Wednesday, December 31, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 28): Last NPR Puzzle of 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 28): Last NPR Puzzle of 2008:
Q: Take the phrase 'counting down the days.' Remove four letters from this phrase and rearrange the remaining letters to spell an appropriate number. What is it?
No need for hints... just take the letters and mix 'em up. You'll easily figure out which letters aren't part of the number.

Edit: My hidden clue was "mix 'em" which when swapped comes out as 'em mix, or simply the roman numeral MMIX.
A: Obviously the intended answer was TWO THOUSAND NINE in honor of the upcoming year. (9002 works too, but doesn't match with the "appropriate number" clue.)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Can you solve our Colorful Christmas Crossword (2008)?

This year's Christmas puzzle is a fun, themed crossword. And there is a secret holiday surprise if you are able to solve it. Take a look at our Christmas Puzzle for 2008.

Note: The answer key is posted now, but try to solve it without looking at it.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 21): What?! Same Puzzle as Last Week?

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 21): What?! Same Puzzle as Last Week?
Q: Name two things Santa Claus carries. Put them together, reading one after the other, and you'll name a musical instrument. What musical instrument is it?
Currently the NPR website has last week's puzzle repeated as this week's puzzle. The real puzzle can be heard if you click "listen now". Guess what? It's another musical instrument puzzle. It might be a little easier to play Christmas carols on this week's instrument, but I haven't heard any. I can't think of any other good hints that don't give things away immediately, so I'll just remind everyone to be as good as possible if people expect a visit from St. Nick.

Edit: The hidden clue was in the last phrase:
"...Be As Good (as) Possible If People Expect..."

Thursday, December 18, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 14): Need a List of Musical Instruments?

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 14): Need a List of Musical Instruments?:
Q: Name a musical instrument, change the third letter to a different letter and double the last letter. The result will name a famous singer, in two words. Who is the singer and what is the instrument?
First, here's a list of musical instruments courtesy of Wikipedia. I had to see it a couple of times before I found the answer. Hint, if you are young you may not know this singer... go ask your Mom or Dad.

Edit: My first hint was that the list contained the instrument, but as a singular noun. The second hint was to "The Mamas and the Papas".

Thursday, December 11, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 7): Rhyme Time

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 7): Rhyme Time
Q: The words "chic" and "squeak" rhyme with each other, even though they have no letters in common. Think of three words containing a total of 12 or more letters that rhyme and have no letters in common. The words must be common, uncapitalized words, and each will have just one syllable.
I have an answer that is 3 words, 4 letters each, but I'm not sure it is the intended answer. I expecially like one of the words (3rd alphabetically), but I'm questioning the second word. Everyone's heard of it but I don't know if it follows all the rules. For anyone that is searching, I think a rhyming dictionary might be the key to solving this. Also, it's important to note that chic has repeated letters, so that doesn't seem to be disallowed, as long as the words don't share common letters.

Edit: Initially I was thinking of KNEE, QUAY, PRIX, but my dictionary doesn't like prix except in grand prix and prix fixe.
SKI, QUAY (pronounced like 'key'), THREE
There are other possible choices like:
pooh, screw, gnu (or flu)

Thursday, December 04, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Nov 30): All Points Bulletin...

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Nov 30): All Points Bulletin...:
Q: Think of the name of a lawbreaker that starts with S. Remove the S and one other letter, and the remaining letters, in order, will name another lawbreaker.
Not to sound confident, but I'm positive I have the right answer. Note: when I first heard the puzzle, I was thinking they might want the *names* of specific criminals (e.g. Jesse James). If you made that mistake you will find yourself struggling with this puzzle. :-)

Edit: Not to sound smug, but I know the intended answer. An alternate answer that was submitted by some was "stalker --> taker"

Thursday, November 27, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Nov 23): Famous Singer Anagram

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Nov 23): Famous Singer Anagram:
Q: Name a famous singer from the past who has five letters in his or her first name and six letters in the last. Rearrange the letters of the last name, plus the last letter of the first name (seven letters in all) to name a place where this singer famously performed. Who is the singer and what is the place?
In the comments from last week, Natasha says this is easy. I've obviously been overthinking it then.

Edit: I was less familiar with this singer so it took longer to get the answer. There were some good clues in the comments, including "alas, I am, Carl" which was an anagram of the singer's full name and uses of the word "callous".
A: Maria Callas --> La Scala

Thursday, November 20, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Nov 16): Authors Beginning with C

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Nov 16): Authors Beginning with C:
Q: Name a famous author whose last name starts with the letter C. Cross out four letters in it. The remaining letters, in order, will name another famous author also starting with C. Who are these two writers?
I'm not sure if I have the intended answer but I have a pair of authors that will work... it helps if you have a list of authors starting with C

Edit: It's after the deadline, so I'm going to reveal what I think is the intended answer.
A: Miguel de CERVANTES (famous for "Don Quixote")
(cross out e,v,t,s)
Stephen CRANE (famous for "Red Badge of Courage")

Thursday, November 13, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Nov 9): A Pair of Animals, Running Wild in the Capital!

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Nov 9): A Pair of Animals, Running Wild in the Capital!:
Q: Take the names of two animals. Drop the third letter from each name. Read the remaining letters, in order, from left to right and you'll name a world capital. What is it?
There are several ways to approach solving this puzzle. You could look at lists of animals, or perhaps it might be easier to look at a list of world capitals. I don't think you'll find it too difficult. Oh, my clue this week is that "tiger" is not one of the animals. Does that help?

Edit: My clues were "Oh my" and "tigers". At least my clues were less obvious than some posted in the comments section. I had to delete one that had the outright answer. Please wait until after the Thu. 3pm ET deadline to post spoilers.
A: BEaR + LIoN --> BERLIN (Germany)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Nov 2): Setting the Clock Back

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Nov 2): Setting the Clock Back:
Q: The names of presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton have something unusual in common. In fact, these are the only presidents in U.S. history whose names share this characteristic. What is it?
I was in the middle of setting my clocks back this morning so didn't hear the puzzle. Is anything missing from what I wrote?

