Sunday, February 04, 2018

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 4, 2018): Getting Short with You

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 4, 2018): Getting Short with You:
Q: In English, a short "u" sound is usually spelled with a "u," as in "fun" and "luck." Occasionally it's spelled with an "o," as in "come" and "love." Can you name two everyday one-syllable words in which a short "u" sound is spelled with an "a"?
I used to wear corduroy pants.

Edit: What was I thinking?
A: WHAT, WAS

190 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.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  3. In the past, I am sure I'd have gotten the shorter one.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Crypted from the end of last week, as an aside it's going to be hard to clue this without showing immature bias. At least it's not an anagram. Open sesame.

    Apparently the "o" spellings (as in month) originated as a health issue. Someone should write a book on this. Oh, too late.

    I have three answers so far, one will be debated.

    Mini bonus puzzle: Name one everyday one-syllable word in which a short "u" sound is spelled with an "e". At least it has usually been pronounced that way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is a difference between a schwa, ə, as in about, or sesame and an ŭ as in cut.

      Delete
    2. I don't think of myself as a word geek; I tend to go along with the crowd.

      Delete
    3. As is his tradition, Ron nit picks all the fən out of pronunciation.

      Delete
    4. The indefinite article "a" is a word, but it is a schwa, ə, when pronounced UNSTRESSED, and is ā, as in pay, when pronounced STRESSED.

      Delete
    5. I also have 3. And when I look up "cut" in the M-W dictionary, it uses that schwa. Why? --Margaret G.

      Delete
    6. To my ears, a schwa sounds the same as a short u.

      Delete
    7. Check out the pronunciations of CUSS, which uses the short u, ŭ, and CIRCUS, which uses the schwa, ə, in the second syllable. Surely you can hear a difference.

      Delete
    8. WW, I suppose every group needs a schwa sticker, and you simply aren't our proverbial nightmarish 5th grade English teacher.

      Uninterestingly, my massive and dusty Webster's Third New International Dictionary (published 1968, not so new) lists the Puzzlemaster's examples of "fun" and "luck" as pronounced with the "schwa ə". It also shows the same for Miss Fuss Budget's "cut", as well as all the highlighted other short u's you hear here.

      Delete
    9. Margaret G. Check out CUT, clearly a short u.

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

      Delete
    11. eco, isn't it ironic that the word schwa doesn't have a schwa sound in it?

      Here's a fuhn (sic) article about this laziest of vowel sounds.

      Delete
    12. So the definite article "a" is a legitimate answer to this week's challenge for you schwa/short-u non-differentiators ?

      Delete
    13. If I were to answer your question, ron, it would be definitely.

      Delete
    14. Make that the INDEFINITE article "a"

      Delete
    15. No one sees a difference between "a" and "uh" ?

      Delete
    16. I see it but I don't hear it.

      Delete
    17. WW: thanks for the mental floss, I especially liked the origins of the schwa (those Germans again!) and the part about stress timed vs syllable timed languages. Don't let DJT read this, he'll use that as a means to ban certain immigrants...

      Ron, I think there is a difference, but in the polyglot of pronunciations in this country there is a lot of gray in "a" and "uh", and I even pronounce the former differently depending on context. I also note your free dictionary lists both pronunciations for the words I believe are answers to this week's puzzle.

      Delete
    18. One last cutting comment. I guess I could have saved some back strain heaving my hardbound copy.

      Delete
    19. Yes. Both pronunciations are listed which is why I said (see below) there may be some regional differences in pronunciation of the two words. And the schwa pronunciation is often used when the word is UNSTRESSED.

      Delete
    20. The has a "short u sound" with an "e."

      Regional dialects do make a difference. Why wouldn't "a" count? I can come up with one of the words if it doesn't.

      Delete
    21. I said: I also have 3. And when I look up "cut" in the M-W dictionary, it uses that schwa. Why?

      Some people seemed to think I was asking why "cut" was pronounced with a schwa. I was trying to hint at "What", by using one of the question-words of "Who, What, When, Where, Why". FTR, I submitted "What", "Was", and "A" as a bonus 3rd word, though there is some controversy about it. --Margaret G.

