Sunday, December 04, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 4, 2016): Stuck in the Middle with You

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 4, 2016): Stuck in the Middle with You:
Q: This challenge may sound impossible, but there's a good answer. Think of a common two-word phrase, in seven letters, that has two R's in the middle. And "in the middle" means exactly in the middle. What phrase is it?
I'm sure you'll figure this out before breakfast.

Edit: I figured you were probably eating sausages (wurst) for breakfast, so at worst it would take you until then.
A: The two-word phrase AT WORST contains "TWO RS" in the middle.

253 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. There has to be some trick to this, unless I have things all backwards. I have a silly answer to this silly puzzle, and so I am finished for this week.
    ---Rob

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    Replies
    1. I have realized that if my silly answer is right, there is a rhyming answer equally right. And equally silly.
      ---Rob

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  3. Certainly, this week's challenge deserves no less than a two star rating.

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  4. There is something Dickensian about this puzzle.

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    Replies
    1. SuperZee, did bots help with that?

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    2. I have been neglectful in not complimenting you earlier on your excellent hint. I also enjoy a slice of life story.

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  5. Took me .. all of 30 seconds to figure this out. Did Will say this was one of his favorite puzzles? Goes somewhere else on my list.

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  6. It starts with a T and ends with a T, but there isn't a T at the beginning and there isn't a T at the end. And while there are two Rs in the middle, there's only one R, and it isn't in the middle I think Will's being a brat!

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    Replies
    1. Reminds me of the riddle, "What six letter word starts with T, ends with T and has T in the middle?"

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    2. Jan, your comment is absolutely evil. But, around here, that's a high compliment!

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  7. Well at least we have plenty of time to solve this one.

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    Replies
    1. Yes. Don't worry. The answer will come to you.

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  8. At best, I'd give this one star

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    Replies
    1. And if it's not solved by the time Blaine indicated, thinking would have to be unnecessarily punctuated by breakfast?

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  9. This is one of those puzzles that make me wonder how much the Master gets paid for them.

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  10. And now for something completely different:

    D: "I can't find the equipment that helps me find delicious mushrooms!"

    S: "Oh no! Have you lost your morel compass?!"

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    Replies
    1. A pun is nothing to truffle with...

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    2. You guys don't leave mushroom for discussion!

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    3. I do, 'cause I'm a fungi.

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    4. What do mushrooms eat when they sit around the campfire?

      S'pores.

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    5. WW,
      I like it! Very similar to the one I coined several years ago. When anything having to do with mushrooms comes up I always warn that it may not be a good idea to associate with mushroom growers as they are likely to have loose Morels.

      Delete
    6. Thanks, sdb.

      What did one mushroom say to the other at the long Persian poetry reading?

      TOO MUSH RUMI.

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    7. Oh cremini! Signora WW, shiitake my breath away!

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    8. Amanita nother puzzle to work on, 'cause this one's solved.

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    9. I think we've pushed that button too many times - but at least there is no mushgroom cloud rising..

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    10. You know, I never tire of mushroom jokes! Why is that?

      What do you call the winner of the Mushroom Tour de France?






      Champignon!

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    11. WW, I just LOVE the above....I've never even HEARD any mushroom jokes before. And all the further above fungi/truffle, etc banter had me laughing out loud, too.Clearly, I've been living under a rock!

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    12. WW, I just LOVE the above....I've never even HEARD any mushroom jokes before. And all the further above fungi/truffle, etc banter had me laughing out loud, too.Clearly, I've been living under a rock!

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    13. Mushrooms are like Vice Presidents - kept in the dark and fed. . . well, you know.

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    14. Well that's a load of frog shit!

      Please, please forgive me. I meant to say that's a load of toadstool. Sorry.

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    15. Which reminds me....
      Where do frogs sit?
      On toad stools...

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    16. Please don't bother to submit a sample.

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    17. I appreciate your no-shiitake approach.

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    18. Just want it noted how I summoned today's Wikipedia featured article with my Amanita pun above. Mad powers. Just sayin'.

