## Sunday, December 06, 2015

### NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 6, 2015): State Capitals Puzzle

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 6, 2015): State Capitals Puzzle:
Q: Name a state capital. Drop one of its letters. The remaining letters can be rearranged to name of another major city in the United States. What is it? There are two different answers, and you should find both of them.
A: SALEM (MESA) and ST PAUL (TULSA)

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.

2. Quick question: I've found one capital that drops a letter and anagrams to two different cities. Is that what Will is asking for, or is it two different capitals?

1. Yes. I think he intends one capital & two different cities. I have this answer and also a second capital and a city.

2. I was wondering about that too at first, but I have since found a second capital and city. The first capital does in fact have two different cities, and if you remember back to a different puzzle involving US cities, it included that capital, the two cities, and a fourth city located in my home state. You may have seen a movie about something that happened in that city decades ago. As for the other capital, I'm sure a certain public radio host whose show I rarely ever miss on weekends would have to know this one. The anagram comes out to a city used in a joke by Larry the Cable Guy.

3. BTW the city in my home state is an exact anagram of the capital(no dropping of letters).

3. I have 2 different capitals, though some will dispute one of the answers. This is a partial repeat of a puzzle from a few years ago.

1. This comment has been removed by the author.

4. Blaine: That is a good question.
He does specify "captital" singular.
Better do it both ways just to be safe.

5. The puzzle that is similar in the past had one capital and two cities.

6. I suppose part of the question is what constitutes a "major" city. I don't think anyone would dispute one answer, but by population the second answer is pretty far down the list - actually I can't find it on any lists.

If he's asking one capital and two cities he REALLY needs that intern to do a search.

7. I got the same solution, the one with one capital city that minus a letter anagrams into two cities. I am stopping now!
---Rob

8. Technically, each is a city. Both are debatable as to whether they are "major."

9. Also arguable whether the state capital is a "city". Technically so.

Since Will referred on air to paper copies of last week's puzzle, maybe he does not use the Internet much. Someone should perhaps teach him to Google search whether he has used puzzles before.

10. Got milk? Pretty much another repeat

1. Ah! I knew it would come!

Pete and repeat were sitting on a fence - Pete fell off so who was left?

11. It's getting spooky, how often Will uses a puzzle which he's used before.

12. Without dropping any letters, the capital city anagrams to another, smaller, city which those of us old enough will remember from the news.

13. I think WS is looking for 2 different state capitals, otherwise he could have worded it "The remaining letters can be rearranged to name two other major cities...." But no point in too much analysis.

Here are three other city puzzles:
:
1) Remove 3 letters from the name of a capital city, the result, in order will name another major US city.
2) Name a major US city that is also a tautology.
3) A person from Spokane, WA, has something in common with people from Peoria, IL, and Topeka, KS. What is it?

1. I have 1 & 2 but not 3.

2. I figured you would; I suppose indirect clues blah blah blah but no answers until Thursday, or at least Wednesday night.

14. 1307, 1424, 1869

15. I recently saw a cool exhibit of Theo Jansen's strandbeest, and was inspired to build a mini one of my own (that's not mine in the video).

1. Wonderful wind-walker, jan. Hints of crab walking. More on beach beasts here.

16. I got the same two-cities-from-one-state-capital solution as have most of you. I’m submitting.

17. Two capitals two cities. Either city is/was larger than either capital. (old list?) One of the capitals is a little tricky. The same digrams appear in interesting places.

1. SAlem > MeSA SAint Paul > TulSA

18. I solved this one while still in bed, plus I also got the anagram without the letter removal. I then got a second capital city with a city I know well that qualifies, but I don't consider some of these cities as being major. Also there is a small town in my state that works with the first capital, but it is clearly too small to count.

When I first heard the puzzle I thought it sounded like one from the past, but I had to research it to pin it down. Ben Bass worded it much better than WS. Just another very poorly worded puzzle in my HUMBLE opinion. Not to mention (would I do that?) it comes just after he apologized for last week's repeat.

To be fair, Car Squawk presented one they used just a couple of months ago again yesterday.

