Thursday, January 02, 2014

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 29, 2013): A Brand New Puzzle

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 29, 2013): A Brand New Puzzle:
Q: The word "wizard" has the peculiar property that its letters can be grouped in pairs — A and Z, D and W, and I and R — that are opposite each other in the alphabet. That is, A and Z are at opposite ends of the alphabet, D and W are four letters in from their respective ends, and I and R are nine letters in from their respective ends. Can you name a well-known brand name in six letters that has this same property?
My mistake has been assuming that the letters must pair up just like WIZARD (e.g. 1-6, 2-5, 3-4). This is not a requirement. My apologies for the delayed post and hint.

Edit: You could attribute my procrastination this week to being a lazy boy.
A: LA-Z-BOY

112 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.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have a brand name (the same name) for two different types of products...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My brand name, alluded to at the end of last week's blog, has a different pattern to its letters.

      Delete
    2. I've been back and forth multiple times through a VERY long list of "Brand" names. Not a damn thing.

      Delete
    3. This one had my back to the wall...well almost.

      Delete
    4. Uncle John, you could always try re-branding:

      http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/monogram-forged-steak-brand/#reviews

      Delete
    5. Thanks for trying, WW. I found one that works but one of the letter pairs appears twice. Well known?

      Delete
    6. Three different pairs, Uncle John. RoRo, Ruth, Laura and I may have had more trouble with this one. . .

      Delete
    7. U 4 appear to be hard workers.

      Delete
  3. I think I have the same one, and there is a third line of products plus an entire bevy of centers with the same name.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Someone just apprised me of the fact that there are at least six known products with the name and two different kinds of centers. Whew! I wonder which ones Will is referring to?

      Delete
    2. This post was when I was working with the answer ReVive. I kept finding more and more products with that brand name and I had not heard of any of them, except maybe the skin care products. Not exactly a common brand, so I kept looking until I caught on to some of the hints. Funny thing is, I was working on my IPad in my recliner!

      Delete
  4. Can't be bothered to solve this one.

    ReplyDelete
  5. As I posted yesterday on our previous week's blog:

    I would say there is only a remote chance I would have thought of the answer without using a list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. I needed a list, too, to find the answer. I'm trying to gauge how relatively hard this week's puzzle is compared to others. Any thoughts?

      Delete
    2. Still looking through lists...there are really lots of brands!

      Delete
    3. Remember, at least here in Seattle, it is against the law to brandish. However, I should also point out that when I look on the undersides of my china those dishes seem to have brands. Now I really am confused. I suppose that is better than simply being fused though.
      Of course if you are still having trouble solving this puzzle you might consider consulting a cowboy. Cowboys are most familiar with brands and branding, although they no longer call it a roundup where they bring all the cattle together with all the new born calves which are then branded and the males castrated. No, times have changed, and I'm not sure for the better when I consider that these rituals are now referred to as steering committees.

      Delete
    4. You should have given it the title of a Branding Overview.

      Delete
  6. I milled about this Sunday morning thinking about the run up to New Year’s Eve. Then I got the answer and was even more inclined to mill about thinking about the run up to NYE.

    Chuck

    ReplyDelete
  7. My comment on this puzzle is in its usual place near the end of last week's thread.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I laid out a horizontal list of letter pairs to visualize possible answers. No help. I then created an Excel spreadsheet to evaluate various brand names that I found on the internet, but I soon got tired of that exercise. So, I folded up my laptop, turned on the TV and watched the NY football teams close out their unproductive seasons.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I did the same kind of painstaking work and only found the drug ILEVRO which isn't exactly a "famous" brand. So, I agree that it is better to just lay back and think about possible answers.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Tired of crunching lists and decided to kick back and enjoy the New Year.
    Hippo Gnu's Ears everybody!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Like I said on Sunday, NPR’s standard “submit it here” paragraph and link is still not on the current puzzle page: “If you know the answer to next week's challenge, submit it here. Listeners who submit correct answers win a chance to play the on-air puzzle. Important: Include a phone number where we can reach you Thursday at 3 p.m. Eastern.”