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    19. Mad powers to summon those death angels, jan!

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  11. All of you who have "solved" this crap can go to hell. These are troubled times in this country, and he gives us THIS crappy puzzle to take our minds off it? I don't need this. I got Puzzleria!, I got a GAMES magazine in the mail. This puzzle is just pathetic.

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  12. Replies
    1. Yes, I was thinking (I do it sometimes) perhaps it was an attempt to deal with the situation before our new emperor, Phallus Impudicus, takes power.

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    2. Trevor Noah on the pipeline's original location near Bismarck, ND: "NSFW (Not Suitable For Whites)."

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  13. Back to this stupid puzzle: I hope those of you who "solved" this gem will envision my finger "exactly in the middle". I shall refer you to Will Shortz's brother, Eatmy. You know Eatmy Shortz, don't you?

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    Replies
    1. You're just mad because your boss wants you to wear more than 15 pieces of flair.

      Delete
    2. No, I simply cannot solve what is at best a flawed puzzle. I do not like this particular puzzle, that's all. I'm also not too crazy about anyone who solved it and insists upon boasting about how "easy" it was. For those who think they have solved it, I will now dissect this puzzle as I see it:
      Two R's "exactly" in the middle only works in phrases of six or eight letters, not seven. It is also hard enough just coming up with two-word phrases of only seven letters containing two R's to begin with(hurry up, so sorry, car race, etc.). That being said, I would love to be proven wrong Thursday afternoon. Even so, I can almost guarantee I will be disappointed with whatever answer comes up as THE answer, or for that matter whatever wordplay is necessary for THE answer. Bear in mind I, like all others on this blog have tremendous respect for Will Shortz. I just don't find him infallible as a "puzzlemaster". He may very well have created a real stinker in this puzzle. Do I consider myself infallible as a solver? No, of course not. Sometimes these puzzles are way too easy, sometimes it will take a while solving them. Sometimes I may have to call sour grapes on a puzzle. I know I will be proven wrong, I just can't suffer foolish puzzles gladly. You forget I came into this blog angry because I couldn't solve whatever crap it was that week, and I couldn't stand to read other bloggers' posts about how they got it so fast. Still can't stand it. Mind you, I do enjoy the experience of doing puzzles, be they cryptograms, cryptic crosswords, Sunday Puzzles, or anything on Puzzleria! I just become disenchanted whenever it's a real stumper. I'm not ashamed to say I ask for hints on Puzzleria! I realize it doesn't work the same way here. I'm just not happy with this particular puzzle. I'm also still trying to solve the P! puzzles, and I have a new GAMES/World of Puzzles magazine I have yet to get around to. Throw in the general unhappiness everyone is feeling about the election, and it seems ridiculous that Dr. Shortz should present a challenge that seems utterly hopeless if you haven't already solved it(like me). Again, I respect Dr. Shortz the same as anyone else here. I'm just expressing my opinion about this week's challenge, which I consider too difficult to even really bother with any further. I clearly don't know the trick to this supposed gem of a puzzle, so I don't think the experience is even really worth it. Under better circumstances I would like to be picked by Dr. Shortz to play on-air again, but it won't be with this sad excuse for a puzzle. End of story.

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    3. "You forget I came into this blog angry. . ."

      No, we remember, pjb. You have defined the concept of blog-angry.

      My recommendations? Ease on down the winding road. Chillax. Take it easy. Breathe. Remember that no one's life depends on your solving this puzzle.

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    4. @pjb, I was reluctant to respond to your post, in part because, due to certain internal considerations, I am not completely convinced that it is not an epic masterpiece of put-on. And I have often felt the pain of not getting a challenge or meta when others have mentioned how easily the answer came to them (see, for instance, the 12/2/16 WSJ Contest Puzzle, with the answer published this morning.)

      You have undoubtedly heard the admonition, "If all else fails, read the directions." I would humbly and in the friendliest spirit suggest, regarding this week's puzzle, "If all else fails, read the challenge."

