Sunday, July 27, 2014

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jul 27, 2014): On Vacation

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jul 27, 2014): On Vacation

I'm unable to post the puzzle this week, but I didn't want to leave you without a place to post comments on the puzzle. Somebody help me out by posting a copy here. Then feel free to add your hints.

Here's my standard reminder... don't post the answer or any outright spoilers 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. Thank you.

116 comments:

  1. This week's challenge comes from listener Matt Jones of Portland, Ore. There are three popular men's names, each six letters long, that differ by only their first letters. In other words, the last five letters of the names are all the same, in the same order. Of the three different first letters, two are consonants and one is a vowel. What names are these?

    I'm sure the popularity of these names is fairly plastic, varying from year to year.

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  2. News flash. It's mighty dry in Texas.

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    Replies
    1. Best clue I've seen in a long time!

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    2. I have to confess that I did not fully get TB's clue. I read it after I earlier solved the puzzle and knew Texas was in reference to Austin, but I did not get the rest. I Googled News flash and Texas and saw there had been a major flash flooding of Austin. I left it at that and spent the last few days wondering why so many though TB's hint is so clever. Well, now I too understand and agree. My only consolation is that I don't think anyone made the connection with my clue. Of course one would have to have solved the puzzle for it to make sense, but I assume not only one, but all had already done that.

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  3. Recently back from the well, I see...

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  4. You'll find more men with one of the names and more boys with the other two.

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  5. That didn’t prove to be that difficult. Musical clue: Simon and Garfunkle.

    Chuck

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  6. It's so easy I expect we will all have tales to tell come Thursday next.

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  7. There's an alternate answer: two that have a popular man's first name, and two that are not as popular, though there is a news reporter in the Bay Area with one of those names.

    I've also got 5 names that meet the criteria, though none begin with a vowel. Some might think them women's names, but they work for both.

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  8. Musical clue: The Lovin' Spoonful.

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  9. I nearly choked from opening that old book of baby names. After clearing my eyes they were all plain to see.

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  10. Replies
    1. Only those that see your news flash in a timely manner will understand the connection

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  11. For two reasons (one of which you should be able to figure out), I’m reminded of a clever cartoon drawn by my college roommate many decades ago. It shows a bug, lying on its back saying “Erg!” (For an inferior version of the cartoon, google “dyne centimeter erg image.”) The roommate went on to have a successful career as a scientist at a major university, which is the second reason his cartoon came to mind this week.

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    Replies
    1. I figured this one would be pretty easy for you.

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    2. In fact, I included a comment to that effect with my submitted solution.
      Also, your post this morning was perfect!

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    3. Agreed. Simply splendid, Tommy Boy. Made me smile while out picking peaches.

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    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    5. Please allow me to hop aboard the Tommy Boy Bandwagon. Tommy Boy, you are truly the “epiTommy” of clever cluefulness. And, IMHO, you are also the leader in the clubhouse as the winner of “Best Blainesville Clue Of The Year Award” (BBCOTYA). (That said, too many of the ingeniously subtle clues posted on this blog make no inroads whatsoever into my cranium!)

      I cannot top Tommy Boy’s wonderfully succinct and clever clue, but I will say that somewhat recently on the always clairvoyant Puzzleria! blog site there appeared a link that would perhaps be helpful in solving this week’s NPR be-Will-derment.

      LegoCluelessClairavoyant

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    6. I concur and would add that this is another of many of these puzzles where it is far more fun coming up with a clever hint/clue than it was solving the easy puzzle.

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    7. Although Tommy Boy's post confirmed what I gathered was the answer Will is looking for, isn't there at least one other solution possible, given the many spelling variations in first names?

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    8. Y do you ask, Ruth? I believe those would be considered less popular spellings if I catch your drift.

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    9. Allow me to clarify: I ascertained 3 completely different 3-name groupings that arguably work - assuming flexibility is allowed in alternate spellings of any of the appellations.

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  12. WW, do you live outside city limits?

