Sunday, January 14, 2018

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 14, 2018): Geography Quiz - No Peking!

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 14, 2018): Geography Quiz - No Peking!:
Q: Name a world capital. It's an older way of spelling the name. Drop three letters, and the remaining letters, in order, will name another world capital. Both cities have more than a million residents. What cities are these?
I've been staring at a list of world capitals by population and I've not figured it out.

Edit: I wasn't familiar with the original spelling.
A: DJAKARTA (Indonesia) --> DAKAR (Senegal)

149 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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    1. Blaine, you are being silent on this one, I see. Perhaps you will make an amendment later on.

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  2. Programming skills won't be much help with this. But there's a programming language that might.

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  3. I rejected a far-fetched answer when I discovered that only one capital met the population requirement. I'm afraid I can't even mention it without revealing too much, so I'll just sit on it until Thursday, when I will also explain this incredibly far-fetched hint.

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    1. That being said, I don't think a somewhat revealing hint ever really hurt anyone.

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    2. DHAKA used to be spelled DACCA; drop the A, C, and A, leaving DC. That's a bit of a stretch, but I would have been willing to defend it if Washington DC had a large enough population, which it doesn't. DAKAR is so similar to DHAKA that Wikipedia cautions not to confuse them, so I deemed DHAKA unmentionable. Of course, mentioning that I had an unmentionable alternative answer might have encouraged someone to scan the list looking for just such a similarity, and that would have provided a toehold.
      I thought the JAVA hints (above and below) were somewhat more revelatory, but that may have been because I already had the answer. After thinking about it, I could see how someone who didn't know the answer could have gotten sidetracked by KABUL/COBOL, for example. Anyway, like I said, I don't think a hint that's a little bit helpful ever really hurt anybody.
      I've changed my mind about explaining the rest of my hint; instead, here's something else to try to figure out:
      Remove an English word from the interior of a country's name and close the gap to get the name of another country. No rearranging.
      Hints: 1)The removed word is an anagram of a body part; it's also a plural word.
      2)KARl Malden
      3)Extra credit if you figured it out without these hints

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    3. One of the countries is also relevant to the answer for a WS puzzle from not very long ago.

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  4. Figured this out over a hot cup of coffee! :)

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  5. Should we be quiet about the origin of one of the capitals?

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  6. I found this one backwards. It helps to be old enough to remember seeing the alternate spelling of the city.

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  7. Bonus Puzzle: Name a world capital with more than a million residents. Drop three letters, and the remaining letters, in order, will name a UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Site.

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    Replies
    1. 3900 miles between them. My question is, why was this the first World Heritage Site that came to mind?

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    2. I've never been to the World Heritage Site, but my niece has. Once, when we were in Halifax, we took a side trip to Lunenburg, another World Heritage Site, which made me wonder what the hell kind of criteria UNESCO uses to make that designation.

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    3. 3903.64 miles, to be exact.

      I've got to agree with you on Lunenburg; something fishy going on there. Maybe they wanted $ from Canada. And it pales in comparison with Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump in Alberta.

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    4. How'd I miss HSIBJ when I was in the Canadian Rockies a few years back?

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    5. The Aztec Ruins Monument UNESCO Site in Aztec, NM, is cool even though it's ancient Puebloan, not Aztec . It shows similar building sites to Chaco Canyon but is less off the beaten path. {I just learned there are just 23 UNESCO sites in the U.S; the highest number, 48, are in Italy.} And, eco, I hope Aztec was not your puzzle answer, btw.

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    6. Aztec is not in my answer.

      How can it be ancient "Puebloan" when the term came from the Spanish word for town, and could only have been used in that context for +/-500 years? Larger point, of course, is we insult the indigenous people by calling them by the names Europeans assigned them.

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    7. Of course, you are correct. What is confusing is that the BLM still uses the term "Anasazi" at the Canyon of the Ancients National Monument just to the north of Aztec in southwest CO even though that term is offensive to some. I like "The Ancients."

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    8. WW: Yes, we've been dissing (and killing) them for a long time. Ancients is a better term.

      Jan: I think I posted this hilarious article on the HSIBJ on the PEOTS blog last summer. I saw a similar, smaller site in Idaho, and there are others in Montana and Wyoming.

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  8. Another Bonus Puzzle: The former name of what world capital (population over one million) might make you sweat?