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    5. Perhaps some light reading as a diversion. I suggest, "Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation," by Lynn Truss.

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    6. Oooh, I do love an Oxford comma.

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    7. As one who is guilty of gloating (actually I was trying to work in a clue) I can only add to Bob and Jan's comments that remembering a film puzzle from almost 3 years ago put me on the fast track.

      You have to put yourself in the mind of the puzzle master and be a little Shortz sighted.

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    8. Oh no! Can it be that in an effort to comply with the New World Order WW has taken to listening to Rush Limbaugh?

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    9. eco, hurrying along half-heartedly with Rush?

      Also, Hawai'i.

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

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  15. Have we reached rock bottom with this puzzle?

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  16. My answer does not seem to relate to the clues posted (and, unfortunately, has nothing to do with mushrooms). But it’s certainly something I could use.

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    Replies
    1. Lorenzo, something you could use?! We seem to be on different planets.

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    2. I’ve discarded that “answer” and am now trying to make a culinary idea work. (No, still no mushrooms.) But your planet comment and previous mention of stars could point to a different trajectory.

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    3. Lorenzo, I am quite curious about your possible culinary alternative answer. Did it work out?

      As to a trajectory, rather than planets and stars, I recommend poetry.

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    4. I've got the intended answer now. I was certainly overthinking this one. I'll post my near misses on Thursday. In the meantime, think soft-boiled eggs.

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    5. Why is that, Lorenzo, are we going to a Trump rally?

      Delete
  17. Regarding the puzzle, my first thoughts were concerning the hood ornaments on the seventeen cars I own (count them if you want). All from the UK of course, but I couldn't seem to make it work. Oh, and should any of you here on this blog arrive here to visit I would be happy to provide you, and yours, with a saloon and driver for up to a fortnight. Just to be friendly, you understand.

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    Replies
    1. SDB - Enough about puzzles. Where can we learn more about your car collection?

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    2. I wish it were true, but I was trying to make the Rolls Royce hood ornament work.

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  18. Might the answer to this puzzle foment a rebellion?

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  19. Finally I solved it. Colonel Mustard with a pipe in the library.

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  20. PJB - sorry for the attack earlier. It was intended as a reference to the movie "Office Space", when Jennifer Aniston's character gives her boss the finger. And for what it's worth, I haven't solved the puzzle either. But I feel the answer will come to me around noon on Thursday.

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  21. Sorry folks, I do get long-winded when I'm angry. Just sent a message to Will Shortz to mend fences. I'm sure if anyone else has the answer though I don't, it won't bother me this week. It's not a crappy puzzle. It's just difficult. Go ahead and brag if you have it.

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    Replies
    1. pj: I give up on this puzzle. It is hard for me to face defeat but that is the way it is. I liked your thoughts.

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    2. Natasha, podiatrists have to face defeat every work day; you only need to concern yourself with this one. You can do it; come on.

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    3. Thanks for the encouragement,SDB. I think I have lost my powers. I am very curious as to the answer, however.

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    4. Наташа: русские люди считают, что вы найдете ответ. Внимательно прочитайте ключ, и помните, что американцы не всегда говорят правду.

      И Дональд посылает вам большой поцелуй.

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    5. Спасибо за совет. Я до сих пор не имеют ни малейшего понятия. Я сдаюсь и что есть что. Так разочарован тем, что я не умный, как и остальные из блоггеров. Целую тебя тоже, мой товарищ
      Наташа

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    6. Эта головоломка не измеряет ваш интеллект. Это испытание вашей способности следовать указаниям лживых американцев.

      Delete
  22. And now for something completely different.

    What’s the difference between a warning to Saddam Hussein and a McDonald’s arch?

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    Replies
    1. Answer: One is a line in the sand and the other is a sign in the land.

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    2. Thanks, but I don't think it is a Whopper.

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    3. But would you send your arch enemy there?

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    4. I don't agree. He is misteakin.

