## Sunday, October 25, 2015

### NPR Sunday Puzzle (Oct 25, 2015): The Holidays Come Earlier Each Year

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Oct 25, 2015): The Holidays Come Earlier Each Year:
Q: The Hawaiian alphabet has 12 letters — seven consonants (H, K, L, M, N, P and W) plus the five vowels (A, E, I, O and U). Use all 12 of these, and repeat four of them, to get 16 letters in all that can be arranged to name a well-known holiday item. What is it? As a hint — it's a two-word answer.
Too easy.

Edit: As easy as pie
A: HALLOWEEN PUMPKIN

1. Here's my standard reminder... don't post the answer or any hints that could lead directly to the answer (e.g. via a chain of thought, or an internet search) 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'm always intrigued by which puzzle Will picks each week.

3. Not a numerical puzzle, but a numerical clue. 173: prime number

1. It would've made more sense to me if you had said:

73: prime number

---- or ----

37: prime number

2. Well, I wasn't trying to make sense, really. I have been burned before for giving things away, so I was trying to make it obscure. There's not much to it, but I will make it plain on Thursday. ---Rob

4. I posted on Sun Oct 25, at 07:27:00 AM PDT on last week's thread:

Some bad news regarding puzzle-solving tools:

To those thinking of using either Wordsmith's anagrammer or Andy's Anagram Solver, entering HKLMNPWAEIOU, adding the correctly guessed four repeated letters and solving for 2 words; - IT WON'T WORK!!!

The first word of the two-word answer is in NEITHER ANAGRAMMER'S WORD-LIST!!!!

5. After the last two weeks, and not knowing whenan answer was good enough, I found this rather nice, even if it was easy as pie.

1. Thanks, Jack, I'm enjoying some just now.

6. The following is totally unrelated to the new puzzle, but I thought this post I made in last week's thread should be repeated here, especially since it was one of those beyond the 200 limit.

I posted on Sunday, Oct 25, at 06:05:00 AM PDT on last week's thread:

I think Patrick Berry deserves special congratulations for getting three of his entries among the runners up!
Nobody else even got a second entry in there!

Today society may very likely apply crazy "Marty McFly" technology.
Children groan when stern policemen begin crackdown on Halloween fun.
Funny way they play "Jeopardy!": They may reply only interrogatively.

1. Exactly, Enya_and_Weird_Al_fan! I second those sentiments. That was quite a feat by our friend patjberry, and he should be justly proud. Congrats galore, pjb!

LegoAlthoughWeCannotSayWeAreSurprised

2. Great job patjberry!!!

3. I too, echo the kudos to PJB! Nice work! Your sentences were all so clever. I've never entered an answer, how many sentences could a person enter?

4. Nice going PJB. I only thought you could enter one, but was thrilled mine, too, made it to runners up status. Probably as close as I will ever get to the winners circle. I can't tell from the names, how many Blainesvilleans made it to runners up?

5. Hey, Nice going jutchnbev! Which entry was yours? Congrats to you.

I thought Kate Simpson's winning entry (“Can neurosurgeon Ben Carson pin down Republican nomination in 'Sixteen?”) was excellent and worthy. But I much prefer the similarly themed entry submitted by our friend David, which he posted on here on Blaine’s blog in the previous thread: “Can African-American, non-politician, brain surgeon Ben Carson win Republican nomination?”

LegoKudosToDavidjutchbevAndpatjberry!

6. Yes, I preferred David's entry, especially since the two hyphenated words both added bonus, word-ending 'N's to his sentence.

I am still awaiting my dishonorable mention.

7. Mine is the second runner up mentioned The one fawning with the word "PUZZLEMASTER" I enter with my husband's name, although I mostly solve the puzzles, often with help here. His commitment is to do the on-air portion, at which I would have brain freeze,. So it is with this elder pair.