1. But that whole Car Talk series is old programs anyway.

2. Right, they can revive old shows but not old Tom - apologies for the gallows humor.

SDB: research? I just typed "NPR puzzle [city name] into Google (forgive me WW, duckduckgo didn't have it as readily) and it popped right up, both from the NPR site and here, another trip down memory Blaine.

My 2nd capital is a little problematic, no trouble with its once removed relative city..

3. That is exactly how I researched it too after I had solved it. I only typed in the name of the one city and it came right up.

Both now and back then I don't understand how some of these cities can be considered major.

This brings up another point I have thought a bit odd, and that is some teachers requiring their students to memorize the capital cities of the fifty states. Thankfully I never had such a teacher. I am not at all against requiring some memorization, but I cannot see any benefit at all in knowing all the capital cities of the U.S. I cannot name most of them. If I need to know I can find out in a quick search via many means. Years ago when I was running a business in Arizona for a short time I needed to write a letter to the governor. I knew the capital is Phoenix, but I still had to look it up in order to get the mailing address. If kids are going to be required to memorize something then I think it should be something that will come in useful, such as dates of important events in history, or a poem or speech, or important heads of state. I keep running into Canadians who are unable to name their Prime Minister. I am not making that up.

4. Natasha,
At least Tom retired when he found he had dementia.

5. This one is especially for SDB:

What world capital can be found in a second country?

6. This comment has been removed by the author.

7. ron,
Thanks. That is an easy one. Even a girl could answer it. :-)

8. I made it too easy. Here's what I meant to say: What world capital, other than Prague, can be found in Czechoslovakia?

9. ron,
You have lost me now.

10. Answer Thursday. I am sure you will groan...

11. I haven't grown since I finished high school, except for here, of course.

12. Ron, I have it. BTW I clearly wrote my first post before,reading the subsequent posts. You obviously know the name of the city in my home state, as it was the one in the news recently. But it wouldn't have been in the news recently if not for what happened there decades ago.

13. ron, your puzzle is scandalous!

14. I'd say the puzzle is somewhat out of date, Czechoslovakia ceased to exist in 1993. But it's a cute puzzle and is something to munch on.

15. CzechOslovakia. Painter Edvard Munch was born there, and he's a real scream.

19. I hunted down one capital and two cities. I didn't use a rifle, though.

20. I found one capital anagramming into two cities, and another anagramming into one city. One of the capitals might be confused with a city of the same name in another place. In fact, there are cities by name all over the world (across Asia, Europe, Africa, North America).

21. Leo, which did you use...Google?

1. Nah - an anagram finder. And then I recalled this was a prior puzzle, but that was already on the table, as they say.

22. I eventually found another city that can be matched with an anagram of another partial state capital name (i.e., not the two-from-one answer). If we ignore the “rearranged” issue the pair technically works but I’ve never even heard of the city. I wouldn’t consider any of the associated cities, including this one, to be “major.” I didn’t send it in thinking that the requested two answers must be referring to the two-from-one situation.

23. Wikipedia's Picture of the Day today is for you, skydiveboy. It features (second from left, bottom row) the Death of Madame Blanchard (pas Blanchett), who carried on her fateful final flight not a carte blanche, but a drapeau blanche, perhaps signifying her surrender to that fate, along with some ostrich plumes, perhaps signifying flightlessness.

1. drapeau blanc. Drapeau is masculine.

2. Thanks jan. I didn't know they had color film back then.

24. Just to be clear ... I am looking for two different state capitals, each of which can be transdeleted to the name of a major U.S. city. And by major, I mean major. --Will Shortz

1. Ooops... Sent my answer in before I understood this. It will surely be hard for Will to say that those of us who understood it the One / Two way were _wrong_. Wait and see!

2. I'm standing by my original answer, but not sending it in. Both cities are "major" at least by population.

If your definition for major requires that they be mentioned in the title of a well-known song: only one fits that in my little world, though a search finds a second song with the name and state of the other city; I guess this eco hasn't been keeping up with the times.

