Sunday, April 03, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (April 3, 2016): A=1, B=2, C=3, ...

NPR Sunday Puzzle (April 3, 2016): A=1, B=2, C=3, ...:
Q: Take the word EASY: Its first three letters — E, A and S — are the fifth, first, and nineteenth letters, respectively, in the alphabet. If you add 5 + 1 + 19, you get 25, which is the value of the alphabetical position of Y, the last letter of EASY.

Can you think of a common five-letter word that works in the opposite way — in which the value of the alphabetical positions of its last four letters add up to the value of the alphabetical position of its first letter?
I'm crossing this off my list of tough puzzles; this is way too EASY!

Edit: My hint was to crosswalks which are called "zebra crossings" in the U.K.
A: ZEBRA is one possible answer. TABLE, WHACK and MACED also fit the criteria.

152 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. We know a hard challenge, but I didn't find this one in that category. There must be lots and lots of answers besides the one I got. I won't search for alternatives! ---Rob

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  3. I got a serviceable answer on the first word I tried. I don't think I'll spend a lot of time looking for another.

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  4. I see we will be having another brazen battle of wits.

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  5. There are four common five-letter words that share this property. Three additional words that are not common – but are found in Merriam-Webster’s 11th Collegiate Dictionary – also share this property.

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  6. I found many tantalizing near-misses ... like the PEACH just out of REACH.

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  7. Name a country in 6 letters that has this property.

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  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  9. If you find four common five-letter words and three uncommon words, you must be using a computer program. Sort of like using a sledgehammer to set a tack.

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    1. I did use a computer program and found three common and three uncommon.

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  10. I have 3 common answers, just using just the old processor in my head. I'm not going to judge this puzzle.

    Did "The Jackson 5" anticipate this puzzle?

    Musical hint: anagram one of the answers and it might fit a famous album from 50 years ago.

    To add to Chuck's puzzle: Name a well-known US town in 4 letters with the same property.

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    1. Okay, a harder one:
      Name a well-known fictional character, 4 letters whose last letter is the sum of the first 3 letters (like easy).

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    2. BAPS in Dickens' "Dombey and Son."

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    3. I suppose you were going for Shakespeare's LEAR...

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    4. At least I'm keeping you occupied. Final challenge (maybe):

      Girl's name, 5 letters, 1st letter is the sum of the other 4.

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  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. My initial thought, when I read this hours ago on one of my mid night jaunts, was that it was going to be tedious and that I would not even try to solve it back in bed, but the first word that came to mind was the answer, and it is your answer too. At least there are no gray areas this week.

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    2. I think our referee was as bit harsh there.

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    3. I would have deleted the post too. I think it was a giveaway.

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  12. It is difficult to hint at this one without giving it away, but I will say that it reminds me of a chicken joke and also The Master Singers.

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    1. Oh. That's probably 'the' answer. I don't know how it failed to dawn on me.

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  13. I suspect that I have the official answer as well.

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  14. The Master (?) did ask for our help in dealing with the old riddle.
    He also didn't seem willing to share more than three of the 700 answers he got.
    Or discuss their merits.
    Our Master.

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  15. Not to change the subject, or anything like that, but which restroom did Jesus use?

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    Replies
    1. At weddings, he always used the wine closet.

      In places I have worked, I often wrote a little doggerel when someone’s birthday came around. Although Blainesville is more if a “playplace” than a workplace, I wrote the following limerical doggerel in honor of a “skydivebirthdayboy” who regularly contributes great puzzles over on my Puzzleria! blog:

      We all know a wise fellow named Mark
      Who pens puzzles with creative spark.
      Some may call him "curmudgeon,"
      Take his words in high dudgeon...
      But his bite is less worse than his bark.

      LegoLongingToBeLear(ButNotToBeShakespeare’sLear!)

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    2. I didn't know he was in the closet. No wonder he wined when in large crowds. Not to be confused with shrouds when he went Tourin.

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    3. Thanks, Natasha, I see you survived yours.

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    4. SDB, you are welcome. Went to De Young Museum to the Oscar De La Renta exhibit and to the Legion of Honor to see Raphael's Lady with a unicorn. Friends helped me survive this bd. Recovering from ruptured ACL. Should have gone to the zoo too.