8. That was a good one jutchnbev!

9. Thanks to all for the high praise indeed. I never thought I'd get mentioned three times, let alone once. I really got into this one, and it was more difficult than it seemed. But because I got so much support from you guys, I feel like this was a real victory for the whole blog. We all did a great job coming up with promising entries for this challenge, and I'm glad one of us made it. It didn't even have to be me. I especially thought David had a few good ones, particularly the Ben Carson one. Of course since the winner mentioned Dr. Carson too, clearly his name lends itself so easily to a challenge like this. I also like the sentence somebody came up with later on today's blog mentioning Dr. Carson. Again many thanks to all on the blog. Y'all really know how to make a fellow feel wanted and appreciated. It's been great(hint concerning this week's challenge)!

10. Word Woman.
I too had been awaiting my “dishonorable mention” recognition from Dr. Shortz. Then I checked my mailbox. In it was a parcel addressed to me from National Public Radio Weekend Edition Sunday!

I took the package inside and, like a toddler on Christmas morn, attacked the wrapping posthaste. At the bottom of the box lay a large lump of coal! Attached to it was an elaborate golden clasp-and-pin arrangement which, according to the enclosed instructions, allowed “the wearer of the NPR Klinker Pin to impress one’s friends, family and fellow puzzlers!”

The “NPR Klinker Pin,” the instructions continued, “is a declaration to the whole world that you – while you may not be a break-the-tape winner, and may not even be an also-ran runner-up – are a proud ‘stumbler/bumbler/fumbler-up’ also-ran-amok Sunday Puzzle entrant.”

7. Is the holiday celebrated in ʻOkinawa?

1. Ah, Okinawa!

LegoYooHoo,Ryukyu!

8. How in God's name are you expected to know what they use to celebrate holidays in Hawaii?

1. Coy poi, Bob Kerfuffle.

2. Spam, without a doubt.

3. 'tis but a kiss I beg, Why art thou coy?

9. I answered using an emogie.

10. This week’s CHALLENGE is a little too easy! The "holiday item" is not hard to find at a certain time of year...

11. Blue and white

1. WW, that's nothing to sneeze at!

2. This comment has been removed by the author.

12. O' Hanukkah Wimple? Those are on every corner during the holidays!

13. The easiest of the six puzzles on Puzzleria! this week is more challenging than this week's NPR puzzle. One of them is a chess puzzle! Fun galore! Zsa Zsa Gabor! Al Goriest! Who could ask for more?

LegoPuzzleria!HasPuzzlesFitForAKingQueenBishopKnightRook...AndEvenUsPawns!

14. Another EPJ non-puzzle from his never ending flow. I always know when I hear his name that I will not enjoy the offering, and this time is certainly no exception. Why is it stated this way? What does the Hawaiian alphabet have to do with it? Nothing! If the answer was PINEAPPLE EXPRESS or HAWAIIAN VACATION or PINEAPPLE WELCOME or HAWAIIAN TRAVELER. Then it would make some sense, but this is nothing more than an anagram on steroids. It could have been stated for us to come up with a sixteen letter, two word answer, and this could produce NUTCRACKER BALLET. None of the above work with the sixteen letters specified, but they could make a better puzzle in any case. Providing the sixteen letters, in my opinion, is nothing more than a sophomoric attempt at eloquence that misses the mark by several thousand miles.

I won't even attempt to provide a hint this week. It again does not deserve one.

1. Will it help if Will states I Love You, I'm Sorry, Please Forgive Me, Thank You? Or unlike the puzzle would that be pointless?

2. Actions speak louder than words. He gave us words several weeks ago here on this blog, but nothing has changed.

15. Another census puzzle, I believe.

1. Natasha, that is not how to spell senseless.

2. Thanks, sdb. I will update my "spell" check!!

16. Pink wine, but I’m still missing a few letters :) As others have mentioned, it is a pretty easy when you stop and think about it.

17. Back to last wek's puzzle, here is my longest creation, which I was disuaded from sending in......
Fred entered, ascended bandstand, and told assembled crowd he'd heard Grand-dad Brad and girlfriend Ingrid had sailed around Grand Island headland and disappeared.

