## Sunday, March 24, 2013

### NPR Sunday Puzzle (Mar 24, 2013): Five by Five Word Square

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Mar 24, 2013): Five by Five Word Square:
Q: Take the four words "salt," "afar," "lava" and "trap." Write them one under the other, and the words will read the same vertically as horizontally. This is a word square of four-letter words. Note that the only vowel in this example square is an A. The object of the challenge is to create a five-letter word square using only common, uncapitalized English words, in which the only vowel in the entire square is A. The word in the center row, and column, is NASAL.
Aside from subjecting you to some obvious clues, there isn't much I can add, so I'll just give you a picture of the grid & let you figure it out from there.

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. I would have had a bear of a time solving it without your grid, Blaine. Thanks, you can dismantle it now. Don't mean to sound histrionic or prideful here, but while Obama was traveling around the world and back giving speeches, I solved this in my head in 9 minutes while listening to the news. (clues to all four words are here).

1. Abq, my (only) wife also solved this fairly quickly while I was still at last week's puzzle enjoying the on-air mention of my alternative solution.

2. Congrats, Lorenzo. And, no doubt she was putting on her makeup while you were rubbing this in our faces. ;-) Just joshin' ya, bruddah. Anyone who humbles, Will, is a pal of mine!

3. Amico, stai chiamandomi un cavallo?

4. And a female plural one at that!

5. Un cavallo? No, signore. Un millanterio, forse. ;-) Come ha fatto a sapere che parlo Italiano, paisano?

6. Accidenti! Proprio non lo sapevo. Ho risposto in italiano perché la parola “palomine” mi sembrava italiana (f, pl di palomino?!). Spero di non dover fare giochi di parole in italiano ogni domenica!

7. Molto divertente, Lorenzo. Ma, forse sarebbe meglio se mi lasci fare scherzi. :-) Sono nati Lei in Italia? Io sono nato a New York. I miei nonni sono venuto a Ellis Island da Napoli nel 1929. Come un bambino, non ho parlato italiano. Ho studiato la lingua per tre o quattro anni.
Dove abiti?

8. This comment has been removed by the author.

9. AbqGuerriglia,
Anch’io sono nato a New York, ma non sono di origine italiana. (Mio padre ha emigrato dall’Inghilterra negli anni ’30.) Ho viaggiato molto in Italia, e qualche anno fa, ho deciso di imparare la lingua tramite audiocassette, Berlitz, lezioni ad una piccola scuola a Siena, e così via. In questo momento stiamo progettando un’escursione a piedi nella Costiera Amalfitana per settembre. È veramente un mondo piccolo!

10. Grazie per le informazioni, Lorenzo. Sì, infatti, è un piccolo mondo. Tuttavia, io sono contento di che non avere a dipingerlo.

11. Yeah, AbqGuerrilla and Lorenzo, you wouldn't be saying that if you were stuck on the Disney ride " It's a Small World After All" for 4 hours!

12. I was chewing on this one like a piece of bamboo for quite some time. But the whole thing broke into pieces for me once I read your "Histrionic" sentence. Before that I could have had a map shoved in my face and I would still be clueless.

Thanks a bunch! =0)

13. Y'know, I'm really surprised nobody used 'bamboozled' on this blog this week.

14. Wish I'd thought of it. When did you? Or as they say at the dog groomers "When did you clipped
us?" (canine grammer ;-))

3. Aside from the A's, my answer uses eight letters seven of which appear twice. Four are to be found near the driver in some cars, and three are used as an abbreviation on scoreboards.

1. Challenge: Through some combination of rotation and/or translation, reposition the letter that appears once so that it, too, appears twice.

2. In my car, five of the eight consonants are found near the driver; that's three besides the two of the three consonants in NASAL.

I remember back in 2010, President Obama giving speeches mentioning two of those three other letters; - this was in the context of their close proximity to the driver.

4. I concur, Hugh---if you are including the consonants in NASAL. Allow me to add that although these are fairly common words, this may be a tough puzzle for NASCAR fans to solve. Please note that I am in no way intending to denigrate NASCAR fans. (By the way, if you happen to be a NASCAR fan, "denigrate" means "to put down.")