Edit: It's now after the deadline so I can reveal my hints. The key words were "middle" and "missing". Also, the reference to setting the clock back was a hint to think back to prior presidents.
A: Ronald Wilson Reagan and William Jefferson Clinton -- their middle names are the last names of former U.S. presidents

Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday Fun - Happy Halloween!

Halloween Costumes 2008As part of our annual Halloween tradition, we come up with a "family theme" for our costumes. This year we went as the Characters from Clue. We entered in to two local Halloween costume contests and in both we won first place for the group category. In addition, we won a special trophy for "Best In Show".

Take a look at our costumes for this year and years past

Thursday, October 30, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Oct 26): Has Anyone Heard of This Sports Team?

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Oct 26): Has Anyone Heard of This Sports Team?:
Q: 'Nonclassical analysis' contains eight different letters. Two of them occur once, two of them occur twice, two of them occur three times, and two of them occur four times each. Which sports team's name has this same property?
Oh brother. Couldn't Will Shortz have picked something more topical for this week's puzzle rather than hitting us with this week's stumper? I doubt you could scour the sports pages and find any mention of this team... right? I mean, people are busy with Halloween but this puzzle has nothing to do with a favorite fall activity. Well, I'm sure you'll eventually figure this out, maybe after 5 tries... unless you have to take a couple more guesses.

Edit: Clues -- "Oh brother" (as in City of Brotherly Love), "hitting", "favorite fall activity", and "out". Plus there were additional references to the World Series throughout.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Oct 19): Now That's A Capital Idea

Sunday Puzzle (Oct 19): Now That's A Capital Idea:
Q: Name a famous actress with four letters in her first name and five letters in her last name. Drop the last letter of her first name and the last two letters of her last name. The remaining letters, in order, will name well-known a world capital. Who is the actress and what is the capital?
Seems like we have a pattern going on. A few weeks ago the puzzle answer was "Giant Anteater" and I gave the clue to "B.C. Comics" which has a giant anteater as a recurring character. Then I used the same clue to hint at Bill Cosby for the puzzle on "Jello". Perhaps I can reuse an old clue in a similar fashion for this week?

Edit: The hint was a reference to the Cosby show. The actress in question played Denise Huxtable

Thursday, October 16, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Oct 12): A Series of *Fortunate* Events...

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Oct 12): A Series of *Fortunate* Events...:
Q: Name the sixth thing in a well-known series. Change its third letter to the next letter of the alphabet. Then rearrange all the letters and you'll get the seventh thing in the series. What names are these?
If you've solved this, then about the only thing left to do is to debate the pronunciation of the seventh item, or to say how many items are really in the list. I'll just say, that the third item is my favorite.

Edit: If you hadn't figured it out, the well-known series consists of the names of the planets.
A: SATURN --> -T +U --> URANUS

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Suduro - A blend of Sud(oku) and (Kak)uro

Suduro -- If you already know and enjoy Sudoku and/or Kakuro, there's a website that offers a blend of the two. The grid is filled like a normal Sudoku, but there are gray squares that are filled similar to Kakuro. Sums are provided for just the gray squares in each row or column. In addition, a separate box contains the sum of just the gray squares in each 3x3 square. The extra dimension of clues should make for some fun puzzles. Give it a try.Suduro Example

Thursday, October 09, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Oct 5): Anagram Interaction

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Oct 5): Anagram Interaction:
Q: Rearrange the 11 letters of 'interaction' to make two closely related words. What words are they?
I seem to be in the habit of pretending I don't have a clue, when I really do. Is this week any different?

Edit: The hidden clue was "habit"

Thursday, October 02, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sep 28): Just Desserts

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sep 28): Just Desserts:
Q: Name a popular dessert that has two syllables, in which the vowel sound in the first syllable is a short E. Change this to a long A, and phonetically you'll name a famous singer. Who is it?
I liked my clue from a couple weeks ago regarding the B.C. Comic. I wish I had a similar clue this week. Oh wait, maybe I do...

Edit: My clue above was to the comedian Bill Cosby and he is associated with this dessert.
A: JELLO --> J. LO (Jennifer Lopez)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Fun - Mini-Sudoku Puzzle (nine squares!)

For all of those that are tired of having to fill in a full Sudoku grid, here's a Mini-Sudoku Puzzle. The goal is to fill the nine squares with just the digits 1 to 9. The only hints provided are the "L-block" hints at each corner. Each value tells you the sum of the five squares that make up the two adjacent edges.

Note: This is not a magic square. You cannot make any assumptions about the totals of the rows, columns or diagonals.

See how quickly you can come up with the unique solution. I'll probably post the answer next Friday. In the meantime, please don't reveal the answer so others can enjoy the puzzle too. Post comments on whether you find this puzzle easy, hard, fun or frustrating. I'd be interested in your solving techniques and times, too.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sep 21): Opposites Attract

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sep 21): Opposites Attract:
Q: Take a common two-word phrase with four letters in each word. Each word has a single O as its vowel. If you add an R somewhere in the second word, the two words become opposites. What is the phrase?
Well at least Will is leaning toward puzzles that take more than 30 seconds to solve...the last one took several days for some people. Your solving time will be quicker if you remember the words are opposites once you add the 'R' (I started searching for synonyms.) Don't give away the answer before the Thursday deadline, but feel to take a shot at posting some "hints".

Edit: My hints weren't very good, but there were some references to Will (Shortz), length of time (long and short), and the obvious inclusion of the word "shot".

