Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas Snowflake Matching Puzzle for 2016

Our annual Christmas puzzle is available now.
As in prior years, the reward for solving is a video Christmas card, but you'll need to figure out the password by solving the puzzle first.

Note: If you need some help, the full answer is posted here, but try solving it without help first... it's more fun that way.

Feel free to add a comment below to let us know that you successfully figured it out (without giving away the answer to others). We are always looking for new ideas for next year's Christmas puzzle, so submit those too.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 25, 2016): Just a Matter of Course

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 25, 2016): Just a Matter of Course:
Q: Think of three words used in golf. Say them out loud one after the other. They'll sound like a group that was in the news in 2016. What group is it?
Am I the only one that read about the "Rough Eagle Club" in the news?

Edit: Rough is a part of the course. Eagle is a scoring term. Club is a piece of equipment.
A: Green Party (green + par + tee)

Sunday, December 18, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 18, 2016): Adding Historical Figures

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 18, 2016): Adding Historical Figures:
Q: Take the initials and last names of two opposing historical figures. Add a C and mix all the letters together. You'll get the title and last name of another historical figure from approximately the same era. Who are these people?
I'll just leave this space empty.

Edit: Custer's last stand was at Little Bighorn, MT (Montana).
A: U.S. GRANT + R.E. LEE + C --> GENERAL CUSTER

Sunday, December 11, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 11, 2016): The Season of Shopping

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 11, 2016): The Season of Shopping:
Q: Think of a two-word phrase commonly seen on signs in new businesses. Nine letters in all. Change the sixth letter to an N, and read the resulting letters in order: You'll get a new two-word phrase sometimes seen on humorous signs in classrooms and offices. What signs are these?"
You'll also see the first sign on established stores at this time of year.
A: NOW HIRING --> NO WHINING

Sunday, December 04, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 4, 2016): Stuck in the Middle with You

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 4, 2016): Stuck in the Middle with You:
Q: This challenge may sound impossible, but there's a good answer. Think of a common two-word phrase, in seven letters, that has two R's in the middle. And "in the middle" means exactly in the middle. What phrase is it?
I'm sure you'll figure this out before breakfast.

Edit: I figured you were probably eating sausages (wurst) for breakfast, so at worst it would take you until then.
A: The two-word phrase AT WORST contains "TWO RS" in the middle.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Nov 27, 2016): Sporty Actress

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Nov 27, 2016): Sporty Actress:
Q: Take the first name of a famous actress. Drop a letter. Rearrange what's left, and you'll get a word used in a particular sport. This actress's last name, without any changes, is another word used in the same sport. What actress is it?
Sorry to drop the ball, but I've got nothing.

Edit: As others have noted, a similar version of this puzzle was presented in March 2007 - Best S'porting Actress. As for me, I guess I just threw a gutter ball this week. :)
A: KIRSTIE ALLEY --> STRIKE, ALLEY

Sunday, November 20, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Nov 20, 2016): Creative Challenge (cont.) - Wrap the Beet vs. Beat the Rap

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Nov 20, 2016): Creative Challenge (cont.) - Wrap the Beet vs. Beat the Rap:
Q: This is a two-week creative challenge. The object is to write a conundrum or riddle that starts "What is the difference between ..." — in which the answer involves a transposition of words.

For example: What is the difference between a chatterbox and a mirror? Answer: One speaks without reflecting while the other reflects without speaking. Or: What is the difference between a lucky criminal and some Saran with a garden vegetable? Answer: One beats the rap while the other wraps the beet.

Change of spelling in the words is allowed, but not necessary. Entries will be judged on their sense, naturalness of wording, humor, elegance and overall effect. You may submit up to three entries. Mr. Shortz will announce his favorites — and the overall winner — in two weeks.
Hmm... not much to comment on this week. Obviously this is different than most of Will's puzzles in that it is open-ended and is a two week challenge. Start collecting your ideas and we'll discuss them all after the Wednesday deadline.
A:
The winner:

What is the difference between a priest and his dog? One wears pants and a collar while the other wears a collar and pants.
— Roxanne Abrams, Skokie, Ill.

Runners-up:

What's the difference between a plane taking off and an entomologist? One flies away while the other weighs a fly.
—Ellis Seiberling, New Orleans

What is the difference between Sting and a retired E.P.A. official? One led the Police while the other policed the lead.
—Brett Hunkins, Okemos, Mich.

