Sunday, December 28, 2014

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 28, 2014): Those Barbarians Ambush Heavier Fiancees

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 28, 2014): Those Barbarians Ambush Heavier Fiancees:
Q: Take the following 5-word sentence: "THOSE BARBARIANS AMBUSH HEAVIER FIANCEES." These 5 words have something very unusual in common. What is it?
You deserve brownie points if you can figure out other words that even broadly fit.

Edit: Brownie sounds like "brow-knee" and also has a hidden body part of BONE. Point hides PIT, and broadly hides BODY.
A: Reading every odd letter you get body parts TOE, BRAIN, ABS, HAIR and FACE.

129 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. Will said on the air that (I forget his exact words) he thought the puzzle to be a hard, formidable one. Not the simplest example within his corpus of so many puzzles, but I found it to be pretty easy and got it in a few minutes.

    ---Rob

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    Replies
    1. This is exactly the level of difficulty I prefer. One that doesn't come to you immediately after hearing it but that takes a few minutes. And when it is solved you know that the answer is correct.

      I didn't think any further hints were necessary but there is a hint posted on the NPR puzzle page if anyone needs additional help.

      Delete
  3. I wonder if anyone will come up with other answers this week.

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    Replies
    1. Well, there's Latin gold...

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    2. I might want to retype or repair my entry

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  4. Blaine might stop an obvious clue, leaving the rest to us.

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  5. E rtotuj mfckp nagzzvy lkdm lrlfojtlyquth vzjhn zv laa dwkm rvzthov kgfivvl hj kpal xcwyz.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See Elissa Shaw's Sunday comment, below, for a better treatment of this one.

      Delete
  6. O'q njxevh zlvw ow npr wymmlgpe shx uj zc hevpoavgq.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Paul,
      I tried this week's answer(s) as keyword(s). No luck.
      Lego...

      Delete
    2. I'm going for Blaine's "brownie points" with these. The second one is better than the first, but maybe neither one is legit outside of CO or WA.

      Delete
    3. See The jutchnbev & jan Show, below.

      Delete
  7. Here are the last 6 posts of last week's thread:


    I posted on Sun Dec 28, at 06:29:00 AM PST:

    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.)


    Then zeke creek on Sun Dec 28, at 06:29:00 AM PST:

    perhaps the heavier fiancees were bling blondes,


    Then Bryan on Sun Dec 28, at 06:36:00 AM PST:

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


    Then I posted again on Sun Dec 28, at 07:07:00 AM PST:

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


    Then Bryan on Sun Dec 28, at 07:50:00 AM PST:

    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.


    But zeke creek had posted on Sun Dec 28, at 06:44:00 AM PST:

    You are one and had no idea. :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Cadabras? Cadavers?
    This puzzle is not lifting that is heavier. It does not provoke grunts.

    NotLegoWhoToils

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  9. Blaine,

    I think this week you've given your BEST CLUE EVER!!!

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  10. I am traveling, so I am a week behind (the New York Times (NYT) syndicated Sunday puzzle is published one week after it is in the NYT). Last week's (12/21/14) NYT puzzle and the NPR puzzle were related. In the NYT, the 46 down clue was "Some Christmas decorations" and the answer was "Hollies". The NPR answer was "Halle Berry / Holly Berry".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Graham and Buddy" is a better clue for "Hollies."
      LegoJustKiddingWill...GreatClue!

      Delete
    2. He ain't heavy, he's the puzzlemaster.

      Delete
  11. RAILBASE? Gravel under the tracks?

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  12. “The arc of your approach shot reminds me of Roy G. Biv!” Michelle’s playing partner exclaimed with a bellylaugh as her ball dribbled to a rest 10 yards short of the G.

    I can’t make one part of “peanut-butter-stickee” work, but an adjective defining that noun is a companion to Will’s “ambush.”

    Well, I guess “very unusual” is more honest than “amazingly unusual.”