Thursday, September 18, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sep 14): Name that Animal

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sep 14): Name that Animal:
Q: Take the phrases 'move over' and 'local call.' In each case, the last three letters of the first word are the first three letters in the next. Name a familiar animal, in two words, in which the last three letters of the first word are the first three letters of the next. Hints: It's a furry, four-footed animal that can grow up to six feet in length. The first word in its name has five letters, the second word has eight.
We seem to have the question early this week from the RSS feed. My daughter, in kindergarten, knew the answer to this. Her class has been studying animals. If she can get this, so can you! Incidentally, some sources I checked said they could grow to be 8 feet in length... that's large! Zot!

Edit: There were several clues above. In kindergarten you learn your ABCs... that was a hint to think of animals at the beginning of the alphabet. Also, if anyone is familiar with the comic strip B.C., you should know what Zot refers to.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sep 7): You'll Figure it out in the End

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sep 7): You'll Figure it out in the End:
Q: Kris Kristofferson's last name starts with his four-letter first name. Can you name a famous American whose last name ends with his four-letter first name? Hint: The last name has seven letters.
Note: It is easy to overlook that the last name ends with the letters in his first name, so rather than MARK MARKHAM, you should be looking for names like MARK WIDMARK (not the answer).

Edit: Check the comments for clues like "jump" and "wicked" (homonym for "evil" = "evel")
A: Motorcycle Daredevil EVEL KNIEVEL

Thursday, September 04, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 31): Labor Weekend Sale, Vowels Are $100, Three Days Only

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 31): Labor Weekend Sale, Vowels Are $100, Three Days Only:
Q: Think of a 9-letter word with no repeated letters. The letters in the odd positions (the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th positions) are vowels. All five vowels, A, E, I, O and U, appear once each in some order. What word is this?
When I first read the puzzle, I thought "I already know the answer". It's the word FACETIOUS with A-E-I-O-U appearing once and in order... After I had that in my mind, for awhile it prevented me from noticing that I hadn't solved the right puzzle.

I think others might be stymied by the fact that the correct answer is a word that people commonly misspell. Hopefully you aren't one of the people that suffers from such an inability to spell. P.S. I was able to come up with two answers, but the second is not a common word at all. I wonder if anyone will submit it?

Edit: It's after the deadline so I think it okay to reveal my hidden clues: "prevented" and "suffer from".

Thursday, August 28, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 24): CH-CH-CH-CH-CHanges

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 24): CH-CH-CH-CH-CHanges:
Q: Think of a person's job title that contains the consecutive letters C-H. Move the C-H to the front, then take what used to be the first letter and put it where the C-H was. The result will be another person whom the first person tries to catch. What words are these?
Hmm... another "less than satisfactory" puzzle. The answer came to me right away as I'm sure it has for others. Personally, I don't think the words are really such a pair, and the pairing is rather contrived. I'd give you more hints, but I don't think it would be fair to those that figured out on their own.

Edit: I don't think it was a coincidence that school starts around this time...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 17): U.S. Postal Abbreviation Quiz

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 17): U.S. Postal Abbreviation Quiz:
Q: Take the two-letter postal abbreviations for three U.S. states. Add the letter A. Then add the two-letter postal abbreviations from three more states. You'll have 13 letters in all. Reading from left to right, you'll get a familiar three-word phrase that's seen on many products. (Hint: The three words in the answer phrase have four, two and seven letters respectively.) What's the phrase?
The puzzle is rather U.S.-centric. If you aren't familiar with the codes, here is a list of U.S. Postal Abbreviations. There are so many clues in the question itself that you shouldn't have any problem solving this. P.S. If you haven't seen this exact phrase recently, you might have at least seen ones similar to it.

Edit: Let's see how many submissions there are on this one... I thought it was pretty obvious.
Massachusetts (MA)
Delaware (DE)
Indiana (IN)
Maine (ME)
Rhode Island (RI)
California (CA)


Saturday, August 16, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 10): Product Playtime

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 10): Product Playtime:
Q: Think of a familiar brand name ending in the letters G-S. Change the G-S to an O and you'll get the brand name of a different product. What is it? Hint: The first word has five letters, and the second has four.
I had more familiarity with the second term so I solved it backwards. My wife had no problem solving it forward.

Edit: Both of us had this as soon as we finished reading the question. Hopefully you found it as simple.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 3): Mathematical Synonyms

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 3): Mathematical Synonyms:
Q: Start with an eight-letter mathematics term. Remove the first, fourth and eighth letters to produce a synonym of the original word. What is it?
A small percentage of the population might struggle on this, but I think most will find this puzzle relatively easy.

Edit: I was probably too obvious with the hints which included obvious synonyms of the answers. Check the comments for other hints that were provided.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Friday Fun - Cycling on the Bridge

Two bicyclists start cycling from opposite ends of a bridge. One cyclist is faster than the other and they meet at a point 2,000 feet from the nearest end. When each cyclist reaches the opposite end of the bridge, he takes a 15 minute rest break and then starts on his on return trip. The cyclists again meet 720 feet from the other end. Assuming each is cycling at a constant speed, how long is the bridge?

Note: There is no mention of the actual speed of each cyclist, or the time that each takes but this problem is solvable. In fact, there is an elegant solution that could be understood by an elementary school student, with basic rules of addition and subtraction. It can also be solved the "hard" way. I'll post the elegant solution next week.

Edit: I've provided an answer in the comments.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jul 27): Egomaniac Anagram

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jul 27): Egomaniac Anagram:
Q: Re-arrange the letters in the word 'egomaniac' to spell a sign seen in many stores. What is it?
Well we have returned home from Iceland safely. One thing I will say, is if you try and pronounce the place names, you'll find most Icelanders replying, "what did you say?". A pronounciation hint -- the town of "Höfn" sounds like a hiccup. The 'fn' is pronounced 'b' so don't say "Hoffin", say "Hub" as you inhale quickly. As for the puzzle, it's so easy, you can solve it faster than you can say, Kirkjubæjarklaustur (trust me, don't try...).

