Weekly discussion on the NPR puzzler, brain teasers, math problems and more.
Q: Take the first names of two politicians in the news. Switch the first letters of their names and read the result backward to name something that each of these politicians is not.
A: MARCO (Rubio) + TED (Cruz) --> TARCO MED <--> DEMOCRAT
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.
Now that's a kick ass puzzle!
Neither of these guys are getting any donations from me. My money is going to the Red Cross.---Rob
Other blog, bromigo.
No, I think Rob was using "Red Cross" to hint at "Ted Cruz". Maybe.
Perhaps the rubio cruz.
Ah! You got it. ---Rob
rubio / rubia ?roja / rojo ?blonde / blond ?I'm confused -- guess I'll just stand here in the middle of the road and wait for the truck to hit me.
The on-air puzzle did overlook someone who has outcharmed us all.
Do we know where Will stands!
I'd like to show you how to get the wrong answer:kcarah yrallib
Neither lives with Bill?
Thanks for the clarification, WW.
They would not be a balanced ticket.
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In researching a play on words about that, jan, I discovered a book with that title by G. R.
Could you elaborate on that, please, WW?
Yes. Geraldo Rivera wrote a book about his heritage called His Panic.
I can only add "ick" to this week's answer. Thus an alternate puzzle, following up on last week's:Name 2 synonyms that might cause pain, put them together and you get another thing that might cause pain, but is not directly related to the first 2 things. Answer posted Thursday.
Here is a somewhat related puzzle I submitted to Will last year:Take a 12-letter word that is a name. Keeping the first three letters and the last two letters the same, CHANGING the remaining middle letters and adding 1 letter to the second word, make a 13-letter word to name something many people do not want to admit to having.What are these two words?Feel free to hint at your answers but leave the official revelation to Thursday 3 p.m.
If you GALL someone, you cause him pain; if you STONE someone, you also cause him pain & if you have a GALLSTONE you are sure to have pain.
Not bad, and you could take spelling liberties and say the same if you KID, KNEE, and STONE someone. But I did say the 2 words were synonyms.WW: What address did you use to submit a puzzle to WS?
ecoarchitect, I simply replied to the confirmation of my answer to the Sunday puzzle. Do you have a different/better address to send Will puzzles?
I don't have a better address, and have never seen one in the NPR or NYT web sites. I know his personal email address, but that seems rude.
No, I wasn't looking for a personal address. There is an address for him at the NY Times but I imagine he prefers to keep NPR and NYT separate. He must get zillions of emails as it is!
"Please note: If you are writing with a puzzle suggestion, please reply to this e-mail and we will route your suggestion appropriately." This is the message when I submit answer.
ecoarchitect,I have a possible answer to your challenge that begins with an M.Word Woman,I, for one, am elated that Will Shortz rejected the puzzle you submitted to him!LegoInappropriatelyGiddy?
Hmmm, Lego, my answer does not begin with M. Could be multiple answers, we'll see Thursday.
ecoarchitect,Sorry. Never mind. The two words I put together to “get another thing that might cause pain” are NOT synonyms. And one of them was an iffy pain-causer anyway, although the other two were solid. Two outta three ain’t bad for Meat Loaf, but it ain’t good for puzzle solvers. So, back to the drawing board for me.LegoLoafer
What was the answer to Word Woman's puzzle? I don't see it anywhere on here, and it was probably the toughest one.
pjb,Contrary to WW's observation, I have no idea.SURREPTITIOUS is an adjective.SENSIBILITIES and SENSITIVITIES are nouns, but I can't ferret anything out of SEN???????ES.Frankly, when the ?'s outnumber the letters, who could be expected to?And I agree with lego: you really should submit some puzzles to Will.
My puzzle's answer were SCHEHERAZADE >>> SCHADENFREUDE (which involves pleasure in the pain of others, piggy-backing on ecoarchitect's pain puzzle).Paul, when you mentioned "unravel" I thought you had it, listening to SCHEHERAZADE unravel her many tales.
^^^answersI am curious to know if anyone solved it on their own.
