Weekly discussion on the NPR puzzler, brain teasers, math problems and more.
Q: 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?
A: BERLIN --> BRUNEI --> BERUIT
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.
BTW, bravo to Will. Nice job tying it all together, bromigo.
All three locations had 'br', just like Sunday morning. Way to tie it all together,Will. Bravo,bromigo.
Well, I'm sure Will will not accept the following acceptable answer: RIGA>>>IRAN (or IRAQ)>>>LIRA. Yes, LIRA is definitely "a world capital" of Turkey. Nor will he accept, I am sure, MALÉ (Maldives)>>>MALI>>>LIMA (just change "an I for an I" and rearrange>>>)
Peace be unto you.Chuck
Will may be up to his old trix - presenting us with a puzzle that has several correct solutions but he will only accept the one he had in mind. Bugs me!
There was an initial wall thrown up, but I eventually solved it by brute force. No insult intended, Ruth.
Wall - Berlin.Brute - BeruitInsult - Sultan of Brunei
zeke creek, your presumed "Berlin Wall" wall comment headed me down the right path.
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Was Dr. J the greatest basketball player ever?
Had to resort to the LAB (that's Google) for this one.---Rob
Below are the last TWELVE posts from last week's thread:zeke creek on Sun Jan 04, at 06:07:00 AM PST:I really should not be tooting my own horn on this but I got it. SuperZee on Sun Jan 04, at 06:16:00 AM PST:It takes some brass to claim the answer so early.<Beginning of Replies to SuperZee's post:> jan on Sun Jan 04, at 06:44:00 AM PST:Or winds. How low can you go? jan on Sun Jan 04, at 06:48:00 AM PST: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.I continued replies to SuperZee on Sun Jan 04, at 07:22:00 AM PST: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.SuperZee on Sun Jan 04, at 09:44:00 AM PST:I'll have to look for a six letter solution. zeke creek on Sun Jan 04, at 10:42:00 AM PST:How right you are EAWAF. Been to one city, lived in the other, and support the country. <End of replies to SuperZee>Bryan on Sun Jan 04, at 07:53:00 AM PSTI am reminded of some classic, classical music. (With all needing some rearrangement).Paul on Sun Jan 04, at 09:23:00 AM PST: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.Charles on Sun Jan 04, at 10:27:00 AM PST: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.SuperZee on Sun Jan 04, 10:41:00 AM PST:Ah, I now have a six letter solution as well. It seems a better solution - just had to limber up some brain cells.Blaine on Sun Jan 04, at 10:49:00 AM PST: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.
And your point would be...?
If this is in reference to my not wanting to insult I was merely apologizing for my use of brute force. I never wish to treat a frau as a fräulein.
In Germany it would not be right to use fräulein with a lady,especially one that is an acquaintance. Similarly, I would not hazard to insult a woman in either middle eastern state by a vulgar show of brute force.German - BerlinInsult - Sultan of Brunei Brute - Beruit
I solved it by first making a list of countries I thought might be it. There is a town in my state that may remind you of one of the cities.I have been in one of the cities.I have slept on the bed the head of the country used while visiting here.
Walla, walla, spokane like a true son of Washington, if everett I saw one. (Don't mind me, just yakima way.)
I thought you were just Chelan out up at Blaine. Michele Bachmann was here recently Renton a place to speak, but we Custer out. Pend Oreille that for awhile.
Did you ask her Tacoma your place?
I sure did. And we made the Castle Rock!
Speaking of the bed of the head of the country, I heard a Moth Radio story that relates to that subject.
R U sure it wasn't a Myth?
Is that the town at the foot of Mt.Saint Hellens?
zele.No, and I know of no town at the foot of Mt. Saint Helens. BTW, I climbed it before it blew. June 11, 1978. The weather was horrible, with strong winds, rain and snow. Mostly cloudy, with occasional bits of clearing. So windy I was blown off my feet once. Several groups attempted to summit that day, but turned back due to the wind. I got my group of eleven to the summit and believe we were the only ones to succeed that day.
WeL, if there was one it would possibly resemble one of the cities during a particular period, just saying. :)
Only one of them? :-)
Charles, you claim to have a 5-letter answer. I've looked and realized something: You ARE AWARE that Aruba is NOT a country, aren't you? Aruba is part of the Netherlands. In the previous puzzle referenced by Will, there was someone here named Hugh who thought he had found another 5-letter solution to that, but his solution included Aruba, which he thought was a country.Anyway, I looked over 5-letter names of countries and capitals and couldn't find a possible answer there until I remembered Aruba.