Edit: There were a couple hints above -- returning to a place, and the phrase "What did you say?". I initially thought that there would be a gerund with "ing" so I pulled those letters aside. I then saw the word "come" in the remaining letters and knew the answer.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday Fun - How Long is the Ring Road around Iceland? - Answer

We should be flying back home from Iceland about this time. Hopefully everyone has had fun with the puzzles while we have been gone. If you haven't had a chance to solve the puzzle about the Iceland Ring Road yet, take a look at last Friday's post and don't read any further. But if you want the answer, read on...
A: Let A be the speed of the first couple and B be the speed of the second couple. After an equivalent amount of time T, one couple has traveled AT miles and the other travels BT miles. For the return, the first couple now travels BT miles in 9 hours, while the other couple travels AT miles in 16 hours.

A = BT/9
B = AT/16

9A = BT
16B = AT

T = 9A/B
T = 16B/A
9A^2 = 16B^2
Take the square root of both sides (which is okay because both are positive)
3A = 4B

This tells us the ratio of their speeds is 4 to 3. In other words, over the same time, the faster couple will travel 4/7 of the ring road, the slower couple will travel 3/7. The difference is 120 miles. And if 1/7 is 120 miles, the whole road is 840 miles.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jul 20): Weekend Edition Sunday Puzzle -- Answer

We are still in Iceland so I this will have to be another "autopost". Since I didn't see the puzzle beforehand, I'm not sure how I managed to get some hints in there, but the following words do seem to be clues, at least to a possible answer:
Fruitful, Central, Dead(line)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jul 20): Weekend Edition Sunday Puzzle

Well, this is an interesting post. I'm on vacation, so I'm actually still not around to be able to tell you what the puzzle is or to give you any hints.
Q: What is the answer to the puzzle on the NPR Website?
My wife and I should be in Akureyri in Northern Iceland at this point. We are planning on doing a whale-watching trip. I think we'll need to bundle up because it can get nippy out on the water watching whales frolick. If I'm lucky, that will be a fruitful clue to this week's puzzle and be central to solving it, but I doubt it. Help each other out, but don't give away the puzzle until after the dead line on Thursday 3pm ET.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday Fun - How Long is the Ring Road around Iceland?

My wife and I are taking a leisurely drive around Iceland on the Ring Road... at this point we should be a little more than half way on the East side of Iceland in Egilsstaðir. However, I thought it might be fun to give you a little topical puzzle in honor of our trip.
Q: Two couples leave Reykjavik at exactly the same time traveling opposite directions on the Ring Road around Iceland. When they meet later, one couple has traveled 120 miles farther than the other. After a night's rest in a hotel and some refueling, the couples continue their respective drives. The first couple arrives back at Reykjavik 9 hours later, the second couple takes 16 hours. Assuming that each couple maintains the same constant speed each time they drive, how long is the Ring Road around Iceland?
I'll post the answer next Friday.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jul 13): Names from Early American History - Answer

My wife and I are away in Iceland for a couple weeks taking in the sights. At this point we should be in Höfn toward the Southeast of Iceland as part of an 11-day driving tour of the country. However, I didn't want to leave everyone wondering about the answer to the puzzle so I've provided a scheduled post to appear after the deadline... here it is:

Sunday, July 13, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jul 13): Names from Early American History

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jul 13): Names from Early American History:
Q: Name a famous person from early American history with five letters in the first name and five letters in the last. Six letters of the alphabet are used in this name, some of them repeated. These same six letters make up the name of another person in early American history whose first and last names have six and four letters, respectively. Who are these two people?
This wasn't too hard to figure out, but it might be helpful to have a list of names associated with early American history handy. Both names should be familiar to most people. One hint: don't assume that the names are exact anagrams of each other.

Friday, July 11, 2008

How old is Mark?

For everyone that struggled with the pencil puzzle, here's another algebra puzzle to "stretch your neurons". Pay attention...

The combined ages of Mark and Ann are forty-four years, and Mark is twice as old as Ann was when Mark was half as old as Ann will be when Ann is three times as old as Mark was when Mark was three times as old as Ann.

How old is Mark?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jul 6): Contaminated Anagram

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jul 6): Contaminated Anagram:
Q: Take the word 'contaminated.' Rearrange the 12 letters to get a two-word phrase for a familiar sign.
For all of you that complained that last week's puzzle was too hard, here's one that is extremely easy. A few minutes anagramming the letters will net you the answer (or you can cheat and use an anagram program). Feel free to leave a comment with a hint, but remember you aren't allowed to give any spoilers before the deadline of Thursday 3pm ET.

P.S. The answer isn't "Tandem Action". :-)

Edit: My hidden clue was "you aren't allowed...". I also liked phredp's clue in his comment about "I can't enter..." and geri's comment about "Admit it..."

Thursday, July 03, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jun 29): Anyone have a Pencil?

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jun 29): Anyone have a Pencil?:
Q: A man buys 20 pencils for 20 cents and gets three kinds of pencils in return. Some of the pencils cost 4 cents each, some are two for a penny and the rest are four for a penny. How many pencils of each type does the man get?
It's a rare NPR *math* puzzle. Using algebra you could write an equation for the number of pencils, and one for the cost of the pencils. But that results in two equations and three unknowns. Fortunately there are some constraints and a little trial and error will get you the answer. Note: You have to have at least one of each type, so just getting 4 of the first type and 16 of the last type wouldn't work.

Edit: I think the thing that confused most people was they assumed they had to buy 4 of the 1/4 cent pencils, or 2 of the 1/2 cent pencils. You can't make 20 cents with those constraints. Here's how I solved it.

Let A be the number of 4 cent pencils.
Let B be the number of 1/2 cent pencils.
Let C be the number of 1/4 cent pencils.

