Sunday, September 18, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sept 18, 2016): Drawing a Blank

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sept 18, 2016): Drawing a Blank:
Q: Think of a familiar three-word phrase in the form "[blank] and [blank]". Drop the "and" then move the last word to the front to form a single word that means the opposite of the original phrase.

Here's a hint: The resulting single word has seven letters. What is it?
I'm literally drawing a blank... and another blank.

Edit: I guess you could say I was getting nowhere with the puzzle.
A: HERE and NOW --> NOWHERE

170 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. The single word isn't really "the opposite" of the phrase, but I don't want to be too fussy like some obnoxious talking head.

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  3. I found an answer that fits somewhat, but the opposites are maybe not quite opposite. I'm done and won't look any more into this mystery. But like many mysteries, maybe the butler did it. ---Rob

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  4. In another story on NPR this morning, "Trump is not a wordsmith." Phew! No worries about running into him here.

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  5. In another story on NPR this morning, "Trump is not a wordsmith." Phew! No worries about running into him here.

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    Replies
    1. By and large, I agree. Wait and see.

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    2. Who will aid and abet Hillary as her hopes wax and wane in this nip and tuck election? It's touch and go. If Conald Trump wins we'll be down and out and our hopes left high and dry; so much for the best laid schemes of mice and men (and donkeys).

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    3. Word woman - you can say that again! and you did!

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    4. Is wanewax what Bruce uses to keep the Batmobile shiny?

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  6. Replies
    1. Another musical clue:
      The answer to the first of the five Ripping Off Shortz Slices on this week's Puzzleria!

      LegoWhoseTitleWasRealeasedAbout3.5YearsEarlierThanzeke'sTitle

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    2. A form of this week's NPR puzzle (with the same words and "trick") appeared earlier this year in Puzzleria! (actually as a bonus addition to a puzzle I composed in our Comments Section).

      LegoWhoLikesToThinkThatGreatMindsLikeLego'sAndJustineTilley'sThinkAlike!

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  7. Is the second word of the blank and blank a 7-letter word or is the resultant word a 7-letter word? Is it "up and RUNNING"(7-letter word)(debt-free) = "runningup" debt, or is it "out and back">>>OUTBACK (7 letters)?

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    Replies
    1. The latter. I.e., the two words in the "blank and blank" phrase together have 7 letters in total.

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    2. When I first heard the puzzle, I thought Will meant the former, but it must be that he meant the latter. Has anyone ever mentioned that sometimes his puzzles are worded ambiguously? ---Rob

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    3. I see. It must be "ham and eggs" yielding an "eggsham."

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  8. I just listened to today's puzzle segment (I was out biking this morning). During her lead-in, Rachel used an expression that I thought hinted at this week's answer (though I'm sure that wasn't her intention).

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    1. I'd like to work "agathokakological" into the conversation, if I may.

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    2. I'm sure you can and will.

      How about "Adam and Eve had a taste of the ins and outs of the agathokakological, aka the good and bad. They tried to run and hide, but our kith and kin have suffered ever since."

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    3. Indeed, well done, eco. Still searching.

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    4. You missed a few, ECO. It was "hit and miss" and he mis-shit. He was "down and low" so he was unable to understand the "lowdown..."

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    5. I searched fore and aft, far and wide, high and low, all places under the sun and moon, for new and used expressions for my dog and pony show (to buy and sell on radio and TV?).

      I even considered, now that they were man and wife, that they would need hot and cold water to wash and dry, perhaps using his and hers towels. Both being fit and trim, he might need a suit and tie from the big and tall department of the five and ten cent store. And she would have a stylish cap and gown. Would he sing "My One and Only Love" while watching "For Me and My Gal"?

      I kept these yin and yang ideas under lock and key, I could go on and on and on, but my get up and go has started to ebb and flow. So with a nod and wink I live and die by my original answer.

