Sunday, December 21, 2014

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 21, 2014): Christmas Decorations

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 21, 2014): Christmas Decorations:
Q: Take the first and last names of a well-known actress. Her first name has two vowels. Change them both to new vowels, and the result names part of a common Christmas decoration. What is it?
Will threw a proverbial soft (snow)ball this week.

Edit: The key was "threw a" which anagrams to a "wreath".
A: HALLE BERRY --> HOLLY BERRY

93 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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    1. The deadline is Wednesday at 3pm ET this week, of course.

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    2. Indeed, should have changed it... Anyway thanks for the update.

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  2. I wish a very jolly Xmas to all my fellow puzzle fans. ---Rob

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  3. I have two answers to this week's challenge and this week, instead of waiting until Thursday, I am going to offer my second answer now as I am sure it is NOT the intended answer. LUCY (LUCILLE) BALL>>>LACE BALL, which you can buy on Amazon as "part of" your Christmas Tree decorations.

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  4. Take the first and last name of a not unwell-known actress (at least, I have heard of her). Change the first vowel in both her first and last names to a different vowel get a midnight snack a cannibal might have on Christmas Eve.

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    1. I asked you to provide enough sausages to feed twelve of us and instead you . . . . But I suppose the worst is yet to come.

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    3. Gee, David, sounds like a seasonal special at MacD's ... in the kids meal. Now if I could just get the answer to Will's puzzle as easily as I got yours....

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    4. David,
      Another fine puzzle you got us into! I just got it now. It sounds as if McDonald's is now delivering! (What? No more ground-up liver in their Big Macs?)

      LegoScanda

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  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. Sorry, a couple words combined to be an obvious giveaway. Post your other comments if you like.

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  7. Who do you suppose it could be? (Technically, I think the question calls for a what rather than a who)
    Anyway, I think it took a lot of chutzpah for Will to use that 'rabbi' anagram this morning.

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  8. Wouldn’t it be something if one of us here got the invitation to play on the air this week?

    Chuck

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    1. Meetcha in the fallin' rain, Chuck.

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  9. I posted on Sun Dec 21, at 06:17:00 AM PST near the end of last week's thread:

    Part of a Christmas carol hint: "as <something> as any <something>"

    Neither of the two <something>s is any part of the actress's name or the Christmas decoration part. It's just that if I revealed what the two <something>s are, Blaine would delete this post for sure!

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    1. I think Blaine should take this down anyway. Anyone who knows his carols would jump to the answer in a New York minute.

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    2. This is as good a place as any... to post it.

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    3. That is, this is as good as any place to post it!

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  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Sorry everyone!!! I think I may pulled an unintentional Harriet.

      I just got up and misread the puzzle question and thought it said the first name had a specific number of letters that is different from what I posted. I was so wrong! Thankfully I caught my error quickly and removed my post.

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    2. Not robot
      Not human
      Calculating
      Calculating

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  11. Are you gonna let that one stay Blaine?

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  12. SKB must have hooked up with Harriet.

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  13. I have Darth Vader sitting on top of my tree, and it is wrapped in a Jedi Garland!

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  14. Replies
    1. Who's roman: who's clef? Inquiring minds want to know.

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    2. You could start in the northwest. . .

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  15. Although she may be "well known" in terms of name recognition, I personally find this actress unremarkable and rather bland. I don't identify her with any particular role, and her acting hasn't been impressive or inspiring. Just my opinion - cold as it may be - that may deviate substantially from the norm.

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    Replies
    1. Some critics just have a ball making catty remarks.

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    2. Ruth, you are certainly entitled to your opinion. But how lucky to play Cat Woman and a Bond woman two roles coveted by many actresses f only for the fun of it. I like her but she is not among my favorites

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  16. Who's your favorite reindeer? Mine is Comet.

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    1. Clever, Leo. I especially like the way you "Yule-tied" it in to Christmas.

      Lego

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    2. Thanks, Lego. Do you have a star atop your Christmas tree?

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    3. You are welcome, Leo.

      Not my tree. My memory. And not a star. An angel with a tail and whiskers.
      LegoSerapheline

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    4. Run Run Rudolph is my favorite Christmas song, Lego. What's yours?

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    5. Leo,
      Run Run, Rudolph: Rousing Roots Rock ‘n’ Roll. Probably a bigger hit with different lyrics (and not tarred as a “novelty song”)
      Gotta give you three:
      Traditional:
      Handel’s Messiah, but especially, of course, the Hallelujah Chorus.
      Modern:
      Happy Xmas (War Is Over). (Peace on Earth, indeed)
      Spiritual Traditional:
      Mary Had a Baby (I also like Bruce Cockburn’s “stringy” version)
      Lego…

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    6. I am not completely certain Suo Gân is specifically a Christmas carol, but I think of it as such and prefer it to Feliz Navidad as mouthed by Jose Feliciano, who's version causes spontaneous regurgitation on my part. Of course Handel’s Messiah is a masterpiece!