Number of pencils:
A + B + C = 20 pencils

Cost of pencils:
4A + B/2 + C/4 = 20 cents
Multiplying this second equation by 4 to remove the fractions we have:
16A + 2B + C = 80

Now subtract the first equation to eliminate one variable:
15A + B = 60

There are some obvious constraints on A. Because you need at least one of each type of pencil, none of the values can be 0. That eliminates A = 0 or A = 4. Trying the other values you get:
A = 1, B = 45 --> too many pencils
A = 2, B = 30 --> too many pencils
A = 3, B = 15 --> C = 2

3 pencils (at 4 cents) = 12 cents
15 pencils (at 1/2 cent) = 7 1/2 cents
2 pencils (at 1/4 cent) = 1/2 cent

Monday, June 30, 2008

Catch That Bus!

The local bus leaves Ashwood at 9:21 am and arrives in Baytree at 12:06 pm on the same day. The express bus leaves Ashwood at 10:00 am, traveling the same route, and arrives in Baytree at 11:40 am. At what time does the express bus pass the local bus if each is traveling at a constant speed?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jun 22): Who are these TV personalities?

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jun 22): Who are these TV personalities?
Q: Think of a famous TV personality whose last name has six letters. Drop the last letter, reverse the order of the remaining five letters, and you will get the name of another famous TV personality. Who are they?
I was all set with my answer of Johnny Carson and Oscar the Grouch until I reviewed my answer and discovered I didn't answer the question correctly. By the way, both names are last names.

Edit: Clues "reviewed" and "didn't answer the question correctly"
A: Who are Alex TREBEK and Roger EBERT?
(Correctly phrased in the form of a question...)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jun 15): English Tea Anagram

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jun 15): English Tea Anagram:
Q: Rearrange the letters of ENGLISH TEA to name a famous person with a prominent mustache — first and last. Who is it?
I had a couple thoughts when approaching this puzzle. I first thought that the person must have some relevance to today, being it is Father's Day. My second thought was that the person might have been in the news recently; Will Shortz often does that (for example Harrison Ford was the subject of a puzzle around the time Indiana Jones IV was being released). Well, I don't think either of these things apply... or do they?
My hints: The person is a man. And there is only one L and one T available in the letters, so don't misspell his name.

Edit: The main clue was "Today"... and there were lots of good clues in the comments about being "critical", mentions of "onions", etc.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jun 8): 5-Digit Sequence

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jun 8): 5-Digit Sequence:
Q: A calculator displays a five-digit number. The first four digits are 8735. These digits form a logical sequence. What is the fifth number in the series?
I was led down the wrong path initially because I didn't read the puzzle carefully. There's an important clue in the question which you'll see if you are bright.

Edit: The key to the puzzle was to realize that these digits were on a calculator. I mentioned that in my clue along with the additional hints of "LED", "see" and "bright". I mentioned the word "segment" in one of my comments too.
A: The next digit is also 5. Each digit is the number of LED/LCD segments that are lit in the prior digit.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Guess this Social Security Number

A certain Social Security Number has the following qualities:
  • It uses each of the digits 1 to 9 exactly once (with no zero).
  • The digits from 1 to 2 (inclusive) add up to 12.
  • The digits from 2 to 3 (inclusive) add up to 23.
  • The digits from 3 to 4 (inclusive) add up to 34.
  • The digits from 4 to 5 (inclusive) add up to 45.
  • The digit 3 is NOT next to a dash (XXX-XX-XXXX).
What is this unique Social Security Number?

Friday, June 06, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jun 1): Movie Star Synonyms

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jun 1): Movie Start Synonyms:
Q: Name a famous male movie star. Change the first letter of his first name to a G and change the last letter of his last name to a T. The result will be two words that are synonyms. Who is the movie star and what are the words?
The first time I tried to figure this out I was little lost, but at last, after 3 or 4 attempts, the answer was completely clear.

Edit: It was crystal clear...
Click the link for Harrison Ford's first uncredited movie role (yes, that's the extent of it) as the bellhop.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 25): I.O.U. a clue

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 25): I.O.U. a clue:
Q: The phrases 'part time' and 'time share' are familiar phrases with 'time' in them, and the adjoining words, 'part' and 'share,' are synonyms. Find two phrases that work similarly with the word 'child.' What are they?
Even with an extra day over the long weekend and I wasn't able to figure this one out yet. I have a couple answers where the words don't seem like strong synonyms, so I don't think either is the answer. One has 4 letter words for both parts. The other has words that start with the same letter. This week I'm hoping the commenters will come up with good clues in my place.
A: The accepted answers are up on the NPR website. Personally I have issues with all of them so I won't transcribe them here.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 18): Change One Letter in the Last Name

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 18): Change One Letter in the Last Name:
Q: Think of a well-known person on TV who has eight letters in their first name and four letters in their last. The last name consists of: consonant, vowel, consonant, consonant. If you change the vowel in the last name to an 'a,' the result will be a word that is defined by the first name.
Good, we are getting back to challenging puzzles. Saying this person is a well-known person on TV is like saying Tiger Woods is a popular TV personality. Yes, he is on TV, but is he most well-known for being on TV? I had more luck working backwards on the puzzle.

Edit: Some of my clues were explicit (such as thinking of someone associated with TV, but known for something else.) There were a few "less obvious" clues (Tiger is an animal, luck rhymes with puck, back rhymes with pack).
Now read the comments and you'll see the creative hints that were left by others.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Googol to the Googol-th Power

At this point everyone should be familiar with the number "googol" which is 10^100 (10 to the 100th power). Written down it is a one followed by 100 zeroes.

The question this week is:
Q: How many zeroes are there in googol^googol
(googol to the "googol-th" power)?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 11): Entrance and Exit

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 11): Entrance and Exit:
Q: Think of a seven-letter word meaning 'entrance.' Switch the second and fourth letters and you'll get another seven-letter word meaning 'exit.' What are the words?
I'm sorry. My PC was having issues so I wasn't able to post a hint this weekend. The puzzle is easy, so I'm sure you'll figure it out.