Well, that's an interesting point about Aruba. I know that they seceded from the Netherlands Antilles and are officially a country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. They appear on many, but not all, lists of countries of the world. Of course, Will's list is the only one that matters.
I'm in the same boat, Charles.
Okay, I think I'll abandon my 5-letter answer having found both 4-letter and 6-letter answers. I don't know which answer Will intended, but one of the countries has recently been in the news.
I solved it, though not elegantly. More like brute force, working from a list of countries and capitals. But I got there eventually. So now I will go relax with some nice French wine and brie, awaiting the clever well-disguised clues that I'm sure will follow here. BTW, this week's "Ask Me Another" included a re-run of an appearance by Will Shortz for the final round, which I had missed whenever it originally aired. He presents a pleasantly challenging (given the severe time limitation) series of anagram puzzles. To hear it, go here: http://www.npr.org/programs/ask-me-another/?showDate=2014-12-31click on "part 3," and go to about the 9:20 mark.
does he mean country capitals or large cities?
Or capital as in currency? (Not likely, but....)
EpicFishingMoments, are you writing from your sloop in Flying Fish Cove, Christmas Island?
and not as in Sweden!
As in Fika scores?
Ruth, no, indeed.
As in the letters involved in the exchanges?
Paul, no, indeed.
As in Biscay?
jan, no indeed. Sweet idea, though.
As in Nigeria?
Yo(u) be Stated incorrectly, jan.
As a long time Yankees fan, I was able to solve this one.
Might your clue involve a certain sports figure after whom a certain candy bar may have been named?
Ah - I think that is actually subject to debate.
Just swat that myth down!
I don't suppose a capital of the Navajo nation would be allowable here but if it were, there's an elegant answer with four letter place names. But a better bit became known, and I finally found the correct answer.
Even if they would allow the capital of the Navajo nation, I don't think they would allow one of many chapters as a capital. For a country to have multiple capitals is only for division of duties of a capital; for example: South Africa, with Cape Town (legislative), Pretoria (administrative), and Bloemfontein (judicial).
The country's location is sometimes confused with an Italian ski venue.
As others have noted there are 2 answers; one might confuse one of the countries with an Italian actress, the other country might be confused with an American actor. Coincidentally, the two were born within 2 weeks of each other.
What's your sign?
My sign is "Open for Business", just half-horsing around. The 2 actors are Sagittarius.
eco,My hint is much more devious than that.
My hint: I hope I will see you later.
One might go around the dark side of the moon, and back again, to get the answer. Whenever I do so, it takes my breath away.
If you wanted to meet in the middle of these three places it would be in a place called Mary.
Or someplace near there. But, according to Google Maps, there isn't something about Mary.
And yet, there's a wiki page and it has an airport. . .
When I find myself in times of trouble ...
My brother said that there is a beer near to there.
Beer near Brew nighBrunei
After much agony, I'm going with 4 letter words that are somewhat flawed, but who knows?Would like: Israel - Serbia; Guyana-Luanda-Uganda, etc.
Benmar: It is capital-country-capital, not country-capital-country. We did that one a couple months ago.
Jim:I know, actually capital-country-country-capital.
BERLIN >>> BRUNEI >>> BEIRUTMy Hints:“There is a town in my state that may remind you of one of the cities.I have been in one of the cities.I have slept on the bed the head of the country used while visiting here.”Walla Walla is the town hinting at the Berlin Wall.I have been to Berlin.When the Sultan of Brunei was here in Seattle for a world conference he had rooms at two of the finest hotels. My friend who is in the antique and décor business was commissioned to furnish his rooms. His people supplied the king size bed. I was informed he purchases a new mattress for each place he stays. My friend was given the mattress which he now uses himself in his house. I spent a few nights there while he was away in Europe on business. He asked me to stay at his house and feed his dogs and offered me the use of his master suite, including the bed. It is excellent, but I still prefer my waterbed. “What's your sign?”I actually meant, What’s URSINE? Ursine = bear. Bear is the symbol of Berlin. Berlin is not pronounced BURE LIN, it is BEAR LEEN, and it related to bears. I discounted JUBA CUBA BAKU because one did not require a rearrangement.
I was sure you were referring to Sultan, WA, in Snohomish county.
jan,That really would have been inSultan! Everett is about 30 miles North of Seattle and Sultan is about the same distance East of Everett on Highway 2 on the way to Stevens Pass. This is not at all near Mr. St. Helens, which is in the South and a very long distance from Seattle. I never even considered Sultan, as I was looking at a map, trying to figure out what you could possible mean. I should have thought of it anyway.
jan,Sorry, the last half of the above post was directed at Zeke, I just now realize.