5. I'd like to use "snooty" as a clue now, but that one was already provided. OK, I guess that's not worth getting upset about. Still, folks everywhere should agree that, educational as this puzzle may be, it's a toss-up.

1. Sorry, Wolfie. No intention to offend. Enjoy the big race today!

2. Woah, exit stage left..left...left...left...

6. So, does anyone believe this has more than one correct answer?

7. Abq, A gat tha sama answar as yaa, basad an yaar claas. At taak ma abaat twa manatas wath pancal and papar.

1. To baad, Will doesn't offer caash prizes, Daave. You could get that craapy keyboard fixed...

3. You've shown us that this puzzle is easier to solve in Scotland.

4. My uncle's nickname is Aardvark. As a child, I was too young to understand...

8. A departure from his usual, Ang Lee stayed close to home and made a nature film

1. I could swear I heard that he was going to make another restaurant movie along the lines of Eat, Drink, Man, Woman. This time it'll be set in an American Diner and called Life of Pie.

9. I wonder what kind of rating Standard & Poors would give this puzzle solution. Probably no better than the rating it gives the US.

10. It didn't take this grizzled old man too long to find an answer, since I didn't need to search the world over for words. I would think it tragic to not solve this one...

1. Finally, at last~~I've solved it to a t!

2. A bit melodramatic, dont'cha think, Curtis? And while we're on the subject, Good Friday is upon us once again. May I interject, that if Jezus died for my paltry sins, I think he overreacted a bit. Just sayin'...

3. This comment has been removed by the author.

4. Anyone else wonder where Blaine is…?

5. I do. I miss his special brand of stirring the pot. And Jan, Peter, Laura and RoRo: are you coming to the Word Party?

6. Sorry, guys, I was incommunicado for a few days, visiting Baltimore & DC for my wife's birthday. Missed the famous denizens of the National Zoo but enjoyed the madcap art at the American Visionary Art Museum in Charm City. Had a great ride through the district on a Capital Bikeshare bike on Saturday, but a much less pleasant one on a hotel loaner on Sunday -- the seat adjustment wouldn't lock, I found myself forced first onto a bridge into Arlington, and then on a busy parkway I had no business being on, but made it back to the hotel at last. Thought this was going to be a tough puzzle, but realized that the starting constraints greatly limited the candidate word lists,

7. Jan, did you get your Baltimore charm bracelet? The B Cycle program here is growing in leaps and bounds. Sorry you had a little trouble with one of your bikes. Can you be a spokesman about that ? ;-)

11. Given the graphic nature of this puzzle, maybe it's Will's way of getting us to come to the template on this Palm Sunday.

1. Now that you've managed to squeeze that joke in, WordWoman, I need my crowbar back. (Alas, I followed not the advice of Polonius and now we have all paid dearly as evidenced by our groans...)

2. Dear sir, 'twas not a giant crowbar but merely a small trim bar that was needed to slide those words into place. ;-)

If we lived by Polonius's words to Laertes to "Give thy thoughts no tongue" we wouldn't have much of a conversation here, would we?

The louder the groan, the better the pun.

3. Actually, getting back to my crowbar, I was thinking of his advice to Laertes: "Neither a borrower nor a lender be..." But thanks, I learned something today. ;-)

4. Huzzah! Act I, Scene 3 of Hamlet is one long string of aphorisms including "To thine own self be true." Some directors play Polonius as an old fool, some as a wise but rambling man. All I know is I'd never name my kid Laertes (or Ophelia for that matter).

Be kind. Flush. Let everybody play. Always wear sunscreen. ;-)

12. In case you're wondering what's up Chuck, I solved it.

13. Several miscellaneous thoughts.

SDB, I had no doubt that you would :)

Only 150 correct answers last week. Given that, a big chunk of them must have come from right here.

