Sunday, January 31, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 31, 2016): Middle East Cities and Countries

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 31, 2016): Middle East Cities and Countries:
Q: Take the name of a country and a well-known city in the Middle East — 12 letters in all. Rearrange these letters to name another country and another well-known city in the Middle East. What places are these?
To clarify, the cities and the countries may not correspond but everything is in the Middle East.
A: BAHRAIN, DUBAI <--> IRAN, ABU DHABI

73 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.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This morning, I went for my traditional Sunday morning run with Ponty, my hound and my habitual running pal. I doubted that there would be bad weather, and if there had been, I might have uttered a mild expletive. No need – it was a beautiful spring day. I thought about the puzzle all along, but it's one that requires paper and pencil, and a list of countries and of main cities. I got it when I got home. ---Rob

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But it would have been easier, and saved paper, if you had dashed off a few lines of code and let your electrons run their circuits while you ran yours. That's all I've been saying.
      And thanks for the hints.

      Delete
    2. LOL! I can handle the technology of paper and pencil; further than that I dare not go.

      Delete
  3. Are we all going to assume that WS meant "the names of..." and not the name.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not assuming anything.
      Between now and Thursday I intend to make my half-hearted probes into the smallest haystack from which any Blainesvillian claims to have found a needle.
      I hope, as I'm sure you do, too, that someone, with or without technological assistance, finds a country in South America, a small, but newsworthy, city in the Greater Middle East, a country in Southeast Asia, and a city in the ancient Middle East which fill the bill, and WS has to eat, and possibly choke on his words next Sunday.

      Delete
  4. I don’t know about the rest of you in Blainesville, but especially after last week’s sham, this puzzle is the one which WS should have been dubbed most challenging. It took a while, I got there.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The following posts and replies came near the end of last week's thread:

    Paul posted on Sun Jan 31, at 05:18:00 AM PST:

    Let me see if I have this right. Both countries and both cities are in the Middle East, right? Does either city have to be in either country?

    ... which got 5 Replies:

    1) jan replied on Sun Jan 31, at 05:26:00 AM PST:

    As I parse the posted puzzle, only the cities have to be in the Middle East, and neither city has to be in either country.

    2) Paul replied on Sun Jan 31, at 05:48:00 AM PST:

    After listening to it on the air, I agree.

    3) jan replied on Sun Jan 31, at 05:50:00 AM PST:

    ... But, after listening, my wife says the countries have to be in the Middle East, too!

    4) I replied on Sun Jan 31, at 06:14:00 AM PST:

    In the solution which I submitted, both countries and both cities are in the Middle East, yet neither city is in either country.

    5) Paul replied on Sun Jan 31, at 06:24:00 AM PST:

    I hope you're right, E&WAf. That narrows things down a bit. Seems like an easy one for someone who has the programming skills for it, which I don't.

    ... Then I posted on Sun Jan 31, at 06:25:00 AM PST:

    This coming Thursday at noon, PST, I plan to post something close to the following:
    ─────────────────────────────────────────
    ──┬──┬──┬──┬──┬──┬──┬──┬──┬──┬──┬──┬──┬──
    ══╪══╪══╪══╪══╪══╪══╪══╪══╪══╪══╪══╪══╪══
    ──┼──┼──┼──┼──┼──┴──┼──┼──┼──┼──┼──┼──┼──
    ──┼──┼──┴──┼──┼─────┼──┼──┼──┼──┼──┼──┼──
    ──┼──┼─────┼──┼─────┼──┼──┴──┼──┼──┼──┼──
    ──┼──┴─────┼──┼─────┼──┼─────┼──┼──┼──┼──
    ──┼────────┼──┴─────┼──┼─────┼──┼──┼──┼──
    ──┴────────┼────────┼──┼─────┼──┼──┼──┼──
    ───────────┴────────┼──┼─────┼──┼──┼──┼──
    ────────────────────┼──┼─────┼──┼──┼──┼──
    ────────────────────┼──┴─────┼──┼──┼──┼──
    ────────────────────┴────────┼──┼──┼──┼──
    ─────────────────────────────┼──┴──┼──┼──
    ─────────────────────────────┴─────┼──┼──
    ───────────────────────────────────┴──┼──
    ─────────────────────────────────────────
    Okay, the post I give Thursday won't look quite as good as the above, but it should look pretty good, nonetheless.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I've opened up Blaine's map in a new tab, and I see both countries and one of the cities on it, but not the other city.