18. Was this entry from our Blaine?:

The compassionate judge gave the contrite juvenile one more chance. — Blaine Deal

1. I believe so; and that's also the most natural sounding sentence of the lot, in my opinion.

2. It was a joint effort with my wife. She came up with the original idea and I just modified a couple words to improve the naturalness. We always say we share a brain. :)

3. Hey Blaine! Should have realized I wasn't the only one to get honorable mention! Well played, sir!

4. I guess it took a great Deal of effort.

5. Congratulations, Blaine. By my count that's a total of five Honorable Mentions from Blainesvillians -- one from our "mayor." four others from upstanding "citizens" patjberry and jutchnbev.

LegoIt'sARed(Last)LetterDayInBlainesville!

6. Actually six. Libertarianmathprofessor's was mentioned.

19. Given the strange Ben Carson interview on "Meet the Press" today, I offer this updated sentence which juxtaposes his teenage days of stabbing people with his current "acceptable" stabbing via surgeries to separate conjoined twins:

Republican surgeon Ben Carson can un-twin in operation: keen perforation.

20. I wonder if Will chose the sentence that sounded the most sincere?

21. Or did a little light come on inside?

22. Then again, "a little light" could very well describe this week's puzzle!

23. This comment has been removed by the author.

24. It's scary to think I should ask members of my family about this one.

25. By the way, according to this video (youtube.com/watch?v=0h-gbeI0AFQ), you could not write the answer to this puzzle in Hawaiian, as the language does not allow double consonants. (Which holiday, anyway? Next one isn't for a month and a half.)
"Great meat at feast last night, except that burnt pot roast (it just wouldn't digest)."

26. Let’s face it, a lot of folks on this blog have been critical of Will Shortz for his offering of “easy” puzzles, as if he’d lost his head. I think that most of us would be hard pressed to do better. My recommendation: cut it out.

Tom Hanks says "Thanks"

1. Phil J., agreed.

If I learn something from solving a puzzle, I consider it a success. So now we all know the Hawai'ian consonants. See, what a bright, shining light of knowledge!

There is also an 8th consonant, the glottal stop or 'okina, in the Hawai'ian language. Stop, breathe, take a relaxing breath. . .and then move on. . .

'

'

'

WW

2. Some people are easily pleased. Others prefer a challenge.

3. pj
If you think we're going to let up you've flipped your lid.

4. Double whammy there, zeke! I like it.

5. Zeke -- I almost missed it. Nice!

27. As for Mamaw Creek she could tell by my big mountain man grin that I got the answer.
Papaw Zeke

28. How is one to account for the mysterious variations in the Sunday Puzzle?
There seem to be two basic kinds:
Ones without attribution that Will may to have thought up himself, though I don't remember his ever actually making that claim.
And there are ones he credits (or blames) on a very small group of familiar names. These fellows probably have individual themes, but I have never bothered to figure them out.
What has always struck me as strange is what must happen to the unknown number of unsolicited contributions.
I have sent several to him myself over the years. Not only were these all sterling, flawless posers, but had, without exception, the additional qualities of being never being used. nor even aknowledged.
That this is a common occurence is plain from postings by other regulars.

I would like to ask the Puzzlemaster WTF happened to all these ideas.

1. My submissions never get used or acknowledged either. My assumption is that quality, intelligent puzzles that might also be somewhat didactic are discouraged. CarTalk, on the other hand, frequently has real puzzles.

2. To be fair, all of the Car Talk puzzlers are re-runs, and often were even when they were still making new shows. Whereas Will usually has a new one each week. On the other hand, I get more use from my Sistine Wrench t-shirt than my lapel pin. (Can't wipe a dipstick with a lapel pin.)

3. jan,
This is correct. The Car Talk shows are reruns now that Tom died, but most of their puzzles have been rather good and even require logical thinking. WS frequently uses old puzzles he has previously used while ignoring good, fresh ones some of us have submitted.

You should consider yourself lucky you have a car with a dipstick. I hear many of the newer models no longer have them, at least for the automatic transmissions. I have a 2002 model high end Ford product that does not have a drain plug on the torque converter. Previous model years had one so you could completely drain the transmission fluid, but now you can only drain a small amount unless you perform an engine running drain. This does not allow for changing the filter and it is both dangerous and costly, but who cares about the customer? We can always sell him a new car. A simple drain plug that most likely saved them one or two dollars per car, but they obviously don't care about us.