In no particular order:
Of or relating to the nose :)
Rollerama
The Beatles white album, Not
Big fellow
Pimp

There is no clue in this paragraph but I have frequently chuckled (no pun intended) to myself that sometimes the puzzle is easier to solve than figuring out some of the clues on this blog. I’m guilty of contributing obfuscatory clues myself so I’m not picking on anyone. Just an observation.

Chuck

1. Make that the Beatles Abbey Road, Not

Sorry for the misfire :(

Chuck

14. I found another solution but two words not that common.

1. Are all the "A"s in the same place, or was a vowel movement involved?

PlannedChaosSun Mar 24, 08:49:00 AM PDT?

I'm not coming up with anything but my original answer.

15. (No hints or other references to this week's challenge herein:)

I was quite interested to hear that today's on-air contestant had played on-air before. Maybe the others of us who have played on-air before should start sending in answers again. (I played on-air once, then was rejected twice after my name was pulled out of the hat years later.)

This suggests three possibilities to me:

(1) The producer who set up the segment forgot to ask the contestant if he had played before

(B) The rules have been changed so that now there is no prohibition on playing more than once

(III) The rule has been there all along and stands unchanged: You can play on-air again if 19 years elapse between games.

But I won't be testing the issue this week; not my kind of puzzle.

16. I was on the air back in ’05. Then I was picked again approximately a year later. I told the producer that but said if he’d rather put someone else on that would be OK with me. He thanked me and that’s what he did. But he never said I couldn’t play if I had chosen to do so.

Chuck

1. I wasn't given any choice in the matter. Just, "Oh, you've played before? Good-bye!"

But that was something like 15 years ago.

2. This reminded me of the puzzle on 11-13-2010, the contestant was from Wisconsin, and it was the first time he had ever entered. Then I heard the same man on 'Wait, Wait, don't tell me.' He had a busy Thursday.

17. 34251?
Ashamed to admit I'm most certain of 1 and least certain of 2 (of course, 3 doesn't count)

1. My attempt at interpreting Chuck's 'miscellaneous thoughts':
'of the nose'->NASAL->3(I think that's a given) (:
pimp->pander->PANDA->1 (I hope never to be proud of having a ready synonym for 'pimp')
big fellow->titan->ATLAS->5 (I guess)
rollerama->DRAMA->4 (just because of the 'rama')
Beatles->APART->2 (by default, I'm afraid)

How'd I do, Chuck?

18. Musical clue: Eddie Fisher

19. Lorenzo:
Congrats on your honorary mention today. I am wondering if you understood my comment to you last week about visiting Victoria B.C. So, in case, you might want to Google, Mr. Floatie of Victoria Canada.

1. Thanks, SDB, and yes, I was in Victoria B.C. last spring but had to Google the mayoral candidate before I fully understood your comment.

2. Hi Lo,
I was rejoicing this morning over your splendid mention. An honorable one at that. Well done, bromigo.
Zeke

20. Yes, kudos to Lorenzo. You don't also go by George, er Georgio, do you? And also played 19 years ago?!

1. Grazie, WW. That Georgio dude was fantastic, and, unfortunately, not me! We (Janice and I) got the call 4 years ago and she elected to play on the air.

2. By George I've got it. The rain.....

WW Wouldn't miss this party for the world, although I lost my GPS and must revert to more ancient technology. I want a role in your show. Maybe I can sing a song by Etta James.

3. RoRo, you could sing "Fool That I Am"...but we'd never believe you.

4. WW, The song I was thinking of is often sung at weddings but the one you mentioned is, unfortunately, too often sung after and usually involves two of the words in this puzzle

5. Now I won't be able to hear that song without thinking of maps! ;-)

Alternate rendition of the first Etta James song sung by a can of gasoline: "Fuel That I Am."

Speaking of songs, what do you think of the new McCartney? Kathleen, that is!

6. Don't tell me Paul remarried again....just kidding. I saw snipppets of the Web cast (as much as you can see with a two year old yelling I want a movie in your ear) . She is personable, committed to social justice and diversion and seems committed to Smith's mission. I was also an early childhood major. Hope to see her when she commes to DC

7. I know only about her through the Quarterly and Rally Day. She seems committed to the liberal arts and the engineering program. She is apparently an amazing fundraiser...and she likes orchids.

