Thursday, November 01, 2012

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Oct 28, 2012): Happy Halloween!

Halloween 2012 - Four SeasonsNPR Sunday Puzzle (Oct 28, 2012): Happy Halloween!:
Q: Think of a word associated with Halloween. Add a letter in the second position to create a new word that does not rhyme with the first. Then add another letter in the third position of the word you just created to complete another word that does not rhyme with either of the first two. What words are these?
My hint? Only this...

Edit: My hint was from Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven "only this, nothing more." In the poem there is another line "Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore."
A: TREAT, THREAT, THEREAT

95 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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    1. Those little monsters menaced me with the traditional line :-$
      The one dressed as Shakespere made the hair at attention on the back of my neck.

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  2. I didn’t think this puzzle was too difficult.

    Chuck

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  3. This puzzle bears a striking resemblance to my Halloween experience of 2009. At the time, we were living in the Hispanic section of Provo. Our kids convinced me that I too should wear a costume, so I suited up before taking them out to beg door-to-door for candy. An hour later, as we were walking along a darkened street with our half-filled bags of candy, three men carrying big sticks approached us. To put it bluntly, these guys were the "men" in menace. At that point, they commenced to beat the crap out of me with their clubs. The moral of this story is that even though it is a good thing to practice cultural sensitivity, one should think twice before dressing up as a piñata in a Hispanic neighborhood.

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    1. So they weren't wearing blindfolds at that particular place and time?

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    2. I dunno. It all happened so fast, Ms. RoRo. I thought they were wearing blindfolds, but they coulda been ski masks.

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. How many times has anyone used that third word?

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    1. The King used it in his book several times, but it doesn't look like the other versions do.

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    2. Might hear it if you get booked.

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    3. Excellent harmony, as usual, RoRo.
      11thplace, define 'several'.

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  5. Fortunately, we have until Thursday to get the answer to this challenge.

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  6. Tired of this puzzle already. Going to the cinema before the Frankenstorm arrives.

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  7. At least the puzzle didn't day "commonly used words". I think my first word is in the top 100 but the second one is not in the top 5,000.

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    1. Correction, first word more likely around the top 1,000, although some some fear mongering leaders may use this word more often

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  8. SkyDiveBoy, are you OK? It's nearly noon. I'm getting worried, Bro.

    Does anyone have his address? Maybe we can call the apartment manager. He must have a pass key. This is very troubling. I don't think I can handle the wit and sarcasm alone...

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    1. Oh - I think we;ll be getting an SDB diatribe or manifesto in the very near future.

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    2. AbqGuerrilla:
      Nice to see you are concerned about me, but what about you? Not having heard from you since Monday last, I have been phoning ICU's in hospitals all over Utah figuring you were recovering from attempting to satisfy all three of your wives at once.
      Anyway, I just finished breakfast and am about to take a more serious look at the puzzle, but I am a little concerned that your answer does not meet the rhyming stipulation. I am having the same trouble with another possible answer that I like. This is assuming you are referring to one of Wyatt Earp's very best, lifelong friends.

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    3. Jim:
      Diatribe is an oxymoron. When have you ever seen a skinny American Indian?

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  9. Is anyone bothered by Will's use of the word COMPLETE in the puzzle question?

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  10. 3rd word uncommon, otherwise the first 2 are known by the masses.

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  11. Now I think I have the right answer and have become a believer.

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  12. SDB raised the question, and pkfridley raises the question: is that third word (that most people seem to have) REALLY pronounced differently than the first word?

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    1. The answer I finally came up with has no problem making the three words not rhyme. I think some here are beating a dead horse.

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    2. I hope you're not referring to me, SkyDiveBoy. I stopped beating my horse nearly a year ago. Diablo and I have been in counseling since last Christmas. We're taking it one day at a time and things are going very well. So cool it, OK?

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    3. AbqGuerrilla:
      No, I was not referring to you, but I see I Triggered a reaction, huh?
      I hope the counseling will provide a Silver lining to your problem and you will come out the Champion, old Traveler. Now I must Scout for a second answer, if there is one.

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    4. AbqGuerrilla:
      I forgot to add that when I read that you have a horse named Diablo, well I exclaimed, damn! But, really, don't you think you need another hobby?

