Thursday, March 06, 2014

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Mar 2, 2014): The Oscar Goes To...

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Mar 2, 2014): The Oscar Goes To...:
Q: Take the first name of a nominee for Best Actor or Best Actress at Sunday's Oscars. You can rearrange these letters into a two-word phrase that describes his or her character in the film for which he or she is nominated. Who is this star, and what is the phrase?
You'll need the following list of nominees.
A: SANDRA (Bullock) --> NASA DR.

141 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. With only 20 choices (counting supporting roles), this puzzle is too limited to permit much hinting. But I think it's a cheat, since the answer doesn't involve two words at all.

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  3. In The Wolf of Wall Street, Leonardo DiCaprio's character receives certain sexual favors, but I don't think ORAL DONE is what Will was thinking of.

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    1. Also, there's a lot of cavorting with prostitutes, which I guess makes Jonah Hill's character A JOHN.

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  4. After I quickly had the answer I did find one anagram server that would confirm it. But that was after a few tries!

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  5. I place the odds at 4 to 5 that next Sunday, after Will reveals the answer on NPR, Rachel Martin (or whoever) will say something like, “There were 700 nominees for the award for Best Puzzle Solver this week. The envelope please… And the winner is Dale Gambol of Enid, Oklahoma (or whoever)!”
    LegoBookmaker

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  6. Haven't seen American Hustle yet. Does Christian Bale's character happen to be a chin sitar virtuoso?

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    1. Haven't seen it either, but he probably sleeps on Rich Satin sheets. Unfortunately, that doesn't sound like it describes his character.

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  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  8. More than one possible answer?

    Near the end of LAST WEEK'S THREAD:

    Paul posted on Sun Mar 02, at 05:37:00 AM PST:

    UQZHP LOAIL LDFGJ L**

    I replied on Sun Mar 02, at 06:09:00 AM PST:

    Paul,

    A hint, please, about your crypto-post?

    I DID happen to notice that if for the key, you enter any 7-letter name or word, followed by the two-word phrase asked for in the puzzle, then when decoded, the 3rd word becomes an actual word ONLY BACKWARDS!!

    I then followed up on that reply on Sun Mar 02, at 06:29:00 AM PST:

    I just checked with dictionary.com, and while what I said above is true; I'm lucky, as I initially had not quite accurately reversed that third decoded five-letter word.

    So I now post that if you enter just the third word of Paul's crypto-post, and as the key, skip the first 3 letters of the puzzle answer's two-word phrase, then when you decode, you'll get a valid but not well known 5 letter word backwards. If you switch two certain adjoining letters in the result, you'll now have a much more familiar 5-letter word backwards.

    And then Paul replied on Sun Mar 02, at 06:49:00 AM PST:

    I don't think we can possibly have the same answer.
    I sense a teachable moment here.
    I'll open the envelope on Thursday, I promise.

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    1. Paul,

      If I may go back to my hint request in my first reply:

      If I should figure out your answer, will the two-word phrase be the key, or will the actor's/actress' name be involved with it?

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    2. The phrase is not the key and the key is not the name.

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  9. I have not seen any of the movies these stars appeared in and I cannot truthfully say that what I submitted is my best guess. More accurately what I submitted is my least bad guess. There is no clue in this paragraph. I am not a big fan of this puzzle.

    Chuck

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  10. So is it "two words, four syllables" or "two words, six syllables"?

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    1. My awkward answer is two words, one syllable and two syllables, respectively.

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    2. I think my answer is the same as Bob Kerfuffle's.

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    3. I loved this movie. If you didn't see it you might not figure out the right answer; it's a little tricky.

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    4. I see where this is headed now.

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  11. Remove a letter from one of the first names, and come up with a scrambled character description in one word.

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    1. OK - remove the last letter of a first name.

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  12. If this puzzle doesn't turn your crank, the Car Guys one is kind of fun:

    Convert this equation to one that makes sense by moving one matchstick in the Roman Numeral puzzle:

    XXIII / VII = II

    No tricky business like inequalities.