Ruth Simmons upset things a bit at Smith when she left after only 5 years...but she went to Brown where my son studied so I could not be too annoyed.

Do you ever go back to campus for reunions?

8. Things are so different now. Presidents used to stay until they could no longer function. Of the 11 presidents (counting the newly selected), I have experienced 5 since I enrolled. I was supposed to go to a reunion last year but made a hard decision to go to a Dartmouth reunion instead. It was also less expensive for me and more close friends committed to attending. What about you?.

9. I go back fairly often since my mom lives 45 minutes from Northampton. My geology profs & I are good friends so I usually get together with them when I'm back. The campus was resplendent when I was back in '11 for my son's May graduation from Brown, daughter's campus tours, & visit with friends & co-workers in the Alumnae Association. Jill Ker Conway was my favorite president.

10. What's your tie to Dartmouth?

11. Attended Dartmouth junior year as an exchange student. Was a Dartmouth Player since I was a theater major until I had to return to Smith senior year as an education major since my Mom was not paying for a theater degree.

12. Was the education major satisfying for you? And do you now perform in local productions?

I took my junior year "abroad" at the U of Arizona. The landscape was all quite wondrous for a geologist. And there were guys on campus!

21. Hey gang,
Sorry so late. I was busy this afternoon watching a martial arts tourney. This one guy built like a Titan was torn to pieces by a little guy who looked like David Carradine. What a show!

1. I know what you mean. Those marital fights can be gruesome! :-)

2. Sounds like a job for Marshall Dillon, Uncle Fester.

22. So are we supposed to come up with 4 words in which "A" is the only vowel? Sorry for interrupting the usual erudite, arcane discussion on this blog but my genuine question comes from a simple mind.

1. Ruthie,
Me n momma was discousin this a...a ...airtight thang you got goin on, but you are righty right on the A dealio.

2. I may be simple, but I sure ain't easy. Like this puzzle.

23. I enjoyed the comment above about "vowel movement". When I told my family, they totally lost it - utter pandemonium. Btw, I think Will's 4x4 example can be reversed engineered to help solve the puzzle.

1. Try entering "vowel movement" in the SEARCH THIS BLOG box above for an earlier version.

2. Tsk, tsk, David.

My Sweet Lord (doo-lang doo-lang doo-lang)....

24. I figured it out. finally. Still, after all these years, so much solving, I've never gotten the call from Will. But I'll gamble a stamp and send it in to see what happens.

-- Other Ben

25. Am I the only person who is offended, when posting to Blainesville, that a robot appears and asks me to "prove that I'm not a robot?"

I mean I understand CAPTCHAs and all, but Alan Turing must be turning over in his grave.

1. Not sure, but Alan is no longer touring.

2. Well, sdb, I'm glad you're not sure.

26. Ben, stamp?!

1. C'mon, stamps R4 wamps. Philately will get you nowhere.

2. But flattery might. Clever, Paul.

3. Clever? Not me. Heard it on Prairie Home Companion a decade or so ago. (doo-lang doo-lang doo-lang)

4. I can now come clean with my clue.

"I'll gamble a stamp" was a throwback reference to that comic from my childhood, "Hero of the Beach," which advertises for Charles ATLAS.

http://bit.ly/YQ7NgB

-- Other Ben

27. Just sat down for the first time to try it. Already got it. That was easy.

28. On Thursday, I plan to post the solution like this:

╔═╤═╦═╤═╦═╤═╦═╤═╦═╤═╗
╟─┼─╫─┼─╫─N─╫─┼─╫─┼─╢
╠═╪═╬═╪═╬═╪═╬═╪═╬═╪═╣
╟─┼─╫─┼─╫─A─╫─┼─╫─┼─╢
╠═╪═╬═╪═╬═╪═╬═╪═╬═╪═╣
╟─N─╫─A─╫─S─╫─A─╫─L─╢
╠═╪═╬═╪═╬═╪═╬═╪═╬═╪═╣
╟─┼─╫─┼─╫─A─╫─┼─╫─┼─╢
╠═╪═╬═╪═╬═╪═╬═╪═╬═╪═╣
╟─┼─╫─┼─╫─L─╫─┼─╫─┼─╢
╚═╧═╩═╧═╩═╧═╩═╧═╩═╧═╝