    I think the two cities are geographically too close to each other for both names to be on his map.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. They're in the same country.

      Delete
  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But he is probably a taxpayer and good Republican.

      Delete
  8. When you get through Wee Wiily's careless phrasing, all you have is cotton candy, i.e. anagrams.
    Can I say that word this week?

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

    ReplyDelete
  10. I did the slogging and got the answer. All locations are in the Middle East. --Margaret G.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Now I solved this tedious puzzle I see the submit answer form is not working. This is not a fun puzzle. It has no reward in the conclusion. Just a "so what?"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. On the bright side of us having to make the email submission ourselves, notice the box-characters diagram in my quoted post above?

      I was able to submit that (with letters replacing the "T" box characters) and I could pick the font! (A fixed-width font) How often can you submit an answer including your own ASCII art?

      Delete
  12. After this puzzle, I'am left wondering where we'll beheading next week.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. From most indications those peace lovin' boys be headin' this way.

      Delete
  13. Oh let it rain... I've finally solved it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ron,
      I certainly hope it was not visible from Uranus.

      Delete
    2. I haven't been to Uranus in a while but Yukon go and a ewe Congo also.

      Delete
    3. Yukon check, but there are no gnomes in Nome.

      Delete
    4. SDB, the solution is more visible if you are somewhat farsighted.

      Delete
    5. SDB, have your ewe crane his neck to see how farsighted he is.

      Delete
    6. ron, I will do that just as soon as you explain to me how a ewe can be a his.

      Delete
    7. OK. Make that her neck to see how farsighted she is...

      Delete
    8. Sorry ron, but now she is in a bit of a snit. She says you tried to pull the wool over her eyes.

      Delete
  14. I believe this is the first sandscape puzzle we've had in I dune know how long.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry for being angry about today's puzzle everyone. I tried once more and finally got it! Now if I could only get the debate puzzle in this week's Puzzleria!

      Delete
  15. Replies
    1. I should have linked above, the new education initiative "Computer Science for All."
      I suggest that 'toy problems' like this could be a fun challenges for kids.

      Delete
  16. Hi All,

    About eight years ago (and a few times subsequently) I submitted a puzzle suggestion to Will that he did not use. However, I did use the spreadsheet that I created to develop that puzzle in helping to solve this week’s challenge. Here’s the puzzle I submitted to Will, in case anyone is interested in solving it:

    Question: If you assign a numerical value to each letter of the alphabet based on its position (a=1, b=2, etc.) you can sum these numbers to calculate a value for a given word or phrase. Applying that principle, the name of what professional sports team has the same numerical value as the name of the city in which it plays?

    Example: Phoenix (91) Suns (73) is not the answer.

    I have one answer, but there might be others.

    Thanks – Phil J.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Something to do after you're submitted your answer to NPR.

    An easy Intelligence Test....NOT!

    (passing score: 4 correct answers)

    1) How long did the Hundred Years War last?
    2) Which country makes Panama hats?
    3) From which animal do we get catgut?
    4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?
    5) What is a camel's hair brush made of?
    6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?
    7) What was King George VI's first name?
    8) What color is a purple finch?
    9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from?

    All done? Check your answers below!