      Delete
  5. Taking your bike out for a spin could help with this puzzle.

    The shorter one came easily to me.

    There are several two-syllable words containing one syllable with this property.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe the two I am thinking of could be synonyms.

      Delete
    2. Interesting, TB. My two words are not synonyms.

      Delete
    3. Sadly, I forgot to mention phonetically.

      Delete
  6. Oczaiyf zvy ndv bbuxylx, Hsye.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Huh?
      [Historical questions often begin with 'what was', What was my earlier comment, and what was it supposed to mean?
      "I have my answers. This is a rough one."

      In retrospect, I think the word "a" is a perfectly valid answer, and I guess the answer to ron's mini bonus puzzle is neither nerd nor herd. Frankly, I have very little patience with the nuances of pronunciation and details of phonemic nomenclature. I tend to take an "oh, pschwa" attitude.

      Delete
  7. Not a particularly Super challenging puzzle this week!

    ReplyDelete
  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I use two in the same sentence. A MILLION TIMES A DAY! I used a third much more recently.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I use two of the words in the same sentence a thousand times daily. A third, I used much more recently.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. First word took me two days to come up with. Second took me two seconds after that. Guess I haven't been asking the right questions!!!

      Delete
  11. Sorry but Robs comment gave me the longer word in 10 seconds.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Golly; that wasn't supposed to happen. But I will delete.

      Delete
  12. Curious about the third word.

    ReplyDelete
  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Replies
    1. A deaf person who didn’t hear something would ask: “WHAT WAS that?"

      Delete
  15. Some regional pronunciations may affect the correctness of certain answers, i.e. there may be more than one "correct pronunciation" of the words in question...

    ReplyDelete
  16. Now I have solved it, I would like to give a hint, but if it were that easy I would have done so earlier.

    ReplyDelete
  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  18. I have one and figure I'll get the other before Thursday.

    The on-air guy had some trouble, but he sure asked Will a question he didn't want to answer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I slept right through it this morning, but will listen online.

      Delete
  19. Musical clue: Donald Fagen
    I hate to admit it, but Rob's earlier post gave me the answer. Or the answer I sent in, anyway. Several song lyrics came to mind using both words, but most of them seemed too obvious if I'd mentioned the respective artists as a clue. I hope the musical clue is a little more obscure for you. Not everyone may remember the song I have in mind.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Disregard the above post. I just found the two words, and particularly after realizing everyone has been using "a" so freely in their posts(including me, if you read the post carefully), I figured that can't be one of the two words. I also plan to send a new answer to NPR after this post, and possibly explain the Donald Fagen reference on Thursday. It includes one of the words and an "a". A better musical clue, now that I think of it, would be Lynyrd Skynyrd.

      Delete
    2. How about questioning David W. and Don F.?

      Delete
  20. Not a hint, just a personal thought. I watched "The Queen" this afternoon and the protocol of 'It's ma'am as in ham, not marm as in farm' probably would have not registered with me except that I have been thinking of vowels all day.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Everyone's being very well behaved this week. No one's slipped and written the words so far. But I saw one of them a lot last week.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. Oh yes they have. At least six of us.

      Delete
  22. Schwa can never be stressed.

    Oh, to be like schwa.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Another bonus puzzle: Think of a common 3 letter word with a short u sound (or schwa, as you see fit). Add one letter to the end to create a new common word, with a changed pronunciation of the second and third letters.

    Hints welcome, don't reveal the answer (Ron the Solver) until Thursday. There may be more than one answer,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll add that the vowel with a short u sound changes to a different short vowel sound. So hug to huge isn't correct.

      Delete
    2. Yes. I have the answer...

      Delete
    3. I figured you would. Though how you manage that AND try to keep us on the straight and narrow with our flawed collective diction is beyond me.

      Vox Populi, Vox Dei; the people have made their pronouncement and it is "duh" (with a schwa).

