Thursday, April 22, 2010

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Apr 18, 2010): A Tale of Two Countries

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Apr 18, 2010): A Tale of Two Countries:
Q: Name a country in six letters. Change two consecutive letters in it to one letter to get the name of another country. What countries are these?
Here's a related puzzle sent to me by Gillog Lautomy, "Name a country in seven letters. Change three consecutive letters in it to one letter to get the name of another country. What countries are these?"

Edit: The hint was the "name" Gillog Lautomy. You can insert the country names to form 4 words (gilGUY/ANAlog lauGH/ANAtomy).
P.S. The answer to the bonus puzzle is LIBERIA --> LIBYA.


  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. Take a cool challenge. Solve without aid of a country list.

  3. This was a bad week for me. Two flat tires and I got a call that my honey hit a deer this morning.

  4. My bad. My clue above would work if you switched from a 5 letter country to a 4 letter country using the rules of the puzzle. So, how do you delete a post now?

  5. to Blue (yeah Im a bit obsessive) my friend wanted me to tell you another answer to your side puzzle last week "two dishes of birthday cheesecake on the side"

    Sorry guys no clues in this one

  6. Three of the four countries (Will's two and one of Blaine's) are similar in latitude.

  7. A foolish sailor's song might lead to one country.

  8. Before the breakup of Gondwana, the 2 countries in Will's puzzle were pretty much one contiguous area. As the tectonic plates separated, the northern half got a single letter from the northern half of the alphabet, while the southern half got 2 letters from the southern half of the alphabet.

  9. Natasha, I'm not sure which musical you're referring to, but it reminds me of the greatest movie ever made (in my opinion).

  10. Lovely history and geography lesson, Mz Jan.

    Especial yus’ for you, then, a song = GranaKiddo Jacobito’s favorite with which to thoroughly drive GranaNana Blue completely WhackaMana:

    .Jana, Jana Bow - Bana
    .BaNana – Fana Foe – Fana
    .Fee Fie Moe Mana
    .Jaaaaa – na!

  11. Natasha, I got your clue. Nice.

    Blue, I got your clue in the second line.

  12. Blue, that's Mr. Jan...

    Go WhackaMana if you want, but don't drink the Kool-Aid.

    That reminds me of a joke, but the punch line's too long.

  13. Whew! After the puzzle taking days last week, I was "sidelined" from my usual schedule. So, I already submitted my answer and now my guy and a friend and I are going to go do something fun in Vegas.

  14. O, I so thought it could be Mr and went with Ms cuz
    i) all 'round considered, that'd be / is a good, good thing, not? and
    ii) this particular rendition's name use, well ... it so fits another's birthing day today, thus, for her, as well.

    JYeah ... re that drink thingy: such the baaaaad.

    Perhaps better to go with both countries' WackyTobacky. Or, best, even, to washa washa down with: Nana's coconutana - milk from either one - a.

  15. I admit I have a "Jones" on for Will’s Weekend Edition Sunday puzzle segments. Most of us here do. But I have a bias against “country” puzzles in general. There’s such a relatively small, known universe of possible answers that the puzzles aren’t usually challenging – just like this week’s...


  16. Blaine, while still half asleep the puzzle Gillog posed came to me before the answer to Will's. You can also get to that answer by applying the *two* letter exchange rule to an anagram of your name.

    BTW, what happened to the self delete button ?

  17. I'm still trying to figure out where the delete button went... I didn't change anything so I'll have to search the Blogger help forums.

  18. I made a BIG mistake. At first, I thought you had to change two consecutive letters to the SAME letter, due to Will's wording.

    I'm focusing on some resulting six-letter country with two consecutive letters, like GREECE or RUSSIA. Couldn't find anything that worked. Then it all went south.

    My Mac crashed, my infant is crying, and I have no more time. 'Shan't I try again? Straight up and down, I gave up.

    I get in the car. I'm not supposed to talk on the cell while driving, but I call Anna, Yao, Regina, all my friends, but none have the answer. I get to the onramp, and I'm next to go. Suddenly it all comes to me.

    Answer submitted.

    -- Other Ben

  19. Since anyone who’s likely to solve Will’s two-country puzzle has probably done so by now, here’s a bird of a different feather for your puzzling pleasure: this week’s Car Talk Puzzler.

    Stevie's riding his motorcycle to work when he sees a big sign displaying the temperature in Fahrenheit and in Centigrade. The digits are exactly reversed. He notices the same thing on the way home (with a different set of digits). What were the temperatures?

    If anyone is interested in seeing a short Qbasic program to solve this, let me know and I’ll be happy to post it.