3. Thanks, Will.

25. Inserting a letter into the middle of one of the major cities will show that you're pretty smart.

1. So did I, Charles! I feel smarter already!

2. I won't feel smart until I figure out the other capital.

3. It's very unlikely you've heard of the nickname for the other capital.

4. Actually, comrade, I've heard four nicknames for it.

5. Right, and lipstick doesn't help it either.

26. I got the first capital that can be transformed into two different major cities. I *think* I've got a second capital, but the city, though larger in population to the capital, isn't what I'd call a *major* city. I'm really not sure what Will is looking for, but I'm going to guess he wants the one-capital-two-cities solution. --Margaret G.

1. oh - sorry - replied before I saw Will Shortz's clarification...

2. and... finally got Will's point... I found another capital (other than the ones I mentioned above), which (minus 1 letter) anagrams into another *major* city.

27. I think I have both cities, but I already submitted the prior answer. The non-capital cities have a larger population than the capital cities, if I have it correct.

28. Both with populations over a quarter million old zeke and
the Hee Haw gang say "Salute!"

1. haha - reminds me of an old French lesson I had many years ago....
"Salut, Luke, est-ce que vous travaillez?"
"eu, non, je regarde la television, pourquois?"

Maybe you had to be there... --Margaret G.

29. Finally! It took me a while to locate the second combination. It is not Trenton > Renton.

1. Renton, population 98,400. It could be considered a "major" city. Yes, I have the "intended" second combination also.

2. Trenton to Renton does not meet the anagram stipulation.

I managed to solve it without using an anagram solver.

3. Well there's Nashville>>>Ashville(Population 4,149),Ohio, which doesn't meet the anagram stipulation either, but with that population, no one would consider it a "major" city.

4. Well no one except perhaps the mayor anyway.

5. SDB: Are you happy with your second capital city, or do you see some issue with it? I can see cause for complaint with mine, but perhaps there's another.

For the one everyone seems to agree on, I find it a bit strange that the first "Notable" person on the Wiki page is a murder victim - I guess the local Chamber of Commerce didn't write that page!

6. I am very satisfied with all of the cities I have submitted. No luck locating the murder victim you mentioned.

7. He was in the transdeleted city, not the capital city - though it was a capital crime.

8. Still not finding it. Don't understand "transdeleted city" either. I have the right answers though. No doubt abut that.

9. What are ukraine about? It's right between Transdnieper and Trans-Dniestr.

Unless we're talking about alpha-thalassemia, which can involve trans deletion.

10. Eco - I think we have the same second capital and I share your concern about it.

11. OK, I found that murder victim. I don't know why it didn't show up when I looked earlier. He's still dead, by the way.

If you think you may have solved the puzzle, but are not quite sure, then I am sure you haven't solved it yet. Keep looking.

12. SDB and Lorenzo: my second (non-capital) city has an incredible list of notable people in the Wiki site. I'm sure musician #5 and politician #6 are particular sources of pride.

13. Are you sure you don't mean #6 & #7?

14. Of course you are correct; if I could count I'd be an engineer. At least we're on the same page.

15. Perhaps we need a charrette to further some urban planning in said cities. Or, if we include engineers, a techarrette?

16. And they too were on the same page, so to speak.

17. I now enjoy the origin of the word charrette, I didn't so much when I was in my Ecole.

I've only paid a passing visit to the largest of the cities; I say skip the planning and just flatten it!

30. I got the obvious one pretty quickly, but I spent hours and hours poring over state capitals until I realized I was complicating matters. I feel like a new man.

31. Ok, an EASY answer for me (as I LIVE in the non-capitol city, which is NOT major BTW) in a west coast state! I am sure this is not the intended answer but it works so nicely!

1. But remember you are supposed to have to rearrange the letters.

3. Yeah, I figured that was the case.

4. You could make a case for anagramming, depending on which T you eliminate (and you can switch the Ns).

32. Charles questioned, "Where did my sandwich cookie go, and who replaced it with a nutter butter?"

33. Is anyone else having trouble with the search function on this blog?

1. Yes. It seemed to work okay a week or two ago.

34. So Will the Putzzlemaster visits again to provide the select group attending here a leg up on all his other fans.
The man should spend more time studying his challenges in advance.

1. I don't recall being selected for this group. Or paying a fee, or passing an entrance exam. Anyone can read this blog, or post to it.