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  16. My answer was featured in an animated film from a few years back, and was mentioned numerous times by one of the main characters in a sitcom from the 1970s as a derogatory term describing certain other characters. It's all there in black and white, but I'd like to get beyond it if I could.

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    1. I'm not normally much good at hints on this blog in particular, but I'm with you on this one, PJB!!

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  17. Didn't have much luck with this week's puzzle until I was getting ready for our Sunday dinner. Then it was sitting right there.

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    1. Yes, that's the answer I got, too. :) I have an alternative, too, but it's kind of crazy. --Margaret G.

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  18. I have two answers, one of which I believe was Will's intended. The other is more common, according to a list of common words I found.

    My answer last week was "Clownfish", which was given as an alternative answer.

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    1. David is too modest to say it, but Will called clownfish "the most ingenious answer" he received.

      LegoBelievesDavidIsLapelPinnable

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    2. I also submitted Clownfish.

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    3. Nice goin', Natasha. Sorry about my oversight. Wish you could have received a lapel pin for your birthday.

      LegoBelievesBothDavidAmdNatashaAreGeniousi

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    4. I was surprised that "Pupils" didn't make the short list. I mean "rulers"...really?

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    5. Thanks lego. Lapel pin would have been great!

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  19. Using a program and a list modified from the file http://www.bestwordlist.com/5letterwords.txt, I found 11 exact matches; 3 are common words and 4 are verb past tenses.

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  20. Since many of us have come up with multiple answers, how about an internal Blainesville challenge? Who can come up with the conforming five letter word with the LOWEST total point count?

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    1. SuperZee,
      You ought to begin a puzzle blog. Words with lowest and highest point totals was going to be my ROSS (Ripping Off Shortz Slice) puzzle in this coming Friday's Puzzleria!

      LegoBelievesSuperZeeIsAlsoAGenius

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    2. Jan, I can match your 26, which probably means we have the same word in mind. BUT, if we allow proper names I can do
      better. I can't say any more, or even provide a musical clue, without giving it all away. Until Thursday.

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    3. Lego,
      Thanx for the compliment. Isn't there a definition of genius based on how closely someone agrees with you?

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    4. So, for a "lowest total point count" of 26, your word must begin with M (13) and 4 other letters whose value totals 13. I have this word too.

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    6. Yes, had the same observation as Ron -- which means these hints really narrow down the search space more than some might enjoy!
      I might suggest "Scrabble" word scores (even if yielding the same answer), for example, as an extra layer of obfuscation.

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    7. I have a total of 8 words that fulfill the conditions, one of which begins with M and has a total point count of 26. Obviously the "highest possible point count" would be a word beginning with Z (26) and 4 other letters totaling 26 for a grand total of 52. I have this word also.

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    8. And are we to believe that the fact that the maximum point count is exactly twice the minimum is just a coincidence?

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    9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    10. I was suggesting that giving away the first letter of an answer (in this, or any puzzle, really) -- while not giving away the answer itself -- could detract from the puzzle a bit, IMHO. But YMMV. Cheers!

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    11. We may need to call in a referee to validate Ron's claim of a 52 point word.

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  21. Replies
    1. When my wife and visited Abbey Road Studio a few years ago, we discovered they have a web-cam on the crosswalk: http://abbeyroad.com/crossing.

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    2. A couple of years ago, six photos shot in the same session as the famous Abbey Roads album cover were sold for 180,000 pounds,however much that converts to dollar wise. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2845363/Incredibly-rare-outtakes-Beatles-photoshoot-iconic-Abbey-Road-album-cover-sell-180-000.html

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  22. It's such a wonderful time of year in the sports world. The NCAA Finals, the beginning of the NBA playoffs, and the beginning of the Stanley Cup series. That rite of spring, MLB, also has started, but for now, I'm going to focus on the aforementioned Winter sports.

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    1. That's a horse of a different color,no?

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    2. Horse of a different color, a Zebra.

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  23. I get an email about the Google Group every week but cannot get the site to open. Any ideas as to what to try? Thanks

    I think this week's response will be over 1000 with at least 10 possible answers (with some rarity leeway).

