Sunday, December 08, 2013

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 1, 2013): Let's Dance the Can-Can in Cancun...

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 1, 2013): Let's Dance the Can-Can in Cancun...:
Q: Name a dance. Change one of the letters to a U. The resulting letters can be rearranged to name an event at which this dance is done. What is it?
If I weren't still recovering from eating too much on Thursday, I might have the energy to provide a clever clue. Since Will is using variations on old puzzles, I think I'm just going to recover by watching some TV re-runs.

Edit: It was quite a feast on Thanksgiving. I spent the day watching TV re-runs on Hulu, of the original Hawaii 5-0.
A: HULA - H + U = LUAU

120 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 a chain of thought, or an internet search) 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. But MAZURKA already has a U in it!

    My comment at the end of last week's thread.

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  3. Replies
    1. He who laughs last laughs best.

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    2. Your comments had me in stitches.

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  4. I suspect Blaine and I are watching the same TV reruns today.

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  5. The first dance I thought of was not the answer, but it turns out that it can be transformed, by the given procedure, into a place the 'answer dance' just might be performed.

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  6. After doing about a half-hour’s research (to no avail) the answer finally came to me as I was flossing my teeth. BTW, the answer has nothing to do with oral hygiene. Why am I reminded of Arthur Godfrey?

    Chuck

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    Replies
    1. Why am I reminded of headless parking meters?

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    2. Try to teach your dog to be one with the fleas ?

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    3. zeke,
      This only works with small dogs, but if yours is small, you could try what worked for mine. Wet the pooch thoroughly and place in microwave on high for 35 minutes or until done. Microwaves vary and yours may require more or less thyme. Bone appetite!

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    4. And there I thought you were referring to, to quote Wikipedia, "The Ukulele is commonly associated with music from Hawaii where the name roughly translates as "jumping flea,""

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  7. I can't believe Will hauled out this old puzzle!

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    Replies
    1. I don't know; I find Will's choice quite ... poignant.

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    2. Isn't that the point? That way Will can have a leisurely weekend.

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    3. Actually, Will wanted to take a vacation in a far off locale

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    4. Paul, poignant, such an interesting word. . . From Merriam-Webster: "Middle English poynaunt, from Anglo-French poinant, poignant, present participle of poindre to prick, sting, from Latin pungere" (with roots in pungent and connections to taste and/or smell...) First used in the 14th century.

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  8. Replies
    1. Zeke Creek, speaking of minding one's "a's and p's," I met the ancestor of a Silver Plume, CO, Zeke over the holiday. His photograph of miner Zeke is claassic. Perhaps your namesake (as he was definitely quite a character)?

      Them thar hills sure look pretty right now.

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  9. Speaking of re-runs, and any other kinds of runs after Thanksgiving. This turkey reminds me of the first four letters of the much talked about holiday dish that is made up of three foul. Just thinking about it has me runnin', and I'm just fortunate to be in my "business suit."

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  10. A bit of a stretch to say there is a continuation of the rock theme....but I can think of a connection to basketball.

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    Replies
    1. I'm not a hoops fan myself.

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    2. I had your musical connection yesterday but it escapes me now.

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  11. Will will probably outlaugh us all over this one.

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    Replies
    1. "OUTLAUGH" contains the letters of BOTH words of the answer to this week's challenge. The dance: HULA, the event (a feast) LUAU.

      Will used the same puzzle in a slightly different form May 21, 2006. For this "rerun," see:

      http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5436295

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  12. With this week's puzzle, I think our president has a slight advantage.

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

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    2. Sorry. I was thinking 50th state but of course the Hawaii 5-0 is pretty easy to google.

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  13. This line of reasoning is alien to me.

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  14. Dancing the Charleston at the Consulate? Oops, replaced two letters.

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    Replies
    1. Dancing the Cha Cha at the Church? Oops, replaced two letters.

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  15. You know those old cowboy cartoons, where the bad guy tells his victim to dance, and start shooting at his feet? Is that a BULLET BALLET?

