of the puzzle. There was some problem with our internet where it would be up for a little bit, but before I could finish a post, it would come back down. Anyway, it seems to have sorted itself out and my elder son is just grateful that he can get online with his Xbox again.

Edit: Okay, so our internet wasn't really dead (we were just busy with Christmas), but I did like the visual of something going up for a little bit and back down, like a daredevil jumping a canyon or a row of buses. The other hints were Grateful (Dead) and Xbox (Live) which are the antonyms.
A: DAREDEVIL --> LIVE + DEAD

42 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 referred to one of these performers in a hint I gave in a recent puzzle.

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  3. I finally solved this week's puzzle thanks to SDB's clue. I think what makes this week's puzzle so hard is that you think of occupations as words ending in either "ER", "OR", "IST", or "IAN" (as in "comedian" or "politician"). I even thought of "steward" and wondered if there was another occupation ending in "WARD". What the name of the occupation actually DOES end with, well, let me just say it's what makes this week's such a wicked puzzle!

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

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  5. I knew this puzzle sounded familiar. Will has used it twice before in the 1990's.

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  6. The knight in the knoll took his knife from its sheath
    And sliced through the knot to set the knave free.

    The knave rubbed the knobs on his knuckles and said,
    “Had I known ‘twas a king, I’d have knelt on one knee.”

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  7. This didn't sound familiar to me until after I got the answer. It's a marvel how the brain processes information like that!

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  8. Take the last four letters of the occupation. Say them out loud to form a homonym of the first name a famous practitioner of this kind of entertainment.

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  9. You might find a clue in "A Tale of Two Cities."

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  10. Jan, have no fear. Sometimes you just can't see it.

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  11. Heck – I hope one of us here is picked this week.

    Chuck

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  12. Dave J,

    Actually, those last four letters were his "adopted" first name, but then he changed the spelling later in life.

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  13. I've narrowed it down to 433 possible occupations and I'm currently snaking through all of them to find the correct answer to this puzzle.

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  14. My dog is now crazy about those dried veal tendon chewies. Thank you Santa!

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  15. No, thank you, unspecified commenter somewhere above. Your hint gave me the answer to this challenge in a minute, after I spent all day Christmas mulling it over in my head (no computer programs for me!) (No hints in this post, just genuine gratitude.)

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  16. I enjoyed the challenge of this puzzle and the fact that one or the other of the two words describes the relevant condition of the entertainer as a result of the performance.

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  17. DAPF - I give those to my pooch a well! Have you ever tried the bovine rib leek flavored chew toys?

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  18. Oh chute! Sorry if I was too obvious in my prior post.

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  19. Boy, I have really enjoyed the last three puzzles. Will Shortz is on a roll with these three killers!

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  20. Why are you all so hell-bent on giving the answer away? Remember what Blaine says -
    "don't post the answer or any hints that could lead directly to the answer (e.g. via Google or Bing)"
    I, for one, would love to be picked to play on air and don't do anything to decrease my odds.

    Humbly submitted for all your consideration.

    By the way, DocTechnical, are you still alive and reading this blog?
    I used my Excel English words spreadsheet to generate a list of 222 nine letter words that ended with a four-letter word backwards.

    (Gee, I hope nobody gets the answer from my post....)

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  21. Oops, sorry, I misused the word "all".
    I meant some of you are not following Blaine's guidelines.

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  22. Are you guys telling the truth or what? My mother would not let me pursue this line of work. She preferred a doctor. These performers' moms probably wished for doctors often as well.

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  23. Musical Clue: Dark Star

    -- Other Ben

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  24. FACT: Seventy-four years ago today, Joseph-Maurice Ravel died at age 62. RIP Maurice.

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  25. It's a Barnum and Bailey World!

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  26. Come they told me, pa rum pa pum pum.
    A new puzzle for thee,

    pa rum pa pum pum

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  27. DAREDEVIL = LIVE & DEAD

    My Clues:

    "I referred to one of these performers in a hint I gave in a recent puzzle."
    Evel Knievel

    "007" This refers to the James Bond film, Live and Let Die.

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  28. My first and third posts each contained an anagram of the solution, namely: "dried veal" and "Ravel died". Also, in my second post, "three killers" anagrams to "thrill seeker."

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  29. Knight, knoll, knife, knot, knave, etc.

    Knievel

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  30. SDB,
    As you probably guessed, my post on Saturday night was a reference to you. Would you consider yourself a practitioner of this week's profession, or are there statistics that prove that jumping out of planes is safer than, for example, driving to the doctor's office or eating fast food?

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  31. On Monday I posted: “Heck – I hope one of us here is picked this week.”

    My thinking was that Heck is a euphemism for Hell and Hell is home to the devil.