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  24. Replies
    1. Yada, yada, yada makes yadas. Seinfeldian in origin.

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  25. When good boys and girls go to school, one of the most hallowed precepts is "show your work."
    When Will Shortz foists off one of his subjective challenges and "decides" the best answer without explanation he violates this rule.
    Last week he may have gotten 1 clownfish, 1 teacher and 698 rulers, but I doubt it.
    I hoped he listed a whole bunch more on the NPR website for us to enjoy, but found only "ruler," saying "I selected what I think is the best answer submitted." No manfish, womanfish or teachers, even.
    There may be softer, harsher or more accurate ways to describe this approach, but I think arrogant suits.

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  26. Who beat the Easter Bunny by four months?

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  27. Replies
    1. Was that a rabbit response team?

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    2. Gangsta turkeys--often found in New Jersey, jan?!

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    3. I hope they don't start carrying Tommy guns.

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    4. jan, that is truly horrifying. Those poor people having to "run for their lives" due to a stunned turkey crashing their dinner. I understand where the slight amount of plumage came from, but how did the turkey bring in the load of mud this hysterical woman described? I would like to know just how much she actually received in compensation from her insurance company. I suppose they also will receive money to help them deal with their post traumatic stress. Please let me know if you know of an address where I can send them money to help with their trauma. I don't think I will ever be able to forget what those poor people must have endured.

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    5. You underestimate the power of genetically modified super turkeys. Call for Super Chicken!

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    6. No way, eco. I am well aware of the problems grease has with turkey.

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    7. I guess since NJ's Butterball found slim pickings on the campaign trail, our turkeys have come home to roost.

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    8. And they arrived back home on the gravy train, since the bridge was closed.

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    9. Too bad we can't truss those turkeys; we'd all win with a tie vote.

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    10. I'm not too concerned unless we catch them stuffing the ballot box.

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    11. I wonder if those turkeys were banded together.

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    12. I suspect the turkey who entered the kitchen and disturbed their supper may have been a musician because her drumstick never missed a beet.

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    13. It might be useful if we could determine exactly what caused these turkeys to run afoul of the law.

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    14. You mean, why all the Angry Birds?

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    15. That puts a nice Finnish to it.

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    16. With the drumstick line SDB was really on a roll....

      Don't encourage him, he'll only do more. And worse!

      But it's kind of entertaining, even if puns are the lowest form of humor.

      Well, at least it keeps him off the streets and the campaign trail.

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    17. Eco, so apropos to the bird talk:
      "Puns are the droppings of soaring wits. . ."

      --maybe we need an ap as one of the pun pros here--

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    18. eco:

      Interesting you should bring up the subject of those who decry puns, as I was just thinking about why this is two days ago. The only thing I came up with, besides those bores who are without any real sense of humor, is that it calls into question the intelligence of those who are ashamed they did not think of it since it now seems to be so very obvious.

      I frequently find myself, just after ad libing a great pun, wondering why it took me so long to make the connection that now seems so obvious.

      I would also add that if you believe I limit myself to only puns, then you are as mistaken about that as those who actually do believe that puns are the lowest form of humor. But have you ever noticed that those who repeat that nonsense are the very ones who never say anything that is humorous?

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    19. I actually enjoy puns, or at least I enjoy torturing friends with them. Maybe some decry them because they are relatively quick, often without much depth, and can invoke both the "a-ha" and the "boy that was lame" at the same time.

      I guess there are some things we've never outgroan....

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    20. Yes, and I've never quite groan up.

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    21. But back to slaying turkeys: which character in Shakespeare's plays killed the most feathered barnyard creatures?

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    22. If this is leading up to a poultry slam pun....

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    23. You have to break eggs to make a Hamlet?

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    24. I remember a 1967 LBJ parody, MacBird!

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  28. I got it pretty quickly, but I'll be damned if it didn't sting thinking of an answer.

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  29. ok, so 'ruler' is last week's answer for real? I thought Eye because of the pupil thing. How Will could just change the old man's puzzle like that? Yeah yeah, I know I'm late
    Happy belated birthday SDB. Figured you for an Aries

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, RoRo. Yeah, the head bandages always seem to give it away.