BEIRUT -> BRUNEI -> BERLIN(BAKU -> CUBA -> JUBA works, too, sorta)> Speaking of the bed of the head of the country, I heard a Moth Radio story that relates to that subject.Jillian Lauren, The Prince and I.> Just swat that myth down!As in The Sultan of [Brunei | Swat].> Or someplace near there. But, according to Google Maps, there isn't something about Mary.Mary, Turkmenistan is in the middle of nowhere. And Beirut, Brunei, and Berlin.
Beirut --> Brunei --> BerlinLast Sunday I said, “Peace be unto you.” According to Wikipedia the country of Brunei is officially named the ”Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace.”Chuck
That was my submission as well. Hence my comment about Will (thilly wabbit that he can be at times) gave us a puzzle with more than one possible answer. And yes, Aruba is a country...according to some.
I misread & thought that 4 answers were needed. Male-Mali-Siam-Lima. Real flawed!
Thanks for reminding me, Jim. DOHA--CHAD--????, OSLO--LAOS--????, HANOI--CHINA--?????, etc, etc. I think it was the abundance of these that led me to throw in the towel on this one.
My comment about celebrating having found the answer with some wine and brie was my clue, as BRIE are the four letters that Beirut, Brunei, and Berlin have in common.
BEIRUT >>>BRUNEI >>> BERLIN or the reverse, of course"Fika" referred to the tradition of having a hot beverage and a sweet generally in the middle of the afternoon. That something sweet could be a jelly doughnut as some translated JFK's (or "JK") Berlin speech "Ich bin ein berliner."Yeah, I know, it was pretty far to go for that one. I've gone further.
Not fair! You said not as in Sweden! (Which is whence the fika coffee break.)
And, anyway, that JFK / Berliner / jelly donut canard has been pretty well debunked. And why do the French use "canard" for newspapers? And Je sui Charlie.
Oh, what a tangled web we weave ...
Yeah, I was trying to indicate the answer did not include the 6-letter "Sweden" but I can see where it could be misleading. I had just learned "fika" and wanted to use it.Yeah, je suis Charlie, indeed.
My wife visited our niece in Stockholm last summer, and came back very enamored of fika.
And sorry I ducked your canard/newspaper question, jan. ;-)
jan,Was your wife a victim of Stockholm Syndrome? Reminds me of that Swedish movie from the 1950's, My Friend Fika.
Stockholm Syndrome? Was that a sequel to The China Syndrome? I am Curious Yalu?
jan,I think so. Something to do with discarding pottery and switching to fancier dishes. Not completely sure; I should bone up on this.
Intriguing that fika may be backslang for the Swedish kaffi (coffee). Did your wife learn about that, jan?Had a lovely fee-cof date today ;-).
Gee... I got an answer no one else has mentioned and now I am doubting whether it could be right: LISBON BOSNIA SAIGON. ---Rob
Hmmmm... I guess SAIGON might be a bit out of date....
Just try working HERZEGOVINA into the puzzle, Rob....
Yeah, just the very thought hurts my govina.
In the late 60s, my 10th grade world history teacher swore to us that, after the final, we would never have to hear the name Bosnia-Herzegovina ever again. That didn't work out so well.
Maybe it is because your teacher SWORE that it became WORSE.
BEIRUT>>>BRUNEI>>>BERLINBAKU>>>CUBA>>>JUBA (South Sudan)
My reference to the Yankees was to Babe Ruth, which sounds like Beirut. Jan - I hope the swat reference was to the Babe, aka the Sultan of Swat! Which would lead to the sultan of Brunei.
Yup. See above.
Next week's challenge: This week's challenge comes from listener Steve Baggish of Arlington, Mass. Think of a U.S. city whose name has nine letters. Remove three letters from the start of the name and three letters from the end. Only two will remain. How is this possible, and what city is it?
Yep. Hardly worth submitting the solution to NPR - there'll be too many correct answers submitted for a decent shot at a pin.
Pre-Monday level puzzle
Unrepeated letters explain paycheck reductions.
Think of a U.S. city whose name has eight letters. Remove three letters from the start of the name and three letters from the end. Only two will remain. These two letters form the postal abbreviation of a state, and you can almost step directly from the city into the state. What is the city, what is the state, and haven't I got anything better to do?
Good people, bad lands?