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    1. XVI - II / VII = II No one has offered a solution to my "downtime" challenge of last week: What English word (of 2 or more letters) has vertical symmetry in its lower case spelling and horizontal symmetry in its UPPERCASE spelling, using a sans serif font?

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    2. Guess I ought to have copied directly from the site rather than rely on my memory. The matchstick needs to move from the left side to the right side in the equation. And it actually truly is an approximation.

      Ron, I had bid and BID before "I" was off limits.

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    3. Nice going on my challenge. It came from HERE. As you say you are more visually oriented than auditory oriented, I expected you to solve it.

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    4. ron, bod and BOD work also, oui?

      One of my favorite final exams was Mineralogy. We were unexpectedly each given a different piece of wallpaper and had to describe the axes and planes of symmetry. Learned a lot that day (and semester).

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    5. Yes. bod/BOD works, but it is less elegant since it is slang. Sounds like it was an excellent exam.

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    6. I repeat, 47.01, except it's now 46.72

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    7. Hmmmm, speaking of conundrums, Paul. . .

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    8. XXIII/VII = II

      Move one I from the numerator to the top of the II on the right side of the equation to make:

      XXII/VII = pi (the symbol)

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    9. Right, and I sent in the correct answer, as I assume you did too, but neither of us got the call. They said they got two correct answers and the winner was neither of us. Which government office do we contact regarding this outrage?

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    10. You mean : XXII / VII ≈ Π This only satisfies your conditions "approximately."

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    11. ron, see my comment March 3 05:07 P.M. "And it actually truly is an approximation." 22/7 is actually slightly greater than pi.

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    12. My point was that even though the answer is an approximation you have to change the equal sign ( = ) to an "almost equal to" sign ( ≈ ). This second change does not satisfy the conditions of the challenge.

      Here is an incredible story for those who love snow and snow art. Hope you enjoy this. Be sure to watch the video below the photos. SNOW ART

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    13. ron, your matchsticks aren't wavy? ;-)

      Enjoyed the snow art video. Thanks for sharing it.

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    14. And, sdb, like Clark Gable in Gone With The Wind, I assumed your question was purely Rhettorical...

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    15. Word Woman,
      Frankly my dear......

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    16. ron,
      Thanks for the elaborate snow job.

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  13. They shoulda saved this one for a couple of weeks.

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    1. Don't know why this comment didn't appear under WW's matchstick puzzle above, where it belongs.

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    2. The comment/reply conundrum.

      Yes, in a couple weeks or twice again this summer.

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  14. Since I do not respect the Academy Awards; do not usually watch; believe it to be nothing but self promotion, usually choosing mediocre pictures, I decided not to try and solve this puzzle, especially since I am not familiar with the films, actors or plots for the most part, and I don't see any of these films until much later when they are out on DVD.
    That being said, I have not been completely able to occasionally stop myself from peeking at the list of names, puzzle slut that I am, and having just now done so again have come up with an unexpected answer, that I Google researched and have sent in. If it is the intended answer, I believe it meets the puzzle definition as stated. Time will tell. So will my little brother, the jerk.

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  15. L bwbds okj pg kortodggn tb c plakvtot, iph toddgmetwv, xopxpf.

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    1. Lpno ec eblqm dswu yys, dee bqd evg yevgb zbg. Mssgbd!

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    2. Namaste', mike (if I may be so bold). Glad you enjoyed the challenges.

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    3. On the previous week's blog post, Paul Vigenere-ecrypted "TWO WORD PHRASE MY A**" with the key BULL.

      Then, above, Paul said "A nurse may be addressed in a familiar, yet respectful, manner." encrypted with the key LOCK.
      Then Mike replied with "Able to crack this one, but not the other one. Cheers!" encoded with the same key.

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    4. 1) I meant no disrespect to Ms. Adams

      1.5) "Teach' is not 'cheat backwards', but close enough

      2) If I'd been born in India and raised in Germany and somehow found myself in a psychiatric hospital in the care of an Irish nurse, I'm almost certain I would have addressed her (or him, I suppose) as Du-ji. Next time around, I'll make SURE I do; see if I detect any déjà vu; and report back to you. I promise

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    5. Sometimes, WW, I suspect that you're ...

