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


  1. If you think systematically, it's not such a challenge; took me maybe thirty seconds. Might sound like a short time, until you think about how far light will travel in thirty seconds...

    Blaine, your comment made me think of a joke (well, it's a matter of opinion) from elementary school. It involved a comparison with the primary fixture of an older television show and a common household item

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Things are looking up this week. A puzzle like this isn't hard if you think big!

  4. I'm too sore to do the puzzle this week. Had to go and get a colonoscopy yesterday. (I know, I know..I hear you saying "thanks for sharing").

    Have you had yours? Supposed to be every five years after 50.

  5. Oh, great. Now we've got somebody hawking colonoscopies. Phred, there are things I'd rather have a look at than your.....insides!

  6. i suck at these. my inclination is to look at the color spectrum, but that doesn't work for me. hmm i'm trying to gather the answer from the clues provided, but no luck so far...


  7. Minncognito,


    Easter Morning...

    Juice, Syrup...


    No Pancakes!

    Now there's a clue that some might say is out of this world...

  8. flour...spatula....ham radio? frequency...frequency...

    astronomy....spatula...comet...Lauren Bacall...planets...planet names...Mighty Mouse comics...Batman....hmmmmmm

  9. nevermind, i got it. you guys are running rings around me with your puzzle-solving skills!

    haha! i just got the colonoscopy hint.

  10. heh heh... yeah this week isn't too tough at all. I'm going to go watch the World Series now.

  11. Answer submitted to NPR.

    Carl and Minncognito, The hints are
    as much fun and the puzzles. But I'm still working on "pancakes" and
    "colonoscopy"--phredp, have you re-

    What's the old saying about not
    seeing something because it's too
    close--right under your nose?

  12. I assume that the colonoscopy reference is a little like the naughty pun from Harry Potter, where Ron Weasley addressed Lavender Brown!

  13. geri,

    you should never say "right under your nose" right after a reference to someone's colonoscopy...

    If you're creative you should be able to capitalize on my pancake clue...

    Which, you might note, would not have worked so neatly if I'd been addressing someone like you or plummew or phredp, as opposed to minncognito...

  14. don't be so anal with your clues, carl. besides all that, we've really entered the Golden Age of puzzles, Chronus would be proud. ;)

  15. geri

    I hope you understand that my criticism was tongue in cheek.

    Wait. Did I just say tongue in cheek in reference to someone's reference to colonoscopy...?


    Anyway, glad you worked it out. That reminds me of the joke (well, it's a matter of opinion) about the constipated mathematician...

    I'll be glad when we can stop talking about this puzzle.

  16. There is zero dispute about the pronunciation of the term.

    EVERYONE who has EVER attended elementary school knows exactly how to pronounce the item (the 7th in the series, that is).


  17. Ben, I beg to differ; there may be no dispute in your house but if you google "pronounce (the answer)," you'll find there are plenty of people who are confused or argumentative about the issue. I lean towards the scientific community's preferred pronunciation, which is not the pronunciation I learned in elementary school, which was so memorable because it sounded like something to which any reference had the effect of sending young children into fits of stifled laughter...

  18. and can you believe it; my confirmation letters that I needed to reproduce to post that last comment were "rofnl", which is curiously close to ROTFLMAO.

  19. I don't think you can win either way. In one pronunciation the *last* two syllables make school children giggle. In the other pronunciation, students can make fun of the *first* two syllables.

  20. Carl, I give up. PLEASE tell me.

    Henry Hook perpetrated a good one
    in the Philadelphia Weekly crossword
    "Tuff Stuff" 10-8-08 five down, three spaces: "Two of fifteen?"

  21. Geri

    Each capitalized word, in order, matches the first letter of a planet, in order from the sun outward.

  22. Posting, by the way, from the Anacortes Ferry Terminal. Waiting for the ferry to Orcas Island with my girlfriend; it's her birthday. I'll tell her you all said "happy birthday."

  23. carl, THANKS for the answers.
    girlfriend, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!


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.

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