Thursday, September 13, 2012

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sep 9, 2012): Pick a Pill

Three Pill BugsNPR Sunday Puzzle (Sep 9, 2012): Pick a Pill:
Q: Name a world capital whose letters can be rearranged to spell a popular and much-advertised drug. What's the capital, and what's the drug?
I apologize for being sleepy last night and not getting to the puzzle, but I have the answer now. Oorah! The hint? Study the picture.

Edit: The obvious hint was "Oorah!" which is uttered by the Marines. Their hymn includes the line "...to the shores of Tripoli". The less obvious clue was the picture which takes a little explaining. While it initially looks like an open hand with 3 pills, they are actually 3 pill bugs, also affectionately called "rolly polly" bugs. 3 = tri, rolly-polly = poli. Sorry, I know it wasn't a very good clue.
A: TRIPOLI --> LIPITOR

98 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. My brother takes this drug and the last time I was out west visiting him we attended a seminar on the benefits vs. the risks and side effects. Quite interesting.

    Chuck

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  3. Tough puzzle but you may find a clue watching the US Open men's/women's singles and doubles matches.

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  4. Help discipline Larry - he's darned lazy.

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  5. Considering that only a small number of drugs really get heavily advertized, I'm sure most of us can narrow this down to a few cities.

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  6. Sorry, I haven't chimed in for a while -- was afraid I'd get my foot stuck in my mouth (again). Speaking of which, does anyone know where you can get a good pair of shoes in other than medium widths on Long Island? Can't seem to find them too readily in the stores near me.

    Thanks -- Phil J.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't want to be narrow-minded, but how wide are your feet?

      Delete
    2. Last night I thought about posting a hint along those lines. I think I used the connection years ago to make up a puzzle suggestion for Will to use, but I am unsure if I sent it in.

      Delete
    3. Phil J - I believe you can find some in another borough near you.

      Delete
    4. Lorenzo:
      Are you trying to coax Punxsutawney Phil out of his burrow?

      Delete
    5. Do you mean "burro" or "burrow"? Or don't you know your ass from a hole in the ground?

      Delete
    6. That is quite an assumption and might even be groundless.

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    7. Hey folks, don't get too feisty, otherwise Blaine might have to call in the Marines!

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    8. Phil,

      I'm also on this Long Island. Maybe if you take 3 stops on one of the subway trains in the City, you can find a place.

      Delete
    9. Leo, I think I know which train -- not the one that Duke Ellington was famous for.

      P.S. The other groundhog clues have me baffled!

      Delete
    10. Phil,

      For me, it's always easier to solve the puzzle (when I can) than to understand the obscure clues, especially Blaine's!

      Here's something interesting: that Duke Ellington song you referred to was NOT written by Duke Ellington. It was written by Billy Strayhorn, a collaborator with Ellington.

      I take the LIRR, of course.

      Delete
  7. Last evening I posted the following:

    New puzzle came up 11 minutes ago and it is really a stupid one this time. I've already sent in my answer and am taking a shot of my favorite drug: Scotch.

    This new puzzle is so incredibly lame that the only way I think it could be cheapened would be for those listening to NPR in Canada to get it.


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

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    Replies
    1. Another great clue, but again obvious if you do the conversion.

      Delete
    2. I saw this clue before it was deleted, and am a geek, but it wasn't obvious to me!
      None of the other clues were helpful to me, so I brute-forced solved it with a script. Seriously (no clues here).

      Delete
  9. For some reason, a certain Clint Eastwood film comes to mind.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Funny, I was thinking of a couple of Maureen O'Hara films. Not "Lady Godiva of Coventry", either (with Clint Eastwood).

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    2. On the other hand, something brings Michelle Pfeiffer's name to mind.

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  10. Musical clue: my friend Baily likes Ms. Brennan

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    Replies
    1. No doubt your friend is an Oxford scholar.

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  11. Change one vowel for another and you can anagram the Capital's name into two words; one that describes an export of the country and one that is a feature of the City.

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  12. Take a world capital, add 2 letters and rearrange the results, and you'll have the name of a drug.

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

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  14. librarianmathprofessor:
    your clue gave it away as far as I am concerned...and to all others, people must be very sick to have to worry about drug names....LOl

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually, inter alia, I'm a pharmacist!

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    2. I thought my clue was clever and discrete, but again, I'm not a blog administrator.

      LMP

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    3. sorry it was so obvious that it gave me the answer right away....

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    4. So we are all great historians; however, a closer look suggests involvement by the administrations in many areas! (See Henry Adams - American History 1801-09)

      Delete
    5. My deleted clue was straight from the heart with no obstructions. That would involve arteries unclogged by LIPITOR, an anagram of TRIPOLI.

      My other medication was ASPIRIN, an easy anagram of PARIS with "IN' added.

      LMP

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    6. I came up with SPIRIVA adding IV to paris....like that one??

      Delete
  15. If you have the city, take the country it's the capital of, add a word found in this comment, and mix up all those letters to get the name of a different drug. Or not, I mean, I'm not saying you have to; it's entirely at your discretion.

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  16. Speaking of world capitals and drug ads, "I TRAVEL" is an anagram of "LEVITRA".

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    Replies
    1. It is also an anagram of VIRAL E.T.

      Delete
    2. And also LIT RAVE. But so what?

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    3. I agree, Ben; a triveal pursuit if I ever saw one.
      But on the other hand....if Cassandra Peterson married Laurence Tureaud, would she be Elvira T?