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    Replies
    1. ;-). Ruth, I live in the city with peach, plum and aprium trees. I am also tree sitting a friend's large, prolific tree; thankfully I got to pick them in time.

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  13. I got this one in the nick of time.

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  14. Solving this puzzle has been a very entertaining endeavor.

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    Replies
    1. DUSTIN Hoffman

      JUSTIN Hayward (more on him later), JUSTIN HENRY (ditto), JUSTIN Timberlake

      AUSTIN Powers

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  15. There is at leas one situation and probably many more that have featured individuals with at least two of the first names forming the solution to this easy puzzle.

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    Replies
    1. JUSTIN Henry is a former child actor who played Billy Kramer, the son of Ted Kramer, who was played by DUSTIN Hoffman in the Oscar-winning film (yes, it is a film) "Kramer vs. Kramer".

      By the way, both were nominated for acting Oscars, with Hoffman taking the "Best Actor" award.

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  16. This is a very easy puzzle to solve, but to make an educated guess that is plausible, it helps if you have completed all requirements necessary to receive a diploma.

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    Replies
    1. Receiving a diploma makes you a GRADUATE, the title of the film (yes, it is a film) that was DUSTIN Hoffman's breakout role.

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  17. It's not too difficult to think of individuals in a particular field that have each of the three names. However, to say that all three individuals are real people, I say.....NOT!

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    Replies
    1. See above...JUSTIN Henry, DUSTIN Hoffman, and AUSTIN Powers have all appeared on the big screen. Of course, AUSTIN Powers is a real person.....NOT! He was played by Mike Myers of "Wayne's World" fame, with NOT! being part of the distinctive dialect of that movie (I'd say "Wayne's World" is a movie and not a film--you may disagree).

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    2. Austin Pendleton appeared in the "pen scene' of A Beautiful Mind.

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  18. Lastly, you'd think that I have lots of time to submit clues to this blog and to submit my answer to Will. Alas, I will not have time to do the latter until tomorrow sometime after 12 PM.

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    Replies
    1. That must be a new record for consecutive posts, libertarianmathprofessor.

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    2. I posted this on Monday, making "tomorrow after 12 PM" Tuesday afternoon, which is the title of a song that was a hit for the Moody Blues (still performing 50 years after their mid-1960's debut). The MB's lead singer/guitarist is JUSTIN Hayward (the MB's counterpart to U2's Bono and the Police's Sting), except he uses his full given name.

      Delete
  19. Good stuff, everyone. While we're dealing with Blaine being gone:

    The first 3 letters arguably are part of some sort of group -- admittedly, easy to rationalize a signal in any small list. But one letter is missing.
    Take the 3 first-letters in alphabetical order, followed by the 5 ending letters, and ending with a letter that fits in the pattern with the first 3, to spell a 9-letter word -- no anagrams necessary.

    (If this is can be reverse-engineered and is too "hinty" -- let me know! Cheers!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, your name is hinterberg ;-).

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    2. Fits what "pattern with the first 3". We're not all Sufi mystics, y'know!

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    3. @Paul: If you take the 3 different first letters for the names in alpha order, followed by the 5-letter suffix they share in common, you'll see that the result is one-letter short of a common word. What's (mildly) interesting is that the final missing letter, with the first 3 letters, fit together in a pattern.

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    4. I think I may be the first person ever to Google "preferential organization".

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    5. @mike_hinterberg: I was typing while you were posting. I think I know your 9-letter word, but I've yet to discern the pattern. Cheers!

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    6. mike_hinterberg, are the first 3 letters the letters of the men's names in this week's puzzle? Or is there no connection to this week's puzzle at all?

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    7. mike-h,
      Interesting discovery and I might add that it reminds me of baseball, although I never watch.

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    8. mike_hinterberg,
      MPSVY
      It is an excellent riff off of this weeks NPR puzzle. I agree with Paul’s 2:34 post however. Your initial wording was a tad too cryptic (for me, anyway). Your restatement was much clearer.
      LegoNoSufi

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    9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    10. mike_hinterberg,

      Amazingly and, once again, clairvoyantly, your puzzle has a strong connection to the link (actually two consecutive links) I referenced in my Sunday 5:17 PM PDT post, above. Your nine-letter gerund is exactly the activity taking place in the first verse of the song that these links reference. The guy engaged in the activity is aptly named.