      Now that I've squ and ered your time, best to get up and about, drink a rum and coke or vodka and oj, and listen to some Dur and Uran.

      Yea and amen, over and out. Phew!

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    6. Now you're just showing off, eco and logy. ;-)

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    7. eco, is there something sneaky like that involved?! Oh, William!

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    8. William? The ex-Pres who phil and ers?

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    9. If you were asking about the puzzle WS presented, there's nothing sneaky; no alarm clocks involved.

      But Rob and I don't find the resulting word to be an "opposite". Of course we might have different answers.

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  9. Musical hint: Anybody remember Hanson?

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  10. Updated thread.

    As to the appearance of the savior: “He is ….."

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  11. I have the answer and it's not "one and some" and its "opposite" SOMEONE.

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    Replies
    1. The 7-letter word is on THIS LIST if you need it.

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  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    Replies
    1. I hate to reply to a removed post, but I am still finding it impossible to keep a regular reply box open for more than a few seconds.
      I just wanted to say that I received a nice imaginary email from Dr. Shortz saying he realized the answer I submitted about the 7 epochs of the Cenozoic was perfectly acceptable in every regard except he never heard of the concept before and therefore nobody else would have either.

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. Nice that he replied.

      Never heard the concept? I remember them from junior high school, or thenabouts, but I'd agree with WS that they aren't something everyone knows about. Don't scientists say we have now entered the 8th epoch, the Anthropocene? And may G*d have mercy on us all!

      Should we send WW out to teach WS a lesson?

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    4. Eco, you may have missed the part where MJ said WS's Re: was i. Let's not make this any more complex than it already is.

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    5. I guess my RTSS (recognize the sarcasm switch) is turned off today. But we are in the 8th epoch.

      Of course there are only 4-6 continents, depending on your non-political definition.

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    6. Indeed, quite nice to get the i reply, Mendo Jim.

      Happy to give it a go with WS, eco, though I believe Anthropocene has not yet been officially accepted by the groups that accept such names. But, of course, we're there. Yet, I am not headed anywhere until this one is solved.

      Duck duck going phrases with "____ and ___" went nowhere.

      Kindly bring on your best clues! Go ahead, risk the wrath of Blaine ;-). Thanks in advance.

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    7. Duck duck isn't the way to go. Download the Moby word list. Grep the "compound word" list for the 53 12-character phrases containing "_and_". Read through that short list until you find the one that works.

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    8. 10 characters in search of a phrase – yes?

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    9. I was including the 2 spaces.

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    10. Jan, I must admit this is also how I got the answer. But while most everyone can YahooDuckDuckGoogleBing, not everyone knows how to grep.

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    11. I was encouraged to read in its Wikipedia entry that, as of 2003, 'grep' was included as both a noun and a verb in the Oxford English Dictionary Online.

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    12. Sorry you're still struggling WW, it happens to us all at times. I suspect you're closer than you know, you just don't know it.

      When I first heard the puzzle at 5:40 am local time I was certain I would have to use a web "cheat", but the answer popped into my head at some point. I refuse to get up at that horrid hour, so I spent the next 2 hours awake worrying the answer would disappear.

      There are some additional clues from the early birds who posted at the end of last week's puzzle, mostly useful to those who know the answer.

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    13. I've not done a grep before, jan. Always a first time. . .

      Hoping for popping into my head, eco.

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    14. No grepping but I got there. At long last. And I agree it's not a perfect opposite but it'll do. Thanks, no more grepping or griping for me.

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    15. I ended up using
      http://www.crossword-dictionary.com/

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    16. I ended up thinking about "What is Agreppo?" and using no lists.

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    17. Dropping acid again, WW? Or just indulging in a bit of 'herb'?

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    18. And, to think it was right under our collective noses all along, eh, Paul?

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  14. Musical clue: Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, and the Talking Heads

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  15. NOT A CLUE: I guess if you are scrabblin' for room and board, ya don't live in the boardroom !