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    Replies
    1. Every Jewish wedding has a HORA HOUR (substituted from right to left, of course),

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    2. Wasn't there a "Dancing with the Stars" competition like that in an army barracks where you voted for the best on a Billet Bullet Ballet Ballot?

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  16. Blaine, is there a way you can set up an email account to "pre-approve" a potentially too revealing comment, or are you afraid of getting too much spam? I suppose we could just not publish when in doubt.

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    Replies
    1. People might have to swear an oath to succeed in that.

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  17. Word Woman, I can think of a connection to Cecil Rhodes.

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    Replies
    1. That must be your most scholarly post so far, jan.

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    2. Jan, always a good foundation.

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    3. I guess that means you two are ahead of the game.

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    4. Better a foundation than a lostation.

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    5. Wouldn't this have been a better puzzle for closer to Xmas? You know, Ho, ho, ho and all that nonsense. Eat your heart out, Mr. Whelk.

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  18. I feel as though I have a connection to this puzzle. Just a feeling.

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  19. I always perform the two-step out west

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  20. This week's puzzle was soooo easy to solve, I'll have extra time to watch Braady Buunch reruns online.

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  21. Anyhow, I just wante to say "I love you, I'm sorry, please forgive, and thank you" OK so let's party!

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    Replies
    1. I say why and you say I don't know.

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    2. Shalom! (Sort of a synonym, almost an anagram.)

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    3. Well it would take a Bullet to get me to the Ballet.

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    4. En pointe: wow, Uncle John, the Bullet Train has come to Ohio? ;-)

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    5. Alas, no bullet train for us, our stupid governor turned down the 600 million $$$ in funding offered by Obama's stimulus package, and that would have run from Cleveland thru Columbus and to Cincy. It actually hurt some businesses that were already buying land along the proposed route and planning for the commerce it would generate.

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    6. So you may have some grounds for being the swearingest state!

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    7. I was outraged that NJ only came in 3rd in that survey!

      And what about Maryland? They're the 2nd most frequently cursing, but the 3rd most courteous state. What do they say, "Please go fuck yourself?"

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    8. I have heard it said in MD, Jan. "Kindly" also works.

      Colorado is somewhere in the usually courteous bunch. We say thanks so much to legislators who recently changed the vote on marijuana smoking to allow it on front porches. They were considering the opposite.

      Uncle John, given the survey results, is the " Buckeye State " off by a letter?

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    9. Yep, WW. I have nothing against swearing (where appropriate) but, apparently, what this survey really means is that we're rude to strangers, which is NOT OK! And which REALLY PISSES ME OFF!

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  22. Merv Griffin had a top ten hit in the late 40s. I don't think you could dance to it though

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    Replies
    1. You can dance to anything (I'll bet Dick Clark still looks young).

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    2. Paul, do a little digging on that one for us, will ya?

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    3. Which; the universality of dancing, or the youthfulness of Dick Clark avatars?
      I gotta know which direction to dig.

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    4. A hit in whose 40s. In his own (admittedly early) 40s, he came up with the Jeopardy! theme, which was a top 10 - 9 - 8 - 7 - 6 - 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1 hit (boom-boom). Definitely not danceable.

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    5. Dig down Paul, down about six feet.

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    6. That doesn't sound like fun, sdb, but I won't welch on my bet ...if you want to deal with the paperwork

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  23. Did you see Jabbar vs. Lee? Bruce just about got creamed.

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  24. My cat Kiki is wondering why we're all skirting the issue at hand....

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  25. HULA >>> LUAU

    "Hi (HI) Mike." referred to Hawaii, land of hulas and luaus.

    "Minding one's 'a's' and 'p's'" as well as "claassic" referred to aa and pahoehoe hardened lava found in HI.

    The aa in claassic was not the result of frozen computer keys, although, this morning, at a record-tying -15 degrees F, it could have been.

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    Replies
    1. I thought you were through with posting the answers early.

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    2. Meaa culpaa. Using aa foreign device to post todaay.

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  26. WHO-LA > LOU-OWW (Please check my spelling. Someone told me it should be HULA > LUAU, but I doubt it.)