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    1. Are you mispronouncing the capital of a recent answer?

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    2. Possibly, but I don't think so. Answer hasn't appeared in this esteemed blog for many years.

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    3. eco, did you do a Willcheck or an ecocheck on that? ;-)

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    4. I misinterpreted the question. I was thinking of a former capital, i.e., pronouncing Sana'a (the capital of Yemen until the Houthis took over and the government decamped to Aden) as "sauna".

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    5. If you were from southern Jersey you'd know It's Always Sana'a in Philadelphia.

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  9. Fiddledeedee! I did not know the old spelling involved.

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  10. Replies
    1. There is, of course, San Juan, Puerto Rico, pop. 421,356, and Sana, Yemen, pop. 1,431,649.

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  11. I had trouble at first, but was able to rally.

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  12. Drop one letter and add two (without rearranging) to get a third capital.

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    Replies
    1. From the second capital in the original puzzle, drop one letter and add one (without rearranging) to get a third capital.

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  13. While working on this one was surprised how many countries have changed names in the last forty years.

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  14. How about if for future reference we just call you 22?

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  15. Some bloggers' comments here, and I'm not saying which ones, helped me solve this one earlier this morning.

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  16. Replies
    1. That is obviously FAKE NEWS, Word Woman. We all know President Trump has the best words!"

      LegoWhoHasJustSortOfOkayWords

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    2. Lego, it's hard to watch any more.

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  17. I solved it just as I was about to give up and take my lumps.

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  18. Entertainment reference - Barbara Eden

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  19. I think I finally got the answer! I thought that was a tough one! Hard to clue this one, so again, I'll probably have to wait until Thursday.

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  20. I came up with two answers. The first one fell short of the "population requirement", but it fit the puzzle requirements....the second one fits, so I'll just wait until Thursday to hear from all of you Puzzle Solver Geniuses ! :)

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  21. The FAKE NEWS awards won't roll out the red carpet, just an orange rug.

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  22. With the Dow over 25,000, no one should be surprised if the bottom fell out of the market...

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    Replies
    1. I will be surprised it it doesn't happen.

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    2. jan and sdb, your insights floor me.

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    3. Before entering the market, one should be prepared for anything.

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  23. Would knowing the reason why the capital has an older spelling give away the answer? I am not asking for the reason, more just curious after not making much progress.

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    1. Thanks Word Woman, no luck yet. I fear this puzzle will best me.

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    2. Neal like the Verb -- try this: Watergate.

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    4. Thanks again but I am not seeing it. I felt like this one was solvable for me and maybe I'll still get lucky. However after working with your hints, the other hints, lists of capitals, major events such as wars and the end of empires that might result in a spelling change I am about ready to throw in the towel. But maybe when I am not sleeping tonight, I will look at the capital lists again. I suspect once the answer is revealed this will be one of "Oh duh!" moments and I will realize I was staring right at it at some point.

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  24. Without looking at a calendar, or any other tool, can you determine how many months have 30 days?

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    1. Yes, sdb. The answer is the same as the number of months that have four letters.
      I believe I may have the same "far-fetched" answer that Paul came up with (and perhaps also Wordnerd and jan also). It does fall short of meeting two of Will's criteria; still, I like it better than his intended answer. And one of its world capitals sounds very timely if you're paying even a passing attention to the news.

      LegoWhoInGradeSchoolMemorized"FourLettersHathTheMonthsOfJune,JulyAndMoreBasedOnTheMoon..."

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  25. I like to play with Google maps with these types of puzzles. In this case, it would take me less time to fly to either of these locations from Denver than it would to fly between them.

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  26. I keep thinking I'm getting somewhere with the clues and then I get stuck. I'm still new to the puzzle, is there a good approach to take when solving?

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    Replies
    1. When I'm stuck on a puzzle, I go for a swim or a walk. 99 times out of a 100, the answer will appear.

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  27. Hi, and welcome, LaserOil,
    First I should mention that the purpose of this Blog is NOT to help anyone solve an NPR puzzle. It is for us to play and discuss. We are not supposed to post anything that will help someone solve the puzzle. Our clue/hint posts are to show come Thursday deadline time that we have indeed solved it. Some of these hints become obvious to those of us who have already solved it, but not always. We then explain our posted hints after the deadline.