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    5. I still lose my temper once in awhile and take him out behind the barn with the buggy whip, SDB. As a result, Diablo has walked out on me several times in the past year. Last May he took off with an older guy from Pennsylvania named Sandusky. But he came trotting back a few weeks later with his tail between his legs. Said he didn't particularly care for this feller's idea of horseplay. It ends up the same every time, SkyDiveBoy, with me stroking his mane while he sobs, "You're just too good in the saddle. Who could ever fill your Tony Lamas, GuerrillaBoy?"
      Forgive me for rambling, but this has been eatin' me up inside and I just had to share. Thanks for being there. Diablo and I are gonna go for a ride now. Talk to you soon. If anyone's lookin' for me, I'll be on the road to Recovery.
      PS Diablo got a letter from this Sandusky feller last week. I never showed it to him. Funny thing...the return address on his letters used to say "Penn State." Now they say, "State Penn." Probably some kinda' mixup at the post office I reckon.

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    6. Diablo sounds like a neigh sayer to me.

      Did you get my earlier reference to William Barclay Masterson? And if so, I am guessing you are now on the right trail.

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    7. And ABG, if you want to get in touch (ugh) with Sandy, why don't you call and see if he has a cell phone? Check with Senior Detention. He may have youthful restaints, however.

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    8. Yes, I got the Masterson reference, but if bat is your Halloween word, you can go to beat or boat, but it's a dead end at that point. Much like the O.K. Corral, hombre.

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    9. Exactly, that is what I've been trying to get across to you. You were on the wrong path.
      Interesting comment about the O.K. Corral being a dead end. Obviously you are referring to those who died in the gunfight near there. However, it turned out to be a bit of a dead end for the Earp brothers from then on. A great tragedy. And a great boon for the film industry later on since most Westerns are based on this episode.
      Do you happen to know about the Wyatt Earp boxing scandal in San Francisco that had Masterson connections where Wyatt Earp was the ref at a world boxing match under new boxing rules, which he called into play?

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    10. Didn't know about the boxing match shenanigans, but I do now. Thanks.

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  13. Another possibility involves a foreign synonym of the first word, and the third word may (or may not) describe my use of it. I think the foreign word is fairly well known and rhymes with a former ruler.

    Actually, I think the foreign word may be more common than the 12th century term of art used in the other set of words.

    In any event the same letters are added in the same order in both cases.

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  14. Regarding chatter about word #3. I just consulted with my attorney about the acceptability of such a rarely used word and he sent me the following memo:

    "The word __________ is clearly beyond the ambit of most individuals. However, notwithstanding the consensus of opinion among your fellow bloggers, the word in question has been deemed by Merriam Webster to have lexicological merit. Whereas, based on the legal opinion of said authority, all parties shall immediately cease and desist from casting doubt on its legitimacy. In the event that said solution is subsequently rendered invalid by Mr. Shortz, I shall withdraw my opinion forthwith."
    Jack Cheatem, Esq.
    Dewey, Cheatem & Howe PC

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    1. speaking of horses, is that your final drought I mean draft? You and SDB make my hay, I mean day. Signed Black Beauty

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    2. In keeping with the current international and national velvet painting craze, I just ordered a blacklight portrait of Black Beauty, RoRo. Once my wives approve of the quality of the art work, I'll make sure it's hung like a horse painting oughtta be---in a place of great prominence; perhaps over the fireplace.

      Glad we make your hay, RoRo. Like many other farmers, SDB and I are outstanding in our field, especially at this time of year when the pun harvest is in full swing.
      GuerrillaBoy

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  15. At this point, I believe that there's nothing tricky with this puzzle. Will should be sternly told to produce better puzzles, OR ELSE . . .

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  16. AbqGuerrilla:
    I just woke up thinking about your horse, Diablo, chasing off with Sandusky. I can't figure that out, but it caused me to remember a goat who went looking for Sandusky a while back. He said he wanted to be one of Jerry's Kids.

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    1. Touche, SDB. You're in good form this morning. I've been reading up on this Sandusky feller. Turns out shortly after his fling with my Diablo, he was convicted on 45 of 48 counts of breaking the law. So I did a little Googling to find out about those three counts that he skated on. Turns out they were just minor (no pun here) infractions of a municipal code. Something about wasting water while showering...

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    2. I am awaiting this pre halloween hurricane and my sides are hurting from laughing. You guys are putting the LOL in my storm.

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    3. AbqGuerrilla:
      Women have baby showers. Sandusky felt he had a more mature approach to his showers.

      If they ignored the minor infractions, I bet he now wishes he had failed math.

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  17. Tough though through diligence you will get the trick.