    Chuck

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  32. On Monday I posted: "What the name of the occupation actually DOES end with, well, let me just say it's what makes this week's such a wicked puzzle!"

    "Daredevil" ends with the word "EVIL".

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  33. Lorenzo:
    Yes, I got your reference right away. Most skydivers seem to get a bit upset when someone says they are different, and daredevil is certainly in that category. I have often thought about this and came to a different conclusion. I believe there does tend to be a significant difference in those who avidly take up the sport and make many dives. I came to this conclusion from working with literally thousands of skydiving students and making numerous observations on how different people approach the sport, with the vast majority only making one jump. Of those who intend to continue and take up skydiving as a recreation they will continue with, I saw that most would fall by the wayside as soon as they reached the inevitable point in their progression where they were gripped with fear. Only a very few will work through this bump in the road. This has much to do with my conclusion that there is indeed a difference in those who continue all the way to becoming serious skydivers.

    Personally, I do not care if someone uses a term such as daredevil in describing me, as I consider it pointless. It is their perception and nothing more. We all look at things according to our individual feelings about them.

    As to safety statistics, skydiving has a huge built in fear factor that belies the truth of just how dangerous it actually is. It certainly is dangerous, but so is driving, and the two activities are similar in fatality rate according to the last government statistics I looked at, and many other sports are much more dangerous. An example is hot air ballooning and another is private flying. But statistics do not have as much to do with our level of comfort and how we react to danger as our perceptions and emotional makeup do.

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  34. In my response to DAPF - about dried veal chewies - the "bovine rib leek" flavored chew toys is an anagram for Robbie Kneivel.

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  35. My musical clue, Dark Star, was a reference to one of the most famous live songs by the Grateful Dead.

    The song debuted on the 1969 album "Live Dead."

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  36. Mine was simply truth or dare. SDB, good to hear you talk about your passion. I thought driving had a higher rate of fatalities.

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  37. RoRo:
    Your comment has just made me think of something in a new way for me. I just pulled a copy of old statistics from my file cabinet. It has skydiving stats from 1988 and under the column, Fatality rate per 100,000 participants, it lists car crashes at 28 and skydiving at 25. Here are a few others. Hang gliding at 40, hot air balloons at 67, sailplanes at 45, general aviation (this means private) at 145 and home-built aircraft at 312. Below the stats, in the comments section the first comment follows:

    "Jumping out of the airplane is 5+ times safer than staying in it! (Perfectly good airplane? We don't think so and neither do these statistics.)"

    So I got to thinking that driving must be safer now due to more people using seat belts and improved safety features such as airbags and crash testing, etc. Then it occured to me that while the vehicles have become safer, we have done just the opposite. Cell phones and texting while driving is number one on this list. The same can be said of skydiving too. The equipment is much improved and now most, if not all, jumpers use automatic activation devices on their reserve parachute. This has greatly helped in reducing fatalities from no pull and low pull incidents. However, we seem to find new and different ways to make skydiving more dangerous in spite of these improvements and kill ourselves anyway. Now, most skydiving fatalities seem to happen on landing the newer, high performance parachutes in spectacular and dangerous ways. So, I guess people just have trouble getting out of our own way.

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  38. I know this is not the forum for a discussion of the relative safety of "daredevil" hobbies, but as Mark Twain said, there are lies, damned lies, and statistics. Fatality rate per 100,000 participants? How about fatality rate per hour of participation? Sure, skydives are short (fatal ones even shorter!), but consider this: every skydive starts with a (much longer) ride in a small plane. If flying were really much more dangerous than skydiving, you'd expect the vast majority of skydiver deaths to be in plane crashes. But I don't think that's the case.

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  39. Jan:
    You raise some good points.
    First of all I want to point out, before I forget, that a skydiving death may be either longer or shorter than planned. Frequently they are longer as the skydive is the freefall, not the parachute ride.
    Second it should be pointed out that all skydives are not begun with a small plane ride, but a great many are made from very large planes.
    Thirdly, the majority of skydiving flights are extremely controlled. Most are a short ride to altitude followed by a much quicker descent to the airfield below. This greatly minimizes the chances for accidents. Most aviation deaths are due to weather, and we tend to not jump in bad weather.
    Fourth on this list is to inform you that a large number of skydivers are killed in plane crashes despite what I just mentioned above. I have personally known many of them and would have been one myself had I not had the good sense to follow my better judgement and leave the Illinois DZ I was working at. Soon after I left a Twin Beach 18 crashed on takeoff, killing all aboard. I left because I saw it coming. It was completely preventable, but the operation was not run properly and legally.
    Fifth is that i know of far more skydivers who died in plane crashes than jumping.

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