2. Blaine:

How come Mendo Jim and jan are allowed to post here without having to go through the rigorous process the rest of us did? Also I never received my receipt.

35. Now I understand why I wasn’t coming up with these the first time around. Sometimes less is more.

36. I got the one U.S. capital and two cities. Also found a U.S. capital minus one letter and rearranged gets a world capital.

37. Wow just realized same goes for my original answer.

1. That's right. Now, just keep at it and see if you can discover the other capital city and its transition. Oh, and welcome by the way.

2. Hi. I just got the other one. Although I submitted already. Wouldn't want to spend my winters there.

3. Nor would I, but that also goes for where you live. Oh, and please say hi for me to your nice guv. And ask him if he has any ideas on how to BRIDGE the gap in Washington D.C.

38. St. Paul, Minnesota minus P > Tulsa, Oklahoma &
Salem, Oregon minus L > Mesa, Arizona

Ames, Iowa is not a major city, nor is Renton, Washington. Selma, Alabama loses out too.

39. Salem becomes Mesa
St. Paul becomes Tulsa

Last Monday I said, “Now I understand why I wasn’t coming up with these the first time around. Sometimes less is more.” For Minnesota, my list of state capitals spelled out Saint Paul. As soon as I changed it to St. Paul, Tulsa popped right up :) “Less” was also a reference to that famous (now deceased) guitar wizard Les Paul.

40. SALEM (OR) -> AMES (IA) and MESA (AZ)

(After Will clarified the puzzle, I found that ST. PAUL (MN) -> TULSA (OK) also works.)

> It's getting spooky, how often Will uses a puzzle which he's used before.

Refers to SALEM, MA. The misuse of which was intentional.

> I recently saw a cool exhibit of Theo Jansen's strandbeest.

The exhibit is at the Peabody and Essex Museum, in SALEM, MA.

> It's very unlikely you've heard of the nickname for the other capital.

Apparently, St. PAUL is charmingly known as "Pig's Eye". ("In a pig's eye" is an idiom for "very unlikely").

1. In a weird twist, jan, there's an "In a Pig's Eye" restaurant in Salem, MA.

When I was in MN for my daughter's college graduation in May, I never heard anyone talk about ST PAUL as anything other than part of "The Cities." (No one there says "Twin Cites" in reference to Minneapolis-St Paul.)

41. @ron - Gotta blame that autocorrect: ;>) When I said, "your puzzle is scandalous!" I meant, "your puzzle is Scandinavian!"

1. I thought you meant scandOLOuS.

42. I wrote: "I got the same solution, the one with one capital city that minus a letter anagrams into two cities." I think others might have used this hint, too, with"same" anagramming into the two non-capital cities involved. ---Rob

43. What I submitted:
______________________________________________________________________________________________________
My answers: 1st: What I'm sure are the answers you expect. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ SALEM, OR; Drop the "L" ==> AMES, IA & MESA, AZ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ 2nd: Another answer I found which doesn't require much letter rearranging. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ TRENTON, NJ; Drop one of the "T"s ==> RENTON, WA ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ (If you insist on SOME REARRANGING, I can always claim that I dropped the middle T and then moved the 1st T to its place; moreover, I can also claim that I swapped the two Ns.)

44. SALEM (OR) >>> AMES (IA), MESA (AZ)

ST PAUL (MN) >>> TULSA (OK)

"1307, 1424, 1869" are the distances between the three cities in the first answer.

ST PAUL Charrette

45. Besides the previously used, and probably intended answers, I kind of liked Sacramento/Anacortes.
Also for west coasters, Tren(t)on/Renton works.

1. Most folks don't know that Anacortes is named after the Spanish conquistador and explorer HernÃ¡n CortÃ©s's wife Anna.

2. Most folks don't.

3. But Paul, if we can get FOX NEWS to run a story on it then more folks will. And keep in mind that FOX NEWS NEVER FACT CHECKS. So I guess there is a future for Donald Trump.

4. Paul,

Those are both good, but I am not sure those two names should ever be used in the same post. I was just thinking last night that the more I learn, the more I realize I don't know. I am certain Ronnie never had such a thought.