29. A smashing puzzle this week: 2 A's, 2 Ss, 2 hs, 2 Is, 3 es, 2 zs. 1m, 1h, 1n, 1g, 11, 1p, 1u, 1w, 1k.

30. Oops! (Or, as I said in my creative challenge entry, Oy vey!)

It looks like I inadvertently added some fuel to smoldering discontent among the Blainesville participants. That was not my intent. If you examine my post, you will see three hints to the answer to this week’s puzzle. The rest of the post was meant to be a vehicle for conveying these hints.

Having said that, I personally don’t mind an occasional softball from Will, but I can see how the easy ones might annoy some of the more advanced puzzle solvers in this group. Perhaps he is afraid that if they were all tough he might start losing some of his audience? I also agree with Word Woman when she said, “If I learn something from solving a puzzle, I consider it a success.”

In regard to how Will selects his puzzles, I have no connection with the show or Will Shortz, and I have no insight into that process. However, I will tell you that both my wife and I have had our puzzle suggestions used by Will as listener challenges (15 and 9 years ago, respectively) and I was also selected to play on the air four years ago. My wife and I have both been frustrated at not being able to break through a second time, but feel fortunate to have been selected at least one time.

As mentioned by Mendo Jim, our rejected submittals have not been acknowledged, other than the standard reply from NPR. I can see, however, that it might take an inordinate amount of time for Will to answer each rejected submittal individually. We did, however, get personal "Thank You's" from Will for the ones he used.

The bottom line: If you want to complain and bash away, go ahead. Each person is entitled to their own opinion, as long as we keep the discourse civil.

Thanks.

Regards – Phil J.

Tom Hanks says “Thanks”

1. Phil J.,
I should have caught them, but they seem to have gone right over my hollow noggin.

2. I was wondering what that ringing sound was...

3. I wouldn't want to squash anyone's desire to express an opinion. I guess it all depends on whose ox is being gored.

4. I never did understand what purpose anyone ever saw in complaining.

31. I bet Jackie Onassis fans could get this.

1. And Michael Jackson's, too.

32. Where is our friend from Minneapolis-St. Paul? He should have liked this one.

33. How far can we go with this? Amazingly, over 1400 meters.

1. Will we have borne the brunt of it by 2AM?

34. Contrary to the experience of others here, WS - though he has never used any of my puzzles - has acknowledged all of the half-dozen or so I've sent him. Once, I even got a "close but no cigar" equivalent.

35. It's neat how many times our quips from the previous week's thread become next week's puzzle.

36. zeke creek: How many times is that?

37. This comment has been removed by the author.

38. "one of two or more..."

39. I hope I have the guts to head over to the seedy part of town for the midnight showing of "Pulp Fiction".

40. Take a knife with you.

41. What's your point?

42. What's your point?

43. the one on the top of mah haid

44. Halloween pumpkin

As others mentioned earlier this week, this puzzle was really pretty easy when you stop and think about it – but I liked it.

45. HALLOWEEN PUMPKIN

46. HALLOWEEN PUMPKIN

My first clue was "It's a very simple procedure...", but I deleted that after I discovered that searching on that led directly to this cartoon.

> Not a math puzzle, but easy as π.

Pumpkin π.

> I wouldn't want to squash anyone's desire to express an opinion. I guess it all depends on whose ox is being gored.

... or gourd.

>> I bet Jackie Onassis fans could get this.

> And Michael Jackson's, too.

A Jacko-lantern.

> How far can we go with this? Amazingly, over 1400 meters.

4694.68 ft, to be precise. That's the current record at the World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association, held by an American Chunker air cannon.

(Shots that fail to maintain structural integrity are termed "pie", as in "[pumpkin] pie in the sky".)

