Thursday, February 16, 2012

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 12, 2012): Two Fictional Characters? Who Says?

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 12, 2012): Two Fictional Characters? Who Says?:
Q: Name two fictional characters — the first one good, the second one bad. Each is a one-word name. Drop the last letter of the name of the first character. Read the remaining letters in order from left to right. The result will be a world capital. What is it?
By the way, I'm with you - cool puzzle!

Edit: The title of the puzzle was poking fun at Will and whether or not Santa Claus is real. The other hints were By the Way and I'm With You which are albums by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the word cool which could be a synonym for chilly.
A: Sant(a) + Iago = Santiago (Chile)

1. Here's my standard reminder... don't post the answer or any hints that could lead directly to the answer (e.g. via Google or Bing) 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.

You may provide indirect hints to the answer to show you know it, but make sure they don't give the answer away. You can openly discuss your hints and the answer after the Thursday deadline. Thank you.

2. It's a bit of a stretch to say that the good character has only one name. Consider, for example, Groucho and Chico.

1. And another example from the same era, Fiorello, NYC's mayor, reader of the funny papers, and fan of the fire department.

3. Here's some hints for the sci-fi / fantasy nerds:
From the Lord of the Rings films: Gandalf, Sméagol/Gollum.
From the Star Wars prequels: Obi-Wan, Palpatine/Sidious.

4. GMC Yukon car named best in 2012.

5. Think of a shoemaker in 6 letters and a popular 1970's band in 4 letters. Take 1 letter from the shoemaker and give it to the band. Switch the position of 2 adjacent letters in each new "word". The result will name a world capital.

1. The country's flag to which this world capital belongs is sort of an inverted traffic light.

2. OMG in Italian.

6. I think the bad guy has roles in two different stories although unrelated.

1. Although the name of the one was inspired by the other.

2. And in the second role, he ended up being pretty good in the end.

7. Complete the sentence: After rearranging the letters, the Latin dancer turned to the audience and said "Please do not use your cell phones ____________."

8. I should check my list again but I think I ran across this puzzle some time back...

Chuck

9. Last night after the new puzzle was posted by NPR, I posted the following two comments on our previous blog:

skydiveboy Feb 11, 2012 10:34 PM
The new puzzle is up and I thought it was going to be an easy one, so I kept sitting in front of my computer freezing my butt off, rather than getting up and turning up the heat, because I kept telling myself I would get it right away. Now I can go heat the house.

skydiveboyFeb 11, 2012 10:40 PM
I forgot the hint. There is a connection to a puzzle answer from not too long ago here.

1. Complex guy. Maybe not immoral, but at best amoral! And his behavior was certainly bad.

11. I think the word "fictional" was a bit of a stretch for the good guy, as well.

12. Was my radio reception off this morning or did Will call one of my favorite people fictional?

13. The country has a different shape than the good guy.

-- Other Ben

14. @bhunter47: what's the stretch? Here is Merriam-Webster's first meaning for "fictional": "something invented by the imagination or feigned"

Were you thinking fiction had to be "literary" or do we just have different answers...? Well, we'll see on Thursday.

1. Fictional does depend on your point of view too. Some people may say Jesus Christ is fictional, others will argue otherwise. But I'd say we have the same answer, it seems to be the only World Capital that actually fits the bill.

15. My little friends may say he's fictional, but they're wrong.

16. This discussion smacks of conspiracy theory to me.

17. Are you sure the good guy is fictional. After all these years I have to hear it on a blog! OMG!

18. It's in the bag.

19. A bit late, but here's the comment I had left on our previous blog:

Enya_and_Weird_Al_fanFeb 11, 2012 11:39 PM
While others are giving clues to help readers think back a little bit to think of the good character's name, (who *DOES* have an optional last name), I've been wondering about how few people will recognize the bad character. ("Who's he?", "Never heard of him!")

The bad character is the villain in,... let's say it's a tale told by an idiot... (Nah, that's not quite right; but hopefully I've at least steered you into the right neighborhood.)

20. Both names, the good guy's and the bad guy's, flew right into my head.

21. E&WAF, I agree that many listeners will not recognize the villain's name. Most will recognize the name of the work in which the villain appears.

22. I immediately thought of Budapest as in My Fair Lady's "I've never met a rudapest" but Buddha doesn't fit the rules--I'll keep trying.

23. February is halfway gone.
It's time to put a puzzle on.
Need something more to make you think?

24. Unless I've got the wrong answer, the "name" of the "good guy" here isn't even his name, it's really his title, right? Or, at best, a corruption of a translation of his title, or vice versa? And his real name (or translation of corruption thereof) is what you might call his "second name", making his not a one-word name, and this a bogus puzzle? Or am I just being a scrooge?

25. Dave's not here.

26. SANTIAGO from SANTA & IAGO

My hints:

"The new puzzle is up and I thought it was going to be an easy one, so I kept sitting in front of my computer freezing my butt off, rather than getting up and turning up the heat, because I kept telling myself I would get it right away. Now I can go heat the house."

AND:

skydiveboy Feb 11, 2012 10:40 PM
"I forgot the hint. There is a connection to a puzzle answer from not too long ago here."

Actually I did not forget the hint; it was the cold which was hinting at Chile/chilly. Also a while back I seem to remember Santa's reindeer being part of an answer.

AND:

"It's in the bag." Hinting at Santa's bag of toys.

27. From above:

GMC Yu(kon car na)med best in 2012...

as in chili con carne.

28. ... and another thing: You've got your San Francisco, San Diego, San Antonio, etc, (and Sant Iago) ... and your Santa Barbara, Santa Ana, Santa Clara, etc, ... So, how come it's Santa Claus, not San Claus or Sant Claus?

29. Last Sunday I said: “I should check my list again but I think I ran across this puzzle some time back...”

Santa always checks his list twice.

“I” is the first letter in Iago. “Some time back” = some time “ago,” the last three letters in Iago.

Chuck

30. When I posted:

The bad character is the villain in,... let's say it's a tale told by an idiot... (Nah, that's not quite right; but hopefully I've at least steered you into the right neighborhood.)

The quote "'Tis a tale told by an idiot. Full of sound and fury; signifying nothing!" is from William Shakespeare's "MacBeth"; spoken by MacBeth himself regarding life.

Iago, of course, is from one of Shakespeare's *other* plays, "Othello"; but hopefully my clue at least steered you guys into the neighborhood of Shakespeare.

31. My hints, explained:

>From the Lord of the Rings films: Gandalf, Sméagol/Gollum.
>From the Star Wars prequels: Obi-Wan, Palpatine/Sidious.

The actors who portrayed these characters also at one time or another all played Iago. Their pairing as fictional characters in good/bad order was intended to confuse.

32. My thinking was - Santa and his reindeer-led sleigh fly through the sky. Iago is also the name of the parrot, which flies, in the Disney movie Aladdin. For that matter, Aladdin and Jasmine fly on a magic carpet in that movie too...

33. I started to add "did anyone tell Virginia?" but thought that was over the top as Dave, who is not here, might tell me. @plannedchaos, you got the right name. I love the clue.

34. Rearrange Santiago to get "as I tango".

35. I enjoyed MrScience's reference to "A Night at the Opera" in which Fiorello (Chico) says to Otis (Groucho) "There ain't no Sanity Clause!"

36. New puzzle just came up and this time I think all will agree it is well stated.