  20. Chuck,
    That could never happen in Hawaii. Also, there is another answer if negative signs are ignored.

    Name a well-known title in literature (2 words), which is also the subject of a popular orchestral work. Drop the first letter of the first word and the last letter of the second word, rearrange the remaining letters, and you get a concept in science. Name the piece of literature and the scientific concept.

  22. Chuck - fun puzzle thanks for sharing
    I think we can also deduce that the digital display rounds up/down appropriately and does not simply truncate, otherwise one of the numbers wouldn't work.

  23. ken -

    Correct - no Hawaii, no negative numbers :)

    DaveJ -

    Correct - round, don't truncate.


  24. I solved it with a spreadsheet:
    Label column A as Farenheit (cell A1)
    Label column B as Celsius (cell B1)

    Put your starting value in A2 (e.g. 50)
    In the cell below (A3) put this formula:
    Copy this to every cell below (up to row 51), you should have temperatures from 50°F to 99°F.

    In B2 put the Celsius conversion formula:
    In C2 I put a formula (otpional) to check the two values:
    Copy these two formulae down through row 51.

  25. My friend Anna was Gonna hook me up with some fella who thought I could be his "doll". But he was not kool at all. He wanted to order food to-go and he had near-ly beenin jail a few times. So when he left Ah di'n cra

  26. Thanks Blaine for the spreadsheet info. It worked for me!!!

  27. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  28. I wish I had the power of a blog administrator.

  29. It amazes and amuses me that all of us here solve puzzles in entirely different ways but almost always come up with the same (correct) answers...


  30. Jan, it's not nice to directly give away puzzles that some others might still be solving...

  31. Very sorry; I thought the embargo applied only to the NPR Sunday puzzle.

  32. yus’ = yu reversed within = Guyana

    any words’ stretches or suffixes of –ana = suffixes of Guyana and Ghana

    drink thingy = Guyanan murder weapon

    marijuana / coconuts = both countries’ agricultural products

  33. Ken:
    I have not been able to solve your Science Fiction puzzle - any clues ?

  34. Here's the little QBasic program I mentioned that solves the Car Talk puzzle. Our blog's text editor doesn't seem to like leading tabs and spaces but I've tried to compensate for that below by the liberal use of carriage returns and by commenting in the program itself.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    REM F2c2.bas

    'Clear the screen

    'Consider integer Farenheit temps from 50 to 99
    FOR Far = 50 TO 99

    'Store left and right Farenheit temp digits
    FLeft$ = LEFT$(LTRIM$(RTRIM$(STR$(Far))), 1)
    FRite$ = RIGHT$(LTRIM$(RTRIM$(STR$(Far))), 1)

    'Calculate and round corresponding Centigrade temps
    Cen = INT(((Far - 32) / 1.8) + .5)

    'Store left and right Centigrade temp digits
    CLeft$ = LEFT$(LTRIM$(RTRIM$(STR$(Cen))), 1)
    CRite$ = RIGHT$(LTRIM$(RTRIM$(STR$(Cen))), 1)

    'Test for opposite L/R digits between F & C temps
    'Print temps if true
    IF FLeft$ = CRite$ AND FRite$ = CLeft$ THEN
    PRINT Far, Cen
    END IF

    'End of FOR / NEXT loop
    NEXT Far

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Of course, as many of you have already discovered the answers are 61/16 and 82/28.

    BTW, most versions of Windows have QBasic stored somewhere on the installation CD though it may not have been automatically transferred to your hard drive during installation. If you have it or can find it, it's a lot of fun to play around with...


  35. DaveJ - Your efjort is appreciated, but there is volcanic ash drifting due east and landing on me. I have no power nor way to give you a clue.

  36. My hints:

    It all went south
    => Ghana and Guyana are both in the Southern hemisphere

    my mAC CRAshed
    => actually I don't have a mac. But ACCRA is the capital of Ghana.

    my inFANT Is crying, and I have no more time. 'SHAN'T I try aGAin?
    => FANTI, ASHANTI and GA are the three main tribes of Ghana

    Straight up and down, I gave up.
    => "Straight Up and Down" is a song by the Brian Jonestown Massacre

    I call Anna, Yao, Regina
    => Anna Regina is a town in Guyana
    => Yao is the name given to boys born on a Thursday in Ghana
    (Ghana has a system in which you get your last name from your family
    or tribe, and your first name based on your gender and day of the week
    I was born on Friday, so I would be "Kofi")

    I'm next to go.
    => Ghana is next to Togo

    -- Other Ben

  37. I always thought Liberia was a town in Costa Rica. Never knew it was also a country. That's why I worked out the answer to that puzzle was Nigeria/Niger.

    How about making the next puzzle one that can be solved without having a perfect knowledge foreign geography?

  38. PG,
    Who needs a perfect knowledge of foreign geography when there is Wikipedia? :-)
    List of Countries


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.