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    6. Update: I thought the refrain above from college days came from a movie. Checked with a friend and turns out it was our own invention after a beer or two. Maybe that will illuminate. Or maybe not.

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    7. I'm afraid it obscurifies, for me.

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    8. I think it's a good thing to know what like is before professing to be wise. Check with me later.

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    9. Ok, I'll bite. Complete your ellipsis phrase please.

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    10. Ok, I'll give. The ellipsis is a hyperlink ... mouse over and click

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    11. Very tricky, Paul... Never saw the link on my phone. I am not a big railroad fan though.

      I guess an informed likewise now will do. ;-)

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  16. Speaking of matchsticks, I've got two ropes and a box of matches. Each rope, if you light one end with a match, will burn for exactly one hour, but unevenly. How can I measure 45 minutes?

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    1. (Actually, you only need one match.)

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    2. Did I say I have a clock?

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    3. Time and time again...and a watch.

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    4. And on this most assertive day of the year when you may March fo(u)rth all those new ideas!

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    5. I may march, if you give me a shrove. But it's cold out now. Wait a couple of months. Until then, May the Fourth be with you.

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    6. Sorry, I know there was a puzzle in there. Are you at the end of your rope yet? ;-)

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    7. I re-fuse to be distracted from the burning question before us.

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    8. Good one! 3 blazes followed by 2.

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    9. jan,
      Is this a cotton rope, or some synthetic crap rope that is going to give off toxic fumes? Did you find your watch yet? I actually was going to try solving the puzzle while I was waiting for my gas tank to fill at the gas station, but then thought better.

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    10. jan,
      If you are unsure you might look on Match.com. Good luck and I hope your rope burns from both ends.

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    11. A decrepit old gas man named Peter,
      While hunting around for the meter,
      Struck a match for a light
      And rose up out of sight
      And, as anyone can tell by reading this, he also completely destroyed the meter.

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    12. HE LIT A MATCH
      TO CHECK GAS TANK
      THAT'S WHY THEY CALL HIM
      SKINLESS FRANK
      BURMA-SHAVE

      http://grantmcl.tripod.com/burmashave.html

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    13. jan,
      How is his wife taking this?

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    14. Jump down turn around pick a bale of cotton ...
      Hey! A tulip? Before croci? How bizarre!

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    15. Paul,
      Now you are making me question if I should not have passed up a solution you seem to be hinting at and I did not think quite worked.

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    16. C'est la vie, say the old folks.

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    17. BTW, the meter/Peter limerick was terrific, jan.

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    18. jan,
      I second W's kudos on your "meterick."
      Call me a rope-a-dope if you must, but the only solution I can suss for your rope-burn puzzle gives only an approximation of 45 minutes.
      LariatoLambda

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  17. Thanks, but all I did was remember it. Ditto, the rope puzzle, which I think also came from Click & Clack.

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  18. I'm losing faith in my answer, which has a connection to my favorite line from Orange is the New Black.

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  19. I decided yesterday that your answer and the one I think several are hinting at must be the right one, despite its shortcomings. 5hE55h!

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  20. Those of you who have not figured this one out are going to have a really visceral reaction when you learn the answer tomorrow.

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  21. My answer may be more of a statement from my historical perception but if I happen to be right then I would say this is an odd pairing even if I was playing the dozens.

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    1. SANDRA (BULLOCK) > > > NASA DR in Gravity

      And my awkward answer: LEONARDO (DICAPRIO) > > > LOAN DOER in The Wolf of Wall Street

      "I see where this is headed now." >>> out into space.

      "Shae Parkensmack" is the travoltified version of SPACE PHYSICIAN, post John Travolta's Oscar ceremony gaffe: TRAVOLTIFY YOUR NAME

      "...despite its shortcomings" referred to both "words" being an acronym/initialism or abbreviation.

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    2. I predict that Adele Dazeem makes Will's annual list of New Names in the News this year.

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    3. Agreed. It seems to have done good things for her career, though. I will try to remember that when I mess up names over at Partial Ellipsis of the Sun. ;-)

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  22. ding ding ding ding ding... Just in under the wire.