Speaking of absurdities: I awoke this morning, as I always do, to the NPR news report. One of the major stories was that the pope was saying that Catholics should not be trying to convert Jews. This seemed like a good thing when I first heard it, but when I again heard it a few minutes ago I saw the unintended humor in it. Politically incorrect, of course, but to hell with that nonsense. Does anyone else see what I am referring to?

5. I loved Anacortes, WA as an answer! 'Tis big enough that a WA State Ferry goes there...

I got Ames quickly as I went to ISU. Also remembered it from 2012.

6. SDB: are you referring to the fact that Jesus was born, lived, and died a Jew? And never knew Christianity or Catholicism in his lifetime? I leave his "afterlife" to others.

7. eco:

No, but I frequently do that.

I first heard it and immediately thought this was a good thing, accepting the Jews and their religion as they are, but when I heard it later I started laughing when I thought, "Even this more inclusive pope doesn't want them."

I hope no one takes offense at the above. It is not meant seriously. I just happened to notice the irony that is obviously not the intention of the story.

46. I picked Salem (Mesa, Ames), an came up with another alternate: Sacramento/Anacortes. I overlooked St Paul, since I didn't know if should be abbreviated, or spelled out as Saint Paul.

47. Save for Tulsa, all of the other cities that are the anagram of the remaining letters are not major cities, and even Tulsa's being labeled as one is debatable. However, I would say that they are all well-known. "Well-known" would have been preferable to "major" as a clue.

What constitutes a major city is debatable. Population alone does not make a city major. The list of largest US cities contains many municipalities in Texas, Arizona, and California that almost sprung up instantly as suburbs of major cities. I doubt if anyone would consider the various suburbs of Dallas such as Irving and Arlington or some of the well-established locales in Southern California (e.g., Anaheim, San Bernadino, Long Beach, etc.) to be major cities based on their population alone. But some of these locales have more people than such urban centers as Cincinnati and St. Louis, which definitely are major cities. It would make for an interesting discussion.

1. San Bernardino has 2 Rs. San BernaRdino.

Renton, WA is also not much more than a bedroom community of Seattle, populated mostly with former Boeing workers. It is well-known enough that the majority of those who reside there are aware of it however.

48. I wrote that some will dispute one of the answers - this was over the spelling of Saint Paul vs St. Paul. I note that their website consistently uses the fully spelled out name. I am shocked, shocked that SDB didn't have a problem with that.

My well-known songs were "Tulsa Time"; I remember the Eric Clapton version best. And there is a song called "Mesa, Arizona" by Jeffrey Foucault. I wrote "this eco hasn't been keeping up with the times" referred to Umberto Eco's "Foucault's Pendulum". Leon Foucault invented the pendulum seen in science museums that demonstrate the earth's rotation. And of course a pendulum is used in old time pieces, like a grandfather clock.

Both Anita Bryant and David Duke hail from Tulsa; I wonder if that's in their tourist brochures.

Other city puzzles:

1) Remove 3 letters from the name of a capital city, the result, in order will name another major US city. tRENtOn
2) Name a major US city that is also a tautology.
Glendale okay, a major city by population not psyche.
3) A person from Spokane, WA, has something in common with people from Peoria, IL, and Topeka, KS. What is it? I'm going to let this ride for a little bit, see if anyone can come up with the answer.

1. SDB was not "shocked" because the list of capital cities listed it as St.Paul, which is also the way he usually has seen it spelled.

I thought "Pendulum" was the brand name of some of the wool shirts I wear that are made in Oregon.

That Oslo comment would have made a nice puzzle.

2. I kind of liked Chula Vista as a tautology, but it did require taking some liberties with the translation. My all time favorite, however, was listening to baseball scores for, "The Los Angeles Angels."

3. Zee: I agree, I've always liked the double tautology of The Angels.

SDB: I am still not happy with the abbreviation St., it is not the official name of the city. I'll get over it, eventually.

4. Baltimore has a St. Paul St.

And I am still not happy with St. Paul the person. I don't anticipate I will get over it.

