Sunday, March 20, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (March 20, 2016): A Mix of Vowels and Consonants

NPR Sunday Puzzle (March 20, 2016): A Mix of Vowels and Consonants:
Q: Think of a common nine-letter word that contains five consecutive consonants. Take three consecutive consonants out of these five and replace them with vowels to form another common nine-letter word. What is it?
Just to clarify, the first word has 5 consonants in a row; they aren't consecutive in the alphabet. I could have been at this for many weeks if I hadn't changed another assumption I incorrectly made.

Edit: My hint was "weeks" sounding sort of like an antonym of strengths. My mistaken assumption was that Will wouldn't pick a plural as a word so I was initially focused on compound words corkscrew. Incidentally, STRENGTHS is the longest English word with just one vowel.
A: STRENGTHS --> STRENUOUS

89 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. Kind of hard, I can't say I had any joy in solving this.

    But it's good to see the Society To Repudiate Anagram Puzzles is having success. Please give.

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  4. Without having solved this, I would like to disqualify "Y" from consonanthood.

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  6. A warrior's dog is coming back,
    Collecting choice morsels from feast...

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    1. ...Grueling, unconsonant with visceral powers of the beast.

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    2. The warrior is Hägar the Horrible; his dog is Snert. "Snert is" coming back is s'trenS. Ignoring the apostrophe, making all the letters upper case, and providing a pouch for the 'collected morsels', we get STREN( )S. To feast is to HOG OUT. The final word formed depends upon Snert's gut instincts.


      OK, obviously I'm neither a Marianne Moore nor a setter for the Guardian, but I do have a job.

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  7. Does singular/plural make a difference?

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    1. An ambiguous answer to an ambiguous question: yes and no.

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  8. I submitted answer earlier that seems to go along with your response, Jim.

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  9. There was one unsought difficulty I had to work around.
    Next puzzle - Why did I have to alter one of my usual approaches?

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  10. Over 800 correct answers last week.

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  11. "Goldfinch" has five consecutive alphabetical consonants, cdfgh, if you remove fgh and replace those letters with eaa, you obtain CALEDONIA, another name for Scotland.
    If you remove dfg from "goldfinch" and replace them with aoe, you obtain HOLOCAINE.
    If you remove fgh from "goldfinch" and replace those letters with uua, you obtain NUCULIDA, a clam...

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    1. I do know rearranging is not allowed!

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    2. This may have been Blaine's "other wrong assumption."

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    3. Cancel NUCULIDA, only 8 letters.

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  12. I do not particularly enjoy tedious puzzles, but I was fortunate to almost immediately come up with the first nine letter word, and it was easy going from there to get the second word. Not grueling at all.

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  13. Due to the Internet and email, my mailbox is frequently empty, but with our primary caucus coming next Saturday, my mailbox frequently has five consecutive letters.

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  14. We all need to sift through our mailboxes. Hope neither pneumo nor strepto shows up at yours, SDB.

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    1. Until a few years ago it was a wonder if anyone other than me showed up at my caucus. Then it suddenly was standing room only, but I suspect it will be fewer this time, although many of us here in Seattle are Sanders supporters, as am I.

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    2. I'm right with ya, SDB, on supporting Sanders. Sadly, despite his wonderful tenacity, I fear what the outcome will end up being.

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  15. Reminds me of the reliable nose of my dog Ponty. I am trying hard to make another hint, but let this stand.
    ---Rob

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  16. I once went to an erstwhile nightclub with my offspring. We watched a filmstrip about a yachtsman on a lightship who'd developed an itchproof tightknit jockstrap. Offscreen, Nietzsche and the Archdruid discussed the Anschluss.

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    1. You forgot handsfree, nightspot, matchplay, jackscrew and Blaine's corkscrew...

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    2. Kudos, jan and ron.

      That said, at first blush, I thought there may be alternative answers to this week’s NPR challenge. But now I don’t think so. The pool of consecutive-consonant possibilities is more like a mud puddle containing mainly compound drops.

      Pools 'o puzzles (ten of ‘em, including two created by kids), however, over on Puzzleria! this week. Drop by for a visit.

      (No intentional NPR puzzle hints in this post)

      LegoIsNotKidding!

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    3. Instead of looking for 9-letter words with 5 consecutive consonants, you should be looking for 9-letter words with 3 consecutive vowels. Don't worry, that list does not include 9-letter words but it is suggestive.
      There are even a few words that contain 4 consecutive vowels, e.g. queue, sequoia, obsequious, Hawaiian, onomatopoeia, etc. This list is not exhaustive.

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    5. There is a word with 7 consecutive consonants: TSKTSKS !

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  17. The attributes of one of the words would generally help you with the attributes of the other word.

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  18. Wow, I won a dollar on the Lotto today! Not nearly as taxing as filing my 1040 form this year! While I detest this task, I will never "Not" file!

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  19. It required much exertion from me.