      Delete
  24. I feel I am at a significant disadvantage with this puzzle. I was born and raised in New York (Yawk) City, lived in New England (pahk the cah) for 24 years and have been a Virginian for nearly 25 years (y'all). At this point I'm never sure how some words are pronounced - except I'm probably doing it wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Jaxon, I finally got my answer. Now I'm in doubt about to whom your second and third TMI's apply. How about tagging them or putting them where they belong like you did the first one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The TMI referred to comments here that had the word “WAS” (one of the answers) or “WASN’T” (a direct clue to one of the answers) in them. Seeing these gave me the first of my two answers. A clue to “WHAT” (the other, longer answer) was spotted and tagged by others, which made it that much easier to figure it out. Thus any further tagging would have been TMI.

      Delete
  26. Tagging would be TMI. Veni Vidi Vici...

    ReplyDelete
  27. One could state a short lament containing three of the words consecutively.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I worked a little harder than usual on this one, but that work payed off. And, perhaps I'm a little smarter for it.

    ReplyDelete
  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I especially liked watching the simultaneous vertical landings of the side boosters. Here's the video.

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

      Delete
    3. Very amazing! Almost like watching a Hollywood movie!! I even found myself looking for signs of any CGI.

      Delete
    4. I mistakenly deleted the original posting here.

      Did anyone else see the launch of the Spacex rocket launch this afternoon? Extraordinary camera coverage of it as it blasted off from Cape Canaveral on its way past Mars. Pretty cool how the nose cone separated from the rocket revealing Elon Musk's personal Tesla car outfitted with a dummy astronaut in the driver's seat, all aimed for a ride to Mars!

      Delete
    5. Oh sure, it can do 0-60 in 10 seconds, 0-600 in less than a minute, and 0-6000 in less than 4 minutes, but can you launch it from the back of your RV?

      Delete
    6. How many straw-bales is he using for fueling his rocket?

      Delete
    7. ECO - Cool video from Giles school. It would be fun to do.
      A guy I used to work with thought the moon landings were faked, no matter the proof we offered. He did think people orbited the earth though, but it's as far as he'd go.
      BTW, I wanted to tell you I liked the lunar eclipse photo of yours. When I looked at it on my computer, I could see the stars in the background, pretty cool!
      I would have said it last week but we were getting close to the 200 mark.

      Delete
    8. Eco - Cool video from Giles school. It would be fun to do.
      A guy I used to work with thought the moon landings were faked, no matter the proof we offered. He did think people orbited the earth though, but it's as far as he'd go.
      BTW, I wanted to tell you, when I looked at your lunar eclipse photo on my computer, last week, I could see the stars in the background, pretty cool!
      I would have said it last week but we were getting close to the 200 mark.

      Delete
  30. This week's puzzle may be easier to solve next week by the ones who missed out on the fun this week.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Speaking of rare viewings of lifeless orbs, do not, I repeat do not, watch the video in this article!

    Although you can't read this after you've gouged out your eyes, don't say I didn't warn you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And that is the good side, it is the inside that is really scary.

      Delete
    2. That is truly hair-raising.

      Plenty of space there for a large TRUMP tattoo.

      Delete
    3. Had I known he was that bald, I doubt I would have voted for him 8 times.

      Delete
    4. Shouldn't be a surprise, everything else he does is patently false.

      Delete
    5. Couldn't he have smeared a bit of pâté on that pate to hold it down better? And then after he boarded he could have tossed the whole ugly mess into the pot-E.

      Delete
    6. 68C,
      Is that bird poop on his suit, or leftovers from the Monika Lewinsky scandal?

      Delete
    7. That is probably from one of his "Stormy" nights!

      Delete
    8. Or perhaps some other Hick employed at The White House.

      Delete
    9. Okay, I suppose you want DNA testing. And just in case you forgot, DNA testing stands for Donald's Nastiness Answers.

      Delete
  32. I just now got a political email with this line:

    "Deporting 800,000 Dreamers who were brought here as children is against every value we stand for. But if we don’t fight for the Dreamers now, deportations could start as early as March 5."

    I am not at all happy with this misuse of taxpayer dollars. Why are they getting a free trip out of this shithole country? I want a free trip out too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've got an idea, let's have a parade!!
      (for several million $$$)

      Delete
  33. I can't say I support the idea of Trump having tanks rolling down the streets of Washington D.C. in a parade, but I am not at all against Trump tanking.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is how I imagine the parade would look.
      "Boss, boss, da plane, da plane!"