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  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  19. Someone on this blog gave it away. Thanks, love you guys!

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    1. Not really though thoroughly thoughtful.

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    2. Welcome to Blaine's Puzzle Blog where sarcasm is just one of the many services we offer. Even though your posting was one line too low, the humor was not wasted on some of us, Zeke. Usually, I prefer to handle the jokes around here, but that was good.

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  20. I'm sorry to hear the HMS Bounty is in dire danger after being abandoned. I was on that ship here in Seattle shortly after it was in the film. I guess the crew decided it was time to save themselves after they ran out of Port.

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    1. I doubt it, SkyDiveBoy. I heard there wasn't any port in the storm...

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    2. AbqGuerrilla:
      W. C. Fields said he always carried small bottles of booze in his golf bag in case he saw a snake. In another pouch he said he carried a snake just in case there wasn't one. A British ship without port would be a sorry sight indeed.
      Speaking of port. Did you know that all toasts at Buckingham Palace are madee with vintage port? What I want to know is, why am I never invited?

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    3. All things considered, I'm glad I'm not in Philadelphia (at least this morning)...

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  21. It might be giving too much away if I were to be more specific until Thursday, but I just noticed an unusual progression with this puzzle that goes far beyond Will's puzzle. See if you can find it too.

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  22. Finally got the one that has absolutely no rhymes in it. I find it unlikely that most folks would use or see the third word outside of a legal document. Maybe Will's JD degree finally caught up to him.

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    1. Maybe he should seriously consider practicing law again. If he wrote poetry the way he conceives puzzles, he'd be dis-bard.

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    2. AbqGuerrilla:
      Look on the bright side. You can practice law, or you can practice medicine, or you can practice puzzles. Now the question is, which does the least harm if not performed well? I think Will has made the better choice.

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    3. Of course, one might also take into consideration the huge number of "patrons/clients" that Will affects with his "less-important" episodes of malpractice. I dunno, is it worse to cut off the wrong leg of a single individual or to wound the psyche of 100,000+ listeners who wandered through a week-long maze searching in vein for a literate solution to a sophomoric puzzle? I'm just saying I never give up wishing that they'd let one of us take over Will's job.
      Another dopeless hope fiend,
      GuerrillaBoy

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    4. AbqGuerrilla:
      Interesting you should choose having the wrong leg amputated as your example of medical malpractice. Many years ago I knew a woman this happened to and it was discovered in the recovery room before she awoke. She was taken immediately back into the operating room she had just come from and the intented leg was removed.
      Fortunately she recovered, but was unable to obtain redress. She sought legal advice and help from numerous lawyers, but each of them advised her not to sue since she did not have a leg to stand on.

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    5. My old girlfriend, Margaret, had a peg leg. She got around quite well, but sometimes when I spun her around on the dance floor, it came unscrewed and fell off. We were quite the pair. One night after the prom, I got caught screwin' my head off behind the dumpster.

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    6. It seems to me that it could be quite dangerous to have a dance floor fall off. Did Peggy see what you were doing behind the dumpster?

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  23. Great costumes. I was fooling around with "cat" and "bat". Nice if you can insert a letter in the 4th position, but apparently a dead end. So need to find some biblical, archaic legaleze term for the third word.

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  24. The first two came to me easily, but the third…I had to write it down and do some "realigning" while reading it aloud.

    The "biblical" hints here made me think I was supposed to look for some Latin verb in the subjunctive mood, but…no such root, not that I am aware of.

    And speaking of "legalese": There is another word, structurally similar to the third word in this puzzle but somewhat "transposed" from it, and in my perception a little more common; I think I have seen it with fair frequency in the fine print of service agreements and such.

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  25. Is anyone else finding it impossible to post to an individual comment today, as I am? I click on Reply, but nothing happens; no text box. Is it because of climate change? Or Ghosts?

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    1. They seem to have now corrected this problem.

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    2. SDB - Are you sure there is not a loose nut on your keypad?

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  26. Same thing was happening to me two days ago. I thought it was due to Cane hurrying but you are on other coast so don't know.

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  27. TREAT
    THREAT
    THEREAT

    I still would like to know why Will used the word "complete" in his puzzle question.

    I had the same experience as Wolfgang. I got the first two words immediately, but did not recognize the third word as being a word until I wrote it down and then I looked it up just to be sure. I doubt I have ever used this word. So I spent some time trying to make “begat” work with bat and then cat, chat & cheat & cat, coat ?, but no luck making any of this work.