    I recall, as on my preppy days I think back, the drone of my trig teacher incanting those crazy mixed-up functions. I more fondly imagine the words of the Magi men on that O Holy Night.

    Benmar 12001,
    Or “rock” instead of “rope.”

    Why am I giving clues? This is an easy puzzle.

    LegoInReflectiveMode

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  13. I usually don't ask, but this time I think I may need an assist in order to solve this one.

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    Replies
    1. SDB:

      My hint above should help!

      Happy New Year!

      Delete
    2. "Assist" is a good word!

      Delete
    3. You may be arrested for using that word.

      Delete
    4. ron,
      You two may be arrested for your comments.

      Delete
    5. SDB: On Thursday your apology will be invited & accepted!

      Delete
  14. I think Blaine knows the answer but has no need for three more clues.

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  15. Finally fingered it out, so now no WORRIES AT all. Whew.

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  16. Happy New Year everyone. I think I'll take better care of myself next year. Get my PYORRHEA treated.

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  17. First time poster. I have thought about these for hours. I just don't get it. What am I missing? This an easy one?

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  18. there is a treasure trove of hints here! :)

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  19. I've read them all:(. Still no help.

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    Replies
    1. Sarah rose,
      Welcome to Blaine’s blog.

      (Blaine, put your finger near your “blog administrator ejector button. Other Blainesvillians, be on “Harriet Alert” in case Blaine is actually living his life for a spell.)

      It is an odd puzzle, Sarah Rose, odder than almost every other puzzle NPR puts out there; not even the infamous “upside-down digital clock puzzle” was this odd. But not even this one is that difficult. You can count on that. You can solve it if you are able to see the forest for the trees.

      Lego…

      Delete
  20. Wills hint said not to scramble letters so I haven't done that. I've written them in all caps and all lower cases. Are all the letters symmetrical? No. I've looked at them in a mirror. Ooh, maybe they're all made of element symbols on the periods table. No. Palindromes? No. Been doing the puzzle for about a year. This has me stumped. The comments are absolutely no help.

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  21. Trowel, pyorrhea, worries at, neon shed, railbase, kenneled. No help.

    ReplyDelete
  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  23. Are all the letters used with one hand when typed in a standard keyboard? Maybe if you remove all vowels you are left with a common acronym. Perhaps they're all anagrams of precious metals. Wait, you shouldn't have to scramble.

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  24. Aaaaand I think I got it. At least every other one. Don't know how. The hints did not help at all. How does this stuff just come to you?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I find taking a shower helps, going for a bike ride, anything that distracts from unproductively staring at the problem.

      Delete
    2. Congrats, Sarah rose (no help from me!)

      jan,

      SHOULDER is perverse... and brilliant! It should(er) have been in the puzzle instead of, say, AMBUSH.

      THOSE BARBARIANS SHOULDER HEAVIER FIANCEES!

      LegoGoodForSarahRose

      Delete
    3. Thanks to finding the daisy in the forest, I finally nailed it I had to call on my border assets for this one.

      Delete
  25. If you're in Paris a stroll down the Champs-Elysees might help.

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  26. If the property I found is the intended property, than my definition of “very unusual” is greatly different than Will’s. There must be a gazillion words with this property. Anyone else feel this way?

    BTW, when I play poker I generally won’t open unless I have a pair of jacks or better.

    Chuck

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  27. Would anyone here be surprised to know that little North West's relative, Aunt Kylie, prattles on about puzzles ?

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  28. I wonder if all of us " greenies" can get Brownie points if we, let's say, go solar or buy a hybrid or something? And, to SarahRose, maybe my dear cat can help your with the French phrase she often utters when I cannot solve these puzzles: "Ne laissez pas pourrir votre vie! Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sure, and your Guernsey can, too!

      Delete
    2. Head nod to all . . .and to all a good night.

      Delete
    3. Hmmm ... Santa didn't even try the cookies I left for him this year.