      I wonder if I'll have access to this blog from Gitmo? Probably won't matter, we'll all be there together. Start concentrating.

      Delete
    2. All dictators seem to like parades. He is just following his comrades.

      Delete
    3. So, Trump's ordered the military to make him a grand parade, like the ones Rocket Boy gets. I think he should see if he can get those Nixon White House Guards' uniforms back from that Iowa high school. 'Cause nothing says "failed regime" like some spiffy uniforms on parade.

      Delete
    4. Of course, it'll have to be a Victory Parade. What else could it be? So, that must mean it'll be time to close Gitmo and send all the prisoners there home, right?

      Delete
    5. If a victory parade is really what his tiny heart desires, then how about lining up all the bimbos, actresses and aids he has groped, abused and molested over the years and have them all march down Pencil Vanity Avenue holding frat paddles over their shoulders? I'm sure it would make his family proud.

      Delete
    6. I thought it was only in Texas high schools that the student marching bands marched with sidearms. Perhaps I should watch more mindless football games on TV.

      Delete
    7. And, of course, we could combine the parades (above) and beer (below) with the golden stream to get a Pee-rade.

      Delete
    8. Back in the late-80s, I was involved with a civic group that, among other things, organized and staged an annual Memorial Day parade. We never put the marching bands behind the horses. But, I think that's the perfect spot for the Trumpster

      Delete
  34. Just heard the revolving door at the White House just keeps turning... aka Rob Porter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Rob Porter is out. He wasn't Stout enough to withstand what Ales him.

      Delete
    2. I guiness you're right! I wonder if he yelped when he got the boot???!

      Delete
    3. I don't know, but I heard he Hops a lot now. I hope he doesn't move out here to the Northwest and live in the woods to become a Lager.

      Delete
    4. They'll claim Porter was a young man when this happened, and now he's older Budweiser.

      Delete
    5. Whatever! Bottom line is:

      "When you're out it's the Schlitz."

      Delete
    6. This is yesterday's news. There is no reason for us to Harp on it.

      Delete
    7. Is there a draught in here? Don't be bitter, I'm just trying to bock the trend.

      Now turn your head and quaff.

      Delete
    8. Listen Bud, if you're going to be a Cheeky Bastard I'm not going to beat around the Busch. I'm coming with my Colt 45 and it'll be High Noon with the Schmidt hitting the Steam Whistle.

      Delete
    9. Okay, Smuttynose, raise your Hamms! It's time for the Jester King Boxer’s Revenge you Clown Shoes Undead Party Crasher.

      Delete
    10. It isn't a real beer unless they have a commercial during the Super Bowl.

      When asked if he could come up with more putrid puns, SDB said "Of course my Heineken!"

      Delete
  35. WHAT, A, and, late to the game, according to an alternate pronunciation, HAVE(?)

    Eh, What have you?

    "Taking your bike out for a spin could help with this puzzle." was a reference to Schwinn and schwa. I enjoyed our schwa discussion.

    ReplyDelete
  36. WAS & WANT (Also: A & WANTS)

    My Hints:

    “Now I have solved it, I would like to give a hint, but if it were that easy I would have done so earlier.” Like hints at want. Were hints at was.

    “Had I known he was that bald, I doubt I would have voted for him 8 times.” I inadvertently used WAS and only noticed later.

    “I want a free trip out too.’ & “Okay, I suppose you want DNA testing.” Ditto. This time it’s WANT.

    My above discrepancies remind me of the time a few years ago when Will Shortz made a similar mistake by using one of the answer words in his puzzle question. Anyway, I didn’t intend to commit a triple Harriet this week. I went back and looked to see if anyone else slipped up too; and yes, at least 8 of us did. Some were caught and deleted, but not others.

    ReplyDelete
  37. WAS, TWAS (and the way I pronounce it, WHAT, but Webster disagrees)

    > Everyone's being very well behaved this week. No one's slipped and written the words so far. But I saw one of them a lot last week.