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    Replies
    1. But you can go the other way surprisingly fast. I'm reading The Mandibles, A Family, 2029-2047, by Lionel Shriver. Chilling.

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    2. xfyre,
      Room and board; Boardroom.

      LegoDetetectsBlankAndBlankCheckInflation

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    3. That's from an NPR puzzler from a year and half ago.

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  16. No clue yet on this one. My biggest struggle is that no comprehensive list exist for three word phrase or idioms, with or without the and in the middle.

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    Replies
    1. But there is, you just have to know what this kind of phrase is called.

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  17. Replies
    1. Painted Cakes Do Not Satisfy Hunger is the heading of the last section of Be Here Now by Ram Dass, formerly known as Dr. Richard Alpert Ph.D., colleague of Dr. Timothy Leary, Ph.D., apparently no relation to Herb.

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  18. UGH.
    Or maybe just UGLY.
    Pretty sure Tom and Ray would have labeled this BOGUS.
    (Not a clue)

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  19. Replies
    1. and R angers?
      and B raves?
      and D backs?

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    2. My kitten, S(mitten) purs.

      If Curtis puts the homophone of Word Woman's cleverness into a search engines along with "word pairs" he should find what he is looking for.

      LegoSingsS(mitten)aintSheSweet

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    3. Curtis, inquiring minds want to know--did you get there and how?

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    4. Not yet. I've been surprisingly busy this week. I've been working a less-than-stellar part-time job that's consuming way too much time while I try to find better work. Plus, I'm trying to come up with a marketing plan for my photography to see if I can get some more paying gigs (weddings, etc).

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    5. Curtis, good luck with your job search and marketing plan!

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  20. One of Bob and Bing's best movies; when it ended the crowd was yelling for more.

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    1. The only Road movie set in a cold climate, The Road to Utopia refers to the novel by Sir (or Saint, depending on your persuasion) Thomas More. Whose title is the Greek word for "nowhere."

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    2. Best comments this week!
      But I admit I don't get the 'cold climate' part.

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  21. Finally had a few moments this evening to solve it. Now, if I can only get my job or my photography going somewhere...

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  22. Find words of 7 letters or more containing at least 4 unrepeated consonants all of which appear in alphabetic order treating any intervening vowels as spacers. I have found only five really different ones so far. Two should be easily found.

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    1. I am an abecedarian at these puzzles.

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    3. a most diversative list; amazing you did that without computer help.

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    4. Hold your applause, Eco, because that list was compiled with the use of grep, and it contained some mistakes.

      Notable entries:
      fieldfight
      fickle-minded
      gentleman-pensioner
      limnophile
      limnophobia
      aquarist
      lacquerist
      liquor store
      liquorist
      queerest
      querist
      squarest
      adversative
      arrestive
      contrastive
      conversative
      discursative
      first violinist
      frost over
      quarterstave
      restive
      versative
      stove-warmed
      stove wood
      hydroxyazobenzene

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    5. ECO got the easy 2 words, and understood what I meant. Guess I my question specs could have been clearer.

      I was fishing for greppers and word list users.

      keelman, keelmen - crew of Newcastle UK coal boats.

      querist - a questioner

      queerest, quarest (dialect in literature) - peculiar

      aquarist, aquariist (dated) - aquarium keeper

      restive - unruly

      Surprised there are so few such words.

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    6. Curious Hugh, did abecedarian (a novice) show up in your grepping?

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    7. PC greps more than anyone, but his link and the results on the pastebin site have been yanked. It was an impressive list, with many more than he showed - what was wrong with stavewood?

      I don't remember seeing abecedarian. and I'm not even up to novice status for grepping.

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    8. Grep your coat and grep your hat,
      Leave your worries on the doorstep...