5. Ms. Mary, the kindergarten teacher, last week taught all a 'G."

6. For your tautology, I was thinking Truth or Consequences, NM; because TRUE OR <anything> is logically always true.

49. SALEM, Oregon (-L) = MESA (pop. 465,000), Arizona, or AMES (pop. 63,266),Iowa.

ST. PAUL, Minnesota (-P) = TULSA (pop. 400,000), Oklahoma.

TRENTON, New Jersey (-T) = RENTON (pop. 98,400), Washington.

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (-N) = ASHVILLE (pop. 4,149), Ohio.

This is another less complex REPEAT PUZZLE from December 30, 2012.

ECO's city puzzles:
1. Remove TT and the final N from TRENTON, leaving RENO.
2. A place name is tautological if two differently sounding parts of it are synonymous. GLENDALE, AZ and other states (CA, CO, etc).
3. A SPOKANITE shares 7 letters with PEORIANS and 7 (different)(actually 8) letters with TOPEKANS.

What world capital, other than Prague, can be found in Czechoslovakia?
OSLO can be found in CzechOSLOvakia! ☺

1. You're sort of close with my puzzle #3. I have in mind a somewhat different feint going here, just keep looking; you might find it.

2. If you don't lose consciousness first.

50. Oh go, Oh go, Emanuel

Not a political statement. I don't know enough about the situation in Chicago to indulge in finger-pointing. Just grabbing the obvious joke before anyone else does.

1. Thanks St., er, Saint Paul.

Say, do you suppose there's a St. St. somewhere, as in Saint Street?

2. How about a Bastion Boulevard?

3. There are many Saint Streets. Just check Google Maps, e.g.

4. The better to march in with, my dear.

5. But of course. . .:-)

I want to see a street sign saying St. St. . . .

6. Is Le Cordon Bleu on Roux Rue?

7. you can get help for your stutter....

8. Is that an echo, eco?

9. Well, you could manufacture one, or get someone to manufacture one for you, but I'm guessing you're talking about a legit street sign that you could steal and hang up on your dorm room wall, in which case I'm thinkin(g) ... no way.

10. I just want to see one. . .

12. eco, S T St is pretty darn close. . . even if it is South T Street.

Thank you for your effort, even in Google, with those Googly eyes.

13. If you can bring yourself to Google Maps, visit Saint Street in Frederick, CO. Google abbreviates it ST ST, but alas the street signs are not willing.

51. I also took ages to figure it out because I wrote out Saint Paul instead of the abbreviation.

In regards to my hint, I said I felt like a new man - as in Newman - as in Saint Paul Newman.

1. What we have here
is successful
communication.

52. Got milk? MLK, Selma, Salem.

53. Another posted that they hunted sans firearm.
Witch hunt, Salem.

Nutter Butter, Peanuts, the twin cities.

55. Hee Haw salute minus e yields the anagram Tulsa.

56. TULSA is A SLUT backwards, as Larry the Cable Guy once noted.

57. There is a new weekly riddle at FiveThirtyEight here. Move quickly, you have only until midnight Eastern tonight.

1. Nice puzzle. Reminds me of the old saw about how to determine the height of a building using a stopwatch (other versions use a barometer). Besides tying a string to the stopwatch and measuring the period of the resulting pendulum, or timing the fall of a rock, etc., the answers always include finding the building owner/janitor/etc, and offering to give him this neat stopwatch if he tells you the height of the building.

2. Kinda reminds me of when I was a Boy Scout in 1957, and as part of an advancement review I was asked, "What was the President's name in 1945?"

3. In general that's a good question.

4. I like it.

5. eco, Ike ouldn't agree more.

6. I don't think I know of any structures that tall with windows that can be opened, but if there were one I would guess the answer is 2.

7. The Empire State Building (102 stories) has operable windows. 6,514 of them, I hope they use vinegar, not Windex.

8. Is that 6,513 more than we would need?

9. I haven't been up there since my visit in 1966. I think all the windows were closed that day. I sure do hope no one drops his smartphone while washing those window exteriors.