Except with the crossing single lines box character ("┼") replaced with letters showing the solution. I first tried little square characters ("□"), but although they show up perfectly both in EditPad Lite and in this comment editor in which I'm entering this post right now, they cause the lines in which they appear to be badly misaligned in NotePad.

To view the template in EditPad Lite, just copy it here, go to EditPad Lite, <cntrl>N to start a new document, then select "Convert", "Text Encoding", and then select "Unicode UTF-8". Do this before you paste!

You may wish to use this template to experiment and come up with your solution:

╔═══╤═══╤═══╤═══╤═══╗
║ ┼ │ ┼ │ N │ ┼ │ ┼ ║
╟───┼───┼───┼───┼───╢
║ ┼ │ ┼ │ A │ ┼ │ ┼ ║
╟───┼───┼───┼───┼───╢
║ N │ A │ S │ A │ L ║
╟───┼───┼───┼───┼───╢
║ ┼ │ ┼ │ A │ ┼ │ ┼ ║
╟───┼───┼───┼───┼───╢
║ ┼ │ ┼ │ L │ ┼ │ ┼ ║
╚═══╧═══╧═══╧═══╧═══╝

Obviously, that template does not look nice at all here, but it looks great in a text editor!

29. Ok, one last experiment:

╔═╤═╦═╤═╦═╤═╦═╤═╦═╤═╗
╟─∙─╫─∙─╫─N─╫─∙─╫─∙─╢
╠═╪═╬═╪═╬═╪═╬═╪═╬═╪═╣
╟─∙─╫─∙─╫─A─╫─∙─╫─∙─╢
╠═╪═╬═╪═╬═╪═╬═╪═╬═╪═╣
╟─N─╫─A─╫─S─╫─A─╫─L─╢
╠═╪═╬═╪═╬═╪═╬═╪═╬═╪═╣
╟─∙─╫─∙─╫─A─╫─∙─╫─∙─╢
╠═╪═╬═╪═╬═╪═╬═╪═╬═╪═╣
╟─∙─╫─∙─╫─L─╫─∙─╫─∙─╢
╚═╧═╩═╧═╩═╧═╩═╧═╩═╧═╝

That's with the bullet character ("∙") for the filler character. Its perfect this comment entry editor, EditPad Lite and NotePad.

Then this could be everybody's template for playing around and coming up with the solution in their favorite text editor:

╔═══╤═══╤═══╤═══╤═══╗
║ ∙ │ ∙ │ N │ ∙ │ ∙ ║
╟───┼───┼───┼───┼───╢
║ ∙ │ ∙ │ A │ ∙ │ ∙ ║
╟───┼───┼───┼───┼───╢
║ N │ A │ S │ A │ L ║
╟───┼───┼───┼───┼───╢
║ ∙ │ ∙ │ A │ ∙ │ ∙ ║
╟───┼───┼───┼───┼───╢
║ ∙ │ ∙ │ L │ ∙ │ ∙ ║
╚═══╧═══╧═══╧═══╧═══╝

Again, while that template doesn't look so good posted here, it'll look great in your text editor!

....And the preview tells me that the bullet character, for which I had high hopes, which make the first of the templates in this post look about as bad as if I had just used periods ("."). So in the future, I guess I'll stick with the crossing single lines box character ("┼") to act as the filler character for the empty cells.

30. This puzzle, simple as it proved to be, was the ONLY activity that prevented my going into a coma or slitting my own throat with a debit card at a recent Easter ecumenical "Taize" (accent acute over the "e") I was asked to by a friend.
Hate being so sacrilegious but there you go--the answer is as plain as black and white.