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    9. "Abecedarian" is not on my list, because it only contains three consecutive consonants—the leading "A" doesn't count. Of course, even in the ones I printed above, I allowed for some two-word phrases just because the result is so nice, my favorite of those being "first violinist". I suppose "first violist" also works. (Should that be "violaist"?)

      I only listed the words that I'd heard of. My word dictionary is so large that a lot of times the matches it returns are extraordinarily obscure or archaic, or perhaps even typos or garbage data that slipped in. I'd rather they be more common, words that one could think of on their own.

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    10. Gotta know those bcd's.

      It would be violaist if you also said celloist or pianoist....

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    11. Ah, thanks for the clarification.

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    12. As I said, my question specs could have been clearer.

      I was looking for all of the consonants in the word to be unrepeated and to appear as indicated in my list of answers, as a run ignoring vowels - qrst or klmn. Jeez! I'm having trouble even with this.

      In any case, I found no grstv or klmnp.

      Anyway, it was an interesting exercise for me.

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    13. Making up a wordlist with no repeated consonants was what I wanted to see if greppers would do.

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    14. My final list was a list of sorted consonant strings - no words at all. from which I selected items to grep the original word list.

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  23. As one of the old CODGERS, I hate to sound DEFIANT, but as I sit by my CAMPSTOVE, eating a DIGESTIVE biscuit reading about a CASTAWAY I can think of many. But, before I COMPOSE a note to my BACKERS, I need to to CLEANUP and go to the bank to make a DEPOSIT.

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    Replies
    1. No Grep here...Just pencil and paper. And a sprinkling of FULMINATE.

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    2. Pretty sure when Hugh said "alphabetic order" he meant that the consonant order would not skip over other consonants, and only have vowels in between.

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    3. HERE AND NOW, NOWHERE

      "Duck duck going phrases with "____ and ___" went nowhere." contained the 7-letter word, NOWHERE, but I didn't realize it until a few minutes after I posted it. Thanks for the encouragement, guys.

      Hence, my "And, to think it was right under our collective noses all along, eh, Paul?" afterpost.

      "T wins" and "Sign a mees"
      were nods to the linguistic term Siamese Twins.

      Delete
  24. OMG! Sorry to jump in so late, but I just got the answer to the original Sunday challenge!

    True story: I have been on vacation all week on the Spanish island of Mallorca. I read the puzzle here, and all of your comments, without coming any closer to the answer. But just 45 minutes ago, while eating dinner, it came to me. I can't think of any good hints at this time, but you know I've got it!

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  25. HERE and NOW -> NOWHERE

    > Where would you find this on a submarine?

    Nowhere, man. (On the soundtrack of Yellow Submarine.

    > Listeners in Boston might have an advantage this week.

    The NPR program/podcast Here and Now is produced by WBUR in Boston.

    > I just listened to today's puzzle segment (I was out biking this morning). During her lead-in, Rachel used an expression that I thought hinted at this week's answer (though I'm sure that wasn't her intention).

    After announcing her upcoming move from WESUN to Morning Edition, she said she was trying to stay focused on the present moment, which sounds like the here and now to me.

    > Ride

    The 1990 debut album from the British rock band Ride was Nowhere, and included the song Here and Now.

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    1. I thought your hint was referring to her saying she was leaving, but was still here for awhile longer.

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    2. Will Shortz was correct when he said he thought many of the hints on this blog were harder to figure out than the puzzles themselves.

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  26. Replies
    1. Why was I yelling?

      Richard Pryor's final comedy album in 1983 was called "Here and Now", and a score later Ellen Degeneres released an HBO special by the same name.

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  27. My answer was HERE AND NOW / NOWHERE, and I said "I'm done and won't look any more into this mystery. But like many mysteries, maybe the butler did it." The English Victorian novelist, Samuel Butler, wrote a utopian novel, _Erewhon_, the title being an anagram.