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  30. Another musical clue, another Beatle's album: Sgt. Pepper.

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  31. Many of you know that I always try to post right at 3:00 on Thursdays. I have an appointment today and won’t be able to do that but I’ll be back in touch later on.

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    1. ZEBRA

      "Short and long" refers to the short e sound in pronouncing ZEBRA in the UK, as well as the American version with a long e sound.

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  32. Two: Chicago '68 meets the Serengeti.

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  33. ZEBRA & TABLE

    Zebra is the one I got almost instantly. Table I got from a giveaway hint later on.

    My hints:

    “…it reminds me of a chicken joke and also The Master Singers.” This is hinting at The Highway Code by the Master singers and it both shows and mentions a Zebra Crossing, which a chicken intent on crossing the road may or may not have used. I was trying to be subtle with my hint, but others, later on, were not so discrete. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qngi_jSaXlI

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  34. TABLE, WHACK, ZEBRA. (Also, MACED.)

    > I've got three answers, two of which appear together in a term used in information display.

    A ZEBRA TABLE can improve readability.

    > This.

    My favorite DIP-and-chips is guacamole, pronounced WHACK-a-Mole, sort of.

    > I think our referee was a bit harsh there.

    Also known as a ZEBRA.

    > Musical clue: Abbey Road.

    The iconic ZEBRA crossing is a popular tourist destination.

    > Who beat the Easter Bunny by four months?

    The Hannukah ZEBRA!

    > Another musical clue, another Beatles album: Sgt. Pepper.

    I think of this guy as Sgt. Pepper Spray. MACED.

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  35. TABLE
    My comment about preparing for our Sunday dinner refers to setting the table.
    An alternate (and the word with the maximum point count of 52) – ZEBRA.

    My nominee for the five letter (common) word with the lowest point count is MACED (26). If we allow proper names, there is a band, doing ABBA tributes, known as FABBA (12) which may be the limit.

    To hear FABBA, go to http://www.fabba.com.au

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  36. MACED is the past tense of a verbification of a trade name, and it's just unpleasant to think about, anyway.
    TABLE is much better.
    I had never heard ZEBRA pronounced with two short vowels until skydiveboy pointed me to The Highway Code by The Master Singers. I had an elementary school teacher who insisted on pronouncing it with two long vowels.
    Apparently there's a common word that's not a past tense that I missed.
    I did like this puzzle at first. It seemed sort of like playing Blackjack. But I grew weary of it after a while.

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  37. I wrote, "We know a hard challenge, but I didn't find this one in that category." We Know A Hard Challenge has initial letters anagramming to my answer, WHACK. ---Rob

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  38. ZEBRA was the first word I thought of, as I was thinking of words that began with letters towards the end of the alphabet. That is what I submitted.

    My reference to basketball and hockey, but excluding baseball, is that ZEBRA is an unflattering term used for officials in those sports (also football) (as in "the ZEBRAS called too many penalties"). However, the umpires in baseball wear solid navy blue coats without stripes, so they are not ZEBRAS.

    I later thought of TABLE, WHACK, and MACED.

    So how many correct answers will Will accept? And how many submitted correct answers?

    Happy Spring everyone!

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  39. My comment referred to going to museums and the zoo (zebra there).

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  40. I wrote I wasn't going to judge this puzzle, referring (as have others) to the slang term for a referee.

    Musical-anagram reference: table -->bleat, album was the Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds". Lest anyone think there are no bleating pets, the album cover shows them feeding goats.

    Also had maced, no clues. Curious what the computer cheaters found.

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  41. I thought there would be more answers.
    I got zebra quickly just on a guess and then table, both in my head. Didn't get the others.
    Go Giants!










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  42. I went with MACED. I think my clue about stinging makes itself obvious now.

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  43. What was the Jackson 5 clue referring to?

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    1. It wasn't a clue to any of the answers; it was a link to their song "ABC" (easy as 123), which is appropriate for this week.

      For some it also evokes the nostalgic times when thinking "Michael Jackson/ young boy" didn't creep you out.