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    5. I beg your lardon; what is your beef anyway, and don't skirt the issue? If we ever do meat, I think we will have a T-bone to pick. Chuck you for now. :-)

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  23. And now for something completely the same:
    Okay, okay, I am aware that many here think this NPR puzzle is bad news. I disagree. But I shall now present a sneak preview of a Puzzleria!-patented "Ripping Off Shortz Slice" that is definitely good news... literally!

    Q: This challenge may sound impossible, but there's a somewhat okay answer. Think of a common two-word phrase, in six letters, that has one W in the middle. And "in the middle" means exactly in the middle. What phrase is it?

    LegoSaysThisAnswerIsSuitableForSweepsWeekOn"IWitlessHappyTalkAtSeven"!

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    Replies
    1. Your answer makes a complete 180-degree U-turn.

      Delete
  24. I drank a couple cups of coffee this morning, took Bob Kerfluffle's advice and re-read the challenge with a clear mind. Then ... bingo.

    Despite my initial strong pessimism, not too bad of a puzzle.

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    Replies
    1. Could it be that Bob Kerfluffle is Bob Kerfuffle's alter ego, the guy who enjoys dryers, pillows, and Fluffernutters?

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    2. We're still waiting...
      https://malegislature.gov/Bills/188/H2868

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    3. Geez, Massachusetts! Though you do have a long history with (sand) witches.

      Thanks for sharing, jsulbyrne.

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  25. Not getting this puzzle. Not sure I care...

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  26. My approach to the Sunday Puzzle: think about it for a few minutes. One of two things happens: (1) get the answer; or (2) don't get the answer, and don't waste much more time on it. I will admit to spending a few more minutes on this one, at least to write this comment, but at some point I lose interest in the answer. I have a feeling it's going to be less, "Why didn't I think of that?" and more "Oh. Well that's just dumb." Or overly clever, which amounts to the same thing.

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  27. This challenge involves what I consider to be an unfortunate rule of the use of punctuation in crossword puzzles.
    This is far from the first time it has affected an Shortz/NPR offering.

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    Replies
    1. Gee, it seems from the hints I have so far understood that I have a different answer than others. Mine depends on it's being a radio puzzle, and not on the transcript. ---Rob

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    2. Rob,
      I believe I know your answer because that is the first idea I had also. Indeed I had two rhyming "radio answers," one that might modify "collision" and the other that might modify "Top-10 list."

      Alas, NPR provides a transcript of Will Shortz's weekly puzzle on its website, which probably precludes acceptance of our aural/oral "radio answer(s)." I do believe it is a clever and deserving alternative, however.

      LegoDetectsMoreEvidenceOfGreatMindsThinkingAlike

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    3. OK - good; you and I do indeed have the same answer. I am darned if I can think of anything else that will fit! I will be happy to see what others have come up with on Thursday. ---Rob

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  28. (Nap) Tyme for some traffic problems in Seattle. Reminds me of the creative challenge from 2 weeks ago: What's the difference between this boat captain and this boat captain? One's got his head up his ass, while the other has his ass in the head. (That's where he reportedly was, instead of at the helm.)

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    Replies
    1. Jan,
      The yacht is aptly named Nap Tyme, but I suspect the captain was in the head fully poised (pun intended) for having it scared out of him. He has admitted being at fault, but his boat had the right of way, as it was approaching from the right, but he was in the wrong in not having anyone watching, so it is a strange case. The ferry captain did all he could and even put his engines in reverse, but it was not enough to avoid the collision. We have an excellent safety record with our ferry system here in Washington, and it is the largest in the country and fourth in the world.

      I hope I am not going to be accused of being politically incorrect when I tell you that we in Washington are proud of our ferrys and even have a large sign on the I-5 freeway saying: FERRYS NEXT RIGHT.

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    2. The ferry captain was probably wondering Juan de Fuca in that boat was going to turn away.

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    3. The yacht captain was fortunate he was able to Salish away.