      Legostodamus

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    11. Cool, glad that kept us amused for a bit!

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  20. Got the Hint's hint and pattern - just short of a complete gerund. So I guess it's a gerun?

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    Replies
    1. I think I have it also. Gerund confirmed it, Ruth, so thanks! I like gerun, too ;-).

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    2. Here's what's next: Elon Musk on The Simpsons. . .

      http://www.autonews.com/article/20140729/OEM02/140729847

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    3. This sucks, when you click to publish it erases your post. Sorry, WW, maybe next time I'll figure out the gremlins, or some tech geek will iron them out.

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    4. Same thing happens to me, UJ, but only when I am using my iPhone (which ain't so smart, as luck would have it) and not my tablet.

      Delete
  21. Well, the latter part of today has passed, and I have submitted my educated guess of an answer. However, since yesterday, I teetered and tottered regarding available choices, asking myself which ones were correct before hitting the "send" button. However, some extreme fantasies in my mind and visionary tales convinced me that my answers were correct.

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    Replies
    1. This post had clues to more Moody Blues songs (lead singer/guitarist Justin Hayward):

      Teetered and tottered--see-saw, as in "Ride My See Saw"

      Asking myself--"Question"

      "Extreme fantasies"--"In Your Wildest Dreams"

      Visionary tales--"The Story in Your Eyes"

      Any MB fans out there who got one or more clues relating to their songs and Justin Hayward?

      Delete
    2. Here, libertarianmathprofessor. My comment about consecutive posts referred to Moody Blues' string of hits.

      "Nights in White Satin" is on my list of all-time favorite songs.

      Delete
    3. Ditto the comments regarding NIWS, and perhaps their best song of all. However, I couldn't think of any subtle hints for NIWS. Also, at first I didn't get the connection between "record" and posts, but now I do--and I'm part of the "record" generation (as opposed to the "CD" and "download" generations). Thus, Justin Hayward was the first "Justin" who came to mind, Timberlake barely shows up on my radar, and I didn't even think of Bieber--despite escaping his name being impossible, thanks to his being on the covers of gossip mags every week mostly about his (mis)behavior than his music.

      How did I remember Justin Henry? "Kramer" was one of the best films of the 1970's, and I recall his name from that film.

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    4. "Tuesday Afternoon" is also a favorite. I have always felt more creative on Tuesdays and chose to launch the PEOTS blog on a Tuesday partly because of that MB song.

      Justin Hayward wrote NIWS at 19. Amazing. I also like the name Doremi, his daughter.

      I am also of the record generation. I just came across the vinyl double record set of The Beatles (1967-1970) and wondered what to do with it as I have no way to play it. The cardboard on the cover is falling apart but the records are in good condition. The inside photo of the Beatles in a crowd is great.


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    5. I always considered this to be MB's best allbum. An underrated gem. I liked Every Good (skydive)Boy Deserves Favour," too.

      What I didn't like about the MB's, however, were the occasional "spoken-word poems," wtitten and sometimes voiced by drummer Graeme Edge. I'm sorry, Word Worman, but one of the worst of these was the album vesion coda of NIWS, the one that starts, "Breathe deep..."

      Kinda pretentious. But look who's talkin'!

      LegoLeary'sDeadOhNoNoNoHe'sOutsideLookingIn

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    6. Thanks, Lego, but I loved the "spoken-word poems," and the one you mention is my favorite. I always thought it reminiscent of that Shakespeare guy. Way ahead of its time in my opinion. But look! Now we have the sophisticated expertise of Justin Bieber.

      Delete
    7. You're right, Lego, it's a great MB underappreciated album.

      I like the "spoken-word poems" (such an odd phrase) also, sdb.