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  44. There are four common five-letter words that share the puzzle’s requirements: maced, table, whack, and zebra. Three additional words that are not common – but are found in Merriam-Webster’s 11th Collegiate Dictionary – also share these requirements: reded, thebe and zoeae. There is an additional word, ragee, which is an Asian grain. It’s probably a real word and is found in some dictionaries but hasn’t made its way into MW’s 11th so I didn’t count it.

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  45. ZEBRA It was my first and only attempt at this one. There was a zebra in the Madagascar movies, and George Jefferson used the term to describe anyone in a mixed marriage(black and white). Dr. Seuss wrote "On Beyond Zebra", about the lesser known letters after Z.

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  46. TABLE
    T=20
    A=1, B=2, L=12, E=5.
    1+2+12+5 = 20.

    ZEBRA
    Z=26
    E=5, B=2, R=18, A=1
    5+2+18+1 = 26. A 52 point word! Zebra Crossing in Abbey Road & “zebra stripes” = referee.

    My clues: BRAZEN anagrams to ZEBRA + N.
    BATTLE anagrams to TABLE + T (the first letter of this answer).

    Also:
    MACED, “You've been maced.” (1+3+5+4 = 13=M) Lowest total for all letters = 26.
    RAGEE. (1+7+5+5 = 18=R)
    REDED. (5+4+5+4 = 18=R)
    THEBE. (8+5+2+5 = 20=T)
    VICIA. (9+3+9+1 = 22=V)
    YEARA. (5+1+18+1 = 25=Y)

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  47. Zebra Stripes:

    So how did the zebra-like uniform come to be? Legend has it that the striped uniform was developed by Lloyd Olds, a high-school and college referee from Michigan.

    As the story goes, he usually wore a solid white shirt. At a college football game in 1920, the visiting team also wore white. When their quarterback mistakenly handed off the football to Olds, he knew he had to come up with a different uniform.
    Olds decided that wearing stripes would be the best way to avoid confusion. He had a friend make him a black and white striped shirt, which he wore for the first time during the 1921 state basketball championships. Other referees saw his outfit and started copying it. The rest, as they say, is history!

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  48. I came up with ZEBRA easily and TABLE with a bit more effort, because I was convinced there was more than one. To decide which I wanted to submit, I used the list of 5000 Most Common English Words here:
    http://www.wordfrequency.info/free.asp.
    (Sorry, I couldn't get the link to work.) According to that list, TABLE was 540th most common and ZEBRA was not in the top 5000. Fortunately, there were two lists, one by frequency and the other in alphabetical order.

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  49. Exact Scores found in http://www.bestwordlist.com/5letterwords.txt:
    MACED, 13 (M) - 1 (A) - 3 (C) - 5 (E) - 4 (D) = 0
    RAGEE, 18 (R) - 1 (A) - 7 (G) - 5 (E) - 5 (E) = 0
    RAHED, 18 (R) - 1 (A) - 8 (H) - 5 (E) - 4 (D) = 0
    REDED, 18 (R) - 5 (E) - 4 (D) - 5 (E) - 4 (D) = 0
    TABLE, 20 (T) - 1 (A) - 2 (B) - 12 (L) - 5 (E) = 0
    THEBE, 20 (T) - 8 (H) - 5 (E) - 2 (B) - 5 (E) = 0
    WAMED, 23 (W) - 1 (A) - 13 (M) - 5 (E) - 4 (D) = 0
    WHACK, 23 (W) - 8 (H) - 1 (A) - 3 (C) - 11 (K) = 0
    ZANJA, 26 (Z) - 1 (A) - 14 (N) - 10 (J) - 1 (A) = 0
    ZEBRA, 26 (Z) - 5 (E) - 2 (B) - 18 (R) - 1 (A) = 0
    ZOEAE, 26 (Z) - 15 (O) - 5 (E) - 1 (A) - 5 (E) = 0


    Two more exact scores found on either Dictionary.com or TheFreeDictionary.com, but NOT in http://www.bestwordlist.com/5letterwords.txt:
    RAFFE, 18 (R) - 1 (A) - 6 (F) - 6 (F) - 5 (E) = 0
    VICIA, 22 (V) - 9 (I) - 3 (C) - 9 (I) - 1 (A) = 0