    In researching this, I found that there is name for such constructions, and even a Wikipedia entry for them. Wiki says, 'Siamese twins (also irreversible binomials, binomials, binomial pairs, freezes) in the context of the English language refer to a pair or group of words used together as an idiomatic expression or collocation, usually conjoined by the words "and" or "or." The order of elements cannot be reversed.' There are lists of Siamese twins of different types in the article, and I admit that I mined the list to get my answer.

    ---Rob

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  28. HERE AND NOW - AND > NOWHERE

    My hint: “The Beatles” Hinting at Nowhere Man (I thought of NPR, but others posted Boston, hinting at NPR’s Here And Now program.)

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  29. Here and now, nowhere. Here and now refers to time, nowhere refers to place, so I can't see these as opposites. Talking head refers to their song "Road to Nowhere" - egads has it been >30 years?

    I had to laugh when WW wrote "phrases with "____ and ___" went nowhere".

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    Replies
    1. I laughed, too, eco, especially when later puzzlers didn't see it right in front of their eyes. . .

      You all kept great straight faces through that posting, though. Kudos to all!

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    2. Taunting you with "you're closer than you know" is as fun as it gets.

      Still don't get your T wins, though.

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    3. Those of us who didn't notice the hint get no credit for straight faces. Similarly, I didn't notice my parallel "Here..." and "Now..." sentences in my posting of a picture of a screen door on a submarine at the end of last week's blog until long after I'd posted it, by which time taking it down would've been even more of a hint.

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    4. eco, I just knew you were having great fun with that! jan, having the word right out there in perfect context is the ultimate, fun clue (once you know it, of course). I believe you posted a similar clue once (but you knew it!); something about a boat?

      T wins was a nod toward Linguistic Siamese Twins (I posted the Wiki link above.) Still having issues with my posts going to the spot where I'd started a reply but changed my mind. . .(even though I back all the way out of Bainesville).

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    5. Sometimes a post only becomes a clue once another poster requests its removal.

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  30. Oops! Sorry for the faux pas of using "here" in my last minute comment! Although, others fell into the same trap, apparently. I really am here, and I really got the answer(almost) now.

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    1. Both "here" and "now" are common enough words that I don't think their use is a giveaway so long as the syntax is natural.

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    2. I once knew a guy who held up a library and walked out with every article in the place. It helps that his ransom speech had incredible diction; he's a veritable phoneme phenom.

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    3. PlannedChaos, phone me maybe? ;-)

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    4. Is that Jersey parlance for Carly Rae Jepsen?

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    5. Yes, PC, and for careful kerning/spacing.

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  31. Great fun with all your neat clues – especially the ones that – author unaware – contained the words “here” and/or “now” in context.

    Updated thread.

    As to the appearance of the savior: “He is ….."

    In ancient writings there are, many times, no spaces between words, so that translators have to make out as best they can what is actually being said.

    A famous illustrative case of this concerns writings that discuss the presence and/or absence of Jesus Christ – where the interpretation about His appearance (or lack of) could support or refute basic theological principles.

    The assertion is: “HEISNOWHERE"

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    1. When I read that, I assumed the word was "risen" and couldn't figure out the clue. Good one.

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    2. HEISNOWHERE--terrific clue! And thank G*d for spaces and kerning.

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  32. Neil Young and his song, 'Everybody knows this is nowhere.'

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    1. The answer to one of my Riffing Off Shortz puzzles (revealed yesterday) was johN + ringO + georgE + pauL = NOEL (Harrison), coulda-been fifth-Beatle and son of Rex, but not brother of George.

      LegoWhoIsDustingOffTheCookieCrumbsFromTheWindmillsOfHisMind

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    2. ...And, of course, the Fab Four sang "Now Here, Man!"

      LegoWhoIsMoreOfAThenThereMan

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  33. HERE AND NOW, NOWHERE
    Martha and the Vandellas had a song called "Nowhere To Run To", and the Talking Heads had "Road To Nowhere". Hanson's first album was called "Middle of Nowhere".

