Thursday, May 28, 2009

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 24): Famous Person Puzzle

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 24): Famous Person Puzzle:
Q: Think of a famous person whose first and last names both have seven letters. Only two different consonants appear in this full name, each used more than once. Out of the 14 letters in the name, 13 of them appear in the first half of the alphabet, A-M. Who is this person?
I'm so sorry guys... I dropped the ball on getting the puzzle posted on Sunday. For anyone that wants some hints, look to the comments in the prior puzzle post. I must admit that my initial attempts to figure this puzzle out were hampered by my method. I had a list of common first names pulled from census data and I filtered them by the rules above (no more than 2 consonants, vowels "aei" with possibly one extra from the set "ou"). It came up with mostly female names like Cecilia and Lucille. I now see why my method was doomed to fail.

Edit: I said I "dropped the ball" which was a reference to the story of Galileo dropping two objects of different mass from the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa as an experiment to disprove Aristotle's theory that objects fall at a speed relative to their mass. The story is probably apocryphal, but should have been a clue to Galileo. The other hint implied that the name was not one you would find in a list of common names...

Friday, May 22, 2009

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 17): Back to Words

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 17): Back to Words:
Q: Think of a 6-letter word in which the third letter is 'S'. Remove the 'S' and you'll be left with a 5-letter word that means the opposite of the 6-letter one. What is it?
For anyone that gave up on the difficult puzzle last week, don't worry. This week's puzzle is so easy that it sounds like NPR will be deluged with answers.

Edit: We have a synonym for "give up" and a homonym for "deluge".

Thursday, May 14, 2009

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 10): Another Numeric Brainteaser - Not!

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 10): Another Numeric Brainteaser:
Q: If 5 = 4, 7 = 17, 9 = 25 and 35 = 2, what does 14 equal?
Will Shortz admitted this is a tough puzzle. Frankly, I'd be surprised if many people are able to figure this one out. It took me all day, but I'm positive I have the right answer now.

Edit: It's after the deadline, so I can reveal my clues here. First the title indicates that you shouldn't be focusing on this as a numeric puzzle. The second sentence has another hint to the solution with the word "Frankly". The sentence also ends with word "out" and the opposite is "in". Putting that together you get "Frankly-in" or just "Franklin". There are better clues in the comments, so look through those for more details.
A: The key is first names of the U.S. presidents.

The 5th president was James Monroe. The earliest president that shared the same first name was #4 James Madison.

The 7th president was Andrew Jackson who shared his first name with #17 Andrew Johnson.

The 9th president was William Henry Harrison who shared his first name with #25 William McKinley.

The 35th president was John F. Kennedy who shared his first name with #2 John Adams.

The 14th president was Franklin Pierce who shared his first name with the 32nd president Franklin D. Roosevelt.

14 = 32

Thursday, May 07, 2009

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 3): Make A Name For Yourself

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 3): Make A Name For Yourself:
Q: Take a common five-letter first name that contains one V. Change the V to an L, rearrange the letters and you'll get a familiar last name. The first and last names go together to name a famous star living in Hollywood. Who is it?
I would definitely agree that the first name is common. As for the last name, I'd have to say maybe.

Edit: The clue above was to the 2008 movie "Definitely, Maybe"

Friday, May 01, 2009

Friday Fun: Rapidly Rotating Electronic Lock

It's Friday and you are looking forward to the weekend, but an evil genius has locked you in a room. The door to the room is protected by a special electronic lock with four identical buttons equally spaced along the rim of a circular dial.

Each button toggles an internal switch within the mechanism. You can attempt to open the lock by simultaneously pressing any set of the 4 buttons which will toggle the corresponding switches. If you are lucky enough to thereby align the switches so they are all on or all off, the lock will open. Otherwise the dial begins a spinning cycle that lasts for 1 full minute. When it comes to rest you have no way of knowing which button(s) you pressed previously.

Your captor is returning in 15 minutes. Is there any possible method you can think of that will GUARANTEE that you can open the lock in less than 15 tries? If it is not possible, then let me know why that is the case... so I don't waste my time.