    Now it’s Tuesday. Apparently when NPR takes a holiday break they really take a holiday break.

    Anyway, I submitted on Sunday by going to NPR’s general “contact” page and picking “Submit My Puzzle Answer” from the drop down box. This seemed to work just fine but you’d think that after two days they’d have corrected this oversight.

    Chuck

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you are not looking carefully. I found a link on the puzzle segment page. I also found other links to submit. I found more links than at a butcher shop.

      Delete
    2. Ah ha said the blind man. They sort of reorganized the puzzle site but you are correct SDB. Thanks for the info.

      Chuck

      Delete
  12. For an alternate puzzle, using the same rules as this week's puzzle (6 letters, symmetric around MN):
    What would Apple call its version of a toy sold off and on through last century?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is it an i-lover or an i-world?

      Delete
    2. Half right, the i- part. Once a very popular toy, according to Wikipedia.

      On a completely different subject, according to my math, there are 1,235,520 different letter combination that fit the puzzle criteria if you use three different letter pairs in your answer, an additonal 28,080 if there is one repeating and one unique letter pair and 260 if there is only one letter pair used three times, for a total of 1,263,860 possible answers.

      Delete
    3. Not that I don't take you at your word, David, but have you verified each one of them? You still have a few hours left until the ball drops. :)

      Delete
    4. The only one I can think of is an iFurby.

      Delete
  13. Apple jacks. Not conforming to the rules, but I'm hungry.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Yes, I got the obvious answer from your hinterland clues. But, I like mine better. It took more work. :-)

    Happy, safe 2014 all!

    Word Woman

    ReplyDelete
  15. David's estimation of the number of total combinations is a bit off. I've prepared an image that shows the calculation; the correct value is 234,260.

    And here are all 234,260 possibilities, enumerated in four parts (pastebin limits uploads to 500KB, so it had to be segmented):
    part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Edited to add that the thought process behind David's calculation isn't as off as it might seem at first; his second and third values are correct, it's just the first value (when choosing three different letter pairs) that is six times larger than it should be. I suspect he simply forgot to divide out the 3 factorial when calculating 13 choose 3.

      Delete
    2. Yep. Thanks for the correction.

      Delete
    3. So, are you saying if I went through your lists, the answer lies within?

      Delete
    4. @phredp: Yes — but it won't help. If one were able to analyze two lines per second, it'd take over sixteen hours to process half the entries.

      Delete
    5. Great clue, Ezekiel! Finally. No, that brand was NOT on any list. I'm inclined to think some may be barking up the wrong tree.

      Delete
  16. Have a wonderful 2014! I'll shortly be having a large "well-known" BRANDy in everyone's honor.

    ReplyDelete
  17. A puzzle:
    Name a synonym of Ella Mae Bailey, in five letters. Replace the second letter with its counterpart (A/Z, B/Y, C/X, D/W… M/N, as specified in this week’s puzzle), and rotate the counterpart letter 90 degrees (clockwise, counterclockwise, Fahrenheit, Celsius, Centigrade, Kelvin… any way you want!) to form a new letter. Now replace all five letters with their respective counterpart letters. The result is timely, at least here in Minnesota and environs.
    AuldLangoLambda

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Paul. I'm glad you enjoyed the puzzle. I posted it just a twinkling tardily (unlike WW, who posts her Thursday answers/explanations just a twinkling earlyly).

      Delete
    2. "Gem of a puzzle!" she said, checking her watch. . .

      Delete
    3. I got as far as PEARL, lego. It is an iridescently beautiful puzzle!

      Paul, I liked your twist shifting from WIZARD to DARWIN~~quite the evolve ;-).

      Stay warm.

      Delete
  18. I posted on Sun Dec 29, at 01:56:00 PM PST:

    While some are disappointed that the answer lacks the positional beauty of the letter pairings in "wizard", I've noticed a different interesting characteristic in each of the pairings: their case!

    All three letter-pairs are an uppercase and a lowercase!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very interesting. I hadn't noticed that bit.

      Delete
    2. And it helps to throw spelling caution to the Wind!

      Pretty snow here now. Lots of big, clumpy snowflakes gently falling to welcome in the new year.