      Merry Christmas to all and Paul too.

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    7. The Christmas station that plays Xmas music 24 hours straight has not had any requests for Run run Rudolph, Santa Claus Go straight to the Ghetto, or Fat Daddy's Xmas song. Hmmm!

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  17. These require pollination. Hopefully Blaine won't have to delete this one. I apologize for my transgression last week. I really did think it was Friday!

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  18. Which actress has both a first and last name which are (semi-homophonically) related to Christmas?

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    1. David,
      Nice puzzle. Her mother has a Christmassy first name also. And the name of the character this actress played in one of her roles ended in something "Yule" often see under a Christmas tree.

      LegoLampMcGavin

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  19. Makes me think of that mad woman across the street from me with all the cats.

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  20. Is it just me, or is it usually easier to solve Will's puzzles "backwards"? Naming things that are PART of a decoration leaves me with this name in less time than it takes to finish a 100 yard dash. As usual the different parts are in contrasting colors.

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    1. I agree, but it's not just Will's puzzles.

      I find that many puzzles are more easily solved going “backwards.” A good example is a simple maze, such as one that you might find printed on a diner’s placemat. It is typically much easier to go from the exit to the entrance than it is the other way around. I think that is because the maze-maker is focusing on setting traps going forwards, not backwards.

      Similarly, the phrasing of a puzzle, or the nature of the puzzle itself, often makes it easier to solve backwards.

      Thanks -- Phil J.

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  22. My kitties helped me find the X factor in this puzzle. And, the blog isn't making me prove I'm not a robot. Does that mean I've finally been accepted by the human race after all these years on this planet?

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    1. me too. Is it some kind of holiday thing?

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  23. Who cares, as long as you have kitties who accept you?

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  24. You need to have a male and a female to obtain one of these (the actress and the Christmas decoration component).

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  25. Santa's eyes are watching us!

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  26. I have a friend named Thomas Gentile. What interesting word-play property does his name have?

    Regards to All -- Phil J.

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    1. Phil J, what's your answer to the Thomas Gentile puzzle? And, is he really your friend?

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    2. WW, yes, he is really my friend. We worked together for more than 30 years. His name anagrams into Hang Mistletoe.

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  27. If you're hankering for some prime ground round this holiday season, tonight's the night to set your trap for the jolly fat man. Be sure to bait it with cookies. Ginger snaps are best. If you happen to captcha some other creature in your trap, don't discard it. BOIL the dickens out of it and MASH it into a nice pâté. Everybody will love it.
    Unless, of course, it's a rodent. I do not recommend setting traps to control rodents. You really need a cat for that. Preferably one with a certain earthy quality, who hates meeces to pieces.

    My "fallin' rain" comment was merely a Pavlovion response to a lyrical cue, but, coincidentally, rain is involved in a pivotal scene from the movie which brought this week's actress great acclaim. Not so coincidentally, perhaps, it's been raining cats and dogs here the last couple of days. Maybe I'm somehow responsible for it, just because I mentioned the word. I don't know. I'm not sure I completely buy into that sort of belief system, but I can respect those who do.

    Buy into?!! Oh, snap! It's Christmas Eve, the stores are closing soon if they haven't already, and I haven't even started my Christmas shopping! How did I not see this situation developing? Wait a minute ... it may be hopeless, but it's not serious ... quickly, Igor, go rob a grave ... and wake me when it's over.

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    1. Paul,
      Be careful if it's "raining cats and dogs" where you are. You don't want to step in a poodle.

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    2. Merry Christmas to you, too, skydiveboy.

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  28. HALLE BERRY > HOLLY BERRY

    My Hint: Actually I didn’t post a hint. Rather I posted the actual answer before I realized I had solved it.

    “I wonder if Holly Berry is upset.”

    I solved the puzzle sans lists by thinking backward from the decoration. I am unfamiliar with Hollywood actors for the most part now because I do not like Hollywood films, with rare exception. I watch lots of foreign movies instead and I also do not watch TV. But when I thought about an Xmas wreath, the holly berry came to mind and I remembered having heard her name on NPR numerous times and think I may have even seen one film with her in it. So I posted the above believing that was how her name is spelled; plus I also misread the puzzle and thought it called for a first name in four letters. Fortunately I Googled Holly Berry and discovered my error right away and deleted my post. The joke is on me.