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. And I thought you meant Tom Hanson's "Here and Now".

      Click on the link and you be the only person besides me to ever listen to this.

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    3. Very relaxing music. Most definitely in the here and now. Thanks, eco!

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  34. I had already solved the puzzle and then heard NPR news program: "Here and Now". Did anyone else know about that program?

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    1. I listen to it every weekday. Everyone here who posted hints re: Boston were referring to it. It is an NPR program.

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    2. I was listening on the way to work.

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  35. HERE AND NOW (and its opposite ?) NOWHERE.

    Blaine: “I'm literally drawing a blank,” I'm (in the middle of) NOWHERE!

    Samuel Butler's novel, EREWHON, is often compared to the William Morris novel NEWS FROM NOWHERE.

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  36. The new Puzzleria! is up!
    Twelve fresh puzzles. Think of them as a dozen eggs for you to crack open.
    Two were “laid” by PlannedChaos (very nicely “scrambled”).
    The other ten tend to be a bit hard-boiled or runny. There is a fun picture puzzle based on newly minted portmanteau words… and another based on the Galton board.

    Click on “Joseph Young’s Puzzleria!” in Blaine’s PUZZLE LINKS.

    LegoYourEggoAndGoGetMyEggsYoKay?

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  37. The biggest con job since the trojan horse.

    Donald Trump was, in fact, born in the Philippines of Ceylonese parents!

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    1. I always suspected he was born in the Philippines because he is such a flagrant phlip phlopper.

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    2. To be slightly serious (I know it's odd) I was really turned off by the whole Philippine/ Ceylon crap. It was useless and counterproductive, and falls into the idiocy of Trumpster politics.

      There are plenty of cogent reasons why everyone should be terrified of him, and what his policies will do to his supporters. Some of which Keillor covered.

      I thought this article was much better, though it starts with the assault of the current administration as well as others before going to the Flaming Con.

      And 538.com now gives The Fascist a 38% chance of winning. Frightening.

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    3. Despite the delicious schadenfreude, and because of research, I don't make a habit of taking my facts from rhyming verse.

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    4. Indeed this is all just a bit of humorous chicanery, lest anyone take these claims seriously. You can never be too careful these days, it's amazing what people will believe when it already aligns with a bias.

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    5. Then again, he was born in Jamaica Hospital, but was this really in Queens, New York? I dunno, sounds awfully "ethnic" to me. You people know what I'm talking about. Members of his own party started this ugly birther rumor, and I'm here to finish it.

      Is his candidacy nothing but a surrealist knock-knock joke? Let's hope the answer is "orange you glad I didn't get elected?"

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    6. I am glad you have cleared that up. I don't know what the Washington Post is doing publishing this sort of article.

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    7. The Hogwashington Post went head over Keillor for the garrulous Garrison.

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    8. What saved Isaac?

      I thought it; I'll ask it; what have I got to lose?

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  38. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. You're not missing anything. It was a double post. Great music, though.

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    2. Nina Simone is a universal treasure, imho.

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  39. Next week's challenge: Take the words DOES, TOES and SHOES. They all end in the same three letters, but none of them rhyme. What words starting with F, S and G have the same property? The F and S words are four letters long, and the G word is five letters. They all end in the same three letters.

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  41. I think both of the previous comments give too much away.

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    1. I disagree, but pulled it anyway. There are other options for this puzzle, I might post a few later.

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    2. The combo got me there quickly.

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  42. As a native New Yorker, I feel at a disadvantage when a puzzle is based on rhymes. Does York rhyme with fork or squawk? And how are Bostonians to compete as they sit in their pahked cahs. It is just so unfair.

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    Replies
    1. Gets even more complicated when we Bostonians exit our cars and put our car keys ['ka:kiz] in the pocket of our khakis ['kakiz].

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  43. Agreed with general feeling, too easy for experienced puzzlers, not giving newcomers an equal chance.

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