      Luckily, the popularity of "Justin" has been sharply declining in the past couple of years due, in large part, to JB's antics. I recall jan saying his neighbor's daughter was "the last Monica in America." Maybe we've seen the last Justin. . .(at least for awhile).

      Delete
    8. Lego, was Word Worman on purpose (as in earworm)? I have not been able to get NIWS out of my head since yesterday (not that that's a problem ;-) ).

      Delete
    9. Word Woman,

      In your 1:30 PM comment Thursday, you wrote, “Justin Hayward wrote NIWS at 19.”
      This confused me. First off, I thought Justin was a songwriter, not at television news copy writer. (I assume that your “I” in “NIWS” was a slip of your typing finger, just as my phantom “r” in Word Worman was a slip of mine.)

      But the “19” confused me too. I’m familiar with my local TV news broadcasts: “Eyewitness 5 News at 6,” for example, or “Action 4 News at 10.” But what in the name of Walter Cronkite is “NIWS (sic) at 19”? 19 o’clock?

      Oh, wait, there is a 19 o’clock in military time. 1900 hours, which is 7 p.m. civilian time. But wait again. Isn’t TV news on at 6 and 10 p.m., not 7 and 11 p.m.? In flyover country, yes. But not on the East Coast!

      I have therefore concluded that Moody Bluesman Justin Hayward must have at one time
      written news copy for a closed-circuit TV news broadcast called Armed Forces NEWS at 19, or Semper Fi-witness NEWS at 19 at Camp Lejeune, the Quantico Naval Base or some other U.S. military base out east.

      LergoLarmbda

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    10. We are a funny, nit-picky group, aren't we, LergoLarmbda? Justin Hayward wrote NIWS when he was 19 years of age--but you knew that. NEWS at 19: I will keep my eyes open for that, though.

      Speaking of nit-picky, you haven't truly lived until you've had to remove hundreds of the little nit eggs from your kids' hair after an infestation of the whole school. (My kids still call it my nit-picky face when I'm focusing really hard on a task), Funniest comment from one mom "Oh, my kids can't get lice; they're blonde!"

      Word Still Humming Along Woman

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  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  23. Name a vegetable in four syllables made up of: 1) a person from a certain Eurasian city, 2) the phonetic spelling of a letter, and 3) the abbreviation of a U. S. state.

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    Replies
    1. Well, I already guessed "cauliflower" in that other blog, so I'm not falling for that again.

      Delete
    2. Hint: the state abbreviation is the same as the chemical for a certain gas.

      And SEM photos on that other blog might help. . .

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  24. AUSTIN

    DUSTIN

    JUSTIN

    With Rustin as a runner up

    My hints:

    “It's so easy I expect we will all have tales to tell come Thursday next.”

    The hint here is “tales,” as in The Tales of Hoffmann (French: Les contes d'Hoffmann) by Jacques Offenbach. It is his wildly popular opera best known for The Barcarolle, "Belle nuit, ô nuit d'amour" which is the opera's most famous number.
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=0u0M4CMq7uI AND www.youtube.com/watch?v=is0Lb4cj_3c
    This hint was intended to refer to Dustin Hoffman, the actor. I doubt I ever heard of anyone else with that first name.

    My second hint: “mike-h,
    Interesting discovery and I might add that it reminds me of baseball, although I never watch.”
    was in response to mike_hinterberg and his adding the second and third beginning letters of the three names to the beginning of the first name going in alphabetical order. The result being ADJUSTIN(G).

    I seem to recall that professional baseball players are frequently reaching down below their belt in order to ADJUST themselves, or perhaps just to reassure themselves that they are indeed still men. The other place I always noticed this quaint practice was during my three long years in the Army where the sergeants were not at all shy to demonstrate there ball grabbing skills anytime the spotlight was on them. The actor, Robert Duvall portrayed this habit admirably in his role in Apocalypse Now, where he seemed to be acting as if he were the reincarnation of Colonel George Armstrong Custer. I would love to sometime share a nice bottle of Scotch whisky with two or three shrinks while we discuss the implications of this peculiar behavior.