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  23. Sandra Bullock portrays Ryan Stone in "Gravity," and she RAN SAD

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    1. I seem to be in the minority here, which does not surprise me. My answer has two actual words and I came to this answer by seeing these two words in SANDRA and then doing a Google search to see what character she played in that film. I found that her character had lost a daughter, I think it was, and she was depressed. It will be interesting to see what bogus answer Will presents come Sunday next.

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  24. In Gravity, SANDRA BULLOCK plays a NASA DR.

    I see no words there, just an initialism and an abbreviation.

    > I'm losing faith in my answer, which has a connection to my favorite line from Orange is the New Black.

    "I believe in science. I believe in evolution. I believe in Nate Silver and Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Christopher Hitchens, although I do admit he could be a kind of an asshole." (Piper's profession of faith goes on from there, wonderfully.)

    Neil deGrasse Tyson famously fact-checked Gravity

    > I've got two ropes and a box of matches. Each rope, if you light one end with a match, will burn for exactly one hour, but unevenly. How can I measure 45 minutes?

    Hugh got it. Light both ends of one rope and one end of the other simultaneously. When the first rope burns through, after 30 minutes, light the unlit end of the second rope, which will burn through in another 15 minutes.

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  25. SANDRA Bullock = NASA DR.

    My clue: in the film Gravity, high-speed debris strikes the space shuttle Explorer and Hubble Space Telescope. This detaches Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) from the shuttle, leaving her tumbling through space. - OUCH!

    Ouch! One might need a doctor!

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  26. So is it "two words, four syllables" or "two words, six syllables"?

    I.e., "Nah-sah Doc-tor" or "En-Ay-Ess-Ay Doc-tor"?

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  27. Last Sunday I said: “I have not seen any of the movies these stars appeared in and cannot truthfully say that what I submitted is my best guess. More accurately what I submitted is my least bad guess. There is no clue in this paragraph. I am not a big fan of this puzzle.”

    I’m embarrassed to say this to my fellow bloggers, but the best I could come up with was Leonardo DiCaprio and loan doer.

    Chuck

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    1. That was my first guess too, so don't feel so bad. Speaking of BAD, I also tried to make BAD HARK work, but do not think it is the intended answer.

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    2. Hey, Chuck, no shame in LOAN DOER. Curtis, being in the mortgage industry now do you work with many a LOAN DOER? ;-)

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  28. SANDRA Bullock = NASA DR.

    My clue on last week's page:
    dumpsterdiveladSun Mar 02, 08:23:00 AM PST
    Bah. Too fast and easy for a clue this week.

    My clue this week:
    dumpsterdiveladSun Mar 02, 08:30:00 AM PST
    After I quickly had the answer I did find one anagram server that would confirm it. But that was after a few tries!

    "fast". "quickly". The first movie I saw Sandra in was "Speed" (1994).

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  29. Chuck, I really considered your answer but got stuck on describe character rather than what character does. I just went with Michael Fassbender?'s well played but slimy role in 12 Years a Slave and submitted ham lice even though I knew it would not fly (or crawl so to speak)

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  30. Christian Bale (rich satin) "American Hustle," sort of slick???

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    1. I thought he was a "rich saint."

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    2. My choice was in the best supporting actress category: Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle as Rosalyn Rosenfeld. JENNIFER anagrams to the N.J. Ferine!

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  31. @ Chuck.
    I too chose LOAN DOER. Both are traditional WORDS. Neither are acronyms nor abbreviations as in NASA and M.D.

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  32. I did not consider SANDRA/NASA DR., but instead gravitated Wall Street-ward where Leonardo the Lion stalked, marching in with a roar. I did consider LEONARDO/LOAN DOER for a spell, but then rejected it because I wasn't sure that LdiC's character, Jordan Belfort, actually “did loans.” (I have viewed none of these films, only googled.) But LEONARDO is an anagram-rich name, so I went with NO LOADER, which seemed plausible for his role. I submitted it.

    I'm pretty sure NASA DR. is the best Presumed Intended Answer, and the one Will will reveal Sunday. But I also think NO LOADER, which is admittedly as awkward as LOAN DOER, might also be kosher. But I didn't get the call, so, who knows?

    Legonardo...