47. My comment, "How in God's name are you expected to know what they use to celebrate holidays in Hawaii?" was a feeble attempt at a cryptic-type clue: "in GOD's name are you" > GOD + R + U > GOURD > pumpkin.

48. Halloween Pumpkin - My comment too was an "Easy as Pie" reference.

I'd been tempted to declare the puzzle just tricky enough to be real treat - but was afraid I'd be starting a rhubarb if I did.

49. HALLOWEEN PUMPKIN

"Blue and white" as in pumpkin colors for either 1) blue or teal: homes where kids can pick out nut-free, gluten-free treats or 2) white: the "gourmet" designer white varieties of the vine gourd.

1. I've also seen pink pumpkins in my neighborhood, presumably for (against) breast cancer. Not that pumpkins have breasts. Maybe to encourage mammograms, where they squash your breasts. If your teal or pink pumpkins aren't painted, does that mean you're not sufficiently GMO-averse? Can I give out gluten-coated nuts if I also give EpiPens?

2. Orange you glad we don't have to put up with gourmet white pumpkins?

3. Color me yes!

50. Hawaiʻi has an ʻokina; Hallowe'en has an apostrophe. Okinawa has neither. And I have no idea what holidays they celebrate.

"I never did understand what purpose anyone ever saw in complaining." I don't even know what in the Sam Hill I meant by that.

Brom Van Brunt may have been more concerned with accuracy than with distance. PHA 2015 TB145 should miss us by about 300,000 miles. If I wait until 1AM EST to look through my telescope I fear I almost certainly will have missed the whole show.

I found this pumpkin sandwich recipe. I won't be trying it any time soon. I'm no cook.

51. I wrote, "Not a numerical puzzle, but a numerical clue. 173: prime number." The 173rd prime number is 1031, or 10-31, or October 31st, our answer's date. ---Rob

52. HALLOWEEN PUMPKIN.

He “flipped his lid” and then “a little light came on inside" his HEAD.

53. This comment has been removed by the author.

1. Halloween Pumpkin /AdmIttedly, my clues were obvious and probably pushing the rules of this blog. "I hope I have the GUTS to HEAD over to the SEEDY part of town for the midnight showing of "PULP Fiction". All words associated with pumpkin.

54. I wrote initially:

“Let’s face it” – referring to painting or carving a face on the Halloween Pumpkin

“lost his head” – referring to the Headless Horseman

“cut it out” – referring to cutting out faces or shapes to make a Jack-O’-Lantern

Then later:

“I was wondering what that ringing sound was” – referring to the doorbell ringing on Halloween

Regards – Phil J.

55. HALLOWEEN PUMPKIN
"Most sincere" refers to the "Great Pumpkin". A little light coming on inside was another hint. Saying it would be "scary to think I should ask members of my family" was a cryptic way of saying "Halloween+pump+kin".

56. An Hawaiian Halloween pumpkin treat.

1. hugh:
Jesus man, I just finished my dinner! Please don't ever do that again!

2. This comment has been removed by the author.

57. "I'm always intrigued by which puzzle Will picks each week" - included references to witch and pumpkin picking.

58. Puzzleria! is now available for your solving enjoyment.
(I always try to upload it bright and early, or earlier, every Friday morning.)

Six fresh new puzzles again this week, including one with a Fall Classic theme, one with a connection to this week's NPR puzzle, and one with a world capital theme created by our friend skydiveboy.

Please drop in for a visit. Thank you.

LegoTheOtherPuzzlesInvolveHalloween,ACockneyLiar&ALargerThanLifeLegend

59. This comment has been removed by the author.

60. This week's puzzle:

Arrange three 9s to make 20. There is no trick involved. Simply arrange three 9s, using any standard arithmetic signs and symbols, to total 20.

1. Easy and searchable. I don't see the point.

2. This comment has been removed by the author.

3. I solved this with pen and paper.
After seeing Jan's comment, it took longer to Google the answer than my original pen and paper solution took!!

61. My prediction of skydiveboy's response: "Nein! Nein! Nein!"

1. My prediction: "I solved this puzzle before I even heard it or read it!"

62. This comment has been removed by the author.