    Now, all that being said, I find that when I am getting nowhere fast with trying to solve any puzzle that I am probably looking at it in a way that will not lead to the answer and I should consider a different approach. I hope this answers your question and will help.

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    Replies
    1. I know from doing the NYTimes crossword puzzles, there's certain phrasing that lead to an answer, does anything like that pop up in the NPR puzzle?

      Also I've enjoyed going back into older posts to see people's train of thought to their "clue" showing they know the answer.

      Delete
  28. LaserOil:
    After about two days working on a Will Shortz puzzle and feeling no closer to a solution, solvers have to remember that his offerings are not regularly rigorous.
    Right now I have a feeling that come Thursday I will feel like kicking myself for not being able to come up with a suitable answer or kicking Wee Willy for serving us up another bomb.
    I have to say that in the past the latter feeling has been more common.
    I am going to spend a little more time on this one and hope it is not wasted.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LaserOil and MJ,

      Nothing fancy or tricky in the phrasing of this puzzle; it's not a great puzzle, but not a bomb. There are one or two comments that I thought were too leading.

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    2. Laser(Veggie?)Oil and MJ,

      It's a legitimate and good puzzle, one which is not easily searchable on line.



      Delete
    3. Everything is easily searchable if you know the right question....

      None of the Will Shortz NPR puzzles is difficult or obscure. If you’re stuck there is a very high probability you are either making the question too complex or over-thinking it.

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    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    5. Word Woman, I wasn't sure what Laser(Veggie?) meant, so I googled it. Apparently Laser Oil is a real thing! I chose it because it's an anagram of something was weird sounding.

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    6. LaserOil, you're famous! It was new to me, too. I am guessing your weird anagram is not RealSoil? SolarLie? LeosLair? ;-)

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    7. RealSoil was actually what I originally was going to choose as the anagram. My comment above should have read "I chose it because it's an anagram of something AND was weird sounding"

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  29. I am not "searching" beyond a list of capitals (and their populations to narrow the field a bit).
    I'll be surprised and admit it if in two days I see a legitimate and good puzzle.


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  30. I solved it but I didn't know there was a "new" spelling.

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  31. Vent: I'm not getting this. I think I have the answer of the 2nd capital, but cannot get the first. I know when I hear the answer, I'll be slapping my forehead. I look good in red.

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    Replies
    1. Liz, vexillologically you'll be part way there then.

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  32. Couldn't get it originally, so I watched a couple of Hollywood movies. But wow #OscarsSoWhite again this year. Hollywood is so lily white. Not even a Tarantino film to enjoy. Rally on, I'll get it eventually.

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    1. Maybe very white, but nothing like two years ago. Mary J. Blige, Daniel Kaluuya, Jordan Peale, Dee Rees are all definite contenders.

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    2. Actually, Oscar Nominations haven't even been announced yet.

      I was referring to the fact that Senegal is the African capital of cinema, making DAKAR the Black Hollywood.

      And talking Tarantino was of course a nod to DJANGO, which in my recollections was not shot in DJAKARTA, but does contain a scene in which DJANGO shoots a white man and then says "the D is silent, motherf$%^&*#"

      Finally, "Rally On" was of course a nod to the Dakar Rally, one of the great desert auto racing events.

      Delete
  33. Replies
    1. Right, eco.
      Dennis Rodman
      [The Guess Who had a hit with Clap for the Wolfman; Wolfman Jack was a DJ.]
      [Rodman was nicknamed "The Worm" in his playing days; C. elegans is a worm; ELEGANS is an anagram of SENEGAL.]

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    2. That’s quite a train of thought, Paul! C. elegans is such a great experimental model. I met Sydney Brenner at Cold Spring Harbor in 1976, where he presented some of his, uh, elegant work on the worm.

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    3. "Brenner began by laying out the big questions of “how genes might specify the complex structures found in higher organisms.” He detailed how to conduct genetic analysis on a self-fertilizing hermaphrodite that also has cross-fertilizing males, and he reported on hundreds of mutants—long worms, rolling worms, dumpy-looking worms, uncoordinated worms, blistered worms, and worms whose heads were notched or bent." {Wiki} >>> Sooo, then, any idea how Brenner settled on elegans as a worm species name?

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    4. Brenner didn't name it. "The name is a blend of the Greek caeno- (recent), rhabditis (rod-like) and Latin elegans (elegant). In 1900, Maupas initially named it Rhabditides elegans, Osche placed it in the subgenus Caenorhabditis in 1952, and in 1955, Dougherty raised it to the status of genus."

