Friday, June 13, 2014

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jun 8, 2014): No User Serviceable Parts Inside

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jun 8, 2014): No User Serviceable Parts Inside:
Q: Name part of a TV that contains the letter C. Replace the C with the name of a book of the Old Testament, keeping all the letters in order. The result will name a sailing vessel of old. What is it?
I'm not listening to your complaints on this puzzle. Call it tricky or call it clever, I'm sure there will be grumblings once you solve it.

I've set my V-CHIP to a G rating, so I won't be able to hear your complaints. :)
A: V-CHIP - C + I KINGS = V(IKINGS)HIP

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.

2. The tv part and the captain are not compatible.

1. We missed you last week, zeke creek.

Old testament and Vessel of Old: The Q E AARP?

2. How many Royal vessels?

3. zeke,
Six, I would say.

And I echo Word Woman’s sentiments, and add to them: Blainesville last week, without zeke creek, was bleak, weak, off-peak, freaky, unspeakably oblique and reeking of double-speak (not to mention unmentionables and antique sneakers). We missed your down-home zeke-speak, your beacon of plain-speakin’. It was as if we were all speaking Greek. Eek!

LegoBeaconSeeker

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1. This comment has been removed by the author.

2. One more time: Replace six letters in the sailing vessel of old with a main theme of the Old Testament, to name an inferior sailing vessel.

3. Third time's a charm, mike_hinterberg.

Especially after our wild weather yesterday in CO. A tornado in Fairplay?!

4. The Viking Fighter ship is supported by the ship Fairplay.

5. Hah! A topical hint indeed! Missed that one, as I was focused on the fact that, indeed, we have had wild weather lately!

6. As for my hint, I had to reword it when I remembered that the answer to submit was actually "VCHIP." But starting with VIKINGSHIP, and replacing "six letters" (quoted for emphasis), I meant to replace "VI" (6 in Roman numerals) with a mean theme of the OT, which I suggest could be "SIN," leading to SINKINGSHIP, an inferior sailing vessel if there ever was one!
(To be fair, "SIN" is probably as much of a topic in the New Testament, albeit with a vastly different different approach to the way it's handled. Forgive me!

7. I was hoping it was significantly topical...and yes, the weather has been wild, mike_hinterberg.

What was the inferior sailing vessel?

8. We posted at about the same time. SINKING SHIP was very clever, especially the Roman Numeral part...Did you mean mean theme? ;-)

9. Probably, but "mean theme" in the OT would probably be correct! A bit more forgiving in the NT.

I think that sort of puzzle construct regarding Roman numerals could lead to a succinct, clever puzzle with a "twist"...thinking about it a bit (maybe it's been done before?)

10. It would be a great puzzle mike_h. Might have to wait five years or so though.

Forgiveness--a good NT theme.

11. Word Woman,
Your topical storm Fairplay clue went over my head like a scud missile (which is good, when it comes to scud missiles you prefer them to go over you head, not to home in on your head).

mike_hinterberg,
Your "Sinking Ship/six letters=VI" puzzle is a gem, just as clever as Will's fine effort this week.

Lego...

12. Lego,
When you say "head" are you referring to the topmost part of your body, or perhaps a nautical toilet?

13. Thanks, Lego. It was especially fun as I'd been to Fairplay the Saturday before. Mountain tornados are pretty rare though Fairplay is in a wide graben between horsts. . .

And is it home in or hone in? Or both?

14. sdb,
When I say “head” I am nautical refering to a loo. So, toodle-loo to your toilet theory! No the “head” to which I refer is the topmost part of my beer mug. As soon as those scuds start a buzzin’ overhead, I tap a keg or two of Leinenkugel’s and keep the foam aflowin’.

Word Woman,
Graben? Horsts? The last time I was graben a horst it bucked me clear off! Deutsch I duen’t sprechen. C’mon DubDubYaYa, Play Fair!

Home in/hone in: either is correct, according to my current bible, Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition. I had always assumed “honed in” to be correct, but that people who more familiar with “home” than with “hone” mistakenly said “homed in” when they should have said “honed in.”

