Sunday, March 06, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (March 6, 2016): Five Words on a Keyboard

NPR Sunday Puzzle (March 6, 2016): Five Words on a Keyboard:
Q: Bail, Nail, and Mail are three four-letter words that differ only by their first letters. And those first letters (B, N, and M) happen to be adjacent on a computer keyboard. Can you think of five four-letter words that have the same property — that is, they're identical except for their first letters, with those first letters being adjacent on the keyboard? All five words must be ones that everyone knows. Capitalized words and plurals are not allowed. What words are they?
The word "adjacent" may give you some problems, but assume that Will meant "on the same row" and it will all mesh. If you still have problems, you could always just pry up a few keys.

Edit: My hints were the word give which was one of my words. There was also mesh which was a hint to "jive".
A: DIVE, FIVE, GIVE, HIVE, JIVE
Other answers are also possible.

74 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. I have three 5-word answers and one 6-word answer.

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    1. At the risk of trying to out-Trump you, I've got six 5-word answers, and one 6-word answer.

      Including a less common word (also a slang word) one of the 5-word answers can become 7-words.

      I'm key-bored with this one.

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. I now have TWELVE 5-word answer groups. Some words not common.

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    4. I continue to hope this doesn't devolve into a Presidential debate, but I've got 7 5-word groups with words I consider common, and 10 that include obscure and/or naughty words.

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  3. Never thought I'd be able to associate a factory worker with hedge funds.

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  4. I also found a six-word answer. I bet there's a seven-worder, too.

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  5. After quoting the new puzzle on last week's thread, it got the following replies:

    First, I myself replied on Sun Mar 06, at 05:05:00 AM PST:

    I wish he'd be a bit more specific. Must all five first letters be on the same row?

    I can think of NINE 4-letter words all the same except for their first letters, which are 3 adjacent keys on the top row, the 4 adjacent keys immediately below and adjacent to them, and the key immediately below and adjacent to the last two of those and the key immediately adjacent to the right of that.

    SuperZee then replied on Sun Mar 06, at 05:32:00 AM PST:

    EaWAf-My original solution was all in one row. After seeing your description of a three row set I took another look and have a three row set of ten words - three in the top row, five in the middle row and two in the bottom. (If you count homographs, there are eleven words). Nine of these rhyme.

    ecoarchitect then replied on Sun Mar 06, at 06:01:00 AM PST:

    in multi rows I've got 11 different first letters, + 1 homograph. 3 top row, 5 middle, 2 bottom.

    Methinks the puzzle was not fully thought through

    and ecoarchitect replied again on Sun Mar 06, at 06:21:00 AM PST:

    After 10 minutes of thinking (9 more than needed) I've got (5) combinations of 5 words in one row, and (3) with 4 in one row. Glad I don't have to think about this any more.

    Paul then replied on Sun Mar 06, at 06:51:00 AM PST:

    Best to take care before venturing into confusing, gloomy investigation of overlapping entities (9).

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    Replies
    1. I am "puzzled" by ecoarchitect's comment of having 11 first letters (3 top row, 5 middle and two bottom) as 3+5+2 = 10, not 11.

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    2. Typing that early is not my strong point. There are 4 in the top row, but only 3 are adjacent to each other. But all 4 are adjacent to letters in the middle row.

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    3. Thanx EA. I'm 99% certain we have the same solution.

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  6. I am embarrassed to say I had to look at a keyboard to find an answer. After that, it took only a couple minutes.

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  7. I also made this post near the end of last week's thread:

    I posted on Sun Mar 06, at 05:54:00 AM PST:

    *SIGH* AFTER I submitted my answer I found SIX 4-letter words whose first letters are all adjacent in one row on the keyboard; AND THEY ALL RHYME!!!

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    Replies
    1. Hey, two other words rhyme as well, JOB and SLOB! Pick ONE please!!

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  8. Are we still guessing number of correct answers?

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  9. DOGFISH, catch of the day...

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  10. I keep losing the comment box after about two minutes. How to fix?

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  11. Idea: Each week's on-air contestant gets to make the following week's challenge.

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  12. I didn't have much wait to get an answer on this one; not a great difficulty at all. I hunted up a likely run of five letters on the keyboard, and after that, it took me eight seconds, but I was lucky to get straight to the right three constant letters. ---Rob

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  13. I found three 5-word groups that meet all puzzle requirements. I guess I’ll submit all of them.

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    Replies
    1. Chuck,
      Did your groups have something in common? I found 5 groups of 5 words. Two are questionable because of an expletive and a foreign word. Both words are in MWCD.
      I was surprised that all of my groups had something in common.