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    4. If his boat sank, he'd have Tacoma board the ferry.

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    5. I feel a bit sorry for the guy. He has a wonderful boat and just wanted to go out and have a maritime, and look what happened.

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    6. If it had sank then the ferry captain would have had to Vashon a rescue.

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    7. All in all I think the ferry captain used Sound judgment.

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    8. All ferry, ferry interesting.
      Heads up, all!

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    9. Maybe it was lucky he wasn't on the poop deck when he struck the ferry.

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    10. Maybe the boat owner had taken up SDB's offer to spend a fortnight in his saloon, which would put most of us below deck.

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    11. What were the first words that Capt. Hazelwood said after the Exxon Valdez ran aground? "No, I asked for a Tanqueray on the rocks."
      (Necessary disclaimer: he may not have been drunk and was acquitted of that charge--but why let the facts spoil a perfectly good pun?)

      Delete
    12. Back then I had a skydiving student who was an executive officer on a sister ship of the Exxon Valdez and knew Capt. Hazelwood. He continued on to become an experienced skydiver.

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    13. BREAKING NEWS

      The Coast Guard is now investigating the incident and treating it as a head on collision. They can't understand why he didn't drop anchor prior to dropping trou. They are gathering evidence, but haven't been able to locate the captain's log, and are hoping it will resurface.

      The captain is up for promotion, but it is unclear if it will be to rear admiral or commode door. In any case he has been nicknamed by his yacht club: Head a Hopper.

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

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    15. I recommend a demotion to Lootenant Commander.

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    16. Good idea.

      As to the missing captain's log. I understand there is a white paper out on it.

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  29. I'm still stumped. Could it be because I'm Jewish? This time of year that's often the case. I keep thinking this reminds me of the puzzle where the answer was Oliver! But I haven't gotten it yet.

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    Replies
    1. Ah, Lee Wichman, are you overly punctual this time of year? Keep on the road you're on, with a 180 degree pivot.

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    2. Lee - Not the Oliver puzzle, but a different one from the past used a device similar to this week's puzzle.

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    3. I may indeed be overly punctual because the holidays kinda piss me off a bit. At least the tacky decorations and songs. I like the tasteful ones and the secular songs mostly written by Jews. A 180 degree pivot might confound me for a while, but I'll try. Maybe I need to hold a mirror to it. And I obviously have no idea how to sign in under a fake name. I still use a Palm Pilot to schedule my patients.

      Delete
    4. I agree with you about the tacky songs and decorations. Wow, almost forgot about Palm Pilots. . .

      Think of this sequence going down:

      ' , >>> what might be next?

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    5. When you say you like the tasteful songs, I hope you don't mean ones like, Yummy Yummy Yummy I got love in my tummy.

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    6. LW: As a half Jew (on the important side) I think your heritage may put you at an advantage in looking at this puzzle.

      I could listen to this Christmas Song all year long.

      Delete
    7. eco, are you speaking frankly?

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    8. Your clue is only pointing me to more questions. I know that in Hebrew they make their mark reading right to left. Sometimes I just let it go and then wake up with the answer. Or while I'm sitting with a patient...

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    9. Lee,

      I checked out your profile and I have to tell you I found a rather large hole in your viewpoint.

      I liked it.

      Ditch the Hebrew thing, it won't get you there. It did nothing for Jesus either, but that is not the point. Oh, and wasn't he one of the first cross dressers?

      I am only responding to your post because I looked at your profile and can see you are hiding yourself behind that huge smile, and I like it. So, I feel your pain at not having solved this one yet, but I will only go so far as to tell you to look in a different direction for the answer, it will come with determination. Shalom or slalom as we say this time of year.

      Delete
    10. Which profile did you check out?

      Well, I guess I'll have to give up on this week. And I imagine I am very close but not punctual enough.

      Delete
  30. I'm curious. If you showed me the phrase, would I immediately understood why it was the correct answer?

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    Replies
    1. Getting tense here -- yes, emphatically yes.

