Thursday, June 25, 2009

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jun 21): Find a TV Celebrity with No Curves?

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jun 21): Find a TV Celebrity with No Curves?:
Q: Take the name Kevin Kline. The first and last names both have five letters. Written in capital letters — KEVIN KLINE — each name consists of exactly 13 straight lines and no curves.

Name a well-known TV personality with five-letter first and last names. Each name contains exactly 14 straight lines and no curves. Who is this?
Though I could have probably figured this out the "normal" way, I approached this programmatically. I took a couple of lists of celebrity names (first and last) and put them in a spreadsheet. I modified a function I had created earlier to count vowels and instead made it count the number of strokes (I = 1, LTVX = 2, AFHKNYZ = 3, EMW = 4, everything else = 1000). I then filtered the list down to 5 letter names each with 14 strokes (39 first names and 44 last names). As it turned out, only one name fit the puzzle... I should have seen that sooner.

Edit: Clues: vowels, turned, solve the puzzle...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jun 14): Ready for a test?

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jun 14): Ready for a test?:
Q: Think of one word that starts with 'te' and another word that starts with 'st' — and they're synonyms. Hint: The 'te' word has two syllables; the 'st' word has one.
Anyone else worried that there might be several possible answers this week? I always hated when teachers had one answer in mind on a test that was worded such that there could be several potential answers. On the other hand, it must be hard as a teacher to design a test so it accurately measures whether students understood the material that was taught. Oh well, we'll see at the end of the week if we passed or failed this test.

Edit: My hints were 'worried ... [about] a test' (stressed), 'taught' (synonym for 'taut' (tense)'. In the first comment, I mentioned 'emphasize' (stress).
A: As I mentioned, there are numerous good answers. The two pairs I liked the most were:
Check the comments to see other choices.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jun 7): TV Personality Puzzle

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jun 7): TV Personality Puzzle:
Q: Think of a famous TV personality with five letters in the first name and four letters in the last name. Change the first letter of this celebrity's first name to M. Drop the first letter of the last name. Read the result in order, and it will spell something this person is famously known for doing many times. Who is this person?
This may not be much help, but the celebrity has played the role of a step-sister...

Edit: As mentioned in the comments, the celebrity in question has provided the voice of the ugly step-sister in several of the Shrek movies...

Thursday, June 04, 2009

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 31): Indian Wrestle Anagram

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 31): Indian Wrestle Anagram:
Q: Take 'Indian wrestle,' rearrange the 13 letters to get three words that are all related. What are they? Hint: The word lengths are five, four and four letters, respectively.
We'll have to see whether or not people can restrain themselves from giving obvious clues. Personally, I don't have time to provide a good clue because I'm off to Chicago for a couple weeks and haven't finished packing. P.S. If anyone is thinking of a certain common phrase, the puzzle answer would be misquoting it.

Edit: A few clues above: whether = weather, Chicago = the "windy" city. And if you were thinking of the phrase associated with the postal service, you might want to read the comments below... it only has one of the words.