    ANSWERS TO THE QUIZ
    1) How long did the Hundred Years War last?
    *116 years
    2) Which country makes Panama hats?
    *Ecuador
    3) From which animal do we get catgut?
    *Sheep and Horses
    4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?
    *November
    5) What is a camel's hair brush made of?
    *Squirrel fur
    6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?
    *Dogs
    7) What was King George VI's first name?
    *Albert
    8) What color is a purple finch?
    *Crimson
    9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from?
    *New Zealand

    What, do you mean you failed??? :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. No, I didn't fail! I passed (well, just barely: I knew the answers to 2, 4, 6, and 9.)

    ReplyDelete
  19. After you've solved this week's puzzle, think of another way to say: "The deadline for entries is Thursday at 3:00 pm."

    ReplyDelete
  20. Despite Rob's hints. I spent way more time on this than I should have, because at first I left one of the cities off the list I compiled of cities in the Middle East. Anyway, if you connect the capitals of the two countries with the two cities, you get a figure with a perimeter of about 1740 miles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am glad this is "despite Rob's hints." I have, in the past, given too much away, and was worried I had done so this time. I don't think my sentences could have given away the answer, but if you have the answer, you might be able to see my hints that I got it, too. At least that was my aim. ---Rob

      Delete
    2. If I had a better list of cities, your hint would have given me the answer.

      Delete
    3. Hmmmmm... OK. I think I know what you mean, and it is a reminder to me to be more careful. I think I see a more explicit hint up there from another source.

      By the way, I didn't make anything up in that paragraph. Ponty and I do get out other times of the week, but Sunday morning we almost never miss. ---Rob

      Delete
    4. jan, if you had tried LARGEST CITIES IN MIDDLE EAST, you might have come up with them earlier...

      Delete
    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    6. lexi:

      READ THE RULES AT THE TOP OF THE BLOG!

      Delete
    7. Lexi, this puzzle may require a bit more brute force than most. Start with a list of the countries in the Middle East, along with a list of the biggest cities. Toss out any city you've never heard of, since Will said the answers are well-known, as well as any name that's too long. Arrange the lists in order of the length of the name of the country or city, and pair them up, so you'll consider all the 4-letter countries with all the 8-letter cities, the 5-letter countries with the 7-letter cities, etc. Take each country-city pair in turn, and for each subsequent country on the list, see if you can form the name of that country from the letters in that pair. (There are fewer countries than cities.) If not, move on to the next country; if so, see if you can form a city name from the remaining letters.

      Delete
  21. Abq,
    Thinkest thou that the time has arrived to resurrect the venerable and cranky Simon Saiz.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Part of the answer brings to mind a New Wave song from the early 80s, but that's all I'll say for now. I think I see the Aurora Boreali...nah, never mind.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I managed to get this 24 hours before the deadline. This is probably the hardest Sunday Puzzle I've done.

    Anyway, I have to split. I'm off to relax on and under the palms.

    ReplyDelete
  24. With less than an hour before the deadline, for those who still have not solved this week's puzzle, I thought I'd post that I found Wikipedia's Middle East page extremely helpful.

    SO helpful, in fact, that I'm sure that if I had posted that on Sunday, Blaine would've deleted my post for sure!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I seem to recall that you solved very quickly--was this how? (I'll explain how I got the solution in 20 minutes...)

      Delete
    2. Yes. About 2/3 of the way down the page you find 20 mini-pictures of Middle East Cities. - And both Abu Dhabi and Dubai are among them.

      Delete
  25. IRAN + ABU DHABI rearranges to BAHRAIN + DUBAI.

    My comment on Sunday contained the words ABOUT and DUBBED – intended as hints to ABU (DHABI), and DUBAI. It also referred to a prior puzzle as a sham, with sham being a synonym for humbug, and hopefully leading to BAH humbug.