    This was a wasted week as far as the puzzle is concerned for me. I simply cannot understand why Will Shortz would stoop to re-using tired old puzzles, when he has far better submissions to choose from. Shame!

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  27. In my comment at the end of last week's thread, only two words had significance: hipsters, referring to the stereotypical focus of the hula; and, underground, where the food is cooked for the luau.

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  28. HULA, LUAU

    > I swear this puzzle was used previously

    Challenge from May 21, 2006: From JoMarie Privitera of Marietta, Georgia: Think of a five-letter name of a company that is often seen while driving on the highway. You can drop the first letter, and re-arrange the four remaining letters to name a dance. Or you can go back to the company's name and drop the second letter, then re-arrange the four remaining letters to name an event where the dance may be performed. What is it?

    > I'm not a hoops fan myself.

    Could never get the hang of a HULA hoop.

    > Word Woman, I can think of a connection to Cecil Rhodes.

    He was a Diamond Head of sorts.

    > Will's at it again today!

    Tuesday's NY Times crossword included 2-Down: "Pig-out party?" (LUAU), above 48-Down: "Many a map of Hawaii" (inset).

    > Shalom! (Sort of a synonym, almost an anagram.)

    ...for "aloha".

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    1. jan,
      Thanks for posting the Uhaul-Hula-Luau NPR puzzle from 2006. Being only a sporadic follower of the puzzle it was unfamiliar to me although, who knows, maybe I heard it, maybe even solved it and then just forgot about it. I’m a relative rookie on this blog, less than a year, but I really enjoy the banter among the likes of you, SDB, WW, BK, ZC, Paul and all the other posters, though I often have a tough time keeping up (If I were a bookie I’d set the over/under for the median IQ of Blaine’s bloggers at 150.)
      SDB,
      In your post just above you lament Will’s usage of “tired old puzzles when he has far better submissions to choose from.” I wish Will would weigh in on your comment. Does he indeed have better submission? I wonder how many he receives. I assume many Blainesvillians have created and perhaps submitted puzzles to Will. If I remember correctly, you have posted that you submitted at least one puzzle to Will. I’m sure that any that you may have submitted are clever, challenging and thought-provoking, just like your blog posts here.
      I sent Will about five in a bunch in 2012, and then 15 in a bunch this past July. None have been accepted. Maybe that “cluster bomb” approach was a bad strategy. Maybe my puzzles just are not up to Will’s snuff. Has he ever given any inkling of what he is looking for in a puzzle? Maybe the main criteria for acceptance are simply the weekly NPR puzzles themselves… “Send us puzzles like the ones we broadcast each week.”
      I know we often lament that the puzzles are too easy, or recycled. But, regarding the “too easy” complaint, I sympathize a bit with Will, who likely walks a fine line between providing puzzles that are challenging for the SDBs of the world but are also at least sometimes solvable to the LegoLambdas of the world. I’ll bet he prefers a week with 1,000 correct solvers over a week with fewer than 100. I wonder how many total entries, correct and incorrect, he receives weekly on average,
      Will, of course can control a puzzle’s degree of difficulty via editing, just as he must do with the wording of his Times crossword puzzle clues. Indeed maybe Will could take a page from his NYT Crossword pattern and make the NPR puzzles progressively tougher over the course of a year -- easy as pie in January but by December easy as memorizing pi.
      Here is a puzzle I composed two months ago. I might have submitted it, but now I can’t. But given jan’s post, maybe I should wait seven years, then submit it, so that NPR listeners can again scratch their apparent seven-year itch for a hula/luau puzzle.
      PUZZLE: A place on the world map and an object associated with that place together contain the five vowels (not including Y) exactly once. Remove three letters from these words and rearrange the remaining letters to form an activity associated with the place. Take three letters from that activity and rearrange them, using one of them twice, to form a four-letter festivity associated with the place. What are these words?
      ANSWER: Oahu; lei; hula; luau
      Thanks to all.
      Lei-goLuau-ambda…

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    2. Lei-goLuau-ambda,

      Happy to have your post to also add to my reading list ;-). Enjoyed your puzzle with lots of vowels; noting Hawaiian native language has only 8 consonants.

