Thursday, December 03, 2009

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Nov 29): I'm not a Poet...

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Nov 29): I'm not a Poet...:
Q: Think of three six-letter words starting with B, G and F. The last five letters of the words are the same and in the same order, yet none of the words rhymes with any of the others. What words are these?
This puzzle is rather easy and I don't have time to come up with a clever clue, but this does remind me of our annual Christmas Puzzle from 2006 entitled Close But No Rhyme. It's based on the same concept of non-rhyming words that only differ in their first letter. Enjoy.

Edit: The clue word was "rather". Also, question #17 on our Christmas puzzle used 2 of the 3 words.


  1. Here's my standard reminder... don't post the answer or any outright spoilers before the deadline of Thursday at 3pm ET. If you know the answer, click the link and submit it to NPR, but don't give it away here. Thank you.

  2. I found 30 6-letter b-word / g-word / f-word triads whose last 5 letters match. But only one such triad had the additional characteristic that none of the three words rhymed with either of the other two.

    I’m not sure I agree with Blaine that this is a relatively easy puzzle. Perhaps that is true for the puzzle people found here in Blainesville, but I’m not sure it will be easy for the NPR-listening population at large...


  3. chuckquartz, now that you have the answer you will see that Blaine's comment was a actually a clue as much as an assessment of the difficulty of the puzzle.

  4. Blaine: You do provide a clever clue. And, thanks for the link to your 2006 Christmas puzzle--very nice indeed. Though, I did wonder why you had four clues about mom but only one about dad.

  5. After collecting my thoughts and pondering Blaine's clue, I finally came up with the solution. My son told me he figured it out in a couple minutes. For dear old dad, it took much longer than that.

  6. To solve this, sire, I must cleanse my mind and collect my thoughts...

  7. Guys (Chezedog & phredp), any more obvious?
    Though the answer seems too easy to be correct, I have to consider that the big WS has consistently given us enigmatological breaks around the holidays... Anyone remember the bagpipes?

  8. These clues are all way too obvious. But then again, so is the puzzle. I solved in between various, rather unpleasant conditions resulting from mild food poisoning.

  9. Lorenzo –

    True. But I believe one should be able to comment on an explicit comment without garnering comments on their comment on the comment from their elders :)


  10. Mixing up a couple of sisters helped me solve this puzzle...

  11. Roxie, Dudelsack, if you please. One of my favorite words for descriptive compactness and completeness.

  12. Spencer Tracy and Steve Martin. Not too obvious this time, I hope.

  13. This is actually a pretty tough puzzle. I figured it out while I was sitting at a traffic light last night (that's not a hint).

    Hint: There are only a few letters that can go after b, f and g.

  14. Hugh, I am personally a huge fan of the tootle sack, as much as I am a fan of German literalism and onomatopoeia :-)

  15. Either this puzzle is as easy as Blaine says, or perhaps it's just been rather well-clued as everyone here is such a smarty pants.

    Instead of adding a clue, I'll add a new side-puzzle instead.

    I submitted this one to Shortz but he dinged it, mumbling something about how I shouldn't bother him as I wasn't even half the Ben that original Ben was, but I might someday measure up to full-Ben status if I kept trying.


    Name a kind of music. The term for this kind of music has a letter that appears twice. Remove both instances of the repeated letter and when you read the term backwards, you'll have the last name of a famous author. What is the musical genre and who is the author?

    -- Other Ben

  16. Gee Other Ben, that's a toughie... I don't know if I can figure that one out without help...

    But anyway, last year (in the fall) I went to this club to see one of my favorite jazz bands. The club was pretty crowded; it's not a very big house. I waited for all of fifteen minutes for an usher to show me to my seat! Good show, though; worth the wait.

  17. My answers:
    11/22: OKAY = OK and AY
    11/15: VIRGIN (mobile) and RAMBLER
    10/4: carbon-copy-cat-call-center-city-chest-cold-case-closed-circuit 11 words!

  18. Other Ben, Carl was right about your music puzzle being a toughie.

    Well, it was way past midnight and I was weary. I needed to watch some TV to clear my mind. A Vincent Price movie was on; but it was too scary for me. I didn't want to have nightmares or to dream dreams that no mortal ever dared to dream before.

  19. Other Ben,

    Your puzzle brings to mind a closely related question articulated by Hamlet, albeit penned by a different author.

  20. Ben, nice puzzle. Searching for more puzzles to solve is a telltale sign that we're puzzle addicts.

  21. I leave the honor to our host (or whoever else wants to) to post the correct answer. But now that the deadline for submission has passed, I thought some here might possibly like to see a list of all the 29 non-winning 6-letter b-word, f-word and g-word triads I could find that are incorrect because at least two (if not all three) of the words rhyme:

    bagged, fagged, gagged
    banged, fanged, ganged
    bashed, fashed, gashed
    bashes, fashes, gashes
    basted, fasted, gasted
    baster, faster, gaster
    bating, fating, gating
    belled, felled, gelled
    bender, fender, gender
    better, fetter, getter
    bibbed, fibbed, gibbed
    bibber, fibber, gibber
    billed, filled, gilled
    biller, filler, giller
    binger, finger, ginger
    binned, finned, ginned
    births, firths, girths
    blared, flared, glared
    blares, flares, glares
    bloats, floats, gloats
    blowed, flowed, glowed
    blower, flower, glower
    blumes, flumes, glumes
    bobbed, fobbed, gobbed
    bolder, folder, golder
    brails, frails, grails
    brayed, frayed, grayed
    brills, frills, grills
    bulled, fulled, gulled

    Personally, I was hoping that there might be a verb “bing,” i.e., snapping your fingernail on a bowl, cup or glass to make a “binging” sound. If there were, there would be binger, finger, ginger. But, alas, no such luck – binger means one who binges and it rhymes with ginger :(


  22. BTW...

    It’s approximately 2:45 PM CST on 12/03/09. This has absolutely to do with this week’s NPR puzzle but I wanted to try it out on you all and see what you think.

    I have coined (at least I think I’m the first) a new word: hand-helding. It can be used as a verb to describe actively using or employing a handheld device such as an i-Phone, Blackberry, Palm, cell phone or other handheld device for any of a variety of tasks or for entertainment purposes. Example: my girlfriend got upset because I was hand-helding while she was talking to me.

    Any thoughts?


  23. I also submitted FATHER BATHER GATHER.

    I clued these when I created my secondary puzzle. In my setup, I used the words EITHER RATHER and BOTHER.

    And it seems that at least William, Carl, and Eddie got my secondary puzzle. I'll post the answer tomorrow.

    -- Other Ben

  24. PUZZLE:

    Name a kind of music. The term for this kind of music has a letter that appears twice. Remove both instances of the repeated letter and when you read the term backwards, you'll have the last name of a famous author. What is the musical genre and who is the author?



  25. Ben, I solved your puzzle, too. I posted, "Searching for more puzzles to solve is a TELLTALE sign that we're puzzle addicts."

  26. As Hamlet said, "Two B's or not two B's, that is the question." Or something like that. Clearly he was talking about Ben's puzzle!

  27. Hi, Does anyone know how to submit a puzzle suggestion to Will?

  28. Jean, go to the NPR website. Click on Sunday Edition. There will be a form to fill out asking whether you have a question or a comment. Fill out the form and you'll be able to submit a puzzle. I've done it about half a dozen times but haven't been picked yet. Good luck!


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.