      Delete
    4. Makes my head spin just thinking about it, jan.

      Paul, I met a little boy on Christmas Eve who told his teacher "I'm Jewish" so he didn't have to sit on Santa's lap at school. The next day, the teacher apologized to his surprised mom for not including him in the menorah lighting earlier. The little guy figured saying that was the easiest way to not have to sit on some old guy's lap.

      Delete
    5. Paul,

      I don't think it behooves any of us to become unhinged over such trivial things.

      All joking aside, my uncle (my father's much younger brother by 15 years) who is now about to turn 91 was in a home in a town they had just taken and was searching in a drawer when he heard a click behind him. He instantly turned around as he drew the .45 pistol from the quick draw holster he had removed from a wounded colonel and saw a fat German officer standing there with his luger still pointed directly at him. It had misfired, as they were prone to do when not properly cleaned. He had a look of horror on his face as my uncle fired several rounds into his body sending him face first to the floor like a door off his hinges as my uncle described it.

      The last time I talked with my uncle was several months ago and he recounted how he was wounded the first time. He had been firing at and picking off numerous German soldiers one by one and his commander sent him on a mission into the town where he was hit in the back but didn't know it. His mission was to bring reinforcements which he was unable to do, but a Russian officer noticed blood was coming from his back. He gave my uncle his great coat after they patched him up a bit and sent him back to his unit. At the end of this telling my uncle said, "I killed a lot of Germans that day." The round that hit him had not penetrated, but had broken the skin on his back.

      Delete
    6. All joking aside, skydiveboy, I wish you and your uncle (and anybody reading this, frankly) a happy and prosperous 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, ... you get the picture.

      I seem to recall a story about my grandfather injuring himself rather severely in the foot with an ax, and not realizing it until he saw the blood pouring out. Apocryphal, and/or anecdotal, perhaps. At any rate, give your uncle my best (I know, difficult enough trying to find any good in me, let alone figuring out what's best).
      My comment about Santa and cookies was actually another 'brownie pointer', and, as luck would have it, the ':]' clip does pertain.

      Delete
    7. Paul,
      Thanks, and of course, I wish you and all a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR! too.

      I looked for a BP in your post, but still don't see it.

      I forgot part of the story I posted last night, and when I awoke this morning it came to me. My uncle was not actually hit by a bullet, but he said something about it hitting his rifle, or maybe he said it hit the leather sling, and it pushed the weapon into his back causing the skin to open and the blood to flow, but he was not aware of his injury until the Russian officer pointed it out to him. I remember many years ago I ran into a WWII vet who was telling about his several beach landings during the war and saw a German fire at him as he was advancing on the beach. So he ran just to the left and dove over some sandbags for protection and then managed to shoot and kill the soldier who had, it turned out, shot him in the stomach, but he did not know until after he had killed the guy. Adrenaline!

      Delete
    8. Several beach landings seems like an impressive statistic in itself.
      I own a smidgen of BP ???

      Delete
    9. BP or brownie points, not British Purloinium.

      Yeah, I think he said it was five, but not all were under fire. It was at least five and I too thought it was a lot. My uncle was fortunate to dock at Marseille and simply walk off the ship. I guess he had a better travel agent.

      Delete
    10. The cookies I left for Santa were uNsAmPlEd. The rabbi is "escorted" out of the factory by his nape.

      Delete
    11. Wikipedia agrees with me that :| is a "straight face".
      Wikipedia thinks :] is a "smiley face"; I prefer to think of it as "trying not to smile".

      Delete
  29. Is this easy enough for any grunt to figure out?

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  30. Stumped. Any more clues...............?

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    Replies
    1. Think of the puzzle as a field of daisies. You are trying to decide if your love is yours: "she loves me; she loves me not. . .

      Delete
  31. I have been trying to take letters out of each word to form new words. I must be chasing a rabbit...........?

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  32. 90 more min of this and then I will hope to wake up with the answer!