Edit: My hints were PC (as in Gateway) and weekend (as in getaway)

Friday, May 09, 2008

Mothers' Day Puzzle for all our Supermoms

Take the following mathematical equation:


Can you replace each letter with a different digit {0 to 9} so that the equation makes sense? The letter will represent that digit everywhere the letter appears.

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 4): Make a Lot of Noise

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 3): Make a Lot of Noise:
Q: Rearrange the letters of 'assembly hall' to spell three loud sounds.
I don't have a lot of time for a hint because we are busy! We are planning my son's birthday. With everything my wife has planned it should be grand. But I think we can do without the performer dressed like Tarzan.

Edit: The hints were all the words before the punctuation marks: BuSY (initial letters of the answers, in alphabetical order), Birthday (Bash), Grand (Slam) and Tarzan (Yell).

Thursday, May 01, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Apr 27): A Challenge for Star Gazers

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Apr 27): A Challenge for Star Gazers:
Q: Insert a long E sound after the first letter of 'bond' and phonetically you get 'be-ond.' Insert a long E sound after the first letter of 'renter' and you get 're-enter.' Name something found in outer space. Insert a long E sound after the first letter, and you'll name a resident of a major American city. What are the words?
Are they kidding? With all the things in space, this could be like searching for a needle in a haystack!?!

Edit: Get it? Space... Needle? I know, the puzzle was SO easy, who needed a hint? Let's hope Will Shortz comes up with some more exciting puzzles in the coming weeks.

Friday, April 25, 2008

U.S. Timezone Conundrum

Wendy lives in a state that is on the West Coast. Edward, on the other hand, lives in a state that is on the East Coast. One day Wendy calls from her home and finds Edward also at home.

"Hey Edward, I'm not so good with timezones. I was wondering. What time is it there?"

Edward, checks his clock and reports back with the accurate time.

"That's funny," says Wendy. "It's exactly the same time here."

Where do Wendy and Edward live and how can this be?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Apr 20): As Easy as 1-2-3...

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Apr 20): As Easy as 1-2-3...:
Q: Take the title 'Candid Camera.' Write down the first appearance of each letter, ignoring any repeats, in the order these letters appear. You get C, A, N, D, I, M, E, R. By doing the same thing to the title of what other well-known TV program do you get the letters S, E, A, M, T, R?
I don't think I can count the number of episodes of this program that I've watched...

Edit: Can you tell me how to get, how to get to...

Friday, April 18, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Apr 13): A Quick Snack

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Apr 13): A Quick Snack:
Q: Name some places where people eat, add one letter at the end of the word, and you'll get an adjective that may describe the places' food. What are the words?
I'm packing for a trip so this week's clue will be short. Both words in the puzzle answer leave me wanting more.

Edit: Apart from both words being shortened words (delis instead of delicatessens, delish instead of delicious), the word "delish" is hardly one that I see a lot in formal writing. It does appear in the dictionary however.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Can you turn 2008 into 73?

Okay, here's another puzzle in the 2008 series. Can you use the digits in 2008 to form an expression that will equal 73.

If you need the full instructions, check the prior puzzle which had a different target result but the same rules.

2008 Math Expression Puzzle

Thursday, April 10, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Apr 6): I'm Fired

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Apr 6): I'm Fired:
Q: Think of a six-letter hyphenated word meaning 'eager.' Change the fourth and the sixth letters to get another hyphenated word meaning 'less than eager.' What are the words?
I was all excited because I figured out the puzzle. I even wrote a post with all the clues (I thought the answer was ON-EDGE --> ON-EGGS). I even "pulled the trigger" and posted it. I showed it to my wife and she told me I was all wrong. Hearing her answer, I realize I totally missed the target. Boy am I embarrassed! My new clue is the hyphen doesn't stay in the same spot.

Edit: I seems like most people finally figured this one out. Credit this week goes to my wife since she had to tell me the answer.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Hitting the Target Puzzle

Here's a quick puzzle. In the attached image, a circle is inscribed in a square which is inscribed in another circle.

Of the outside yellow ring, or the inside purple circle, which has the bigger area, and why?

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Mar 30): Over and Out

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Mar 30): Over and Out:
Q: Think of an adjective starting with 'over.' What follows 'over' is a word that has a homophone — that is, a word that sounds the same but is spelled differently. For example, in 'overcast,' 'cast' is a homophone of 'caste.' Think of an adjective starting with 'over' that is frequently used with the homophone of the word that follows. What is it?
I'm a little confused this week. I see lots of choices that might work but I'm not sure I get what the puzzle is asking. For example you could argue that any of the following might work: overseas --> seize, oversight --> site, overrode --> road, overhaul --> hall, oversees --> seas, overheard --> herd, overflew --> flue, overlaps --> lapse, overdue --> do, overawed --> odd, etc. I have a potential answer (not listed here), but I'm not even happy with it and am ready to discard it.

Edit: The title (Over and Out) was obviously a clue and so was the sentence about being unhappy and discarding some(one). I submitted the answer below, but there is still a possibility it isn't the intended answer. At least phredp (see comments) seems to concur, so hopefully it is right.
A: OVERTHROWN --> THRONE, as in the monarchy (throne) was overthrown.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Mar 23): I walked and later I ran

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Mar 23): I walked and later I ran:
Q: Name a well known historical figure with a one-word six-letter name. The first and fourth letters are the same, the second and fifth letters are the same, and the third letter is one letter before the sixth, alphabetically. Who is it?
I wonder if this is a popular baby name? Probably not, but if someone can get away with having just one name, they must be pretty great.
A: King XERXES the Great, of Persia (former name of Iran)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Billiard Balls Puzzle

In the American game of "eight-ball" there are 15 numbered balls (1 through 15). At the beginning of the game, these balls are racked into a triangular pattern as shown.