But the opposite is actually true. In a usage note under its “hone in” entry, MW says, “Even though (honed in) seems to have established itself in American English, your use of it, especially in writing, is likely to be called a mistake.”

LegoPhomeHone

15. Lego,
And to whom was this foment? In any case, thanks for the incite.

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17. sdb,
No, no. Not a case. A keg. Such as that preferred by gutterballing keglers (see link below for an animated exception to this rule). A case of beer bottles does figure in, however, to some “great moments in foam” (“foamoments“) from my childhood.

Local TV. NBC affiliate WEAU Channel 13, Eau Claire, Wis.; 10-10:30 p.m. News-Weather-Sports. This was pre-Johnny Carson but after Steve Allen, probably the Jack Paar version of the Tonight Show followed the local newscast on the network. But never mind, WEAU didn’t carry the Tonight Show, but instead ran moldy movies on a show they dubbed “Theatre 13.”

But I digress. Back to the foam. News anchor: Bob Dawson (who also played “Sheriff Bob” on a locally produced daily afternoon kids-in-the-studio cartoon show); Weatherman: Howard “The Hat” Tricky, whose schtick was to draw a charcoal picture on a yard-square easel-borne sheet of paper as he delivered the forecast; and Sports guy: Aldy Swanson.

But I continue digressing. Between the news and weather, or weather and sports, newsman Dawson did a live-in studio commercial for local brewer Walter’s Beer. (I remember a seasonal brew they called Tempo, with a recorded jingle, the metronomic “Tem-po, Tem-po, T-E-M-P-O, Temmm-po Beer!”

That played at the end of the commercial, but the highlight was when “Sheriff Bob” would -- live-on-camera, so no second takes, no overdubs, no net -- pour the contents of a 12-ounce Tempo bottle into a beer glass. Different every time. Great suspense. Would the foam overflow the brim and soak the feckless coaster? Would the good sheriff “chicken out” and stop the pour short, thereby producing a feeble nearly headless glass-not-much-more-than-half empty? Sometimes he’d interrupt his pour, then resume it, then stop it again, but not before creating still another foamy mess.

On the Jackie Gleason Show, Gleason’s Joe the Bartender (not to be confused with Joe the Plumber) would stick his forefinger into the glass to stem the foamy overflow. Can’t remember Sheriff Bob ever doing that.
YouTube doesn’t have Sheriff Bob in its archives, of course, but these Midwest regional animated Hamm’s Beer bowling and waiter commercials give a flavor of “the pour.”

TempoLambda

18. We had Sheriff Tex. "Texas" Jim Lewis.

4. I have the solution and just as Blaine says, you are going to cry "Foul" when it comes to you. You will also see why Will phrased the challenge as "a sailing vessel of old" instead of...

5. Blaine, ron, etc.,
No grumblings from me. It is a clever puzzle. Yes, a bit tricky, but fair, I believe. Dr. Shortz, after all, is the puzzle master!

If you are having trouble, don’t worry. You can solve this. There are not that many books in the Old Testament (or “Hebrew Scriptures” if you want to be BC {Biblically Correct}), and even fewer that are plausible candidates for this puzzle… Habakkuk? Deuteronomy? Ecclesiastes? Zephaniah? Zechariah? I don’t think so! (I wonder if zeke creek found a solution that involves Ezekiel?)

Nor are there that many TV parts. Really. How many can you name? I run dry after about five. Now a bicycle, that’s different. Lots of parts: Pedal, wheel, brakes, cables, gear-shifters, spokes, tire, handlebars, gear, derailleur, sprocket, calipers, frame, fender, seat, seat post, grips, axle, rim, reflector, inner tube, fork, crank, chain… and a bicycle, ironically, is a simple machine compared to a TV.

No clues in this post, just encouragement, I hope.

LegoLambderailleur

1. Bikes instead of TV's: now you're speaking my language, LL! If you're going to derail the conversation, don't forget about the jockey wheel -- not to add any tension to the conversation.
Speaking of, and thinking of recent sporting news, let us consider how many more parts a horse has than a bike!