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    5. Still, why did the namer choose elegans for those worms?!

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  34. Today the media have shifted to Flake news.

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  35. Jakarta (aka Djakarta) - j, t, a = Dakar.

    Regarding my hints:
    A byword of Manifest Destiny was, “Go west young man.”
    Dakar is at the westernmost point of Africa.

    Barbara Eden played a genie in, I Dream of Jeannie.
    Genie is taken from the Arabic jinn/djinn.

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  36. DJAKARTA, Indonesia >>> DAKAR, Senegal

    "2, 3*" refers to the two-colored flag of Indonesia (red and white) and the three-colored flag (red, yellow, green) with a star in the center of Senegal. Red is part of the colors of both flags (hint to Liz.)

    "Polish" refers to the Polish flag which has the same two colors as Indonesia's flag (with the colors flipped).

    P.S. . . .refers to Perfected Spelling System (S in Morse code = . . .), the spelling system that changed the Dj to a J in (D)Jakarta in 1972 (hence, the Watergate clue).

    "jan and sdb, your insights floor me." was playing off jan's referring to the collapse of the floor of the Jakarta stock exchange this week.

    "Blaine, you are being silent on this one, I see. Perhaps you will make an amendment later on." >>> I thought Blaine was pointing to the fifth image in his link; hence taking the fifth amendment.

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  37. I wrote, "Fiddledeedee! I did not know the old spelling involved." The "fiddledeedee" refers to fiddling with the old spelling by dropping the D.

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  38. DJAKARTA, Indonesia >>> DAKAR, Senegal

    My Hint:

    “I solved it just as I was about to give up and take my lumps.”

    Two lumps of sugar in my coffee, or Java, as some (not me) say.

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    Replies
    1. I had a lot of trouble posting today. I wonder why all the blogger posting problems. I also noticed yesterday that a new poster did not get their post posted.

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  39. DJAKARTA -> DAKAR

    > I'm going to re-use some clues from the past week.

    One mentioned Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, who's based in Dakar. And all included my name, which has 2 of the 3 dropped letters.

    > Programming skills won't be much help with this. But there's a programming language that might.

    Djakarta's on Java.

    > From the second capital in the original puzzle, drop one letter and add one (without rearranging) to get a third capital.

    DAKAR - R + H -> DHAKA (Bangladesh).

    > With the Dow over 25,000, no one should be surprised if the bottom fell out of the market...

    As happened Monday at the Indonesian Stock Exchange, in Djakarta.

    > I'll go with Django Reinhardt.

    Djathink Django was ever in Djakarta? (Do they like djazz there?)

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  40. Djakarta ---> Dakar

    "Should we be quiet about the origin of one of the capitals?" The "D" is silent.

    Bonus Puzzle #1: World capital - 3 letters to World Heritage Site: Pretoria (South Africa) ---> Petra, in today's Jordan. Beautiful site blending eastern and western designs in buildings carved from the stone. This answer came to me before the actual answer.

    Bonus Puzzle #2: Former name of a world capital might make you sweat: Ankara (Turkey) was once known as Angora, you can buy that sweater at Macy's. I hope you curse me for the slight deceit in the clue.

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  41. eco, curses!

    Do you have a fear of wearing sweaters--Angoraphobia? ;-)

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    Replies
    1. Or perhaps he has an unrealistic fear of shoplifting sweaters in the marketplace.

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    2. Bigger closets help with angora management issues.

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    3. I was taught to never put wool on toddlers, “Don’t sweater the small stuff.”

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    4. Are you saying it is not good to pull the wool over their eyes?

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    5. SDB: I saw this on the grocery shelf this evening.

      Thanks to your boy bland clue, whenever I see, hear, or encounter tripe I will think of you.

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    6. eco:
      Well then, with the way things are now in this country, and the world in general, I guess I will be in your thoughts pretty much all the time. Why gripe when you could have tripe? And remember, minus just one letter, a Trump government would be a rump government.

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    7. SDB - I'd never pull the wool over your eyes, but as one who is, "follicly challenged", I do wish for mohair...

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    8. SDB: The proverbial tripe train left the station long ago, we are now much lower in the digestive tract.

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    9. eco: Have faith! I am sure our gallant leaders will come together and sphincter it out.