      Anagramming is an evil art --- we're all going to you know where.

      Delete
    4. I knew it was vile, but not evil. I can live with that wile hiding behind this veil.

      Delete
    5. Vile/evil---evil/vile....that may be worth a candle...it may be worth many candles...or the whole bsll of wax....I'll get back to you.

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    6. bsll?... y'know....fat fingers.

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    7. Perhaps you should consider cutting back on the finger food.

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    8. I am getting the feeling I should be more concerned with the size of my feet

      Delete
  17. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    Replies
    1. Great clue! But a Google search takes you right there, if you guess the context.

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    2. More to the point, it can't be coincidental that Will keeps doing this. I think this is the 3rd time I've posted a clue of this form, and it's only the repetitiveness that provides the context.

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  18. Summer isn't over yet! Watch out for mosquito-borne illnesses such as West Nile Virus and... the other one.

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  19. You must mean the very wide illness.

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  20. In the words of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, "...there is not a finer fighting organization in the world."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll bet my eye teeth you don't mean the Texas Rangers.

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    2. Or any other team from Texas, for that matter...

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  21. Again, there seems to be a second drug which seems to be advertised as much as the one hinted at up to now.

    The letters in order spell a part of the body.

    Musician: Jeremy Duncan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ok I'll bite...what's the answer to your question??

      Delete
  22. Wow. What a puzzle. Is Will clairvoyant?

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  23. LIPITOR from TRIPOLI, LIBYA

    DaveJ posted:
    "Musical clue: my friend Baily likes Ms. Brennan"

    I misread Baily as Bally. I thought he was referring to the famous shoe maker, Bally of Switzerland, and so I posted:

    "No doubt your friend is an Oxford scholar."

    This was referring to an Oxford show style and was also hinting at tripple E as a shoe width. Some time later I noticed my error and was going to delete my post, but decided that I like it more than life itself, and so I left it there.

    That being said, does anyone think Will can come up with an even more stupid puzzle?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Baily is an anagram of Libya.

      Ms. Brennan refers to the Irish singer Enya, whose song "Orinico Flow" includes the line: "let me beach on the shores of Tripoli."

      Delete
  24. Tripoli --> Lipitor

    Last Sunday I said, “My brother takes this drug and the last time I was out west visiting him we attended a seminar on the benefits vs. the risks and side effects. Quite interesting.”

    Seminar anagrams to Marines. The Marines’ Hymn begins:

    From the Halls of Montezuma
    To the shores of Tripoli

    Chuck

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  25. Tripoli comes from the Greek, meaning Three Cities. In my post, I was hinting at three with a small number and a few cities.

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  26. > 50A

    On Tuesday, the clue for 50-Across in Will Shortz's New York Times crossword was "Big Shoe Specification in Libya?" The answer was "TRIPOLI TRIPLE E". As I noted, Will seems to make a habit of this sort of thing.

    > 3822 hex

    3822 in hexadecimal is EEE

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  27. Blaine, forgive me for thinking you were holding three Ecstacy tablets.

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  28. Clues explained:
    Clint Eastwood film: The Good (HDL), the Bad (LDL) and the Ugly (Kadafi).

    New York borough: Statin (sic) Island

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  29. Oh, yeah, the Maureen O'Hara movies were "Tripoli" (1950), and "To the Shores of Tripoli" (1942).

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  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  31. LIPITOR is spelled incorrectly in Blaine's answer above

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    Replies
    1. Thanks. I've replaced LIPITOL with LIPITOR. :)

      Delete
  32. Libya + if => ABILIFY

    Glad you enjoyed the side puzzle, cookieface.

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  33. My clue: Thomas Jefferson---Barbary Pirates.

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  34. ... and Lipitor is made by Pfizer, which looks a bit like Pfeiffer, if you've had enough of other pharmaceuticals...

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  35. I think that my reference to a shoe width other than medium is now obvious, as was my mentioning of the Marines.

    However, I still don't get the groundhog references I got in reply. Can anyone help here?

    P.S. I thought Blaine's picture was of three Vitamin E pills.

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  36. OK -- sorry -- just saw Lorenzo's explanation of the "boroughing" groundhog.

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  37. The other answer:

    Retin-A > Tirane. I heard of it and conclude it must be advertised - an acne treatment.

    Hints:
    Body part = retina
    Jeremy Duncan = The aspiring musician of the comic strip Zits.

    I enjoyed the banter about Phil J.'s shoes.

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  38. ... and the mosquito-borne illness is Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or EEE.

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  39. Glad we're able to just talk about Tripoli, Libya while here in the US, rather than having to spend time in that very dangerous troubled land this week.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hope that at some point no one will ever have to spend time in such a situation.

      Delete
  40. Musical Clue: Groucho, because of this little number:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4zRe_wvJw8

    "Lydia, the Tatooed Lady." A classic.

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  41. New puzzle is now up and running.

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  42. I bet many of the hints this week will be giving away the answer.

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  43. Reminds me a bit about shaving cream.

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  44. I also bet there may be more than one somewhat reasonable answer.

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  45. Another easy one - got the answer in less than 15 minutes.

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  46. Two problems with the new puzzle:

    1. There are some parts of the world where almost NO-ONE buys this

    2. Even when it is bought, not everyone buys it - someone else may buy it for them

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  47. Ed Pegg, Jr. is a great mathematician and has contributed many interesting and difficult puzzles. He is credited by Will as having provided this one. I was looking forward to a challenge with many twists and turns, but this does not even contain a speed bump!

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