6. This was one where I got my answer during a long run, while my brain was oxygen deprived.

1. The answer reminds me of a different book in the Old Testament.

7. 1470 - 1471

1. That would be minus one, I presume.

8. The ship's culinary staff might be linked to the answer. And "culinary staff" is a more appropriate term than "cook" just as "film" is sometimes more appropriate than "movie."

1. Culinary staff would prepare food using a VIKING stove.

2. LMP,
I thought you were hinting at galley slaves.

9. This reminds me of a collection of 28 riddles that my 4th grade teacher (Mrs. Berg) gave to my friends and me. Once we figured out the first, we realized that we had the 27 answers and just had to match them to the correct riddle.

Coincidentally, my wife and I got married not too far from one of these vessels last fall.

1. Glad you are back in the loop, loop. Near Lake Superior? Lock Nest Muenster?

2. Itsa alla gouda here. The lake is just a few blocks away. Not sure if it's warm enough for a dip yet. The missus went for a swim last month so maybe wheel cheddar way down to check it out.

3. The bridges and construction (!) were most memorable. And Lake Superior agates. A gate whey to your cheeses. . .

10. The answer finally came to me almost exactly 24 hours after first hearing the puzzle. It made me think of this. I had doubts of even finding it here on teh intrawebs, but I guess somebody besides me remembers it. It's really not as relevant as I was thinking it was, but I'm posting it anyway, just because I think it's a great little parable.

1. Somehow "have faith and belief" was fixed in my memory rather than "have faith and believe". Maybe in another fifty years I'll learn how to pronounce Leif. Then I'll start working on my punctuation.

2. Or, Paul, you could just Leif it alone. . .

11. David,
In the apocryphal account of the book to which I assume you allude, God instructs Roope, a dweller of a northern land, to “Buildst thou a sailing vessel of new, one that canst containeth and transporteth to all nations the salubrious balm of Gilead all across the rippling face of the earth. Roope, buildeth thou a tanker.”

Roope retreats to his potter’s wheel and throws a tall schooner-shaped pot, glazes it and then throws it into his kiln. He does this because misunderstood God to say “tankard” instead of “tanker.”

Forty days and nights of rain commenced. The deluge covered dry land. The deluge commenced to cover Roope, feckless tankard in hand. But God provided. Just as the water level reached nose-level Roope suddenly senses a large sea creature nestling between his legs, buoying him above the watery surface.

And that is why, to this day, there is a Finn ON A SHARK!

mike_hinterberg,
Forget the jockey wheel! What about the jockey Shortz? I just did a wash and clothespinned mine to my straight line, each pair hung like a bike in my garage during winter.

As you can probably tell from my cracked biblical account above, I am at a disadvantage in my attempts to solve your “inferior sailing vessel” challenge. My idea of a “main theme in the Old Testament” is “throwing a pot” or “jumping a shark.” So, that is my plight.

That disclaimer aside, my best answer thus far is an anagram of “his plight.” If “DY” were an O.T. main theme, I would have a good answer.

LegoBalmda

12. At first I was unsure if I even wanted to embarque on trying to solve this puzzle as I loath the tome it is associated with, however I did come back to it a few times, but became stuck in the doldrums and knot making headway. I just now returned from my bike ride where I found aweigh to solve it. When the answer came to me I was so surprised I almost keeled over. I would describe it as an either/or puzzle requiring a stern disposition. On the other hand some fo'c's'le find it easy to solve, but even a ship-shape sailor with a smart, "Eye eye, Sir" may never solve it. It was a bit tiring and I'm now feeling a bit groggy and still need to submit my answer so as not to belay't.

1. Well, I haven't solved it yet;. I can't fathom what the frigate is all about. It's all jib-berish to me. Leaves me with a scow-l.

2. I do 20 miles on the bike each day rain or shine!

3. Well hang on Sloop E and don't bow out just yet. Dreadnaught my friend; I'm sure yawl will ketch on eventually and mast-er it in an admiral manner if your seamen are able to becalm.

4. Any idea why a word needs as many apostrophes as fo'c's'le? Are there words with more apostrophes? Ay, matey. Oh, shun punctuation.