    As I assume many of us did, I started out with a, “brute force,” approach, looking at lists of Middle East countries and cities, and playing with an anagram tool – which didn’t work at all well. Then I noticed that BAHRAIN contained the letters RAIN (yielding IRAN). I then went to a list of cities with eight letter names, looking for names containing the letters B, A and H. ABU DHABI was at the top of the list, and the fat lady began to sing…

    ReplyDelete
  26. BAHRAIN & DUBAI = IRAN & ABU DHABI

    ReplyDelete
  27. IRAN + ABU DHABI -> BAHRAIN + DUBAI

    ReplyDelete
  28. IRAN, Abu Dhabi
    ─────────────────────────────────────────
    ──I──R──A──N──A──B──U──D──H──A──B──I──┬──
    ══╪══╪══╪══╪══╪══╪══╪══╪══╪══╪══╪══╪══╪══
    ──┼──┼──┼──┼──┼──B──┼──┼──┼──┼──┼──┼──┼─B
    ──┼──┼──A──┼──┼─────┼──┼──┼──┼──┼──┼──┼─A
    ──┼──┼─────┼──┼─────┼──┼──H──┼──┼──┼──┼─H
    ──┼──R─────┼──┼─────┼──┼─────┼──┼──┼──┼─R
    ──┼────────┼──A─────┼──┼─────┼──┼──┼──┼─A
    ──I────────┼────────┼──┼─────┼──┼──┼──┼─I
    ───────────N────────┼──┼─────┼──┼──┼──┼─N
    ────────────────────┼──┼─────┼──┼──┼──┼─
    ────────────────────┼──D─────┼──┼──┼──┼─D
    ────────────────────U────────┼──┼──┼──┼─U
    ─────────────────────────────┼──B──┼──┼─B
    ─────────────────────────────A─────┼──┼─A
    ───────────────────────────────────I──┼─I
    ─────────────────────────────────────────
    BAHRAIN, Dubai

    ReplyDelete
  29. I wrote: This morning, I went for my traditional Sunday morning run [I RAN] with Ponty, my hound and my habitual [HABI] running pal [A BUD]. I doubted [DUBAI-ous] that there would be bad weather, and if there had been, I might have uttered a mild expletive. [BAH! RAIN!]

    If I gave anything away, I am sorry, and I will, I will, I will be more careful in the future. ---Rob

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rob,
      Your post sure didn't help me. Even after I solved it I did not get your hints.

      Delete
  30. Frank Sinatra
    Strangers in the night....Dubai Abu Dahbi.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hint unveiled: "Entries are Dubai Thursday at 3:00 pm."

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

    ReplyDelete
  33. Partial hint: "somewhat farsighted." - Farsi is the language of Iran.

    I went through similar machinations as SuperZee; ultimately no machine, I saw the letter overlaps between Iran and Bahrain.

    ReplyDelete
  34. ABU DHABI (Capital of the United Arab Emirates) + IRAN =
    DUBAI (largest city of the United Arab Emirates) + BAHRAIN.

    My hint: “Oh let it rain...” RAIN anagrams to IRAN and is the second syllable of the second country:
    Bahrain.

    ReplyDelete
  35. BAHRAIN and DUBAI
    ABU DHABI and IRAN
    "I Ran" was a hit for A Flock of Seagulls in 1982.
    "Aurora Borealis comes in view..."

    ReplyDelete
  36. While I have always loved solving puzzles, I have always hated anagrams, so I feel quite good about spending zero time on this one.
    I am curious if my squawk about the use of "name" instead of "names" in the proposal was somehow offbase. I think it tainted the challenge.
    Unless, of course, Will comes up with one name for both two halves of the first part of the puzzle,

    ReplyDelete
  37. I said I was off to relax on an under the palms. Dubai has a huge, gorgeous resort shaped like a palm tree.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Next week's challenge, from listener Jon Herman: If PAJAMA represents first and REBUKE represents second, what nine-letter word can represent third?

    ReplyDelete
  39. Next week's challenge, from listener Jon Herman: If PAJAMA represents first and REBUKE represents second, what nine-letter word can represent third?

    There are two possible answers, one common and one not so common. Either one will be counted correct.

    S

    ReplyDelete
  40. On a lighter note pajama 1 can represent me.

    ReplyDelete