      Maybe we will hear from Will about what he's looking for...

      In the meantime, your vowelly name and puzzle helped me find this:

      http://listverse.com/2013/03/24/10-tantalizing-tidbits-about-vowels/

      The author talks about languages, like Sedang, with lots of vowel sounds (up to 55), including the creaky voice or vocal fry. He also talks of languages like Ukryh, with over 80 consonant sounds.

      Of course, it makes me wonder why. So many questions. . .

      Wrd Wmn (Who needs vowels anyway? ;-))

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    3. Reminds me of my favorite Onion story ever. It's no longer available at their website, but nothing on the Internet ever really disappears: http://www.ling.upenn.edu/~beatrice/humor/clinton-deploys-vowels.html

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    4. Jan, I actually laughed out loud and spilled my coffee. Thanks for that ;-).

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    5. jan:
      The Onion may not still display this important story, however, the Guinness Book of World Records still lists it as the biggest vowel movement ever. I suppose it was also a strain on our economy.

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    6. The Guinness Book of World Records listing is consonant with other research.

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    7. I suppose they are flushed with pride, and I do hope they will not purge it. How commodious they are.

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    8. Jan and WW,
      Thanks for the links; better than Jimmy Dean’s, and almost as good as bacon. In the 1991 World Series the Minnesota Twins, with their star first baseman Kent Hrbek, were playing the Braves in Atlanta. A Braves fan (and presumably Vanna fan) held up a sign reading, “Hey Hrbek, buy a vowel!”
      Lego…

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    9. LL et al,

      One more link for you from NPR. Since it is your neck of the words, LL, I am curious as to your thoughts on MN vs. WI politics:

      http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2013/12/06/248991810/how-two-similar-states-ended-up-worlds-apart-in-politics

      When I drove back from Two Harbors via Duluth (hey, Loop) to the Cities, I saw many conservative billboards indicating I was headed to the "evils" of Minneapolis-St. Paul. Really surprised me (They never showed those when Mary Tyler Moore drove from upstate MN to Minneapolis).

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    10. I just don't understand it, WW. Why do Liberals continue to try and deny wealthy Conservatives the right to a hedonistic and ostentatious living? Someone has to purchase those Gucci bags or they will go out of business and what will their former employees do then? I am perfectly willing to sacrifice and live frugally in order that Republicans can live happy and comfortable lives taking care of the rest of us.

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    11. WW,
      Thanks for another tasty link. I was born and raised in WI and have lived 55% of my life there, the other 45% in MN. I no longer cover politics for media but still follow it somewhat. I’ll try to be brief (but you and I both know I won‘t be).
      The “evil”-metro billboards you saw driving south indicate a metro blue state within a red state. No surprise there. Out-staters in both MN and WI tend to vote with their pocketbooks and prayer books. If you’d’ve taken Interstate-94 from Minneapolis-St. Paul down to Madison-Milwaukee you’d probably see similar billboards in Badgerland. The NPR writer made a good point that Minnesota just barely avoided electing a Walker -type governor last election. Landslides are rare in MN, but both states are as likely to elect fiscal/social liberals (Wellstone, Feingold, Franken) as fiscal/social conservatives (Pawlenty, Walker, Ryan, Bachmann). Sometimes in MN a fiscal conservative/social liberal sneaks in (Ventura, Arne Carlson). Candidates who are fiscal liberals/social conservatives (like Catholic bishops, for example, if they could run, or the late Gov. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania) are rare… everywhere, I guess.
      My theory is that Gopher voters, and their Badger counterparts to a lesser degree, vote less on the issues and more for the personalities. This explains to varying degrees the successes of Ventura, Humphrey, Franken, Bachmann, Wellstone, Grams, Coleman, Ryan, Feingold and Wendell Anderson. Relatively charisma-challenged candidates (Pawlenty, Klobuchar, Walker, Mondale, Tommy Thompson, Herb Kohl) can succeed if their opponents have even less flash and dash than they have.
      Does this triumph of style over substance make us shallow voters? Probably, but I daresay we’re not alone. Both WI and MN have rich, relatively clean political traditions: VPs Humphrey and Mondale from MN; the LaFollettes and Bill Proxmire from WI; the McCarthys (Clean Gene from MN, Tail-gunner Joe from WI). Our elections are like flipping red-or-blue-sided coins; they seldom land on the purple edge. This may not be so healthy, policy-wise but it sure is interesting.
      Speaking of sides and edges, WW, I loved your Mobius/Bach link. Mobius strips are mathematical marvels. All Blaine’s bright bloggers probably are familiar with what results when one scissors a Mobius strip in half the long way (as if one were cutting a Band-Aid to make two skinnier Band-Aids of the original length). But what’s really fun, especially if children are present, is to start the cut a third of the way in from the edge and to continue cutting, keeping that one-third width constant, until you reach where you started cutting. The young’uns (as Andy of Mayberry would say) will think you’re a magician!
      Linko-Lambda