5. How about to'ga'n's'l, for topgallantsail, another naughty nautical term?

6. That's a good one, jan. Knot so naughty though. Perhaps all those vowels are too hard to hear in the wind at sea...Or just more friendly and down to earth, er sea?

13. This has been ahull of a time waster, but I like it now I've solved it and I did manage to leave my companionway behind in the spray, if you'll escutcheon the expression, but he's a bit of a hawsehole anyway.

14. Yikes! (Or mini yikes). But now I got it.

15. I just now remember a slang meaning for vessel, but cannot find a reference for it online. I had completely forgotten, but while growing up, or trying to anyway, I frequently heard my father tell how some elderly relative of his, when he was a child, would tell how he was on the vessel for thirty-nine days, or perhaps it was longer, I don't recall, but I was told that vessel was a slang term for toilet. I never heard this anywhere else, however. Anyway, hawser evening so far?

1. Heads up, sdb. Her evening is all right. Starboard shining green and port shining red. . .

2. And yours? Still afloat?

3. We do have a rich supply of alternative names for toilets. I had to tell a friend with a meadery who posted a picture of a stack of empty honey buckets on his Facebook page that he needed to find a different term for those containers.

4. yeah yeah Wake me when it's over

16. Hint for those attempting to right themselves with this week's flustrating puzzle: you may safely eliminate (the Book of) Ruth. Bon voyage, wenches and basnicks!

1. Who's she calling a basnick? Somebody spanker!

2. If the foo sh__s... (present company excepted, of course).

3. Thanks - I can always count on you, dubya dubya. As for jan, is that jan femail or jan mail?

4. This is an online blog. Must be email.

5. jan, you are an XY and e gem!

6. I thought this was (ho-hum) old news.

18. Even though this part is in most TVs, it can't be seen.

1. The Lone Ranger rides again... This part is on tv. It takes less than 5 minutes, but the punch line is worth every minute:

This is especially for our humorists (you know who you are).

2. Thanks, ron. That was fun. Aren't we all humorists here?

3. ron,
Thanks for the two stories. The Texas yarn was also good and they never did use the word, kicker. I guess it was lucky the house did not have the ceiling fans turned on.

19. Of course this puzzle is reminding me of when I was a young man staying for a couple of weeks in a boarding house in rural Idaho. There were more than a dozen of us boarders and we all met for dinner each evening around a very long table with the man and woman who owned and ran the place.

The problem was not that each of us was expected to say grace when the evening of his turn came, but that each and every meal was exactly the same. The woman was not a terrible cook and it was not so bad the first few days, but after that it became almost torture. When it was finally my turn to say grace, I had prepared myself with an appropriate offering.

"Hebrews 13, verse 8. "Jesus Christ! The same yesterday, and today and for ever!' Amen"

20. Finally got the answer! I'm so happy, I'm singing a dirge.

1. A Viking Birthday Dirge.

21. Speaking of the Old Testament, it's not every day that the most surprising stories in The New York Times involve a rabbi and a cantor, like yesterday.

First, it's revealed that Cardinal John O'Connor, for 16 years the archbishop of New York, was the son of the daughter of the daughter of a rabbi, making him, I guess, the highest ranking Jew in the Catholic church in 2000 years.

Then, the U.S. House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor, fails to win a primary election in his home district. That's the sort of thing that only happens on "House of Cards".

Strange times!

1. Very well put, jan! I found myself stunned but not surprised when I heard on this morning's news that Eric Cantor spent more on steak dinners (for himself) in one year than Mr. Brat spent on his entire campaign.

2. So well tied together, jan.

jan and Ruth, could O'Connor then be considered to be Jew-ish?

Bratwurst vs Bratbest-- very strange times, indeed!

3. I'm sure he never considered himself Jewish --- he knew nothing of this. But technically, given the Jewish laws of matrilineal inheritance, sure, he could've gotten a free trip to Israel from Sheldon Adelson.

Primary Results Bring Brat/wurst News to Dauerkroud.

5. The matrilineal inheritance paths are well -defined. There is no such thing as Jew-ish. You are either a Jew or not a Jew, yes? (I was being facetious--which often does not translate in the written word). It is something I appreciate about Judaism--very well prescribed and documented doctrine as to lineage, time periods for certain events, etc.