      Delete
  14. From last week's blog:

    "I have 5 4-letters words using adjacent keys on the same row. It can stretch to 8 words, if one variant spelling of a word is included. I suppose that variant spelling doesn't fit the "ones that everyone knows" parameter, though.

    So, we're ok here."

    I will guess 2001-2250 as there are so many correction variations possible. If we are still guessing that is. . .

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  15. I agree with Chuck. All three 3-letter additions are themselves words as well.
    One of these groups further extends to 7 within-row words if a (rather offensive) slang word is allowed, and also to 12 words if inter-row is allowed - all of these rhyme.

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  16. Multiple alternative NPR answers this week. There likely Will be more than 1,000 correct entries, and nothing Shortz of that.

    Ironically, the answer to one our six puzzles on Puzzleria! this week involves a computer keyboard.

    But there is a wonderful cryptic crossword puzzle created by patjberry on P! this week. And, just this morning, Enya_and_Weird_Al_fan posted a marvelous 9-by-9 magic number square in our comments section.

    LegoQwertyAlert

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  17. Hugh -

    Yes, all three of my 5-word groups have something in common.

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  18. Of topic - one of the strange things I realized years ago is that although I do touch typing (the typing class in high school is the one high school course I use every day), I cannot picture the keyboard. For instance, if I want to type an A, the right finger goes down automatically without my thinking about it. But if I ask myself, what is the result of pressing the left pinkie down on the home row, I have no idea, without looking.

    Is this true for others?

    ---Rob

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    Replies
    1. Rob,

      I too learned touch typing in high school and sometimes cannot think where a certain letter key is on the board. I have always been a fast typist and have noticed that occasionally I cannot be sure of the positions of N and M if I think about it instead of just typing without conscious thought.

      Another problem I have had for many years now is typing on computer keyboards. I learned to type on manual typewriters and much later transitioned over to electric machines, other than electric teletype, and similar, machines in the army. I have never been able to adapt well to computer keyboards due to their light touch. I do best with very old IBM keyboards that have a much firmer touch, but I usually use the more up to date boards with increasingly lighter touches and I cannot train my fingers to stop hitting certain keys without my knowing it. It is very annoying and I see it will most likely even get worse as I see kids typing on these increasingly smaller tablets. They don't even hold their hands and fingers the same way I was taught and had to do in order to make the manual keys strike properly.

      All that being said, I was able to quickly solve the puzzle this morning before getting out of bed. I had no trouble with the key locations I needed due to old school memorization of the letter locations and I quickly solved the puzzle with five words. Later, when I used the computer I came up with a six letter answer that works perfectly.

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    2. I agree with SDB, and can still hear my HS typing teacher droning A-S-D-F J-K-L-SEM(icolon). At the time architects worked with skinny sticks (can't remember the name) and I didn't foresee how much time I would spend typing.

      To Rob's question, I can somewhat visualize a keyboard, but almost never do that. I think it's similar to playing a piano (or other musical instruments), your hand is connected to a non-visual part of the brain. And if you try to think consciously about those things you would flub it.

      Delete
  19. Upon further cogitation, I now have five sets of five words: each set fulfills Will's criteria. All use common words. As noted earlier, if the slang term is allowed, one of these expands to 7 adjacent, same-row words and to 13 (not 12) if adjacent keys in other rows are allowed.

    Two of the five sets use a different set of 5 adjacent keys.

    Using an obscure word or a Samoan word yields two separate, additional sets. Using plurals yet an eighth. But none of these three fulfills Will's criteria.

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  20. Since this was so easy: think of a series of 6-letter words that fulfills the criteria. I have one solution, though one of the words is a bit of a colloquialism and one is not commonly used, but it's meaning is obvious.

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    Replies
    1. I think we both have the same set, but I would argue (What! me argue?) they are all legitimate words.

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    2. They are all legitimate, but 2 aren't common or every day.

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  21. I submitted two sets: One with all five words starting on the same row, and another with the words starting on two rows, but with each starting letter adjacent to another starting letter. I'm assuming both are correct, but that the first one is more correct.

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  22. In two of my three 5-word sets, all five words rhyme. In the third 5-word set, all the words rhyme except one.

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  23. I have 5 four-letter words and all rhyme except the one using the letter in the middle. BTW thanks, Lego, for the shoutout. Anyone here interested in cryptic crosswords can head over to Puzzleria! and check it out. A word of warning: It is NOT interactive.

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  24. I went antiquing the other day, and I found a lot of interesting things. I found a rare bottle of Glenlivet previously owned by Gert Fröbe. The bottle remained unopened though as Fröbe was left at the altar of the wedding he bought the bottle for. I also bought the sabre he was going to use to cut the top off as well, but the wonderful lady behind the county couldn't quite understand what I was saying because of my accent.

    It was a successful day overall.