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  29. Halle Berry --> holly berry

    Last Sunday I said, “Wouldn’t it be something if one of us here got the invitation to play on the air this week?” By invitation to play on the air this week I mean The Call :) starring Halle Berry.

    MC & HNY all!

    Chuck

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    1. I thought you were trying to 'jinx' it for us.

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    2. By the way, Chuck, do you, by any chance, carry your guitar in a gunny sack?

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  30. HALLE BERRY

    HOLLY BERRY

    EaWAf's post refers to the British carol “The Holly and the Ivy” which has the lines:
    the holly bears a berry as red as any blood,
    the holly bears a prickle as sharp as any thorn,
    the holly bears a bark as bitter as any gall.

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    1. My Burl Ives reply to RoRo was also in reference to the above carol.

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    2. Thanks, TB I was wondering. My comment was from the movie Our Eyes Were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston story starring Halle

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  31. HALLE BERRY >>> HOLLY BERRY

    Halle Berry was executive producer of "Lackawanna Blues" (2005) which is a montage of reminiscences, memories, testimonials and roman a clefs of Miss Rachel or Nanny.

    Or you could just go to Seattle for the answer.

    Merry Christmas Eve!

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  32. When I said, "I wish a very jolly Xmas to all my fellow puzzle fans," it contained my hint: Very Jolly / Jolly Very / Holly Berry. But that does matter: I really do hope everyone has a very jolly Xmas. ---Rob

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  33. I had pre-acknowledged SDB's prior slip.

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  34. Above I wrote "Take the first and last name of a not unwell-known actress (at least, I have heard of her). Change the first vowel in both her first and last names to a different vowel get a midnight snack a cannibal might have on Christmas Eve." The answer is Senta Berger / Santa Burger.

    I also wrote "Which actress has both a first and last name which are (semi-homophonically) related to Christmas?." The answer is Carol Kane.

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    1. Carol Kane's mother's name was JOY Kane. Carol portrayed the Ghost of CHRISTMAS PRESENT in "Scrooged.

      Lego...

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  35. Halle Berry -> Holly Berry

    > On, Comet!, etc.

    As in Halley's, or Hale-Bopp (same initials!).

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  36. I posted on Sun Dec 21, at 11:26:00 AM PST:

    I posted on Sun Dec 21, at 06:17:00 AM PST near the end of last week's thread:

    Part of a Christmas carol hint: "as <something> as any <something>"

    Neither of the two <something>s is any part of the actress's name or the Christmas decoration part. It's just that if I revealed what the two <something>s are, Blaine would delete this post for sure!

    Ok, first; the post that I WANTED to, but DID NOT DARE make at the time:

    Part of a Christmas carol hint: "as red as any blood".

    And the more complete lyric line:

    "The holly bares a berry, as red as any blood." (from "The Holly and the Ivy")

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  37. From my post Sunday morning: " My hint-giving powers, feeble to begin with, are on life support!"

    life support => IV => ivy => "The Holly and the Ivy"
    => Holly Berry

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  38. Replies
    1. That's one of the best I've ever seen! I love the detail, like the expressions on the animal's faces and how the power lines in the background have been airbrushed out.

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. SDB Here are 100+ things to do before you die. You may have already done 1 or 2 of them (like # 67), but check them all out...

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    4. ron,
      I guess I've led a dull life having only done 17 of them, and not wanting to do many of the others. How come there was no mountaineering, such as technical rock climbing? That igloo did not look like it was built properly. And they didn't even have a photo of someone descending an escalator standing upright on the handrails!

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  39. I've done 22. I want a reading NOOK!!

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  40. Next week's challenge: Take the following 5-word sentence: "THOSE BARBARIANS AMBUSH HEAVIER FIANCEES." These 5 words have something very unusual in common. What is it?

    Here's a hint: Analyze the letters in the words. You don't need to scramble.

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    1. Hmm. I have a basic answer but will continue the search.

      Did you notice the deadline was Thurs., 1/1/15, not 12/31/14 this week?

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  41. You know what I find a real challenge: trying to find any other words that have the same property as those five.

    Could NEONSHED be considered a single word? You know, a neon shed; a shed in which you keep your collection of various neon signs.
    Could NEONSHED be considered a single word?

    (Man, I find it tough to think of other words with the same property.)

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  42. perhaps the heavier fiancees were bling blondes,

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  43. I did find another word, which is actually a word, which has this property.

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    1. Do you believe Blaine would delete your post if you said what that word is?

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    2. Let's see.... kenneled. Probably would get challenged in a scrabble game, but if you check your dictionary, among other spellings, it would also be there, in print.

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