    At the time I posted, no one had written either word. “Saw”, of course is was backwards.

    ReplyDelete
  38. WHAT → wŭt or whŭt

    WAS → wŭz

    A (unstressed) → ə (not ŭ, uh; "a" and "uh" are not the same.)

    Eco's Bonus Puzzle:
    BUS (bŭs) → BUSY (bĭz′ē)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 'TWAS → 'twas (twʌz, twɒz; unstressed twəz), not ŭ

      WANT → (wŏnt, wônt), not ŭ

      Delete
    2. 'TWAS is OK.
      'twas → (twŭz, twŏz, twəz when unstressed)

      Delete
  39. I wrote, "The longer one I got easily; the shorter was harder. But now: everything's going my way!" I am sorry that this proved so transparent; I guess I stupidly forgot how bright and resourceful people are around here. My hint alluded to the first line of the opening song in _Oklahoma_, which starts, "Oh, _WHAT_ _A_ beautiful morning..." Again, my apologies.



    I enjoyed reading the discussion about the variability of pronunciation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't worry about it, Rob. What's past is past, so we can simply say "WHAT WAS then is no longer now."

      Delete
  40. I hope Blaine still has a picture of himself in those corduroy pants. Hope he didn’t chuck the prints of wales.

    ReplyDelete
  41. I had three possible answers:
      WAS

    WHAT

    TWAS


    ReplyDelete
  42. WHAT WANT
    whut wunt

    I don't hear wuz in was.

    ReplyDelete
  43. The three answers I had were what, was, and (arguably) a. I also, as a schwabbie, enjoyed the discussion and learning a little more history about our fun(ky) language.

    "the "o" spellings (as in month) originated as a health issue." From the web:
    "The spelling of short /u/ was the first to be made irregular deliberately, approximately 1100 years ago, because copiers of handwritten books disliked having too many short downward strokes next to each other. In some styles of handwriting a sensible spelling of a word like ‘munth’ made it difficult to identify the individual letters. When a short /u/ sound occurred next to the letters m, n, v or w, they therefore spelt u with o instead. The practice has become known as ‘minim stroke avoidance’. Stroke avoidance is a health issue, yes?

    "Someone should write a book on this." - There is a whole series of books called "What Was", as in "What was the American people thinking in 2016?"

    "it has usually been pronounced that way." was my effort to put both "has" and "that" in a sentence, words that should rhyme with my answers but don't.

    Bonus Puzzle #1: as Lee W guessed and Ron finds disgraceful, "the" can be pronounced with a short u/ schwa sound.

    Bonus Puzzle #2: bus+y changes the short "u" to short "i", and "s" to "z". I knew Ron would get it.

    I don't really think of "twas" as an everyday word.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. THE → (thē before a vowel; thə before a consonant)

      Delete
    2. Goes back to the Great Schwa vs Short u Pronunciation Wars - we'll have to have a pə-rād′ when it's over. Webster's and Merriam-Webster's have sided with the schwa's, but it's in the ear of the beholder.

      Delete
    3. That minim stroke article was interesting, eco. It reminded me of the QWERTY keyboard to slow typists down, rather than be more logical. Munth (sic, but not sick) makes so much more sense.

      Delete
  44. If I'd thought of Fuzzy, Wuzzy Was a Bear, "was" would have made it to my list. Schwa!

    ReplyDelete
  45. I am surprised that there are only two words meet this criteria! Who knows how much time I spent hunting for a better third answer!!

    I still have a TWA Seating chart for a L-1011.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It seems to me A, WHAT, WAS, and 'TWAS (on December 24th) are all legit. Thoughts?

      Delete
    2. 'Twas is only a word on December 24th, and only after dark; it's not an everyday word.

      Delete
    3. I agree. "twas" may have been more common in earlier times. But I can't agree with Paul giving Ron the credit for the Bonus Puzzle, it was me me me! Mine, mine, mine! Can I have some executive time?