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    Replies
    1. I think I know where you're going with this, but the D word is totally unknown by most, which negates it as being acceptable.

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  25. I look forward to seeing five five word answers meeting the same row constraint.
    I have given up finding that many.

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  26. i'm ready to send mine in. I got 5 separate sets on one row, including one set that has 7 letters in a row. And one 5 word set on a different row. I have given up on finding anything on the third row, the most I could find there were four words, but there was always a gap in the sequence.

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  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  28. I find it interesting to see which words are the most widely used according to this Corpus website:
    http://corpus.byu.edu/coca/
    That is the basis on which I decided which of the 3 sets to submit.

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  29. Congratulations to everyone who found an answer.

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  30. SATE/DATE/FATE/GATE/HATE
    Perhaps not everyone knows SATE; probably everyone knows HATE. Doubly unfortunate.

    SEAR/DEAR/FEAR/GEAR/HEAR
    This seems to mesh with Blaine's remarks.

    SUNK/DUNK/FUNK/GUNK/HUNK/JUNK
    If GUNK is not a capitalized brand name, then it's probably too colloquial, unless, of course, it's an esoteric term from the field of Mereology (for which 'discussion of overlapping entities' is probably a lousy definition).

    DIVE/FIVE/GIVE/HIVE/JIVE
    I guess this is the one with the unrhyming word. Everybody knows JIVE -- even the Beav's mom.

    CINE/VINE/BINE/NINE/MINE
    Not everyone knows CINE, and maybe the ones who do don't know movies. A BINE need not be adjacent to a colum.

    SILL/DILL/FILL/GILL/HILL/JILL/KILL
    JILL needn't play hob with this one.

    SEED/DEED/FEED/GEED/HEED
    Will can't accept this one for fear of being laughed right out of his puzzlemaster gig.

    HAVA/JAVA/KAVA/LAVA
    OK, now I'm just being silly. Shalom.

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  31. SANG, DANG, FANG, GANG, HANG

    Also: SUNK, DUNK, FUNK, GUNK, HUNK, JUNK (Of course this will not be accepted as legitimate since it has more than 5 words. I am ashamed to have even mentioned it.)

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  32. DIVE, FIVE, GIVE, HIVE, JIVE

    > I have an answer that is self-referential, in part.

    We're looking for five words, right?

    > Congratulations to everyone who found an answer.

    Give me five!

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  33. I found three 5-word groups that meet all puzzle requirements. All are common, uncapitalized, non-plural words found in Merriam-Webster’s 11th Collegiate Dictionary.

    gilt hilt jilt kilt lilt

    dive five give hive jive

    dunk funk gunk hunk junk

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  34. sill, dill, fill, gill, hill {could stretch to 8 words including "jill, kill, lill" if jill (variant of gill) is used}

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  35. I will be really interested in the alternative answers, but I got SATE, DATE, FATE, GATE, HATE, and then stopped looking. When I wrote up there, "I didn't have much wait to get the answer on this one; not a great difficulty at all. I hunted up a likely run of five letters on the keyboard, and after that, it took me eight seconds, but I was lucky to get straight to the right three constant letters," I was trying to cram in as many words that rhymed with my –ATE words but did not have that sequence in them. ---Rob

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  36. Multiple Solutions:
    Five in a Row: Dive-Five-Give-Hive-Jive
    Six in a Row: Sunk-Dunk-Funk-Gunk-Hunk-Junk
    But my favorite has to have been my ten in three rows solution (3//5//2):
    Rear-Tear-Year
    Sear-Dear-Fear-Gear-Hear
    Bear-Near

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    Replies
    1. if vertical adjacency is allowed you can add Wear to your top row, it's above the S.

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  37. I told you all about my wonderful antiquing adventure, but, alas, it was a lie.

    "I went antiquing the other day, and I found a lot of interesting things. I found a rare bottle of Glenlivet previously owned by Gert Fröbe. The bottle remained unopened though as Fröbe was left at the altar of the wedding he bought the bottle for. I also bought the sabre he was going to use to cut the top off as well, but the wonderful lady behind the county couldn't quite understand what I was saying because of my accent.

    It was a successful day overall."

    Gert Fröbe played GOLDfinger (gilt)
    A sabre has a (hilt)
    Left at the altar (jilt)
    The Glenlivet is SCOTCH whisky (kilt)
    My funny accent (lilt)

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    1. When I saw "Gert Fröbe" in your post I thought you meant GOLD. I did Nazi any other connection.