6. Don't bet on any Jewish law being "well-defined". There are many interpretations of any one of them. I've got some very orthodox relatives. Coming back from an aunt's funeral, I came upon my cousin and a friend standing on sidewalk outside her house, washing their hands before going inside, as is apparently traditional after visiting a cemetery. One of them said that she had been taught that the water dripping from her hands should go right onto the concrete without touching any living thing. The other said that she had been taught that the water should drip onto the grass, nourishing new life. Conveniently, their rabbi came up the walk at that moment, so they asked him. His answer? "It doesn't make any difference."

7. Wonderful, jan. That is a great story. I was referring to Jewish friends' one year period for mourning, etc. It seemed so straightforward in the way they presented it.

8. jan,
Are you saying that in the end it was just a wash?

9. jan,
You can scrub that one if you want.

22. I came up with something that has one too many "i"s. W/o the extra "i" it might be in a TV set; however, not sure if the product with the extra "i" would be. And finally, if it is the part with the extra "i," there is a nice answer???

1. benmar, I think you are almost there, taking approximately my same path to the answer. I would advise you to look carefully at a list of books of the OT.

2. benmar, I may have been misleading. At the critical spot, think Cyclops.

3. David:
I submitted Viking Ship as my answer; however, I it is hard for me to interchange the number one (1) with the letter (i).

But, who am I to say! You in no way misled me!

4. For me, benmar12001, the beauty of Roman Numerals is that the individual parts, I, V, X, etc., may function both as a number or a letter. So I think Will gets a clear pass on this one.

23. I think many folks will have a sinking feeling when they find out what type of vessel this is, and how one arrives at the answer. I think the wording of the puzzle, especially vessel, is a clue unto itself, considering all of the many more common synonyms for floaty-thing-that-transport-people that one could use.

1. Check out Mister Floaty Curtis:

2. That's very funny, SDB, but also very odd.

3. Curtis,
Right, Victoria, B.C., Canada does not have a sewage treatment facility. They simply flush it into the sea. This has been a battle for many years now, but not much progress is being made to get them to build one. I thought Mr. Floatie would have put out a White Paper on this, but I couldn't find a link. Oh! That makes scents.

24. V-chip > insert I KINGS in place of the the C > VIKINGSHIP

My Hints:

"I would describe it as an either/or puzzle."

Not either oar, but either oars or sails, as this vessel had both.

"On the other hand some fo'c's'le find it easy to solve, but even a ship-shape sailor with a smart, "Eye eye, Sir" may never solve it."

II kings has two I's (eye eye) and that does not answer the puzzle, but one I does, as in I Kings, assuming you figure out the rest.

I found this puzzle difficult since I rarely watch anything on TV and have no reason to be concerned with the V Chip. I figured out the chip > ship part of the puzzle early, but had trouble with making it fit. I had no memory of V chip to rely on.

25. Chuck choked on this one :) But congrats to Blaine and all the others here who solved it. Clever puzzle.

Chuck

26. I was sooooooooo close - yet soooooooo far!

1. Jim, my feeling exactly! I got as far as Kings + chip => king ship (as in HMS Pinafore, for example). but failed to see the next step.

2. I think this is the best puzzle we have had in a long time. Did anyone else try and make Judgeship work?

3. sdb - agree and yes.

4. Yes, sdb, I did also.

27. V CHIP- C + I KINGS = VIKINGSHIP

My discussion of cheeses with loop was to invoke Minnesota and the NFL Vikings Football Team. I know, Wisconsin and Green Bay get all the cheese press. But, Minnesota, ya sure, has some pretty darn good cheese too. And great Vikingships, I'm told.

I thought this was a fairly challenging puzzle.

I thought this was a challenging puzzle.

1. Fairly challenging WW? or simply challenging?

I love trying to sound like a cross-examining attorney.

2. Jim, how about a fair (play) challenge? That'll teach me to write up the answer early, return later, and forget what I wrote!

Sounds like it got more challenging as the morning went on.

Would you give it a fair challenge rating, cross-examiner?