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    Replies
    1. sdb,

      Tales of Hoffmann was a clever clue. It was on the fuzzy penumbra of my consciousness, but almost totally overshadowed by that Jupiter-sized Chaucerian orb known as the Canterbury Tales, which effectively quashed my quest to seek trails leading to other, more obscure, tales such as Offenbach's Hoffmannbach.

      LegInThe Dark

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. Thanks Lego,
      I was always cautioned to keep my hands off my fuzzy penumbra or else it would lead to problems in the future. It didn't. But I love it when you talk dirty.

      Delete
  25. Austin/Dustin/Justin

    My clue: Texas saying it all, i.e. Austin, TX

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  26. AUSTIN, DUSTIN, JUSTIN

    There are more boys named Austin and Justin and more men named Dustin.

    "We're golden. Got it!" referred to Au, the chemical symbol for gold, in the name Austin.

    The peach references were to picking them JUST IN time.

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    Replies
    1. WW - Loved your last two hints. Not clear on the boys versus men thing. Are you referring to celebrities like Justin Bieber versus Dustin Hoffman? If so how does Austin fit in?
      Tommy Boy! Dubbing you the Sultan of Succinct!

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    2. RoRo, the name Dustin was most popular in the '50's, '60's and 70's whereas both Justin and Austin were more popular for baby boys in the 90's. Hence, more "men" Dustins and "boy" Justins and Austins.

      Although, with the names of guys on this blog, it's hard to tell the men from the boys ;-)

      Delete
    3. Oh, I don't know, Word Woman. I think you can tell the men from the boys by the maturity of our comments.
      LegoBoy

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  27. Dustin, Justin, Austin

    Last Sunday I said, “That didn’t prove to be that difficult. Musical clue: Simon and Garfunkel.” As in Mrs. Robinson, from The Graduate, starring Dustin Hoffman. I had thought about posting the quote, “Yeah, Baby, Yeah” but that Googles immediately to Austin Powers.

    Chuck

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  28. AUSTIN Austin Powers.
    DUSTIN Dustin Hoffman.
    JUSTIN Justin Bieber.
    RUSTIN Not a common or popular first name. Rustin Parr was a serial killer who murdered on “orders” from the Blair Witch.
    YUSTIN (Tanzanian name & Russian “Justin,” not common) Yustin Jordan.

    All the words in my News Flash: “Putin's Insult Unites Pundits,” contain the letters “-ustin”

    The Hinterberg challenge: ADJUSTING. The pattern: A + 3 letters = D + 3 letters = G + 3letters = J = ADGJ or AbcDefGhiJ, each letter separated by 2 letters of the alphabet.

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    Replies
    1. ron,

      I sensed there was something interesting about those four words “Putin’s Insult Unites Pundits,” but I just couldn’t put my finger on it. Very clever.

      (BTW, regarding Putin’s insult: I have heard through the grapevine that the Russian premiere panned the thespian chops of Peter Ustinov, the late great actor/dramatist/raconteur/diplomat and prototypical Renaissance man… So, actually, “Putin’s Ustinov Insult Unites Pundits.”

      LegustinovLambdustinov

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    2. Lego,
      I am sure you are aware that Peter Ustinov was Batman, but not on film. In real life.

      Delete
    3. Something's not quite cricket here. There must be some kind of catch.

      Delete
    4. Peter Ustinov was batman for David Niven during part of WWII.

      Delete
    5. Is Alfred Pennyworth Batman's batman?
      Was Moodus Dreedle's flunky?
      Is there a batman in cricket? Do bats eat crickets? Does that have anything to do with ebola?
      What's a silly point, and if the second baseman is 4 and the third baseman is 5, why is the shortstop 6?
      Is Barack a popular man's name, and does one's party affiliation and/or opinion of the ACA have any influence on one's answer?
      "Popular" is alweys an ADJective, right?

      Just some semi-random thoughts while contemplating the way ahead.

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  29. AUSTIN, DUSTIN, JUSTIN (RUSTIN also works).