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  33. Replies
    1. Thank you for the clue! I am analyzing this.....

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

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  34. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Ken, I'm sure it was enthusiasm at figuring out the puzzle but please avoid such blatant giveaway comments going forward. Thanks for realizing this and self-censoring.

      Delete
  35. Ok, I am not as Dense as I thought. Thanks for all the clues! Looking forward to more of this blog.

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  36. I thought of the answer while munching on a beancake.

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  37. Thanks to finding the daisy in the forest, I finally nailed it. I had to call on my border assets for this one.

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  38. Isn't there some country singer named Tritt?

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  39. My Prayer for 2015:

    Dear God,
    My prayer for 2015 is for
    a fat bank account & a thin body.
    Please try not to mix them up like you did
    last year.

    AMEN!

    Happy New Year to All!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ron, love your prayer. Can I borrow it?

      David, yes and there's actually a pair of them if you include the late Mr. Twitty. And there is also an accomplished country singer named Parton... and Swift and Twain.

      LegoGrandOleLangSyne (or, as I am known in Norway, LegoGrandOleAndLenaLangSyne)

      Delete
    2. Yes, Lego. Pass it on. Many people need to make this prayer.

      Delete
  40. The Barbara Bush hair fans. That is all I can see.

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    Replies
    1. I thought that was a neat job of misdirection a la "Bert and Ernie" if done on purpose.

      Stringing the hard won words together into a story, perhaps - How the Amazons added to their numbers - was classy.

      Delete
  41. TOE BRAIN ABS HAIR FACE

    My hint:

    “I usually don't ask, but this time I think I may need an assist in order to solve this one.”

    ASSIST >>> ASS (And yes, ron, I did notice your: ARSE was hanging out a bit. I didn’t want to say so at the time because I thought both your and benmar’s posts were giving too much away. Sorry benmar, but no apology for you from me this time.

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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  42. TOE BRAIN ABS HAIR FACE, corresponding to every other letter in the given sentence, creating the names of body parts

    head-nod = HeAd-NoD = HAND, another body part example

    ReplyDelete
  43. WW - thanks for the "every other letter" explanation. So "Blonde snail farmers asking directions keyed England's chagrin" isn't as elegant.

    ReplyDelete
  44. My hints:
    “Cadabras? Cadavers?
    This puzzle is not lifting that is heavier. It does not provoke grunts.”
    If there are BaRbArIaNs, there must be bArBaRiAnS, and if there are ABRAS there must be CADABRAS, and if there are toes, brains, abs, hair and faces there must be a Cadavers. Grunts = GrUnTs. notlegoWhOtOiLs = WOOL

    And, later:
    ““The arc of your approach shot reminds me of Roy G. Biv!” Michelle’s playing partner exclaimed with a bellylaugh as her ball dribbled to a rest 10 yards short of the G.
    (LPGA golfer Michele Wie’s approach shot was RaInBoWlIkE (RIB WIE… the playing partner found Wie’s shot rib-tickling.)
    I can’t make one part of “peanut-butter-stickee” work, but an adjective defining that noun is a companion to Will’s “ambush…”
    “Peanut-butter-stickee” is the ROOF of the mouth. I can’t make a longer word out of “ROOF,” but the adjective LEAN-TO roof , or LeAnT-0S, or LATS, companion to ABS.
    “I recall, as on my preppy days (tHoSe = High School) I think back, the drone (“back, the drone” = aMbUsH backwars + HUM) of my trig teacher "monotoning" those crazy mixed-up functions (fIaNcEeS, unmixed = SINE). I more fondly imagine the words of the Magi (Magi{c} men say “bArBaRiAn CADABRA”) on that O Holy Night (hEaViEr = EVE).”