The challenge this week is to place the numbers 1 through 15 into an upside-down triangle pattern such that each number is the result of *subtracting* the two numbers above it. To eliminate mirrored answers, provide a solution where the numbers at the three points of the triangle are in ascending order going clockwise.

P.S. When taking the difference, always use the absolute value. Feel free to add a comment with your answer, along with how you solved it.

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Mar 16): If you said *top* row, I'd say *typewriter*

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Mar 16): If you said *top* row, I'd say *typewriter*:
Q: Using the middle row of letters on a keyboard, name something that has eight stars. Hint: The answer is spelled in 10 letters.
Let's see there were 7 castaways on Gilligan's Island, so that was 7 stars perhaps. Or on the Brady Bunch there were Mike and Carol and 6 kids but Alice made 9 stars. Perhaps I'm thinking of the wrong type of stars. What a folly!

Edit: My clue was "folly" as in Seward's Folly. If you want to see more clues, check out the comments. I liked the references to "Juneau" and "Alaska" as well as the hints for "flag".

Friday, March 14, 2008

Playing with Blocks

Here's a fun puzzle to ponder.
A certain number of faces of a large wooden cube are stained. Then the block is divided into equal-sized smaller cubes. Counting we find that there are exactly 45 smaller cubes that are unstained. How many faces of the big cube were originally stained?
Feel free to add a comment with your answer, along with how you solved it.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Mar 9): Separated by A

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Mar 9): Separated by A:
Q: Name two vehicles, put the letter A between them and the result will be a word naming what the two vehicles might be in. Name the vehicles.
Wow! This is really difficult! Automobile? Moving Truck?

Edit: Not hard at all, was it?

Friday, March 07, 2008

Can you turn 2008 into 97?

Come on all you genius puzzlers... I'm sure you can solve the on-going challenge from last week.

In case you missed it, here is the link:
Use the digits in 2008 to form an expresion that will equal 97

Thursday, March 06, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Mar 2): Animal Anagram -- Marionettes

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Mar 2): Animal Anagram -- Marionettes:
Q: Take the letters in the word 'marionettes' and rearrange them to spell the names of two animals that are related. What are they?
I thought I was close when I got "MARTEN" (a member of the weasel family) but I couldn't figure out what to do with the remaining IOEST...

Edit: Oh, but maybe the answer is a member of the weasel family. Take a look at the comments for more hints.

Friday, February 29, 2008

A Puzzle for Leap Day, 2008 -- Can you make 97?

Today is February 29, a special date that only appears on our calendars every four years. There are exceptions to this 4 year rule on century years (those ending in 00). These years are NOT leap years unless the century is evenly divisible by 400. For example, 2000 was a leap year, but 2100 will NOT be. The cycle of leap years on our calendar repeats in a 400 year cycle. Within that cycle there will be 97 leap years.

All this historical information was a way to introduce this week's math puzzle.

Q: Using each of the digits in 2008 and standard math operations, can you write an expression that equals 97?
  • Each of the digits 2, 0, 0, 8 must be used. (2 and 8 will appear once, 0 will appear twice.)
  • You may use standard math operations of +, -, x, /, √(square root), ^(raise to a power) and !(factorial) along with parentheses for grouping.
  • Decimal points and multi-digit numbers may be used (e.g. 20, 208, .02 or 2.8
  • If squaring is done, that uses up the digit 2.
  • 0! is agreed to have a value of 1.
  • Anything raised to the zero power (i.e. x^0) is 1, but 0^0 may not be used (undefined)
  • The integer/floor/ceiling/round functions may NOT be used.
  • Change of bases may NOT be used.
  • Logarithms may NOT be used.
  • Sine and Cosine may NOT be used.
Edit: The answer is now available in the comments... but don't look if you still want to figure it out on your own.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 24): Uh-oh! Oops! Drat! Where is that darn city?

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 24): Uh-oh! Oops! Drat! Where is that darn city?:
Q: Take the name Seattle. The letters in the odd positions are S-A-T-E, which spell SATE. Think of another U.S. city name, in seven letters, in which the letters in the odd position spell a common four-letter exclamation. What's the city and what's the exclamation?
My wife had the answer right away but I was off thinking world cities, European capitals, etc. Once I got back to U.S. cities it came to me right away. Isn't L. L. Bean associated with this city? No? Oh well, maybe I'm wrong. Post your clues but don't reveal any answers until after the deadline (Thursday 3pm ET). Talk to you later!

Edit: We'll have to see what the official answer is from NPR. It might be Oshkosh, but I was thinking Chicago, home of the elevated transit system called the "L" and a new sculpture in Millennium Park entitled "Cloudgate", but known more familiarly as "The Bean".

Friday, February 22, 2008

Use the digits 1 through 9 exactly once...

This is a quick puzzle that shouldn't be too difficult to figure out.

Q: Arrange the digits 1 through 9 to form three 3-digit perfect squares. You must use each of the nine digits exactly once.

Feel free to add a comment with your answer, along with how you solved it.

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 17): Surprise, surprise, another word problem!

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 17): Surprise, surprise, another word problem!:
Q: There's a seven-letter word for something that is a measure of wealth and power. The first four letters name an animal that is a symbol of power. And the last four letters name another animal that is a symbol of power. What's the word?
These simple word puzzles are getting old. There are so many clues in what Will provided again this week, that I'm 99.5% sure that most people will solve this almost immediately. If you say you spent more than an hour figuring this out, I'd call you on it and say you are lying.

Edit: This week's clues, "getting old", 99.5% (as in purity) --> Gold Bullion. Hopefully I don't have to explain the "bull" part of calling you on it. And lying sounds a lot like "lion".