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    1. My exertion yesterday was running 20 miles. It took only 1 1/2 miles to get the answer.

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  20. This took a little brute force to solve, but we can all power through it.

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  21. Anyone familiar with words and trivia should get this easily. I'm lucky that it's one of my fortes.

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    1. Exactly!

      I have visited several of these fortes on my travels through Spain, but we called them castles, since our Spanish was not that good.

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    2. I don't doubt that at all. I wonder - if one did doubt it and then thought about it again and came to the same conclusion, would that be a redoubt?

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  22. And there is a tenuous connection with a recent Puzzle, if I recall correctly.

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  23. Norwegian bachelor farmers were of help to me!

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    1. Norwegian bachelor farmers are not a very merry bunch.

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  24. He's Swedish, not Norwegian, and hard to know his marital status: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeuL5IGimCQ,

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  25. Remember back when President Jimmy Carter was viciously attacked by a killer rabbit while he was fishing alone in a row boat. Fortunately he managed to fend off the attack with a rabbit punch.

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    1. Almost sounds like the good old days. Now we have coming to bat Hippie Hillary, Swede Sanders, The Donald, or Lyin' Ted. Meanwhile the current office holder is being Castro-ated while the World burns. No clue in this; just remembering when Jimmy and the killer rabbit were big news. Criminy!

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    3. The actual incident was really not an attack, the rabbit was being chased by dogs, jumped in the water to get away, and probably saw Naval Dinghy 1 as the closest dry object. At least that's how Carter tells it.

      I have to give Carter credit for being the only 20th Century President to neither invade another country nor attempt to overthrow a leader (okay, maybe Jamaica and Seychelles) who displeased the business interests. The invasion list will impress/ depress you. So will the list of attempted and successful coups.

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    4. Thanks eco. I always thought a coup d’état was my dream car.

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    5. I'm not a Carter fan or apologist, but I give him a lot of credit for attempting the raid to free the hostages in Tehran. Maybe not an invasion by some standards, maybe not successful, but a gutsy move at the time. Now back to the Puzzle?

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    6. My grandmother had a Cadillac Coup d’état. Or, maybe it was a Sedan d’état.

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    7. Are you sure it isn't a Cadillac Coop Defile?

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  26. My second word has 10 letters in it, but I'm submitting it anyway.

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  27. I have had a lifelong association with a word that meets one of the criteria.

    Hustler ran a fake photo of Carter out fishing that seems to have totally disappeared.

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  28. I think the word coined to to describe the first decade of this century works. But not common.

    One of the things I like about this site is that people don't crap on each other. So, for an eclu (anagram of clue) for more typical word, here is my musical queue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgo7jZzW7Jw

    And my bonus clue is a rendition of a Marvin Gaye song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJFZLPiU4Dw

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  29. I got it during our Spring Break trip to Ft. Walton Beach, FL. Sadly, I did not get as many answers on this week's Puzzleria!, but I did get this one, and thanks to one of my fellow bloggers, as a matter of fact! Should have been tough, but it wasn't.

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  30. STRENGTHS >>> STRENUOUS

    "I had a similar experience, Bob K. Easy, but weird." >>> Easy and not too STRENUOUS

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  31. STRENGTHS > STRENUOUS

    This week’s weak offering is much like the political spin going on today. On the surface it has strengths and the appearance of being strenuous, but is that just a disingenuous façade? You decide.

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    1. “All our trouble comes from our gigantic ignorance. … When shall we get over empty speculation and accepted ideas? What should be studied is believed without discussion. Instead of examining, people pontificate.” -Gustave Flaubert in a letter to George Sand.

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    2. Your comment reminds me of several months ago when I attended the monthly open house at the University of Washington Observatory, located on the nearby campus. When I raised a question after the presentation that the staff person did not agree with, he was so intimidated by a concept he did not agree with that he said he was calling campus police.

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    3. Everyone needs to remember that you do not see the world as it is, you see the world as you are...

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    4. This was a case of him seeing the world as he was erroneously taught. It was similar to a little problem Galileo had with some disgusting church leaders.

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    5. I will slightly disagree with Flaubert: I think our trouble doesn't come from our gigantic ignorance, which we will have forever, but from an insistence that "our" explanation of the unknown is the only acceptable one, and all others are wrong.

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    6. A good example of this is the belief by so many seemingly intelligent people that we only live once, even though there is absolutely no evidence to back up this theory. The fact that there is a great deal of evidence pointing to reincarnation does not phase them at all.

      That is not the topic I was raising at the observatory, by the way.

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    7. 1 billion or so Hindus would agree. I suspect the mystery of death is one of many phenomena that lead people towards religion. In ancient times other issues - why is there a drought? why did that baboon steal my baby? where did these obnoxious locusts come from? - were equally at the forefront.

      Happily people have been able to engage in reasoned discussion, and to get along peaceably in spite of their different opinions.