    Also: CARLIE, EARLIE, and FARLIE, and EARVIN, GARVIN, and MARVIN.

    All except Dustin are on the Moby Word List.

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  30. AUSTIN-JUSTIN-DUSTIN. But what about Gaston-Easton-Maston; Farley-Earley-Hurley; and Barron-Aaron-Darron? There may well be other triplets as well.

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    Replies
    1. And then there's AUSTYN, JUSTYN, DUSTYN and AUSTEN, JUSTEN, DUSTEN. . .

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  31. The clairvoyant links to which I referred in Joseph Young’s Puzzle -ria! appeared in Lego Lambda’s July 23, 6:32 PM comment in the July 18, 2014 Puzzleria! blog post.

    The links referred to this Van Morrison song. It’s beginning verse has lyrics mentioning a chap named Justin (Will’s NPR puzzle), and describes someone adjusting radio knobs to pull in faraway radio stations (mike_hinter berg’s “piggyback” puzzle).

    The “MPSVY” I wrote in response to mike’s puzzle was a continuation of his alphabetical pattern: A(ustin), D(ustin), (adjustin)G, J(ustin), M, P, S, V, Y.

    Legostrodamus

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    Replies
    1. ADJGMPVSYBHEKNTQWZFCILROUXDAGJPMSVBYEHNKQTZWCFLIORXU and then it just repeats.

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  32. This just in, there's a lot of dust in Austin.

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    Replies
    1. They could really use some rain, man!

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    2. I'd like to hear Will read "This just in, there's lots of dust in Austin," on the air this week, Tommy Boy. Brilliant!

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    3. Just read on the AP newswire that it is mighty dry in Texas. Wichita Falls is spreading a mixture of palm oil and powdered lime on its reservoir to cut evaporation. Other towns have tried a layer of ping-pong (sorry, Will, I mean table tennis) balls. You're not just clever, Tommy Boy, you're prescient!

      Delete
  33. The Seattle Mariners have Dustin Ackley and Justin Smoak on their team (although Justin is currently in the minor leagues). It appears that they just traded for Austin Jackson. What did Will know, and when did he know it?

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    1. David,
      Wasn’t Justin Smoak a can’t-miss phenom prospect in the Braves’ organization a few years back. He likely won’t stay down on the farm for long. I heard about the Austin Jackson trade today too, but didn’t put it all together as you did.

      Dustin + Justin + Austin = Willtin (?) is either a clairvoyant (like moi!) or moonlighting as the Mariners’ shadow GM.

      The odds against having all three of those first names on a 25-man roster are very high. I suspect Will Shortz must have engineered, or at least facilitated somehow, today’s trade of Austin Jackson to the Mariners.

      What’s Next? Shortz purchases controlling share of the Seattle Topspinners of the ITTL (International Table Tennis League)? Could it be we’re all just pawns being pushed around in Will Shortz’s world!

      LegoSuspicious

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    2. Austin, Dustin, Justin--they are the Mariners, after all.

      Delete
  34. in addition to the Earvin Garvin Marvin alternate answer, Darvin is a boy's/ man's name. A basketball player, Canadian footballer, and "runner-up of the 2009 World Series of Poker (WSOP) US$10,000 no-limit Texas hold'em main event" all proudly share that name.

    Another alternate, without vowels, is Bonnie, Connie, Donnie, Jonnie, Ronnie. I had a (male) professor named Bonnie; and there are three generations of Connie Mack in baseball and the Senate.

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  35. Musical clue: The Lovin' Spoonful.
    Do you believe in magic?
    Magic Earvin Johnson
    Marvin Hagler
    Darvin Ham

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    Replies
    1. Nice, zc. Being a Michigander I know 1 & 3. Everybody knows Marvelous Marvin (well, Magic too).

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  36. Next week's challenge: This week's challenge comes from listener Ben Bass of Chicago. Take the name of a modern-day country. Add an "A" and rearrange all the letters to name a group of people who used to live in the area of this country. Who are they?

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