      Somewhat related, I've noticed in my massive tome "Words that should rhyme but don't" that the letter "w" at the front often changes the pronunciation.

      bar/ car/ far/ gar/ jar/ mar/ par/ tar ---> war
      bash/ cash/ dash/ gash/ mash ---> wash
      cord/ lord ---> word
      cart/ dart/ mart/ part/ tart ---> wart
      band/ hand/ land/ sand ---> wand
      cork/ fork/ pork ---> work
      dorm/ form/ norm ---> worm
      bard/ card/ hard/ lard/ yard ---> ward
      chat/ that ---> what
      bound/ mound/ pound/ round/ sound ---> wound (injury, not what you did to your watch. Speaking of which:
      batch/ catch/ hatch/ latch/ match/ patch ---> watch

      There are many others.

      Delete
    4. Oops, sorry about that, Lego!

      Delete
    5. It is interesting, eco. I'm very familiar with the Word words, too >>> cord, ford, lord, sword. Puzzling that the "w" alone transforms the pronunciation, but the "sw" does not.

      Delete
    6. I warn, worse wounds want war winds, worm wattle!

      Delete
    7. And Paul is the worm wattle, not WW.

      Delete
    8. WW: Interesting point, I haven't looked at combo letters yet, just simple 1 for 1 substitutions. I ponder and wonder....

      Delete
    9. Yeah, the data for twas are pretty flat-lined all along: Graph of a, was, what, twas . {I was trying to be Tongan Chic about twas. . .}

      Delete
    10. WHAT and WAS
      Sunday morning after checking the puzzle, I then checked Blaine's Blog. The very first post, from Rob, quoted a lyric from "Oh What A Beautiful Morning". I wrongly deduced from this the two words were WHAT and A. Then I went back to bed. Later that afternoon, I suggested Donald Fagen as a musical clue. A co-founder of Steely Dan in the 1970s, he had a solo hit in 1982 with "I. G. Y.(International Geophysical Year)", subtitled "What A Beautiful World". It was one of the few song titles I could think of that had both WHAT and A, and was probably obscure enough it wouldn't be a dead giveaway by the artist's name alone. But after seeing so many A's pop up in subsequent posts(including my own), it goes without saying I began to have my doubts about A being "the shorter answer". So I looked it up and found out the shorter answer was WAS. My next musical clue, Lynyrd Skynyrd, referred to their 1977 hit "What's Your Name?". Toward the end of the song, lead singer Ronnie Van Zandt sings "What WAS your name?". It was the only song I could think of using both words in the lyrics. My TV clue, "Welcome Back, Kotter", referred to the episode in which Arnold Horshack joins a cult, "The Babas". Their mantra, which Arnold repeats a few times in the episode, goes like this:
      "WHAT is is, WHAT WAS will be, WHAT will be WAS, but will be again."

      Delete
  46. I came up with 'what', and then nothing. At least I was half right.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too, Liz. I didn't bother to enter just one word, since there'd have been no point.

      Delete
    2. Me too, Liz. I didn't bother to enter just one word, since there'd have been no point.

      Delete
  47. Bonus Puzzle #3: Think of a frequently used phrase, 3 words, 11 letters total. All three words have a short u or schwa sound, but no vowel is used more than once.

    Hint: someone on this blog deserves credit, but I won't say who.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Hey, WW. My 2 syllable words were woman and alas. Phonetically synonyms.

    ReplyDelete
  49. I am very surprised at WHAT being acceptable to so many here, as I am unaware of it being pronounced that way by people. Merriam-Webster lists that as the last of 4 pronunciations: WHAT pronoun \ ˈhwät , ˈhwət , ˈwät , ˈwət \

    I am also very surprised that so few mention WANT and WANTS. Merriam-Webster also lists it last of 3 pronunciations: WANT verb \ ˈwȯnt also ˈwänt and ˈwənt \.

    Where I live, in the Pacific Northwest, which is frequently mentioned as being accent neutral when regional accents are discussed on NPR, wUnt is the most common pronunciation, and the only one I ever use or notice.

    So, I would have to agree that there are 5 acceptable words; A WAS WANT WANTS & WHAT.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What:hwuht, hwot, wuht, wot; unstressed hwuht, wuht
      From dictionary.com

      Delete
    2. In "want" I hear an ahhhh sound, like you're at the dentist and you wahhhhnt to get out of there.

