## Thursday, April 12, 2012

### NPR Sunday Puzzle (Apr 8, 2012): Three Consecutive Letters

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Apr 8, 2012): Three Consecutive Letters:
Q: Name an article of clothing that contains three consecutive letters of the alphabet consecutively in the word. For example, "canopy" contains the consecutive letters N-O-P. This article of clothing is often worn in a country that's name also contains three consecutive letters of the alphabet together. What is the clothing article, and what is the country?
Does anyone know if the dye in Easter eggs will leave a permanent stain? My fingers are now blue, pink and yellow.

Edit: The hint was "stain" which anagrams to "istan". Add that to the article of clothing to get the country. Also, the picture above has the 3 letters FGH appearing more prominently than the others.
A: A(fgh)an* --> A(fgh)anistan
*alternatively others have suggested hijab.

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.

2. I posted on last week's blog on Apr 7, 2012 at 11:52 PM the following:

I have to admit I consulted a list of all the Nations to help myself out with the puzzle. When I did so, I found out the answer very quickly!

3. With Easter and Passover coinciding, I thought Will might choose a puzzle related to one or the other, but I guess not.

4. I'm guessing less than half of this countries population wear the garment though

5. Blaine,

The Easter egg dye should disappear within a few days, but it will definitely begone by the time of the presidential election.

6. I predict the odds will be 3000 - 1 or higher to receive a call for this one.

7. I agree with EaWA fan. A list of countries is a good place to
start. I found a small prime number of countries with three
consecutive letters, and had the answer quickly. I looked at
the picture Blaine had posted and thought it particularly
informative.

1. You could also say the picture is a Christmas greeting. "No-L" :)

8. ‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Chuck

1. Hi, nice clue (I think). BTW, the word for the article of clothing is also used to refer to a style of dress, in general.

9. I am pretty sure I got the country. It's an obvious one in today's world.

10. In addition to the triplet in each, there is also a separate doublet.

11. I posted the following on last week's blog right after the puzzle came up last evening:

"skydiveboy Apr 7, 2012 09:10 PM
New puzzle just came up and it could not be easier.

skydiveboy Apr 7, 2012 09:31 PM
Even though this is a mindless puzzle I will bet that it will take some ten years or more to figure it out."

12. Interestingly, I found another country, and another almost country, that both meet the consecutive letter rule. I also found two additional clothing items that meet the consecutive letter rule. However, in no combination of these is there a logical connection between the clothing and the country whereas in the “real” answer there is.

I’ll be happy to post these if Blaine doesn’t mind...

Chuck

1. Sure, why not. Doesn't sound like it would give away the puzzle.

2. Tuvalu is a sparsely-populated group of islands located in the South Pacific and is a full-fledged country. Tuva is a federal subject of Russia (a republic) located in southern Siberia. It has some autonomy but is not considered to be a full-fledged country.

The clothing-related words are costume and stud. Both are worn but have no particular relationship to Tuvalu or Tuva.

Chuck

3. A neoprene wetsuit would be appropriate for Tuvalu

4. That's really excellent, coffeecup; it may even rise to the level of "acceptable alternative answer". And, speaking of rising levels, such a garment may be absolutely essential for visiting Tuvalu before long.

5. No, sorry, forgot about "q".

13. I found this so easy as to not really be a puzzle. On the other hand the Brits might just say this puzzle is positively topping. In either case many will say it's a bitch and will be half right.

14. Don't swear while wearing this, at least not while eating fries with gravy.

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

16. I notice that on Christmas Day, Will's puzzle had the word "devil" in it, and this puzzle was used for Easter Sunday and Passover, and has a serious disconnect. Is this a coincidence, or does this say something about Will, who normally times his answers with current events -- as in last week's puzzle, during the opening week of baseball season, which concerned baseball?

Hmmmmmmm.

17. See, I hear a wise bird saying, "Car Talk? Car Talk?"

18. I'm hungary - how about a nice onion bhaji ? (not so thinly veiled hint)

19. I really need to get back to kickboxing.

20. Got any words that have four alphabetically consecutive letters? For example: superstud

1. Overstuffed and understudy come to mind.

Chuck

2. Okay, Chuck wins that one. I will say that hydroxyzine is the only word that contains xyz.

3. Film noir works as a phrase with four alphabetically consecutive letters.

4. Film noir works as a phrase with four consecutive.

5. Well that's damn opportunistic!

6. I guess that many people have run across a thamnophis and didn't know it.

7. I need to see the chief ghostbuster about a brief ghoul sighting.

21. Perhaps the "NPR Sunday Puzzle" should be temporarily renamed the "NPR Sunday Question with a Fairly Obvious Answer". I guess I'll go fly a kite.