    Later I found the following:

    A
    AT
    EAT
    TEAT
    TREAT
    THREAT
    THEREAT

    An interesting progression, I think anyway.

    Not a bad puzzle this time and timely too.

    Speaking of Halloween. I was going to do the caramel covered apple thing again until I saw the price of apples. So I skipped the apples and simply dipped the razor blades in caramel and then chocolate. Much easier too. Gotta go; loud knocking at the door.

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    1. I kinda like the progression, SDB; I don't see a next step, but if you're already 'thereat'...who needs one?
      Break me off a piece of that Kit-Kat bar.

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    2. Let's archive this for a future puzzle!

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    3. Archive away, but never ask me to explain.

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  28. treat, threat, thereat

    Last Sunday I said, “I didn’t think this puzzle was too difficult.” Difficult is a synonym for tricky. Tricky is from the root trick which is associated with treat at Halloween.

    Chuck

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  29. My comment, "Fortunately, we have until Thursday to get the answer to this challenge."

    Because Wednesday was scheduled to be Halloween, when we would get our "TREAT".

    But here in New Jersey, we got a much worse trick than we expected, and Halloween has officially been moved to Nov. 5.

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  30. My hint was "only this" from Poe's "The Raven" which happens to use the word thereat. By the way, don't forget to click the photo of our Halloween costumes to get to a video...

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  31. When Roy Rogers's horse died, he made it into horse jerky and served it to the children who came to his ranch for Halloween. The was the origin of the phrase "Trigger treat'.

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  32. My "clues" were:

    "I had to write it down and do some 'realigning' while reading it aloud."
    I tried to read "thereat" as "there-EAT" and "THERE-e-at" before I finally tried "THERE-at."

    "The 'biblical' hints here made me think I was supposed to look for some Latin verb in the subjunctive mood…"
    An oblique reference to the ending -eat, which to me bears that kind of association.

    "There is another word, structurally similar to the third word in this puzzle but somewhat 'transposed' from it…"
    That would be the word herein: "structurally similar" to thereat, i.e., just as stilted; and "somewhat transposed" (not there, but here; and not at, but in).

    Incidentally…I noticed right after posting the coment I'd come within two letters of giving it away:

    "And speaking of 'legalese': There is another word…"
    There is…so close to thereat! I thought my comment would get deleted…!

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  33. My clues revealed:
    This puzzle bears a striking resemblance to my Halloween experience of 2009. At the time, we were living in the Hispanic section of Provo. Our kids convinced me that I too should wear a costume, so I suited up before taking them out to beg (Trick or TREAT) door-to-door for candy. An hour later, as we were walking along a darkened street with our half-filled bags of candy, three men carrying big sticks approached us. To put it bluntly, these guys were the "men" in menace (THREAT). At that point (THEREAT), they commenced to beat the crap out of me with their clubs. The moral of this story is that even though it is a good thing to practice cultural sensitivity, one should think twice before dressing up as a piñata in a Hispanic neighborhood.

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    1. I read your above hints as leading to:
      BAT
      BEAT
      BEGAT

      I thought you were way off base.

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  34. CAT
    CHAT (French tomcat. Pronounced shah? cha? schah?)
    CHEAT (Which this is.)

    Is THEREAT a pleonasm?

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    1. cat and chat rhyme--no rhyming.....

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    2. I took pronounciation from my 1955 Nouveau Petit Larousse
      CHAT (cha)
      CHATTE (chat)
      As I recall CHAT's t is pronounced depending on what follows.
      Dictionary out of date? Canadian vs. Continental thing?

      A 1915 pocket dictionary gave
      CHAT (sha) m cat
      CHATTE (shat) f she-cat

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  35. My hint: "Tired of this puzzle already. Going to the cinema before the Frankenstorm arrives."

    cinema = theater. And theater is an anagram of thereat.

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  36. I thought of BOO BOZO BONZO if slang is allowed.

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    1. You added letters to the third position and the third position again. It does not work. You should go back and read the question again.

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    2. I still like the progression.

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  37. New puzzle just came up and we're back to stupid again, I just wanted to warn you all.

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  38. What I said at the end of the thread before this one applies to the new puzzle again.

    I solved the new puzzle for next week in about a minute, but once again there will be some people in this group who will solve it in two seconds; - and still be angry at themselves for not having solved it in less than one second.

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  39. Surprised noone mentioned BAT, BEAT, BERAT or HAT, HEAT, HERAT.

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