      Delete
    3. Bah, humbug. I got off work early yesterday, and set out for one last bike ride of the old year. Didn't get 3 miles before I got caught in a mini-blizzard and had to turn around. This morning, the temp was 16 F, which is below my limit.

      Delete
    4. Humbugger, jan. The sun came out, beautiful blue skies, and then a bookending gentle snow to put the day to bed. Rocky Mountain high on hushing, blanketing precipitation ;-).

      Delete
  19. Enya et al. fan,

    Thanks. I saw this hint Monday and got the answer soon
    thereafter.

    ReplyDelete
  20. It occurred to me that the answer and submarines have something in common.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Got it, when I stopped racking my brain about it. I’d agree with the answer I have being well-known in the U.S.

    I thought I would not get this one about brands, because I really don’t like brand names and remove them when practical. This one has not entered my home.

    ReplyDelete
  22. La-Z-Boy

    My hints:

    "I would say there is only a remote chance I would have thought of the answer without using a list."

    I believe it is logical to assume the captain of one of these disgusting chairs, if still awake, is holding a REMOTE control in his hand.

    "It occurred to me that the answer and submarines have something in common."

    During WWII U.S. sailors stationed on destroyers in search of enemy submarines frequently quipped, "What goes down, must come up."
    It is easier to remove the corpse from the La-Z_Boy when the device is returned to its upright position.

    ReplyDelete
  23. LA-Z-BOY, the expected answer

    SHIRAZ, the Australian branded name of Syrah wine:
    http://winefolly.com/review/australia-wine-regions-map/

    My clues:

    SHIRAZ: The Portia pun at the end of last week's blog referred to Australia, home of the newly-branded SHIRAZ; the word has the "Koala Tea" of having paired consecutive letters SH, IR, AZ that fit the puzzle description.

    LA-Z-BOY: "And it helps to throw caution to the Wind." It took me awhile to get this one as I always thought it was LAZY-BOY with 7 letters. Your recline, incline, relaxing clues helped immeasurably.

    "RoRo, Ruth, Laura and I may have trouble with this one. . ." referred to us four women not being lazy nor boys (not implying anything about the hard-working guys on the blog ;-)) -- "No lie."

    "It took more work" also referred to not being lazy.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Also, I forgot this one. The silly branding tool referred to "placed on its side, as in lazy E livestock brand."

      Delete
    2. WW, it really means a lot to me that you even thought of me. I not only had trouble with this one, I abandoned it after the first reading, and proceeded to have an existential crisis. Was it simply an un-fun puzzle or a challenge that was beyond t-Ruthiness? Not the best way to end the year. Far from lazy, I found myself desperately researching the Internet for ways to enlighten Uncle Phil.

      Delete
    3. We would be Ruthless without you.

      Delete
    4. WW, Thanks for the shout-out. Although I was not ruthless, I was clueless. I thought the Logo Game would give me a leg up (that would have been an interesting hint) but it did not. Happy 2014 to all

      Delete
  24. > I skipped right over the answer on a long list of brands, but I kept at it and finally found it.

    I'm no lazy boy....

    ReplyDelete
  25. After chancing upon what I presumed to be the intended answer, I tried to think of other words with "the property". Much to my chagrin, the one I selected for posting happens to be a brand of showerhead (and other things, including some kind of medical records software, I think). Thanks to ron for pointing out and then helping to cover up my indiscretion.

    I had hopes of finding a TRUFIG sticker in the produce section at the supermarket, but, no, TRUFIG deals in light switches, electrical outlets, air vents, computer touch screens and such like designed to blend into your walls. I wonder if zeke's 'back against the wall' omment pertains to that.

    LERIVO is a Brazilian brand of 'triciclos de garga.' I wouldn't mind having one of those.

    Anyway, when the wizard's away, the vermin will play:

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


    04:35 - 04:55 is salient, as previously noted.

    Oh, and if you rearrange the letters of WIZARD after giving one of them a quarter-turn, you can spell the name of an Australian city.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. comment not omment
      carga not garga

      Delete
    2. Under where not underwear? ;-)

      Delete
    3. The White Cliffs of Dover ... of course ... only a swimmer would have caught that one!