1. Splendid idea!

22. I'll never forget the time several years ago when I was vacationing in in Victoria, B.C. Canada and observed a gathering of the inhabitants wearing Dungeness crab cakes in a spectacular display of sartorial splendor. A!

23. This comment has been removed by the author.

24. Tuva Footnote

Tuva’s main claim to fame is throat singing. They have national competitions. Interestingly, a not very successful blind American blues singer, Paul Pena, became interested in Tuvan throat singing and taught himself both the Tuvan language and throat singing. He was eventually sponsored and went to Tuva to compete. Though he didn’t win he was voted “audience favorite.” He was also the subject of a 1999 documentary, Genghis Blues.

Though he was not particularly successful as a singer, Pena wrote a song that became a 1977 Top 10 monster hit for the Steve Miller Band, Jet Airliner. Now deceased, it is said that Pena's primary source of income in his later years were royalties from that one song.

Chuck

25. Genghis Blues was a real fun film, and Tuvan throat singing should be experienced. It sounds a lot like a didgeridoo, without using an instrument.

26. Holy smokes, it's Thursday already! Well, the puzzle's up. All aboard...

hahahahahaha...

27. HIJAB > AFGHANISTAN but how about AFGHAN?

Afghans are made in Afghanistan and worn as shawls. I think this fact was overlooked and the puzzle would have been better presented if it had asked for an item of clothing containing both 2 and 3 consecutive letter configurations and the same for the country. This would eliminate afghan as the clothing item.

CLUES:

"Even though this is a mindless puzzle I will bet that it will take some ten years or more to figure it out."

This is a hint referring to our mindless war in Afghanistan that is now over ten years long and we still have not figured out that we cannot win.

"I found this so easy as to not really be a puzzle. On the other hand the Brits might just say this puzzle is positively topping. In either case many will say it's a bitch and will be half right."

Brits use the term topping and this country is at the very top of a list of countries. Bitch refers to the female of the Afghan breed of dog.

28. In today's New York Times crossword puzzle, edited by Will Shortz: 57A: Capital of the country that alphabetically first in the United Nations (KABUL). It can't be a coincidence that he keeps doing this, can it?

1. Perhaps if we turn up the pressure, Shortz will publicly retreat from Afghanistan?

After all, we got him to stop ILLIN, with the help of Colbert and the Beasties.

-- Other Ben

29. My comment was more of a marker than a clue:

See, I hear a wise bird saying, "Car Talk? Car Talk?"

"See, I hear (C) a wise bird (owl)" would be a rebus for COWL, a piece of headgear somewhere on the HIJAB spectrum.

"Car Talk? Car Talk?" refers to the fact that at one time one member of the Car Talk Staff was Hamid the Cars Guy, a reference to the Afghan President. He seems to have been removed, but Wikipedia says Harry Shearer took up the idea with a segment called "Karzai Talk."

30. Last Sunday I posted the first stanza of Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky,” the last three letters of hijab being the first three letters of Jabberwocky. Afghanistan is a mostly Muslim country and many Muslim women there wear the head scarf or hijab.

Chuck

31. Ah Blain,

I thought the stains on your fingers were a reference to the indelible ink that some countries use to identify those who have voted in their elections!
In Afghanistan I believe it was purple dye. That is what prompted me to say the dye stains would be gone by the election. I couldn't figure out the "blue, pink, and yellow" reference!

32. It's gotta be hijab people! Not Afghan. How lame is that?

33. How about GHIllie suit? Don't like the war connection but I thought of it before the answer I submitted--HIJab.

34. If it isn't HIJAB I will publicly eat a pair of Mitt Romney's Maghical Uncderwear! Someone else will have to provide the coffee.

35. Yes, I'm with you. (Well, not the public eating part...just the coffee.)
It ought to be HIJAB. Otherwise, the clue would have included something about the letters being the same, and then it really isn't much of a puzzle.

36. New puzzle just came up and I have submitted the answer to NPR. Will is such a scamp!

I'm happy to report I won't have to publicly consume anything so awful as mediocre coffee.