      SuperZee:
      At least you have skin in the game.

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    10. As The Cisco Kid said to Pancho: "Si, amino, we are."

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    11. His brother, The Crisco Kid, was too fat for TV, and got in trouble for taking the lard's name in vein.

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    12. If I remember correctly, his sidekick was Pauncho, and I believe they were both a bit flaky.

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    13. Yes, but hipsters, just the same.

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    14. A bulletin is always bad news for outlaws.

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    15. A tin of bull is always good news for Trump.

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    16. But a ton of bully (or at least 239#) is always bad news for US. Hard to read that article without every single sentence reminding me of you-know-who.

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    17. Speaking of bullies. Johova's Annoyances were just at my door, although the house was not yet opened to the light of day, nor was their a sound or light inside. I had still not arisen. BANG, BANG, BANG, BANG, BANG, BANG on my front door. I had not entered Publishers Clearinghouse BS, and it is Saturday morning, therefor I knew who it must be. I did not make a sound, but when I got up, as I expected, there was a tiny flyer on the screen door inviting me to join them for...

      I should be grateful. I used to suffer these assholes about once a year this way, but this is the first time they have been back since I answered the door in the manner of Errol Flynn paying a visit to Hedda Hopper's front door. I guess that was just a bit too much for them to deal with, even with the help of the Almighty.

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  42. DJAKARTA, Indonesia (1949-1972) (now JAKARTA, 1972-present) [– J, T, A] = DAKAR, Senegal.

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  43. OK, legitimate, yes; good, not sure.
    I am damn tired of looking at all those names.
    Looks like five or six of this august group came up with it.
    If you all submitted your answers, I think you are likely to provide about half the eligible on-air pool and I expect one will get the Call.

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  44. I thought it was interesting that the picture Blaine used for this week's post was of that little girl looking almost right at Java/Indonesia with the magnifier. Was that a sly clue or just a coincidence?
    I wondered if this was a repeat puzzle because that picture looked very familiar.

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  45. I did come up with Djakarta, Dakar, however I also found Vientiane, Vienne (alternate spelling for Vienna). It did not qualify, as Vientiane only has a population of 970,000

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  46. The timely-sounding but far-fetched answer I liked better than Will's intended answer (even though it did not meet the puzzle's requirements) shall appear as the sixth Riffing-Off-Shortz puzzle on tomorrow's Puzzleria!

    LegoInvitingAllToComeJoinUsInTheGreatRiffValley

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  47. I never solved it. But, I was so close. Hints that helped: Barbara Eden was in the movie 'Five Weeks in a Balloon'-that led me to Dakar. The hints of drop a letter/add a letter led me to Dakar, Dhaka, and Ankara, and Manifest Destiny also made me think west. I thought of Dacca-DC. Word Woman, I did get your flag suggestion, but alas... Now I know that Jakarta was once spelled Djakarta. Thanks for the ride.

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    Replies
    1. Liz, you got Dakar and then to the Indonesian flag? Oh, so close! Partial credit, for sure.

      Delete
    2. Fascinating how my Barbara Eden comment, intended as a pointer to the two spellings of jinn/djinn, and therefore to Jakarta/Djakarta lead through a totally different path to the other half of this puzzle.

      Law of unintended consequences?

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  48. DJAKARTA, Indonesia; DAKAR, Senegal; DJAKARTA is now known as JAKARTA.
    The two hints on the blog that did it for me were the mentions of "a computer language" and "coffee". Immediately I thought of JAVA, which led me to look it up, where I then found the answers. Since I found them Sunday morning, I guess this makes up for last week's problematic challenge. Strangely enough, both times I was still doing the puzzle by the time my mom returned from church.

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  49. Anyone else here love the way Ofeibea Quist-Arcton says:
    Dakar....

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  50. Next week's challenge: This challenge comes from listener Tom Arnold of Eugene, Ore. Take the name of a conveyance in seven letters. Drop the middle letter, and the remaining letters can be rearranged to name the place where such a conveyance is often used. What is it?

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  51. This week's challenge comes from listener Tom Arnold of Eugene, Ore. Take the name of a conveyance in seven letters. Drop the middle letter, and the remaining letters can be rearranged to name the place where such a conveyance is often used. What is it?

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  52. You'd have to be blind not to see this.

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  53. The conveyance’s name is used for several different types of vehicles.

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