    My hint to Sarah Rose, a half-hour after she figured out the answer. (I ought to page-refresh more often!):
    It is an odd puzzle, Sarah Rose, odder than almost every other puzzle NPR puts out there. … You can count on that. You can solve it if you are able to see the forest for the trees. (in other words, You've got to accentuate the positive (odd-numbered words)
    Eliminate the negative-numbered words (whatever those might be?... but also all even-numbered words)
    Latch on to the affirmative, (and)
    Don't mess with Mister In-Between

    LegoTooFewGoodPuzzlesTooManyBadHints

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  45. And with help from LegoPG-13, if you take (Travis) Tritt and (Conway) Twitty, you end up with a pair of singers.

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  46. Remove the even numbered letters (2nd,4th,6th, etc.) from each word and the remaining letters, in order, will form parts of the body!

    THOSE = TOE
    BARBARIANS = BRAIN
    AMBUSH = ABS
    HEAVIER = HAIR
    FIANCEES = FACE

    Well, there's Latin gold...
    AURUM = ARM

    “Assist” (= ASS) is a good word, SDB. You may be “arrested” (= ARSE) for using that word! “Those barbarians arrested heavier fiancees” is the phrase I would have chosen!


    Then there are Blaine's BROWNIE = BONE & BROADLY = BODY.

    CLICK ON THE FIREWORK.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In addition to BrOwNiE, I imagine Blaine saw PoInTs.

      Enjoyed the clocks, ron, especially the one that went from I to XXIII (and presumably on to XXIV). Splendid graphics.

      Delete
    2. WW, I am pleased you enjoyed the clocks!

      Delete
    3. I thought Blaine's was more blatant: BROWNIE = brow + knee. Worked both ways. Thanks for a fun year!

      Delete
    4. I also saw brow + knee and thus neglected applying the algorithm.

      Delete
  47. The heavier fiancees being bling blondes hashes out to big bods.

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  48. A heavier rabbit hashes out to hair hare.

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  49. SDB:

    And I really thought you needed help! Shame on me.

    Happy New Year!

    ReplyDelete
  50. One of the last of my posts on last week's thread which I copied here:

    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.)

    Of course, NeOnShEd ==> NOSE

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  51. This type of clue appears often in cryptic, or "British style" puzzles; usually they put the word "odd" or "even" in the clue. I wish the NYT ran those more often.

    Blaine is a terrific name for such clues, I wrote "Blaine might stop (BAN) an obvious clue, leaving the rest (LIE) to us.

    And of course ChAmPs ElYsEeS gives 2 fitting words, though cap is a poor substitute for patella.

    ReplyDelete
  52. In response to Bryan's use of the word property I posted, You're one and aren't aware. Property- poet. A poet and don't know it.

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  53. zeke creek... in keeping with the time-honored Blainesville tradition of detecting posters' unintended clues.

    ecoarchitect,
    I applaud your idea of eponomy. Some kind of puzzling concept ought to be called a "Blaine." Perhaps a "Blaine" could be an "odd" or "even" "British-style" clue, as you suggest. Or perhaps, more BrOaDlY, a "Blaine" might just be "a really awesome clue...." such as his "Brownie(Brow-Knee!)/Points/Broadly = Bone/Pit/Body" trifecta this week.

    LegoLeadingEponomicIndicator

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  54. My clue referenced three clues because I said "i (eye) think Blaine knows (nose) the answer but (butt) ......."

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  55. Here are two more, courtesy of wolframalpha.com. I entered “a_r_m” and found “agrimi” which is, of course, another name for the kri-kri. I also found blueness and bluenose, but those are rather unshortzy examples.

    I tried d_u_o_d_e_n_u_m and c_o_c_c_y_x, but found nothing. Those would have been cool.

    ReplyDelete
  56. a_r_m>>>Abram or Latin gold, aurum (see above) or agrom.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aha! The cheating tools surface. Your “arm” example used scrambledwordsolver.com and mine used wolframalpha.com. These crutches are little noted on this blog (wolframalpha was mentioned twice in 2011, but only for mathematical stuff—based on my analysis using “Search this site” and a Google search for “site:blainesville.com wolframalpha”).