      Delete
  26. My comment last week: "with as usual a great deal of helpful hints from others. I might venture that it is a shame to have it solved before Blaine posted his hint. (You could take this two ways, but I only mean it in the official, more favorable, way.)

    Actually, the only help I needed was CLowe's mention of "I could relax." I had done my homework, writing out A E I O U Y with their corresponding mirror letters, so a slight hint was all that was needed to get the answer.

    About Blaine, I meant that he is the CHAIRman of the blog; I was not suggesting that he is lazy.

    And this week I posted, "My comment on this puzzle is in its usual place near the end of last week's thread," or, it is SEATED in its usual place.

    I wondered if some or all the references others made to "lists" had to do with reclining in a chair.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was pretty slow this week in getting the answer. I had a long list of brands, but first started out assuming the pair pattern of WIZARD. Thus I was looking for A brands ending in Z, B brands ending in Y, etc.

      Later when I scanned the list a second time, I looked at the A brands looking for Z anywhere in the answer, and I was quickly skipping over brands that had more than 6 letters. However, because La-Z-Boy had those hyphens, I ignored it as too long. And for some reason I overlooked the clues about sitting back until Charles' clue which I probably should have deleted as revealing but didn't at that point.

      Delete
    2. Boy oh boy! I was with Blaine in initially and incorrectly thinking the letters needed to pair up palindromically, as in WIZARD (even though the puzzle’s wording made no such stipulation). I too toyed with CLOROX. (I don’t recommend it.) CRUciFIX came close to being an eight-letter WIZARD.

      Then my mind drifted to publishing and periodical brands. Hugh Hefner’s PLAYBOY, purveying “entertainment for men,” came close to qualifying if you removed it’s A, but no cigar. But might a periodical purveying “entertainment for mythopoetic men” published by poet Robert Bly be named BLYBOY? Alas (or maybe thankfully), no such magazine seems to exist.

      The answer, (that Paul ascertained) to the puzzle I posted Tue Dec 31, 10:01:00 PM PST (and one minute past midnight Minnesota-time):
      Ella Mae Bailey is the “mother of Pearl” Bailey. NACRE is a synonym for “mother-of-pearl.” Z is the counterpart to A. Rotating Z results in N, resulting in NNCRE. The five counterparts to those letters are MMXIV, Roman numerals for 2014. Happy Day-or-so-old Year!
      Lego…

      Delete
  27. REVIVE Lawn and Garden Products. See:

    http://www.revive.com/







    RéVive Skincare Products.
    See:

    http://www.reviveskincare.com/store/home.jsp




    Second answer, a much less “well-known brand name,” EVOLVE Showerheads. See:

    http://www.evolveshowerheads.com/


    Third answer, HYBRIS Software. See:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybris_%28software%29


    The word OVERVIEW (from “a Branding Overview,” proposed title for SDB's post) anagrams to REVIVE + OW!







    ReplyDelete
  28. La-Z-Boy

    Last Sunday (and Monday) I said, “I milled about this Sunday morning thinking about the run up to New Year’s Eve. Then I got the answer and was even more inclined to mill about thinking about the run up to NYE.” Hoagy Carmichael arranged and recorded “Up a Lazy River” in 1930. The lyrics are, in part, “Up a lazy river by the old mill run.” Mill and run were intended to evoke the song and hence lazy. That as well as my being inclined in my recliner were intended to evoke La-Z-Boy.

    Chuck

    ReplyDelete
  29. Everyone should try this New Year's QUIZ.

    http://llerrah.com/newyearquiz.htm



    ReplyDelete
  30. "This one had my back against the wall...well almost..", refers to the chair feature of staying away from the wall when kicking back.

    ReplyDelete
  31. A brand name that hasn't been mentioned yet is Milnor. There's also a Cirrix Capital, LLC and a Flux-co Plumbing company.

    There's also a large number of prescription drug-related brand names. I stopped looking after a while, but they include Arizol, Avezol, Aziraz, Azirol, Clovex, and Ilevro.