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    2. Please don't get overly tense trying to solve this puzzle.

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    3. sdb, it looks like we are simultaneously setting up tepees at the DAPL protest (two tents).

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    4. It could get rather igloo there.

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    5. At least you'd know yurt in good company though.

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    6. Take her skydiving with you??

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  31. I think some would give this puzzle an 'F' but others would give it an 'A'.

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    1. BTW, I have a swirl begonia rex in my dining room. Unfortunately, the thylakoids of mine have been randomly placed inside the chloroplast capsules, so...it has pink leaves.

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    3. @11thplace, do the pink-leaved begonias do well in bright light?

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    4. It wants shade outside, medium light inside. I keep it indoors away from the windows and it does fine.

      Delete
  32. I may finally have the answer. I'm not convinced. Perhaps if the clue started off with "This challenge may sound impossible, but there's a really lame answer. Think of a relatively uncommon two-word phrase...", then I would have understood.

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    Replies
    1. @11thplace, we are each at different places about the commonality of this phrase (if, indeed, we have the same one).

      Delete
  33. Finally got it this evening, and it wasn't easy for me. Still, I'm absolutely convinced I got the intended answer. I also have an alternative answer that I got earlier in the week, which fits more with teapots. I'll share it Thursday, unless someone else posts it first. And pjb - I am also convinced that given a little more time, you, too, would get the answer to this puzzle. Take a look again at your comment from Sun Dec 04, 10:39:00 PM PST, first sentence - then turn it around 180 degrees. --Margaret G.

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    Replies
    1. PJB said "No, I simply cannot solve what is at best a flawed puzzle." - turn "at best" around 180 degrees (as in, its opposite), and you get "at worst" (the answer).

      My alternative answer was "row-boat" which isn't exactly 2 words, but there are 2 oars in the middle (which sound like Rs). I like the "year end" answer, too. --Margaret G.

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    2. I thought of row boat also. But not a phrase.

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  34. Don't know if anyone caught this story. In Quincy, MA Santa and 2 elves parachuted to the ground, but Santa went off course, hit a tree and broke his leg. After they loaded him in the ambulance, a back-up Santa came out to reassure the kids that he was okay.

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    1. I didn't hear about it, but it is reminding me there was a skydiving Santa who was killed on a demo jump probably back in the sixties. I don't remember the details.

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    2. What was a Christmas tree doing in the landing zone?

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  35. Since we are talking about flying things, check out this bird wearing goggles for flight .

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    Replies
    1. aT WORSt

      "What a coup!" refers to Worst. Person. Ever. , a novel by Douglas Coupland.

      "Ditto." referred to ", double ', which needs to be removed from TWO R'S to make AT WORST.

      "Also, Hawai'i" also refers to eliminating the ' to make the puzzle work.

      "poetry" >>> verse (worse)

      ' , >>> what might be next? The punctuation mark is up, then down, then gone. . .

      "Speaking of tenses: future." AT WORST is most often used when speaking about the future.

      "I think some would give this puzzle an 'F' but others would give it an 'A'." >>> from AT WORST to AT BEST.

      "@11thplace, we are each at different places about the commonality of this phrase (if, indeed, we have the same one)." referred to the "each at" sign (@) and to the AT in AT WORST. Also, commonality referred to the alarming use of AT WORST in Common Core articles.

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  36. Something tells me that in a few minutes I am going to be saying "Doh!"

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  37. Message: aT WORSt

    My hint: "Finally I solved it. Colonel Mustard with a pipe in the library." Hinting on the hints of others re: bratwurst.

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  38. AT WORST.
    This week's challenge deserves no less than (at worst) a “TWO STAR” rating!

    “TWO STAR” anagrams to “AT WORST.”

    Do n't worry, Chuck = two + double R.

    Lego's ONE W = DRONE WAR or is it TWO NEWER puzzles over on Puzzleria?

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    Replies
    1. The answer to my Ripping Off Shortz puzzle ("Think of a common two-word phrase, in six letters, that has one W in the middle") is "nO NEWs," which, of course, is good news.