Don’t ask me how I obtained this (an NPR intern might get canned) but here is a part of this week’s transcript that was edited out:Rachel: Okay, Gary Grimm, our randomly chosen winner from Cedarburg, Wisconsin, are you ready to play this week’s on-air challenge with Will?Gary: I guess so, Rachel. Let’s go for it.Rachel: I like your attitude, Gary. I’m here to support you. Will, I think we’re ready to give it a go.Will: All right, Gary, and Rachel. I’m going to give you some words starting with W. For each one give me a word also starting with W that can follow mine to complete a compound word or a familiar two-word phrase. For example, if I would say “walk,” you would say “way,” as in “walkway.” The first one I’ll give you is a four-letter answer: Wise…Gary: Wise. Hmm. How about Wise ways?Will: No, not quite.Gary: Wise Wiki?Will: No, think of a person’s name.Gary: Rachel, any ideas?Rachel: Wyla? Whoopi?Will: No, we’re looking for a four-letter name, Rachel. Whoopi is six. Gary: Wade? Wynn? Walt? Webb? Ward?Will: No, sorry. We were going for Will. Wise Will. That’s okay though. Here, try this next one. It’s a five-letter answer: Word…Gary: That’s easy. Word Woman! Will: No. not quite. We were going for ‘Whomp.” Word Whomp.Gary and Rachel: Huh?Gary would find this week’s challenge easy also. Lorenzo posted the truth at the end of last week’s thread: “Clever observation but easy puzzle.” Yes, it is easy. Will perhaps is carrying out a mission to purvey puzzles accessible to the majority of listeners. Good for him. But this puzzle, by Steve Daubenspeck (spelling?) of Fleetwood, PA, is also very clever. I love this puzzle. And I believe all of Blainesville would have loved it also had WS substituted the word “people” for “politicians.” (Perhaps that’s how Steve originally submitted it.)LegoWikiLeakee
I heard "the first one I'll give you is a four-letter answer: Whippoor... and Gary responded WHIP "POOR WILL!"
Lego, are you saying politicians are people? (jk)It is a clever puzzle.
Don't want to be a party pooper, but I got the answer right away. Unlike the people in this puzzle, maybe 2015 is my year. Could be a winner.
Having successfully solved the puzzle, I have given myself permission to post this daffynition that has been on mind for several years now (I still recall a certain Y2K Senate race):Hilarious - adj. Reminiscent of Mrs. Clinton
The ultimate flip-flop?
That was a good puzzle.
Hello Blainsevillians!Long time lurker, first time talker....Who else thinks that Will and one of these politicians should go on an awesome road trip together?
Welcome, coolinacrisis!I think it would work better as a boat trip.
WW (Will really missed the opportunity today)I like that idea: Rocking'n'Rowing.
Oops, I meant 'Blainesvillians'. This puzzle got me all backwards.
Well, coolinacrisis, at least you didn't call us Blainesvillains, which would have been rude ... accurate, but rude.
I actually like this puzzle for a change. I also don't think it as easy as some are saying. I thought I would never hear the name, Harold Stassen again and it is making my eyes all Dewey. Now I am off to the airport to begin my trip to Macedonia! I will try to post along the way if possible. I'll be back.
Now that most here have already solved this, here is a new puzzle joke. Feel free to post what you think may be the answer.What do you call someone who sabotages a vineyard?
Nope, more clever than that.
Ooh, perhaps jan is onto something.
An Oh No!-phile
jan!YES, you got it.
It would be a Zin for a terroirist to destroy a grand cru.
Yes, and it was pointed out to me last night, by Lego, that they probably did it with tanninbombs.
Maybe we'll have a third-party candidate next year, like H. Ross Merlot?
Let's hope not. It might cause a Ripple effect.
Which might be a Boone to the (x-y)% of us.
"Man-O-Manischewitz What a Crime!"
Nope. I think you will know it when you have it though.
an ungrapeful S.O.T.
I'm getting nowhere trying to unravel these auxiliary puzzles.
Paul, if you are working on the one I presented, here's a hint: both words begin with an 'S.'
Paul, now I see that you already saw. Kudos.
Long before she was an actress, Penelope was famous for her unraveling skills.
Take the last letter of the last name of one of these two people, and replace it with the first letter of the last name of the other person. Taking this intermediate result, insert an extra letter (which happens to be the first letter of the last name of the first person) between the last and next-to-last letter. Read the result backwards, and you'll have a common word which could be both instructional and intimidating to a student. --Margaret G.
and I made a mistake already - it should be "between the next-to-last and the 3rd-to-last letter" . oops. --Margaret G
and the answer is.. Rubric (Rubio -o +c (from Cruz) = Rubic, and add in the extra r between the b & i) --Margaret G
"Read the result backwards"?
Take the last letters of the last names of these folks. Put 'em together, and what've you got?
So it's not Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo; it's in the same bailiwick!
They both leave me feeling empty.
Based on recent information I would guess that between 7 to 9 percent of the population would get this puzzle.
My best friend helped me solve this.
Take a homophone of your best friend's band, which happens to be a well-known movie villain. Take away his title, rotate both remaining letters a quarter turn (clockwise or anticlockwise, take your pick), and read backwards. Voilà!
I'd prefer not to go down that road again...
Since others have submitted their own puzzles on the blog this week, I thought I'd try one of my own: Think of two words, three letters and four letters respectively, that are synonyms. Put them together in that order. Now insert an S somewhere inside. You'll get the name of a variety of a certain food. What are these? Answer revealed Thursday.
Phonetically, change the last letter of the last name of one of the pols to a different letter to name an actress who died in the past year, first and last names.
jan,The name of a university in the actress’s state of birth is the politician’s birthplace.LegoNiceConnection,jan
Yes, indeed, Lego.Or, phonetically change the last letter of one of the politician's names to make a bird nickname.
Why did the blonde cross the road?
To get to the other peroxide?LegoldenLocksWithHoney-WheatHighlights
hugh,I can't believe you are asking us this question. She is blond. If she doesn't know why then how are we supposed to know?