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    12. Thanks, Linko-Lambda. I enjoyed your analysis of MN/WI politics. We can put Tammy Baldwin in that smart, charismatic group for WI. She spoke at the local Smith Club.

      It's math month these Fridays with the kindergarteners. Fibonacci numbers, golden spirals, and Möbius strips are in the cards!

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  29. HULA   ==>   LUAU

    I posted on Sun Dec 01, at 01:35:00 PM PST:

    With this week's puzzle, I think our president has a slight advantage.

    President Obama was born in Hawaii (Yeah, I'm one of those, who actually believe that long-form birth certificate of his) - anyway, he still has a residence there, so he's familiar with Hawaii, land of the hula, and luau's where hula dancing occurs.

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    Replies
    1. Enya,
      But the Tea Party people wouldn't make it up, would they? Please don't be like Dawn Hoe and pop my Tiny Bubbles.

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  30. hula, luau

    Last Sunday I asked, “Why am I reminded of Arthur Godfrey?” Because Arthur Godfrey played the ukulele – a go-together with both the hula and with luaus.

    Chuck

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    Replies
    1. Didn't he also greet people with "Howaya, howaya, howaya", sounding like repeating the name of the 50th state?

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    2. In the early 50s, Godfrey included Hawaiian singer and dancer Haleloke as one of the "Little Godfreys." (Janette Davis, the Mariners, Bill Lawrance, Archie Bleyer and the orchestra ...") Haleloke would perform, accompanied by Godfray's ukelele. And people watched and listened. On purpose.

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  31. My comment about Blaine being afraid of spam actually referred to Spam™, "a canned precooked meat product" (Wikipedia), which is alleged to be more popular in Hawaii than any other state.

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  32. Lee just about got Creamed Abdul Jabbar...aka LEW ALcindor.

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    1. Zeke Creek, that's probably why Luau Cindor changed his name. Being named after a feast with a kalua pig as the centerpiece would make me go underground too. . .;-)

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  33. "My dog has fleas" is what my grandmother sung while tuning her uke. Fleas sounded a little like freeze
    :-)

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    1. This ain't your grandma's ukelele combo:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLgJ7pk0X-s

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    2. Jan, this was enjoyable. Though I must say my version of hell is an endless recording of accordion and ukelele. But, after this, maybe just accordion :-).

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  34. Jan picked up on my reference to basketball - ie, (hula) hoops.

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  35. Music and Möbius: it is not often I am speechless.

    http://www.openculture.com/2013/02/the_genius_of_js_bachs_crab_canon_visualized_on_a_mobius_strip.html

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    Replies
    1. If you've never read it, you really should get a copy of Douglas Hofstadter's Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid.

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    2. Jan, my reading list is happily growing. Thanks for the recommendation.

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  36. Next week's challenge from listener Pete Collins of Ann Arbor, Mich.: Name a U.S. city in nine letters. Shift the third letter six places later in the alphabet. Then shift the last letter seven places later in the alphabet. The result will be a family name featured in the title of a famous work of fiction. What is the city, and what is the family name?

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