    Close calls found in http://www.bestwordlist.com/5letterwords.txt:

    Off by 1:
    KEBAB, 11 (K) - 5 (E) - 2 (B) - 1 (A) - 2 (B) = 1
    LABIA, 12 (L) - 1 (A) - 2 (B) - 9 (I) - 1 (A) =-1
    LACED, 12 (L) - 1 (A) - 3 (C) - 5 (E) - 4 (D) =-1
    MECCA, 13 (M) - 5 (E) - 3 (C) - 3 (C) - 1 (A) = 1
    NAIAD, 14 (N) - 1 (A) - 9 (I) - 1 (A) - 4 (D) =-1
    OBEAH, 15 (O) - 2 (B) - 5 (E) - 1 (A) - 8 (H) =-1
    PAGED, 16 (P) - 1 (A) - 7 (G) - 5 (E) - 4 (D) =-1
    PEACH, 16 (P) - 5 (E) - 1 (A) - 3 (C) - 8 (H) =-1
    RACHE, 18 (R) - 1 (A) - 3 (C) - 8 (H) - 5 (E) = 1
    RADGE, 18 (R) - 1 (A) - 4 (D) - 7 (G) - 5 (E) = 1
    RAGDE, 18 (R) - 1 (A) - 7 (G) - 4 (D) - 5 (E) = 1
    RAGED, 18 (R) - 1 (A) - 7 (G) - 5 (E) - 4 (D) = 1
    REACH, 18 (R) - 5 (E) - 1 (A) - 3 (C) - 8 (H) = 1
    REDIA, 18 (R) - 5 (E) - 4 (D) - 9 (I) - 1 (A) =-1
    REEDE, 18 (R) - 5 (E) - 5 (E) - 4 (D) - 5 (E) =-1
    SABLE, 19 (S) - 1 (A) - 2 (B) - 12 (L) - 5 (E) =-1
    SADHE, 19 (S) - 1 (A) - 4 (D) - 8 (H) - 5 (E) = 1
    SAHIB, 19 (S) - 1 (A) - 8 (H) - 9 (I) - 2 (B) =-1
    SAICE, 19 (S) - 1 (A) - 9 (I) - 3 (C) - 5 (E) = 1
    SAIGA, 19 (S) - 1 (A) - 9 (I) - 7 (G) - 1 (A) = 1
    SALAD, 19 (S) - 1 (A) - 12 (L) - 1 (A) - 4 (D) = 1
    SCALD, 19 (S) - 3 (C) - 1 (A) - 12 (L) - 4 (D) =-1
    SHADE, 19 (S) - 8 (H) - 1 (A) - 4 (D) - 5 (E) = 1
    SHEAF, 19 (S) - 8 (H) - 5 (E) - 1 (A) - 6 (F) =-1
    TACAN, 20 (T) - 1 (A) - 3 (C) - 1 (A) - 14 (N) = 1
    TALEA, 20 (T) - 1 (A) - 12 (L) - 5 (E) - 1 (A) = 1
    TIBIA, 20 (T) - 9 (I) - 2 (B) - 9 (I) - 1 (A) =-1
    TICED, 20 (T) - 9 (I) - 3 (C) - 5 (E) - 4 (D) =-1
    VAGAL, 22 (V) - 1 (A) - 7 (G) - 1 (A) - 12 (L) = 1
    VEALE, 22 (V) - 5 (E) - 1 (A) - 12 (L) - 5 (E) =-1
    VICED, 22 (V) - 9 (I) - 3 (C) - 5 (E) - 4 (D) = 1
    VOCAB, 22 (V) - 15 (O) - 3 (C) - 1 (A) - 2 (B) = 1
    WAACS, 23 (W) - 1 (A) - 1 (A) - 3 (C) - 19 (S) =-1
    WALED, 23 (W) - 1 (A) - 12 (L) - 5 (E) - 4 (D) = 1
    WANED, 23 (W) - 1 (A) - 14 (N) - 5 (E) - 4 (D) =-1
    WEALD, 23 (W) - 5 (E) - 1 (A) - 12 (L) - 4 (D) = 1
    WIFED, 23 (W) - 9 (I) - 6 (F) - 5 (E) - 4 (D) =-1
    WIGGA, 23 (W) - 9 (I) - 7 (G) - 7 (G) - 1 (A) =-1
    YAKKA, 25 (Y) - 1 (A) - 11 (K) - 11 (K) - 1 (A) = 1
    YARFA, 25 (Y) - 1 (A) - 18 (R) - 6 (F) - 1 (A) =-1
    YCLED, 25 (Y) - 3 (C) - 12 (L) - 5 (E) - 4 (D) = 1
    YERBA, 25 (Y) - 5 (E) - 18 (R) - 2 (B) - 1 (A) =-1

