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)



  1. Any time you get the answer before Will signs off, it's a disappointing week. I guess no one here in the USA is capable of creating a difficult puzzle. I enjoy the ones from the World Puzzle Championship better.

  2. Yes this one was too, too easy.

    Remember what Mark Twain is alleged to have said about the weather? Well maybe this is a case where we can all try to be part of the solution instead of the precipitate...

    I propose that all of you (us) who are tempted to whine about how easy this week's puzzle was take some time to craft our own puzzle or puzzles, more in the line of what we'd like to encounter on Sunday on NPR. And then submit said puzzles and see if any of them get used.

    Personally I think that would be more gratifying than having my response chosen at random...

    As for the phrase in question; don't look for it on products in the electronics section of the store.

  3. 1 mile = 1 mile

    :) That's for you Blaine

  4. This one should exceed the 4600
    submissions for heaven/heathen.

  5. The car talk puzzlers are better than the NPR puzzles lately. I like the idea of coming up with our own puzzle.

  6. Okay, time to put my money where my mouth is...

    Been pretty busy but decided this evening to come up with at least one passable puzzle, or the closest I could get to passable without spending hours on it.

    So, here's my sample puzzle.

    Think of two words, five letters each. The first word, a noun, is a strong emotional state. The second word, a verb, is what somebody might do in that state. Rearrange those ten letters to form a hyphenated term for a type of novel.

    I won't submit this one so anybody who thinks it's worth submitting is more than welcome to do so.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. I took Carl's suggestion to heart -- and I created a puzzle and sent it into Shortz.

    It got dinged (though I commend the guy for actually answering his email, given how many of us there are out there). Here it is.

    And if any of you get the right answer and leave your home phone number here at Blainsville, I'll call you Monday morning at 4am and you'll have a chance to play puzzle on the air with me, and I might give you a free lapel pin if I can find one.

    Here's my Olympic Puzzler:

    With his breakout performance in the 2008 Olympics, Usain Bolt has become one of the top sprinters of all time. He also joins a club more beloved to word geeks – famous athletes whose last name relates directly to their athletic talent. Tiger Woods is another such famous athlete.

    Think of a third such famous athlete. In this case, the athlete’s last name has a homophone, specifically an alternate spelling with the same pronunciation, that relates to the athlete’s talent.

    Also in this instance, the homophone of the athlete’s last name is an anagram of the athlete’s first name.

    Who is this famous athlete and what is the homophone?

  9. Ben

    I like the idea of your puzzle, but I wonder if part of why it wasn't chosen to be used is that it's loaded in favor of people who follow professional sports (of which I am not one).

    If someone wants to try submitting my puzzle would you let me know? Every time I read it I think seriously about submitting it, but I said it was up for grabs so I'll wait a bit.

    If anyone is curious enough about the answer I could and probably will post it on Seattle Craigslist's rants and raves, under the heading Carl's Blaineblog puzzle.

    And by the way, since we no longer seem to be able to preview our comments are we also unable to use html to italicize stuff if we're so inclined?

  10. Carl,
    You can write your comment on Word and then cut and paste to this page.

  11. If anyone wants, I can switch it back to the old commenting system. I liked the way the post a comment box was embedded, but I do miss the preview...

  12. And yes, HTML formatting still works, if you are familiar with them... I used italics and bold and here's a link to our photos from Iceland

  13. Blaine

    I like the way it looks since you changed it; it's kind of a preview in itself except for not being able to see the results of one's HTML coding...

    If I hadn't been worried about looking foolish (like that's avoidable) I could have just experimented to see if HTML works in your new format. If I'd been thinking I could have made it obvious that I was testing to see if it worked, just in case it didn't. That might even have made me look bold and inquisitive, in a good way...

  14. How does HTML formatting work?

  15. You can add HTML "tags" around text you want to emphasize (e.g. <i> and </i> for italics). There are numerous sites that will explain HTML if you aren't familiar with it.

    Blogger says they plan to eventually re-add edit controls, preview and the e-mail reply on new comments...

    As for the two proposed puzzles, I'm actually stuck on both. I'll have to think a little harder, or wait for some clues.

  16. Okay, you wanna clue? YOU CAN'T HANDLE A CLUE!

    Oops, slipped into Jack-Nicholson-in-A-Few-Good-Men mode there, probably because it was on TV last time I visited my girlfriend...

    Anyway, a clue. Spock, being a Vulcan, would never be caught in the action of the verb that's the second of the two words.

  17. Did anyone solve the latest cartalk puzzler? I have not a clue about 1968 VW.

  18. I couldn't resist; I submitted the puzzle. I originally thought it was too easy, but I guess it just seemed easy because I already knew the answer...

    As to my clue (actually there are multiple clues in my last comment), don't focus on Spock's name.

  19. Mandy, read nearly to the end of the article...1969 Volkswagen. It should give you a clue.


For NPR puzzle posts, don't post the answer or any hints that could lead to the answer before the deadline (usually Thursday at 3pm ET). If you know the answer, 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 assist with solving. You can openly discuss your hints and the answer after the deadline. Thank you.