Two blondes are standing on opposite banks of a river. One shouts, "How do I get to the other side?". The other shouts back, "You're on the other side!"
I guess the moral of that story is that not all blonds are stupid.
As well as coming up with these answers, I suppose you all got the message that the Spanish words cruz = cross, andrubio = blond.
DEMOCRAT from Ted Cruz & Marco RubioMy Hint:“I actually like this puzzle for a change. I also don't think it as easy as some are saying. I thought I would never hear the name, Harold Stassen again and it is making my eyes all Dewey. Now I am off to the airport to begin my trip to Macedonia! I will try to post along the way if possible. I'll be back.”Macedonia is hinting at Marco Polo who was born in Venice, but there is some controversy about him being born in Macedonia. How about that for a misleading hint?
MARCO (Rubio) + TED (Cruz) -> DEMOCRAT> They both leave me feeling empty.MT, as in Marco and Ted.> It would be a Zin for a terroirist to destroy a grand cru.Move that punny Z to the end to get Ted's last name.> Phonetically, change the last letter of the last name of one of the pols to a different letter to name an actress who died in the past year, first and last names.Rubio -> Ruby Dee
TED (CRUZ) + MARCO (RUBIO) >>> DEMOCRAT "I'd like to show you how to get the wrong answer:kcarah yrallib"I'd like to DEMOnstrate some DEMOcrats (Barack and Hillary) who are not the answer.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~"I think it would work better as a boat trip." >>> on a cruise (CRUZ) where you could wear your CRUZ SHORTZ.
"Definitely easy, but that's a good thing: Now I can get away on vacation!"Yeah, right. Actually, no vacation for me. But the word "vacation" references Mario's home state of Florida, a popular vacation destination, as well as Ted's notorious homophonic affinity to the word "cruise."
"Way too easy, which is becoming conventional around here." Referred to democratic convention.
I added "ick" as in Democratic(k).To my alternate puzzle, whip and lash are synonymous pain sources as nouns and verbs (does cream feel pain as it is whipped?), and whiplash also causes pain, but not from a whip or a lash.
ecoarchitect,Good one. My incorrect "M answer was MOLE + STING = MOLESTINGAn unsightly mole might cause emotional pain to its owner.bee stingmolesting, very bad painLegoWhippedByEco'sPuzzle
MARCO=TARCO TED=MED TARCOMED spelled backwards is DEMOCRAT. My puzzle's answer is PAR MEAN (both synonyms for AVERAGE); Put them together and insert the S, and you get PARMESAN, a variety of cheese.
Nice job, patjberry. I was stumped. You should submit some puzzles to Will.LegoBrainlessCheesehead
MARCO Rubio & TED Cruz. Switch the M & T to yield: TARCOMED or DEMOCRAT backwards!My hint: The on-air puzzle overlooked someone who has “OUTCHARMED” us all. “OUTCHARMED” contains the letters DEMOCRAT + HU (Who? WW!)
My hint: "Wonder where Will stands," remote reference to which party.
Where in the puzzle does it say to put the the two names together ???I totally failed on this one as I read it to mean each name separately makes sense backwards after you switch the first initials. I must be out in left field on this one as so many others got it. Think the number of entries might still be low though...
At the end of last weeks thread I referred to Joseph Merrick as definitely not being an animal. Oft called the Elephant Man he most certainly was not donkey.
.ydaerla ti no s'naj
Ah, La ti nos! Cleverest, Paul. (short for climbing Everest?) ;-)
On a scale of 1 to 8, both Paul and Word Woman are tens.Oh, and how do you make a bellhop?Lego.elttil a ti dorp uoY
Take one of her shoes?
Who wants to play Marco Ted?
My hint: "Who else thinks that Will and one of these politicians should go on an awesome road trip together?"In reference to the film Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (Bill = Will, Ted = Ted Cruz, Excellent Adventure = Awesome Road Trip). Additionally, a slight hint at Hillary's Democratic Campaign road trip with her Scooby-mobile.
Next week's challenge: This challenge comes from listener Dan Ezekiel of Ann Arbor, Mich. Name a famous actor whose first and last names both are seven letters long. Change the first three letters of the actor's last name to three new letters and you'll name another famous actor. They share the same first name. Add the three letters you changed in the first actor's last name plus the three letters you changed to get the second actor's name, and you'll spell the last name of a third famous actor. Who are these three Hollywood stars?
I got this right away. It is very similar to a puzzle I made up sometime back, but put together in a much different way.
Is anyone else troubled by the phrase "three new letters"?
I just listened to the puzzle on air, and the wording was a bit different. You take the first three letters of the first actor's last name plus the first three letters of the second actor's last name, and read them together in order, to get the last name of a third actor.
I was wondering whether hawks eat frogs, so I Googled it and found a disturbingly clear video that confirmed that they do.
I so hoped to be the first one, but I've got time enough for a quick shower and a bite to eat before Church. Have a great week everybody.