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  38. Below was my SECOND submission:

    Message: I KNOW I just submitted an answer: PLEASE LET me REPOST what I've discovered since then: ─────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────
    Next week's challenge: Bail, Nail, and Mail are three four-letter words that differ only by their first letters. And those first letters (B, N, and M) happen to be adjacent on a computer keyboard. Can you think of five four-letter words that have the same property — that is, they're identical except for their first letters, with those first letters being adjacent on the keyboard? All five words must be ones that everyone knows. Capitalized words and plurals are not allowed. What words are they?
    ─────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────
    My first answer: SEAR, DEAR, FEAR, GEAR & HEAR.
    ─────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────
    Moreover: Immediately adjacent ABOVE D,F,G,H: R,T,Y to make REAR, TEAR, & YEAR.
    ─────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────
    And immediately adjacent BELOW G & H: B & N to make BEAR & NEAR! If adjacent can mean on different rows, then I've got *TEN* 4-letter words that all suffice!
    ─────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────
    My SECOND answer: I've found SIX 4-letter words beginning with SIX adjacent letters on a keyboard!!
    ─────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────
    SUNK, DUNK, FUNK, GUNK, HUNK, & JUNK!!!
    ─────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────

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    Replies
    1. GET A JOB!!!!!!!!!! Only THEN will you have spare time for puzzles!

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  39. I can add to the list (all with obscure words):

    same-dame-fame-game-hame hame is one of two curved supports attached to the collar of a draft horse to which the traces are fastened.

    cote-vote-bote-note-mote bote is compensation, such as for injury to person or honor

    colt-volt-bolt-nolt-molt Merriam Webster says nolt is "neat cattle". I have no idea what that means.

    sull-dull-full-gull-hull sull is the verb form of sullen

    sale-dale-fale-gale-hale fale is the Samoan hut

    I didn't accept sone-done-fone-gone-hone as fone is an alternate spelling, nor sash-dash-fash-gash-hash, though some dictionaries had fash.

    You can also make a 5 word string starting with suck, 6 words if you include juck (MW defines as to make the natural noise of a partridge settling down for the night) but we won't go there.

    For the 5 word string of 6 letter words my answer was singer-dinger-finger-ginger-hinger

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  40. Good jobs on the many answers.
    Will doesn't like alternatives.
    Blaine's hint "mesh" gave me the "gear" series. I think it might lead to "jibe" more than "jive."

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    Replies
    1. You are right, I must have been thinking of jibe instead.

      Delete
  41. TWELVE 5-word answers:

    1. SILL, DILL, FILL, GILL, HILL. (+ JILL, KILL for a 7-word group)

    2. SATE, DATE, FATE, GATE, HATE.

    3. SEAR, DEAR, FEAR, GEAR, HEAR.

    4. GILT, HILT, JILT, KILT, LILT.

    5. DIVE, FIVE, GIVE, HIVE, JIVE. (+KIVE, LIVE for a 7-word group)

    6. SULL, DULL, FULL, GULL, HULL.

    7. CANE, VANE, BANE, NANE, MANE.

    8. CINÉ, VINE, BINE, NINE, MINE.

    9. SAME, DAME, FAME, GAME, HAME.

    10. SANG, DANG, FANG, GANG, HANG.

    11. SEED, DEED, FEED, GEED (past tense of “gee”), HEED.

    12. SASH, DASH, FASH, GASH, HASH.


    One 6-word answer:

    SUNK, DUNK, FUNK, GUNK, HUNK, JUNK. + KUNK (for a 7-word group).

    “DOGFISH” contains the 5 adjacent consonants in the middle row (SDFGH) of most of the different solutions.

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  42. DIVE, FIVE, GIVE, HIVE, JIVE
    That's what "IVE" got.

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  43. Not sure about what he meant by adjacent, but I assumed that meant next to or adjoining at least one other key. I submitted Tend, Rend, Fend, Bend, and Vend.

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  44. Next week's challenge, from listener Mike Reiss, a former writer and producer for The Simpsons: Take the name of a well-known actress. Her first name starts wth the three-letter abbreviation for a month. Replace this with the three-letter abbreviaton of a different month, and you'll get the name of a famous poet. Who are these two people?

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    Replies
    1. After solving this puzzle, I felt cast adrift, wanting something else.

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  45. This puzzle is just alright and less challenging than recent ones so I will look forward to next week's.

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  46. On air, Will mentioned the "jill" answer and the "gunk" one, and said he accepted those and all other variants, although he didn't mention others. ---Rob

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  47. Uncultured oaf that I am, I had never heard of the poet and was only vaguely aware of the actress. I found my answer, which seems to fit the hints already given, in a list.

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  48. I know the names of a lot of actresses, but I don't know poets that well, so I thought I'd better work backwards by going through Wikipedia's list of poets. (Blaine, don't worry. -- It's a LONG, LONG LIST!)

    When I found an answer, I SO DID NOT recognize the poet that I kept going through the list until the end. It remains the only answer I found.

    I see that Paul just posted basically the same thing I've said.

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