      LegoGloatsThatHisPuzzleAvoidsTheDreaded"Apostro'snaphooey"

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    2. I thought Lego was going for "NO NEWS"

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    3. And here, I thought it was an eight-letter challenge.

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  39. The two word, seven letter phrase with “two r’s” in the exact center is AT WORST.

    My clue. Sausages, at the end of last week’s blog was a play on Wurst.

    My Dickensian comment was a reference to the opening lines of Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

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    Replies
    1. SuperZee, I enjoyed your Dickensian comment.

      My BOT question in response referred to "Best Of Times."

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  40. I’m going with the answer to the Sunday puzzle I heard on the radio:

    year end

    with both “r” and “are” in the middle.

    Last Sunday I said, “Well at least we have plenty of time to solve this one.” All the way to December 31st in my book :)

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  41. I said, "There has to be some trick to this, unless I have things all backwards. I have a silly answer to this silly puzzle, and so I am finished for this week." My answer was REAR END, which has an R and an ARE (remembering that this is a spoken radio puzzle, not a written one) in the middle; my hints were "all backwards" (rear) and "finished" (end). I realized later that the phrase YEAR END works, too.

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  42. At wor'st.
    I wonder what that means.

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  43. Funny, I am kind of glad I didn't get it!

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  44. AT WORST

    > It starts with AT and ends with a T, but there isn't a T at the beginning, and there isn't AT at the end.

    > I think Will's being a brat!

    brATWURST.

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    1. jan, this was a terrific clue that had me going in all sorts of directions before I got to AT WORST. It deserves the AT BEST award!

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  45. What a funny answer, with the TWO Rs. I bet it is the one that Will expected. Do you think that he will accept the alternate?

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  46. I thought it was 'spARE me' since ARE and R appear in the middle. Same logic as the year end answer.

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  47. AT WORST as a solution was a snap provided one read the instructions. Thing is, Americans are wired to not read instructions unless something goes wrong.

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    1. Oh, come on, GB. When would anything go wrong in our wonderful democracy?

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  48. I had AT WORST as my answer, who would put this puzzle there on their list?

    Lee W: my comment about Jews was that they always looked on the worst side of things, at least in my family. Glass isn't half empty, it's broken.

    When I first heard the puzzle I thought of Will's "The Wolf of Wall Street" puzzle (Two W's) from March 2014 that stumped most of us. Puzzle was easy with that remembrance of things past.

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  49. Check out this 14 minute first person escape from the fire. It is amazing! It is from the Here And Now program NPR ran today.

    http://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2016/12/08/tennessee-fire-survivor

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  50. Replies
    1. Interestingly, he was the oldest of the Mercury astronauts, and the last to die.

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    2. I had forgotten that JFK barred him from further flights because he was considered too much of a national asset. Although, he did fly on the space shuttle years later.

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    3. If we can blast one member of Congress into space, why not all of them?

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    4. No kidding, maybe even lunar orbit!!

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    5. Aldrin, Bowie, and now John Glenn in the news yesterday and today. The stars are surely aligning. . .

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    6. Whoa, for a minute there I thought Buzz died,too! Glad he's doing better.
      What a coincidence about Dr. Bowie!

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  51. Congrats to everyone who answered this one. I thought it was tough!

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  52. I would never have guessed. I knew there was some kind of trick to it, I just didn't know.

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    1. I was making this too tough. For a while there, I was trying to use the letter 'm' as two 'r's...
      I even tossed around the idea, briefly, that maybe Will S. might be trying to sneak in a digital clock readout somehow!!

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  53. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  54. YEAR END
    There are exactly 2 letters before and after the word ARE
    The Letter R is directly in the middle. Those are the 2 "R's" exactly in the middle.

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  55. I also came up with At Worst, which I think is a really lame answer. Year End is a brilliant (and timely) answer. Wouldn't be surprised if that's the one Will was thinking.

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