    Thirty-five names and dictionary words.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I didn't spend a lot of time on the puzzle this week but submitted "Hilton"

    ReplyDelete
  33. I was with Ron - RéVive. I used my regular word list - came up with 12 normal words, and then looked for a brand coincidence. I did enjoy the process of finding these words - the commercial aspect not so much.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I would have never gotten it if my ride had not gone past a La-Z-Boy store.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Revive -- a great word that did not occur to me. Sometimes, when caught up in the process of trying to establish associalogical connections, the feedback gets so loud it drowns out the word of the LORD.

    ReplyDelete
  36. So, SDB, turns out it was a pipe that stymied Bertha, the Seattle tunneling machine. It figures. I never considered the big bong theory.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. (That was an SR-99/I-502 joke.)

      Delete
    2. "Don't quit your day job," she mirrored.

      It is funny, jan. Just a little over-the-top Mary Jane coverage here...and it's not at Winter Park.

      Delete
    3. I knew that's what you'd say, WW! Again, no worries. I only wish the tunnel were more directly connected to I-5, 'cause "I-5/I-502" works better.

      Delete
    4. Do you think a Nerd Comedy Club would fly?

      By the way, since I have been here nearly a year, you (and everyone) can call me Word. :-)

      Delete
    5. You've heard of The Stork Club? We could call it The Emu Club...

      Delete
    6. jan:
      That is funny! As I began reading your post and got to "pipe" I thought I would respond with something about it being a bong since we now legalized MJ, but then I continued reading and saw you already did that. The grass is always greener at the other end of the tunnel. Anyway we here are all hoping to hear the light at the end of this tunnel on schedule, otherwise it may turn into the biggest case of tubular litigation ever.

      Delete
    7. "Roll me, Control me, Please hold me."

      And please pardon my idiosyncratic synapses.

      Delete
    8. Thanks, Paul. Between your post, the Hilton post, and ron's post on Monday, Tuesday, Friday sir fixes, I wondered if I had stumbled on a perpendicular universe. ;-)

      Delete
  37. My guess was iRiver, though it's not very common. La-Z Boy sounds more likely, though they both come up with approximately the same number of hits on Google.

    ReplyDelete
  38. No one mentioned CERVIX implants for MTF transgenders.

    ReplyDelete
  39. New one just now came up:

    Next week's challenge: Name something in five letters that's generally pleasant, it's a nice thing to have. Add the letters A and Y, and rearrange the result, keeping the A and Y together as a pair. You'll get the seven-letter word that names an unpleasant version of the five-letter thing. What is it?

    ReplyDelete
  40. What am I going to do if I can't think of a clue?!?!

    ReplyDelete
  41. The 7-letter answer doesn't appear on my list of common words.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My spell check doesn't like it either.

      Delete
  42. Never heard of that version. On a sadder note, Phil Everly died this week. I mourn the loss of this great singer who sparked the sounds of rockers who followed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. Thanks for the heads up Jan. Having just solved the puzzle, I realized the error of my ways and was preparing to delete my post when I read your comment!

      Delete
    4. Yvoo hfxxvhhufoob fmifmt.

      Delete
    5. Paul, please decode on Thursday. Thanks.

      Delete
    6. As hugh points out below, it's written in Atbash, but, for the life of me, I can't remember why I would have written it. I guess it had something to do with some song stuck in my head at the time, but there's a different song there now, so ...

      Delete
  43. Microsoft Word doesn't like the answer but it does appear in Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary 11th Edition which is Will's unofficial reference book.

    Chuck

    ReplyDelete
  44. I'm thinking of an old short lived tv series taking place in the San Fernando Valley.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually, I think it was on the west side of LA and Santa Monica.

      Delete
  45. Just a marker: My Merriam Webster 10th edition says the answer first appeared in 1737.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Replace one letter of the word in question with two others and you get the subject of a folk/children's song - which to my surprise may refer to a participant in an actual event,

    ReplyDelete
  47. I have never heard of this word before.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Paul - Gsrh rh xzoovw zgyzhs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hugh - Gszmph uli vckzmwrmt nb elxzyfozib!

      Delete