Friday, February 15, 2008

This Number is a Two-Timer...

Here's a math puzzle for you to ponder. Feel free to post your answer in the comments.
Q: A positive integer has a unknown number of digits but it ends in a two. If the two is moved to the front of the number the new number will be exactly double the old. What is the number?

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 10): Put on a Bikini

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 10): Put on a Bikini:
Q: Name a city in six letters that's a popular tourist destination. Divide this name in half, move the first three letters to the end keeping everything else in order, you'll name some places where people like to relax. What are they?
When I think of tourist destinations, my first thought is they must include the sun as a primary reason for going. Think hot, hot, hot!

Edit: Hidden in my hint: "...include the sun as a primary...". The item in italics is an anagram of both answers. And the mention of heat applies to both as well.
A: NASSAU (capital of the Bahamas)--> SAUNAS

Friday, February 08, 2008

Create a foldable 3-D dodecahedron calendar

I discovered a fascinating site a few years back and completely forgot about it. You've probably seen a 3-D calendar with each month on one of the faces of a dodecahedron. But have you ever wanted to print and construct your own? Ole Arntzen of Norway created a webpage that lets you pick a year, a language and a few other options and then it creates a printable template for a 12-sided calendar.

You can generate a ready-to-print PDF file, or an editable PostScript file. With a little editing of the PS file, you can add holidays, birthdays, school breaks, anniversaries, etc. Take a look!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 3): A Sporting Chance

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 3): A Sporting Chance:
Q: Name a sport that has only one vowel in it. Change the vowel to a different vowel. If you read the result backward, you'll get a piece of equipment used in that sport. What's the sport and the piece of equipment?
I've gone over looking for the answer to this week's puzzle. Of course it makes sense that the answers are both one syllable, but after trying for several hours now, my interest in solving the puzzle this week is waning.
Edit: Time to reveal my clues:
"gone over looking for", "Of course..." --> GOLF
"waning" = "flagging" --> FLAG

Thursday, January 31, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 26): A Puzzle for the Birds

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 26): A Puzzle for the Birds:
Q: Take the three bird names egret, crane and owl. Rearrange the 13 letters to spell three other bird names. They are all common names. What are they?
You can solve this iteratively... look closely at the letters and find a bird name (say WREN), those letters, in turn, should lead you to another bird, then look at the remaining letters, etc.

Edit: Some of my clues were hidden in the comments. I mentioned having a 'sharp eye' or some would say 'eagle-eyed'. I also said that user 'Feed' should be proud of her answer, or some would say she has something to 'crow' about. And above I said, "those letters, in turn" which should lead you to 'tern'. Finally, my post ended etc which gives you the initial letters of each bird.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

How about a math puzzle?

It has been awhile since I've posted any non-NPR puzzles. Here's one to make you think:
Q: A nine-digit number ABCDEFGHI is such that its digits are all distinct and non-zero. It has the following properties:
The two-digit number AB is divisible by 2,
the three-digit number ABC is divisible by 3,
the four-digit number ABCD is divisible by 4,
and so on until finally,
the nine-digit number ABCDEFGHI is divisible by 9.

What is this special nine-digit number?

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 12): Tale of Two Authors

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 12): Tale of Two Authors:
Q: Name a famous American novelist whose last name contains nine letters. Drop the first and last letters, and rearrange the remaining seven letters to name another famous American novelist. Who are these authors? Hint: The first novelist is male, and the second one is female.
If you look for a clue in my title, you'd be missing something obvious -- Charles Dickens is an English novelist, not American. Honestly you'd figure out more from the puzzle than from examining my title for a hidden clue. The one thing I will say is that both novelists were alive at the same time, though barely. Does that help?

Edit: The title was an obvious reference to "A Tale of Two Cities". The item that was missing was the letter 'A'. That was a rather obtuse clue to "The Scarlet Letter", a novel by the first author.
The other clue was hidden in "puzzle than from examining..."
"Ethan Frome" was a novel by the second author.
The 3rd clue just gave you more information to confirm your answer and might have given away that both authors were deceased.
Putting it all together:
(Nathaniel) HAWTHORNE (1804-1864)
(Edith) WHARTON (1862-1937)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 5): Happy New Year!

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 5): Happy New Year!
Q: Take the phrase, Yeshiva Center, a place of Jewish studies, rearrange these 13 letters to name a well-known movie. It has three words in its name. What movie is it?
I've had a long-time yearning to come up with the ultimate clue to one of the puzzles... and sorry to say, all I have is a mediocre set of clues for this one. I don't have any wonderful insight into how to solve the puzzle. I just kept rearranging letters on the paper until I saw a couple words that were familiar. I suppose you could use an online anagram solver, but what fun is there in that? Anyway, my first instinct was to think that one of the words was a common article like "the" or "an". I'll just tell you, don't bother. Also, none of the words is extremely long, so don't get too fancy. Finally, my really useful hint is if you rearrange the letters you can spell "I envy teachers". (I guess I really meant to say useless hint. Fortunately I have another 51 weeks to come up better clues on future NPR puzzles.)

Edit: My post mentioned a "long-time yearning" and included the word 'year' a couple times. Time for the answer:

Thursday, January 03, 2008

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 30): And what does 2 + 0 + 0 + 8 equal?

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 30): And what does 2 + 0 + 0 + 8 equal?:
Q: Take the equation 5 + 5 + 5 = 550. Make this equation true by adding a single line. Hint: The answer is not to put a slash through the equal sign to make it not equal.
I was excited to see a math puzzle this week, but then I realized it was an old math puzzle I'd seen many times before. You can probably find it if you look. An additional hint, you can't touch the equal sign at all, so don't get any ideas of changing it to ≤.
Edit: Time to reveal the answer since it is after the deadline:
A: Add a line to one of the plus signs to make it look like a 4:
5 4 5 + 5 = 550