1. Was your debit/credit card sharpened (as seen on TV) to slice tomatoes? Another bad idea pushed by advertisers.

31. Yay, got this one. Did you hear that the winner on Sunday was actually getting it for the second time!? Outrageous. Just not fair.

1. Yeah, I'm thinking Will really ought to pick a newbie, particularly one from this blog. Otherwise, we may be revolting (I know, I know some of us already are). ;-)

2. Unkjohn, is unknown a relative? Same unusual first name and all :-) What's the circle all about in your blogger pix?

32. Hugh, I learned that trick from Nina on 24 I would imagine she had sharpened it!

33. Probably my favorite one that i've done so far. Not too hard but gives you a good feeling when finished. It would be tough to internet search this one as well.

34. PANDA
APART
NASAL
DRAMA
ATLAS

My hints:

"In case you're wondering what's up Chuck, I solved it."
Chuck as in Charles Atlas > Atlas holding the Earth.

"87585"
Each digit is the word value of its corresponding Scrabble tiles. 8,7,5,8,5

"Musical clue: Eddie Fisher"
The four letters in the upper left corner of the completed square spell PAPA. "Oh My Papa."

1. I was wondering about "Oh My Papa", but didn't really have a fix on it.

Didn't get the Scrabble connection. Frankly...gave up! Frankly, still don't, but I trust you it's valid.

Charles Atlas. I knew something was up with Chuck when 'Chuck' seemed to get it. And somebody else said something about 'toss up', and I was thrown into a whole other dimension.

Sand in the face doesn't hurt if you close your eyes.

35. P A N D A
A P A R T
N A S A L
D R A M A
A T L A S

Last Sunday I said –

Of or relating to the nose :) – NASAL
Rollerama – shares 80% of the letters in DRAMA
The Beatles Abbey Road album, Not – not Come Together, come APART
Big fellow – ATLAS has to hold heaven and earth on his shoulders
Pimp – pander, more or less PANDA for persons with pronunciation impairment

Chuck

1. And anytime you feel the pain
Hey Jude
Refrain
Don't carry the world upon your shoulders...

36. Another one:

ULNAS
LLAMA
NASAL
AMANA

In case you are wondering, Amana is a town in Argentina.

1. Amana is capitalized and therefor is disqualified.

2. And 'U' isn't 'A'...but don't feel bad ddl; that's close to the first answer I had, too!

3. AMASS and SALSA...that's what I had.

4. Paul, that's where you went and ate last Sunday ? ;-)

5. Sorry, WW, not even close.

37. ╔═╤═╦═╤═╦═╤═╦═╤═╦═╤═╗
╟─P─╫─A─╫─N─╫─D─╫─A─╢
╠═╪═╬═╪═╬═╪═╬═╪═╬═╪═╣
╟─A─╫─P─╫─A─╫─R─╫─T─╢
╠═╪═╬═╪═╬═╪═╬═╪═╬═╪═╣
╟─N─╫─A─╫─S─╫─A─╫─L─╢
╠═╪═╬═╪═╬═╪═╬═╪═╬═╪═╣
╟─D─╫─R─╫─A─╫─M─╫─A─╢
╠═╪═╬═╪═╬═╪═╬═╪═╬═╪═╣
╟─A─╫─T─╫─L─╫─A─╫─S─╢
╚═╧═╩═╧═╩═╧═╩═╧═╩═╧═╝

38. PANDA
APART
NASAL
DRAMA
ATLAS

Finally, ATLASt, I solved it to a t!

39. > Missed the famous denizens of the National Zoo

I assume they still have pandas there.

> but enjoyed the madcAP ART at the American Visionary Art Museum.

The museum really is worth a trip.

(No need to repeat the story of my bike DRAMA)

> but made it back to the hotel AT LASt.

Anyone here get the call this week?

40. There are others. I submitted

N A N A S
A R A R A
N A S A L
A R A K S
S A L S A

and

B A N A T
A R A B A
N A S A L
A B A C K
T A L K S

LMP

1. Those don't work. My Webster's (the one will uses) does not include NANAS, ARARA, ARAKS, ARAABA OR BANAT.

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