28. My reference to another Book in the Old Testament referred to Genesis (or more specifically, Hagar, a person in Genesis), which leads to the Viking Hagar the Horrible, who is the captain of a Viking Ship.

1. David,

Your Hagar allusion in Genesis is much more subtle than the NOAH’S ARK (see my whole Roope saga culminating in “…Finn ON A SHARK”) allusion that I had assumed you were making. My apologies.

LegoSlacker

29. In keeping with the biblical theme, i was hoping the answer might involve Sinbad!

1. Follow-on puzzle? "Give a synopsis of the bible in two words to name a legendary sailor."

2. Lorenzo, I like that! WW, I prefer crackers or french bread with my cheese instead of chips. As a child memorizing the OT I remember saying "i" Kings, then Second Kings. I suppose someone eventually corrected me.

3. RoRo, agreed. And crackers or French bread go great with brie on a ship, especially in the Seine.

Did you memorize the whole OT, RoRo?

4. sOOO long ago. I was 7 or 8. Recently, I interpreted (ASL) at a church event where the story timeline of the OT was acted out in body language and sanctuary location. That was interesting. But today on both counts, I only remember bits and pieces by heart

5. Interesting, RoRo. How do you do ASL for body language?

Sounds like quite an event, going into OT and all.

30. My answer was Viking Ship; however, a I is not an i

1. Mendo J1m addressed this at the Englishman and Magdalen blog. I wrote there "1derful, Mendo J1m." No grumbling here, or numbering for that matter. ;-)

2. benmar,
It is frequently used as a Roman Numeral in regards to these books, therefor it is an i. It is a capital i.

3. Says our resident Bible expert ;-).

4. http://www.amazon.com/Kings-Anchor-Yale-Bible-Commentaries/dp/0300140533

&

5. ;-)

(less snarky now), WW

6. SKB: I see your point, but????

31. 1470 - 1471 refers to the final period of the
Henry VI Kingship

The Dano/Swedish reference for the same date ,(pump primer?), was an unexpected coincidence.

32. TV part = V-CHIP

Book of the Old Testament = 1 KINGS.

Replace the C with “1(or Roman Numeral for one: I) KINGS” to obtain: “a sailing vessel of old” = VIKING SHIP!

Will used the phrase “a sailing vessel of old” because “a sailing SHIP of old” would unnecessarily suggest the answer “Viking SHIP/CHIP.”

33. "Mini yikes" referred to minnesota vikings

34. The tv part and the captain are not compatible.

V-chips (violence) and Vikings are not the best mix.

1. I thought you meant it is easy to dip V chips, potato chips, tortilla chips and cow chips, but just try dipping a Viking!

2. On the dance floor. Especially if your name is Maks. LOL

35. This was from last weeks thread.

the first thing I did was to start linking sites with ship names. then I continued by roamin' through the Old Testament. to complete the work I insist on draggin' mama Z into the fray. two heads are better than one on this one.

roam in' ROMAN NUMERAL

1. I took "roamin'" to be a hint at a Roman ship and "two heads are better than on" to be hinting at a ship that looks similar both front and aft, like several different kinds of old ships do, i.e. Viking ship, but I still was unable to make it work until later on.

36. I liked how that the word, 'v-chip' included the equation, '-c'.

1. Fine, but do you prefer calm 'C's, or rough 'C's? Or do you prefer less seasoning?

37. Driving my Sebring to the store to buy some hi-c to drink before my siesta, bromigo.

1. And I figured you for a Mercedes C Class. Sea how rong I can B?

38. Friends -

I know I've only posted here a few times (although I'm a regular lurker), but I've won a lapel pin. 150 correct answers this week. Will gave me a word with 1 letter subtracted and told me to scramble the letters to name a river. We probably did twice as many rivers as they will use in the show and I got most, Rachael helped a couple of times and one stumped us both. They can edit it make me look super smart or totally doltish. I can't wait to hear it.

1. Congratulations, Conman!

Did you ask Will a question?

Sounds like live streaming would work well for this river puzzle. . .

2. Congratulations! Happy for you and jealous at the same time. :)

3. I didn't ask Will a question, although I thought about asking how he knows Bob Kerfuffle. I don't know how he (Bob) gets the puzzles early.