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    1. If I would have leaned that way I would have gone for "dare nolo" since he tried that but messed it up with the warning note.

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  33. From Merriam Webster:
    word
    wərd/
    noun
    1.
    a single distinct meaningful element of speech or writing, used with others (or sometimes alone) to form a sentence and typically shown with a space on either side when written or printed.

    Just playing devil's advocate here...by that definition NASA has meaning as likely does DR...As in SCUBA has meaning even though it's an initialism.

    And we did only have to look at either 10 or 20 WORDS. . .

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    1. That definition is Toulouse, is my Impression. And my Scrabble dictionary, and Words With Friends agree.

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    2. Yea, but bet we'll hear something along those lines on Sunday. The art of words? ;-)

      DA

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    3. Isn't SCUBA an acronym, since you can pronounce it?

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    4. And note that:"SCUBA" was originally an acronym, but is now generally used as a common noun or adjective, "scuba".It has become acceptable to refer to "scuba equipment" or "scuba apparatus"—examples of the linguistic RAS syndrome. (Something Lego brought up this week on PEOTS).

      I.e., it's a WORD. ;-)

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    5. Scuba is a word not because you can pronounce it, but because it's entered the lexicon. NASA is pronounceable, but it's not a word.

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    6. Oh, I know. See below.

      I imagine the more cumbersome the acronym, the faster it gets in the lexicon.

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  34. I am not so sure NASA Dr. qualifies as "a two-word phrase." I would say it is a job description—rather than a phrase. It certainly does not qualify as two words in my book. If that is indeed the answer WS is looking for then I think he should have asked us to rearrange the letters so that they describe the character. That would have then made sense. But confusion seems to be the order of the week in many of these puzzles.

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    1. sdb, I actually agree with you and your proposed phrasing.

      Playing DA is just so much fun with this group.

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    2. skydiveboy, that's one of the NASAest things you've said to me. ;-)

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    3. Did it have anything to do with the way I phrased it?

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    4. Anyway, I'm glad you are not being a disputnik.

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    5. Not at all, though I did run into a snafu or two today.

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    6. was it FUBAR away to deal with?

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  35. [BUL(L]OCK)

    Sotheby's closed at 46.93 today.

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  36. I'm going to fall into the NASA & Dr. ain't words camp, in the same way that an ampersand has meaning, but isn't a word. The wrong answer I submitted, on the assumption that Leonard DiCaprio's character had, at least for a while, a lot of money, was Oro Laden.

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  37. Matthew anagrams into WAT METH?
    as long as we're taking liberties.

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  38. For some reason, I was stuck on I.R. (Irving Rosenfeld) - A Snitch for Christian Bale. It was if I were an old long play that was scuffed and my mind kept playing that answer over. Thank goodness for a late season cold that kept me indoors and on the couch because I was able to watch "Miss Congeniality" and let the answer enter the noggin.

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    Replies
    1. loop, how are you guys faring with all the snow and cold in Duluth? Hope you feel better soon.

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  39. Next week's challenge: This puzzle was created by Will Shortz for an event held recently at the Museum of Mathematics in New York City. Take the name of a classical Greek mathematician and re-arrange the letters in his name to spell two numbers. What are they?

    To state the puzzle in another way: Take the names of two numbers, put them together, and find an anagram of the result that names a classical Greek mathematician. Who is the mathematician and what are the numbers?

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  40. How do you say "deja vu" in Greek?

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  41. ήδη δει, I think.

    But, I know what you mean...

    Will called the Car Guys this week. Maybe he'll get some puzzle suggestions from Tom and Ray.



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  42. Wikipedia's Chronology of ancient Greek mathematicians page gives a list of 36, but none of them seem promising. I wouldn't be surprised if one or both of the number names either begin with "minus" or include some non-natural numbers like e, pi, or phi (a name of the golden ratio).

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    1. it's a reasonably palatable puzzle.

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    2. Especially when paired with another phonetic food of a mathematician

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  43. Oy Vey so much for a perfect record.

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  44. Lots of anagrams this week. If invited, I'll attend the naked dance party.

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    1. 250th anniversary fireworks at Brown, Lorenzo ?

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