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    8. Not in Australia when that naughty dingo stole that baby. And that was not my experience with the idiot at the UofW.

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  32. STRENGTHS, STRENUOUS

    > What did the monks say to the barber?

    "Tonsure us." Anagram for strenuous

    > Sign on a doctors-only lounge?

    "Nurses out." Ditto.

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  33. strengths, strenuous

    Last Sunday I said, “The attributes of one of the words would generally help you with the attributes of the other word.” Strength would generally be useful in strenuous situations.

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  34. STRENGTHS  STRENUOUS
    My comment on last week’s blog about going to the gym to stay in shape was a reference to the need for strenuous exercise and strength training.

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  35. I said, "Reminds me of the reliable nose of my dog Ponty. I am trying hard to make another hint, but let this stand." "Trying hard" is strenuous, as is the anagram for the reliable nose, "sure snout."
    ---Rob

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  36. A confession of weakness: When last week I wrote,"I don't know if this will be easy to solve by brute force, searching lists, etc.," my use of the words "brute force" are exactly those I use to myself when I try to solve a weekly challenge by going through my paperback Crossword Anagram Dictionary, or an online list of every poet the world has ever known. It only struck me much, much later that "brute force" was also a near synonym of "STRENGHTS". It wasn't my intention to come so close to a giveaway!

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    1. Bob K, looks like you used some brute force on inserting that 'H' there. . .;-)

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  37. STRENGTHS, STRENUOUS
    In my last post I used the word "tough". Tough is a synonym for strenuous.

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  38. STRENGTHS; replace GTH with UOU to obtain STRENUOUS.
    If rearranging is allowed after adding the three vowels, then replacing THS with AIU yields SIGNATURE.

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  39. I wrote "kind of hard", strenuous is a "kind" of hard. Having no "joy" refers to the Nazi "Strength Through Joy" (Kraft durch Freude) program of the 1930's. I fear we may have to relearn such things as our so-called democracy slips away.

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  40. My clues

    Too easy for us (as in strenuous). We'll have to wait till next week (phonetic opposite of strong) for a harder (synonym of stronger) puzzle.

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  41. Norwegian bachelor farmers: they grow wheat which goes into powdermilk biscuits which give you the "strength to do" etc.
    Been listening to Garrison Keillor since the 1970s and "A Prairie Home Companion" has been part of Saturday night for a long time. He and it will be sorely missed.

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  42. Strengths to Strenuous.

    I said anybody who knows words and trivia should get it quick. I got this immediately by knowing "strengths" is the longest word in the English language with only one vowel in it.

    And I also mentioned it's one of my Forte's - fortes and strengths are synonymous.

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  43. What’s that Blainesvillians?
    You say you want to solve a puzzle about gorillas that have a hankering to go on a pilgrimage?
    Natch, we’ve got that at Puzzleria! It is a challenging puzzle titled “Pilgrim’s Evolutionary Progress,” created by Jane Goodall’s favourite blog-poster and puzzle-purveyor, skydiveboy.

    What’s more, we present eight other puzzles this week, including:
    4 that “rip off” Will’s Shortz’s current Sunday puzzle,
    1 that involves “icicle boils and shoulder ooze,
    1 that speculates on this morning’s tabloid headlines,
    1 about a bookwormy hubby who is jealous about his wife’s golf prowess, and
    1 with a physics/literature flavor that includes a photo of Gertrude Einstein.

    LegoPluggingHisBlogBothShamefullyAndShamelesslyAndBothOxymoronicallyAndMoronically

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    1. I have to agree with Lego. Get on the Appian Way and head on over to Puzzleria! and have fun. Even if you should not like my puzzle, you will certainly have to agree that it is a Great Ape puzzle along with being a somewhat moving experience.

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    2. Your puzzle on Puzzleria! this week is indeed a “Grade-A Great-Ape” journey, skydiveboy.
      Of course, if one performs a “single-sided” spoonerism on “Great Apes,” the result is what this gorilla did.

      LegoBelievesThisApeMayBeARhesusling

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  44. Next week's challenge: The University Press of New England has just published a book by Boston College professor Paul Lewis, called The Citizen Poets of Boston: A Collection of Forgotten Poems, 1789-1820. It has a chapter devoted to puzzles in poetic form. Most of the puzzles are explained — but one puzzle never had a printed answer.

    I'd like to see if the collective brainpower of NPR listeners can be brought to bear to clear up this mystery. It's a two-line verse from the Nov. 12, 1803, issue of the Boston Weekly Magazine:

    I am both man and woman too,
    And go to school as good boys do.

    If you can solve this riddle, let us know. I'll select what I think is the best answer that's submitted. If no one sends what I judge to be the intended answer, then I'll pick what I consider the most ingenious one, whether it's "correct" or not.

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  46. There something not quite right about open-ended puzzles like this...

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  47. With a focus group like ours will get this really quick

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