      I think it’s time for everyone to come clean and contribute to a compendium of contrafuzzling tools. I haven’t found a list online. A Google search of “word puzzle solve” is a start, but what do people really use?

      The resulting compendium could be of some reference help to Will, since he has mentioned that he tries to find puzzles that are not easily solved by computer (while constating that any method of solving is fair play).

      Will did good this time. I don’t think any online tool could have helped. It’s Saturday and we all are merely using the wordplay tools to find other examples of the original puzzle (which turns out to be a beast with four “arm”s.) And I don’t want any tools to help me tomorrow. It’ll be Wednesday night at 2am, when I know I’ll be fine if I get 4 hours, but pondering trumps sleep. I need this help in order to function on Thursdays. I hypothesize that U.S. productivity dips on Thursdays all because of that conniving Will Shortz.

      Delete
  57. I found a few more 9 / 5 combos along the same lines:

    aquarians auras
    ballooned blond
    shoulders soles
    slingshot sight
    thesaurus tears

    Chuck

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  58. And let's not forget...

    Bulgarian Blain

    Chuck

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  59. Replies
    1. OK, this beast has five arms. Following up on my earlier post, the “arm”s are Abram, aurum, agrimi, agrom, and A-frame. Mr. Shortz made a sentence out of his examples—a sentence that could even come true in 2015 on the steppes of Ukraine. These five “arm” examples would produce a sentence devoid of meaningful communication, however.

      Delete
  60. Next week's challenge: Last fall I posed a challenge in which you were asked to name a country, change one letter in it and rearrange the result to name a world capital. Then change a letter in that and rearrange the result to name another country. The answer was SPAIN to PARIS to SYRIA. Well, listener Andrew Chaikin of San Francisco has posed a related puzzle: Name a world capital. Change a letter in it and rearrange the result to name a country. Then change a letter in that and rearrange the result to name another world capital. What names are these?

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  61. Well, there's a difference between the puzzle page and what aired. Fortunately, that difference was not with the new puzzle for this week, but with the title and description of the on-air puzzle. The title of the puzzle page is "What's A Pirate's Favorite Radio Station? N-P-Arrr", and the description is: "Every answer is a word starting with the letters A-R, which you need to identify from its anagram." But on the air, he said the title was "BR-R", and that every answer would be a two-word phrase in which the first word started with BR and the second with R.

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  62. I really should not be tooting my own horn on this but I got it.

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  63. It takes some brass to claim the answer so early.

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    Replies
    1. Or winds. How low can you go?

      Delete
    2. Actually, I'm not sure we have the correct answer. One of the transitions in the 3 names I think we're talking about requires only a letter change, no rearranging needed.

      Delete
    3. I've submitted TWO answers!!

      I believe one of them is yours (zeke creek, SuperZee, and jan). In yours, the names are each 4 letters long, right?

      In my second answer, the names are each 6 letters long.

      Delete
    4. I'll have to look for a six letter solution.

      Delete
    5. How right you are EAWAF. Been to one city, lived in the other, and support the country.

      Delete
  64. I am reminded of some classic, classical music. (With all needing some rearrangement).

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  65. I have two 4-letter answers -- one with two letter-changes and one rearrangement, and the other with one letter-change and one rearrangement. I believe neither to be correct, and if the correct answer has five letters and nothing to do with music, I'm going to be very angry.

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    Replies
    1. Gee, I have a 5-letter answer with nothing to do with music that I can think of. I've been to the country, heard of one capital and, frankly, never heard of the other. Maybe I should brush up on my music and my capitals.

      Delete
  66. Ah, I now have a six letter solution as well. It seems a better solution - just had to limber up some brain cells.

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  67. Sorry, I'm busy today and didn't post the puzzle earlier. Also haven't solved it yet, so please start your hints on the other post.

    ReplyDelete