      In "what" I hear an uhhhh sound, like you've just met a very important or attractive person and you don't know whuhhht to say.

      Delete
    3. eco,
      I am very, very surprised at your post. Those pronunciations are very foreign to my ears. I have to accept that you pronounce them that way, but I really am surprised.

      Delete
    4. Maybe you live too close to those crazy Canucks with their friendly police, free education and health care, and severe, severe, lack of personal firearms.

      Canadian friends do say wuhnt more, that's aboot all I can think of.

      Delete
    5. I am third generation Seattle, and we all say wuhnt here, and certainly never whut. Canadians sound very, very different to me than people in our country. Being as WS is from NY, I suspect he pronounces these words differently than we do here. Still, I will be very surprised if he does not list my answer words as his intended, but who knows?

      Delete
    6. SDB, I never heard 'what' pronounced as 'wuhnt', and I'm in the northwest, as you probably know by now, but then I DID grow up in NJ.

      I am trying to remember which 'u' words used to be completely mis-pronounced by TV newscasters out of Salt Lake City (when I used to live in MT), and occasionally, I now hear the same weird 'u's in the same types of words here in OR on the news....

      I was struggling to remember, WHICH u-words, but suddenly I think they were words such as "FULL". Instead of sounding like "fuuuul', they were always pronounced "fuhl' (, i..e with much shorter u's = most disconcerting. (I'm not sure my attempts at spelling these two "u" sounds are quite correct.)

      Delete
    7. OOPS, I meant "WANT", of course, in my first sentence above....

      Delete
    8. Of course, skydiveboy, while Will Shortz currently lives in Westchester, NY, he is originally from Indiana. New Yorkers can hear the difference.

      Delete
    9. jan, I never heard a NY accent from WS, but the Mid-West is different from the NW too. People tend to pick up local accents to lesser or greater degree should they move to a different geographical area. I frequently think of a German woman I met a few years ago who was probably around 60 or more, and had been living in Eastern Canada for many years, who told me she was very precise with her German, but when she would go back home to Germany, which she did frequently, she, much to her dismay, found her friends and relatives laughing at her pronunciation, which had been changing without her noticing.

      Delete
    10. I hear "want" rhyming with "font" or "taunt" and "what" rhyming with "shut" or "putt."

      Delete
  50. My clue -"This week's puzzle may be easier to solve next week by the ones who missed out on the fun this week." Because they would say "what was the puzzle answer" and,of course, they would be correct!

    ReplyDelete
  51. Echoing eco's comments above differentiating between aaah and uuuh, want rhymes with aunt, (the British way) to my ears. I don't hear a short u or schwa. But I do in what.

    ReplyDelete
  52. The best things in life are free, but the best way to settle the "what vs want" debate is Money.
    Version 1
    Version 2 (other versions without screaming available)
    Version 3
    Version 4

    ReplyDelete
  53. It seems a bit odd to me that most of the examples some of you folks are linking to regarding pronunciation of certain words feature British performers. Don't you understand this country was begun by immigrants from the U.K. who were escaping outrageous pronunciation? If we continue to push this discussion, I fear we may have division and discord here in our land.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Next week's challenge: Name part of the human body in six letters. Add an R and rearrange the result to name a part of the body in seven letters. What is it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a tan lap, but no plantar fasciitis.

      Delete
    2. I have a possible answer pair but there's a little snag in one of the answers.

      Delete
    3. You have a few days before you have to pick one.

      Delete
    4. I think I know what you mean, I had to check it out too.

      Delete
    5. Lorenzo, you disagree there's a snag or you disagree it's ok? I am good with the answer.

      Delete
  55. I wunder how anutomically currect Starman is?

    ReplyDelete
  56. Over 1000 correct answers last week.

    ReplyDelete
  57. I wonder how long it will be before eco turns up his nose at having been given another anagram based puzzle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We're lighting the torches at STRAP.

      Until then, I scream real loud!

      Delete
  58. I'm reminded of a Tolkien creature.

    ReplyDelete