Thursday, January 31, 2013

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 27, 2013): Move your Body Parts

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 27, 2013): Move your Body Parts:
Q: Name a personal mode of transportation. Remove its first and sixth letters. What remains — in sequence, without rearranging any letters — will spell the names of two parts of the human body. What are they?
Sorry, I'm a little distracted; I just read that Jeopardy champ Ken is saying that Chimborazo is the highest point on earth.

Edit: My clues hinted at Everest and Jennings. Harry Jennings and his disabled friend Herbert Everest, both mechanical engineers, invented the first lightweight, steel, collapsible wheelchair in 1933 and went on to become the first mass-manufacturers of wheelchairs.
A: WHEELCHAIR --> HEEL, HAIR

Thursday, January 24, 2013

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 20, 2013): World Leader Puzzle

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 20, 2013): World Leader Puzzle:
Q: Take the last name of a famous world leader of the past. Rearrange those letters to name a type of world leader, like czar or prime minister. What world leader is it?
I must be getting old as this puzzle took me longer than expected. My muddy thinking had me trying to make STALIN and SULTAN work, or LEAR and EARL.

Edit: The first clue was "...gettinG OLD As..." which hides the leader's first name. My second clue was muddy which hinted at MIRE as an anagram of both answers.
A: Golda MEIR --> EMIR

Thursday, January 17, 2013

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 13, 2013): ABCDEF + two more

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 13, 2013): ABCDEF + two more:
Q: Think of two familiar, unhyphenated, eight-letter words that contain the letters A, B, C, D, E and F, plus two others, in any order. What words are these?
The trick to all these puzzles is... well, I'll let you figure it out and add your comments below.

Edit: The first hint can be found by reading the last letters in the initial words in my post: ThE tricK tO alL.... The letter pairs EK and OL are what you need to add to ABCDEF to make the new words. The obvious other clue was the word comments (feedback) in bold (boldface).
A: FEEDBACK and BOLDFACE

Thursday, January 10, 2013

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 6, 2013): Sam Loyd Puzzle (16 boxes, 10 markers)

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 6, 2013): Sam Loyd Puzzle (16 boxes, 10 markers):
Q: This challenge appeared in a puzzle column in the Woman's Home Companion in January 1913, exactly 100 years ago. Draw a square that is four boxes by four boxes per side, containing altogether 16 small boxes and 18 lines (across, down and diagonal). There are 10 ways to have four boxes in a line — four horizontal rows, four vertical columns, plus the two long diagonals. There are also eight other shorter diagonals of two or three squares each. The object is to place markers in 10 of the boxes so that as many of the lines as possible have either two or four markers. What is the maximum number of lines that can have either two or four markers, and how do you do it?
Sorry, I needed my full 8 hours of sleep so wasn't able to post earlier, but I'm awake now. No doubt people are going to find this a tricky puzzle, so I added a diagram to help out. Apart from reflections or rotations, I've found a single solution that maximizes the number of lines. Please don't mention how many lines are involved until after the deadline. For those that are mathematically inclined, there are 8008 ways to place 10 markers into 16 squares and, accounting for symmetry, it shouldn't be too hard to brute force the answer. :)

Edit: My hints above were to the number of lines being 16. Being asleep for 8 hours leaves 16 waking hours. The group "No Doubt" has a song called "Sixteen" on their album "Tragic Kingdom". Also the reference to the number of possible arrangements (8008) hinted at 8 horizontal/vertical lines and 8 diagonal lines. Finally, in a post I mentioned the Beatles' song "Taxman" which was parodied by Weird Al as "Pac Man"... I think the answer looks like Pac Man eating a dot.
A: 16 lines in one of 4 symmetric arrangements:
Solution A: 1, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15
Solution B: 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 16
Solution C: 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 15
Solution D: 2, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15

Thursday, January 03, 2013

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 30, 2012): U.S. Four Cities Tour

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 30, 2012): U.S. Four Cities Tour:
Q: First, name a U.S. state capital. Rearrange its letters to spell the name of another American city. Remove one letter and read the result backward to spell a third American city. Finally, move the first letter of that to the end to spell a fourth American city. The cities are in four different states. What are they?
You guys are so good at this that I don't think you need a clue. But if you have solved it, you'll notice the state names have something in common. On an unrelated note, I like how RALEIGH (North Carolina) anagrams into HAIR GEL (or LEG HAIR). :)

Edit: "guys" is a synonym of "males" which is an anagram of the first two cities. And all the states start with vowels.
A: SALEM (Oregon), SELMA (Alabama), AMES (Iowa), MESA (Arizona)