Thanks, Blaine.

4. Bob K, should we tell him?

5. Blaine,
I didn’t realize you have never “gotten the Will call.” You solve the puzzle every week without fail. Can it really be true that you are lapel-pinless?

Conman,
Conglapelations!

You ask a very perceptive question regarding Dr. Shortz and Mr. Kerfuffle.

Here is just some of what I have observed:

1. The same observation you have made about Bob K. posting the puzzles early on Sunday.

2. On June 1, 2014, Bob Kerfuffle posted, “Just back from vacation.”
Earlier in May, Will Shortz took an extended table-tennis tour abroad.

3. Will and Rachel tape the on-air segment from about noon to 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time on Fridays. (I believe Conman can confirm this.)
I have never seen a “Bob Kerfuffle” comment posted on Blaine’s on a Friday from noon to 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Have you?

4. “Will Shortz” contains two syllables, “Bob Kerfuffle,” four. Bob comes off as dashing and hip; Will, not so much, even a tad on the square side (in a good way, of course). The “square root“ of four equals… two! Exactly!

5. “Will Shortz” contains one O and one R. So does “Bob Kerfuffle”!!

6. WILL (4+1+1+1) has a Scrabble value of 7. BOB (3+1+3) has a Scrabble value of 7, again, exactly!

Sure, I could live with one or two such coincidences, chalk it up to wild chance. But when confronted with a mountain of convincing evidence, such striking similarities can longer be deemed a mere statistical fluke!

LegoConspiracyTheorist

39. Conman -

I wouldn't worry about their editing. They have no reason to make an on-air puzzler look bad. There are many reasons why they would want their on-air puzzlers to look good.

Chuck

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41. But... did you hear in advance the puzzle for Sunday?

42. Conman - Congratulations on getting to be the on-air puzzler!

Sorry I've been very busy the last few days and just saw your comment. But OMG and LOL!

Do we have time to tell all about my long, long history with Will Shortz? Actually, we do. I first talked with Will when I was the on-air player many eons ago, in the "postcard era." For many years, that was it.

I continued to send in postcards, and when my name was drawn again, the producer to whom I spoke asked if I had played before, and when I said yes, that was the end of it. So I stopped for a year or so, then resumed, my card was drawn again, but once more I was told I was not eligible, even though I never could find anything against playing more than once in the published rules. I gave up at that point and decided to live on my past glory. I've heard one or two on-air contestants who seem to have said they had been on before, but I'm guessing they didn't tell the producer up front.

(Not that I am bitter, but enjoy your lapel pin when you get it. I'm not a fashionista, but when I saw mine, I knew I wouldn't be wearing it in public! :>))

After that, I exchanged emails with Will once concerning a (crossword?/NPR puzzle?) question about the Cratchits' Christmas dinner. Will said it was goose, I said it was turkey. Will cited a long section of A Christmas Carol wherein the Cratchits imagine what it would be like to have a fine goose dinner; I pointed out that in the reality of the story, Scrooge has a boy fetch a big turkey for them.

In the last few years I have started going to crossword tournaments -- the ACPT, Lollapuzzoola, Westport -- and I have shaken hands and spoken briefly with Will a few times, but that's about it. Never even had my picture taken with him. (But then, according to the theories above, how could I?)

As for getting the puzzle early -- I don't. It's on my radio at 8:40 AM on Sunday, so if you are on the West Coast, it might seem early. This week I noticed that two other commenters had posted slightly incomplete versions of the challenge, so I went to the NPR website and copied it as it appeared.

And ultimately, I never even solved the challenge! In fact, it didn't even sink in the first time I read the answer on Thursday!

43. Next week's challenge: From 11-year-old listener, Eli Shear-Baggish, of Arlington, Mass. Name a certain trip that contains the letter S. Change the S to a C and rearrange the resulting letters. You'll name the location where this trip often takes place. Where is it?

44. I'd be lying if I said this wasn't a pretty easy puzzle this week but not bad for an 11 year old. I checked this off my bucket list a long time ago.

45. So far, I have only found one possible answer. But I'll keep surfing the web to find more.