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  50. You missed YEARA. See above.

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  51. Replies
    1. I clicked on the link. Strangely, nothing in the column headed 'References in periodicals archive' seems to have anything to do with poisonous plants.

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  52. In last weeks thread I posted, "Where there's a will there's a way."
    Will parlayed his college education into a life of puzzling and 'table' tennis.
    "A way" was a continuation of last weeks clue since a+w+a=y.

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  53. In this Sunday's New York Times Puns and Anagrams crossword: 8-Across: Things worn under ze blouses (6 letters).

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    1. jan,
      Puns and anagrams, eh? This one is a toughie, but here are my thoughts:

      PUN:
      What is under se blouse? Ze ro!
      If, that is, you are a shoplifter of high-end modern, unisex leather goods and accessories for the urban professional…
      Or if you are one of those 1970s-era protestors who was always torching their undergarments.

      But, of course “zero” is only four letters long, two short of six. So…
      ANAGRAM:
      The letters in “ze blouses” can be rearranged to form “Zeus be Sol” or “Sol be Zeus.”
      But any student of ancient Greek and Roman mythology knows that Zeus does not be Sol. Zeus be the Roman god Jupiter. And Sol be the Greek god Helios.
      The letters in “Helios” (if you add an R to the mix, Mateys) can be rearranged to for the phrase “Hi loser!”
      Which is an appropriate greeting for Lego as he attempts to solve this poser.

      LegoSays”WaitIThinkI’veSolvedItByJoveIBelieveTheAnswerIsEitherWhacksOrTables”

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  54. Blainesvillians:

    This week’s Puzzleria! is now available for your solving pleasure:

    The best reason to visit us this week is that we are featuring a delightfully creative and challenging puzzle created by ron. He gives you the interior letters of a handful of words, then challenges you to come up with the first two and last two letters of each, which happen to be the same two letters in the same order – like “STarburST,” for example.

    We also offer a pair of puzzles concerning recent sporting events that illustrate both “the thrill of victory,” and “the agony of defeat.”

    Our fourth poser involves an intertwining of three brand names.

    Our fifth asks your for find five characters in four sitcoms who share a common thread regarding their TV professions.

    The final puzzle this week, our Ripping Off Shortz Slice (ROSS), is one of those “open-ended creative challenges” in which we ask you to find words with Alphanumerical Indices as close as possible to 1.0 or to 26.

    We’ll keep the light on for ya… but you know you won’t need it because you will bring your own light.

    LegoLambodette

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  55. Next week's challenge from listener Peter Collins of Ann Arbor, Mich.: Name something in eight letters that's usually bought in pairs. Change the second letter to the letter two spaces later in the alphabet, and you'll get a new word that names something else that's usually bought in pairs. Both words are plurals. What are they?

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  56. It's no fun being wet or hungry, so I always buy slickers and Snickers in pairs.

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  57. Will said he accepted WANED as an answer, but it doesn't actually work.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, what's up with that?! 23≠1+14+5+4 (24)

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  58. Will folks debate this week's answer?

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  59. I came up with this pair pretty quickly - not sure if there is more than one answer, but I'm glad I'm not going to have to spend the whole week untangling it. --Margaret G.

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  60. Replies
    1. That might be an alternate answer, but I don't think it is the intended answer.

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    2. Darn. That's the one I came up with too. Back to the drawing board.

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    3. Did you notice that the new 2nd letter of one of the answers is the original 2nd letter of the other of the answers?

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