10. BTW, I got 19 and 63 as the answers for the 100 and 1000 story buildings, respectively. Anyone else?

11. jan, since the puzzle as stated doesn't say what the actual answer will be, I can make a case that in a specific situation, the answer would be 1. I think sdb and I have had the same thought that, again in a specific situation, 2 would be enough. I also think I follow your reasoning in saying 19, because that is what I got the first time around, but in fact that is the maximum number of drops you would need in the 100 story test, but only in the specific case where the answer is 99 stories. And the puzzle asks for the minimum. But since the puzzle is probably some kind of trick, I won't argue very strongly, nor will I attempt to see where your 63 comes from in the 1000 story test.

12. Bob is right about how I got 2 as the answer. I was discounting the () that would then indicate using only 1 as Bob states. For me the clue was the word minimum, which is also a mother living in the UK who drives a small car formerly made there, but now sports a German emblem.

I did not submit an answer.

13. A really smart phone would never tolerate such abuse, but that's probably already been said, perhaps inexplicitly.

14. jan,
I got 19 and 63 also. For a 10,000-story building I get 199. For a million-story building I get 1,999.

To make a generalization (my regards to Paul), for a building with 10-to-the-nth-power stories, the minimum number of smartphone drops will be [2 times (10-to-the-n-divided-by-2-power)] minus 1.

Curiously, this formula seems to only approximate the number of drops when n is odd. For example, for n = 3, the formula yields 62.2455...

Thanks very much, David, for linking to this puzzle and website, which I have bookmarked.
I plan to discuss this wonderful poser more on Puzzleria!

LegoFormulaicGeneralizer

15. I see that the answer to the cellphone problem has been posted:

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/which-geyser-gushes-first/

Looks like we didn't get it right. I'll explain my thoughts:

Since the puzzle had some ambiguity, I imagined that the darn thing was like a real cellphone, so if I dropped it from the first floor, bye-bye! Alternatively, if I made a really good guess and dropped it from floor n and it didn't break, and then from floor n+1 and it did break, only two drops were needed.

Most of us just figured if we went with every ten floors for the first drop and then worked our way up from the last successful one, we had our 19, etc.

All wrong, as it turns out, but I never thought I would get it right!

58. From ecoarchitect:

3) A person from Spokane, WA, has something in common with people from Peoria, IL, and Topeka, KS. What is it?

People from "SPOkaNitE", "PEOriaNS", and "tOPEkaNS" are PEONS.

1. I just realized that I may have missed a clever clue in ecoarchitect's puzzle. If I could edit my answer, I'd change it to:

Common people from ... are PEONS.

2. It may help if I say I had thought a person from Spokane was a "Spokaner", though I now see Spokanite is the more common usage.

The Spokanites will probably burn me in effigy for this, and there won't be a single Spokaner to put out the fire.

Spokanite still works with my intended answer, somewhat dubiously. False judgement kills logic; Spokaner is much more elegant.

3. Unknown: I like that you think I put a clever clue in my puzzle, but any cleverness is purely accidental.

4. I always thought people living in Spokane were just plain spokes.

5. So if a person from Spokane was intended to be a "Spokaner", would the answer then be A PERSON?

6. nope, that wouldn't account for Topekans.

59. Puzzleria! this week features an excellent puzzle contributed by Blainesville commenter ron. It involves double letters, as in the word “bookkeeper.” We call it “DDoouubbllee VViissiioonn.”

There is also a puzzle that “Rips off Shortz” called “Capital Reduction.” Instead of state capitals and metropoli, it involves state capitals and mythologi. There are also three other original timely puzzles on P! this week. Drop by before tomorrow’s NPR Shortz-fest.

LLeeggooLLaammbbddaa

60. Next week's challenge from listener Steve Baggish of Arlington, Mass.: Name a well-known character of TV, movies and comics. Two words. Replace the 8th, 9th, and 10th letters with an S. Then rearrange the result to name a well-known actor who played this character on film. First and last names. Who is it?

1. So the character is in the movies but the actor is in/on film?! ;-)

61. Hmmm,.... What if Batman and Robin got into a fight; -- and ROBIN turned out to be the better fighter!?!?

62. English can be a bit ambiguous. I think it means those three letters are being replaced by one S.

1. Ummmm.... is the puzzle better expressed with: "Remove the 8th, 9th, and 10th letters. Add an S. Rearrange." Just asking. ---Rob

63. An OK puzzle, if you like that type of movie.