What's the difference between a twin and a nudist? One bears a likeness while the other likes a bareness.
—Mark Litten, Seminole, Fla.

What's the difference between a libertarian and a charitable pharmacist? One leaves you alone while the other loans you Aleve.
—Mark Mikula, Bristol, R.I.

What's the difference between a straight-A student and a car safety inspector? One breaks the curve on a test while the other tests the brakes on a curve.
—Amy Higgins, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Honorable mentions:

What is the difference between a patient child at a Lionel store and one who teaches powerlifting? One waits to use the trains while the other trains to use the weights.
—Daniel Rosenblum, Teaneck, N.J.

What is the difference between a mall security guard and a deli refrigerator? One locks the stores while the other stores the lox.
—Allan Richardson, Jacksonville, Fla.

What's the difference between a funny guy next door and a radius or ulna? One is humorous to a neighbor while the other is neighbor to a humerus.
—John Perri, Plano, Texas

1) What's the difference between an unlucky hiker and a martyr? One crosses a bear while the other bears a cross.
2) What's the difference between a mountain climber and a dieter? One scales a face while the other faces a scale.
—Margie Shields, San Mateo, Calif.

What is the difference between a metal craftsman working for a funeral home and a laborer in England? One pounds urns while the other earns pounds.
—Judy Davis, Asheville, N.C.

What is the difference between a criminal and a guard? One fences watches while the other watches fences.
—Kerrie Serpa, Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

1) What is the difference between last week's quarterback and this week's kidney stone? One threw passes while the other passes through.
2) What is the difference between a sperm donor and a stockbroker? One shares cells while the other sells shares.
—Jim Serpa, Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

What's the difference between a coloratura soprano and an N.F.L. referee? One hits high notes while the other notes high hits.
—Anthony Gray, Closter, N.J.

What's the difference between a pizzeria and John McEnroe? One serves slices while the other slices serves.
—Justin Rosales, Dumont, N.J.

What is the difference between Charlie Brown and a shyster? One checks kites while the other kites checks.
—Dan Simmons, Salem, Ore.

What is the difference between a responsible drinker and an affectionate puppy? One handles his liquor while the other licks his handler.
—Loretta Srch, Iberia, Mo.

What's the difference between Prince Charles and rice at a wedding? One is heir to the throne while the other is thrown to the air.
—Darryl Nester, Bluffton, Ohio

1) What's the difference between a convict and an autograph? One is booked in a pen while the other is penned in a book.
2) What's the difference between a medical recruiter and a Photoshop expert? One picks the doctors while the other doctors the pics.
—Summer Beretsky Bukeavich, Williamsport, Pa.

What is the difference between a clothing store and a day trader? One stocks shorts while the other shorts stocks.
—Marshall Savitt, Albany, N.Y.

What is the difference between a subprime loan crisis and a commemorative William and Kate wedding plate? One roils the markets while the other markets the royals.
—Leah Cole, Quincy, Mass.

What is the difference between a tangled ball of string and a brave knight? One is a frayed knot while the other is not afraid.
—Bryce Mayo, Gillette, Wyo.

What is the difference between an era without war and a sprig of a certain herb? One is a time of peace while the other is a piece of thyme.
—Michael Boone, Agoura Hills, Calif.

What's the difference between a panicked driver and a radio deejay? One hits the brakes while the other breaks the hits.
—Alan Nyquist, Keego Harbor, Mich.

What's the difference between a drill instructor and a dog trainer? One barks a command while the other commands a bark?
—Manuel Bass, Fullerton, Calif.

What's the difference between a marathon race official and Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr.? One times the runs while the other runs the Times.
—Kevin Devine, Marlborough, Mass.

What is the difference between the I.R.S. and a flood? One levies taxes while the other taxes levees.
—Brian Dontchos, Seattle

What is the difference between a successful student and a food safety inspector? One meets the grade while the other grades the meat.
—Janice Gargan, Southern Pines, N.C.

What is the difference between a choral director and a detective? One leads a choir while the other acquires a lead.
—Curtis Johnson, Denver, Colo.

What's the difference between a Vandal and a Manhattan shopper? One sacks Rome while the other roams Saks.
—Andy Calderwood, Santa Barbara, Calif.

What is the difference between a gas station and a gymnasium in Prague? One is a place to check a tire while the other is a place to tire a Czech.
—Bruce Weitzman, Sherman Oaks, Calif.

What's the difference between a bus driver and a tissue? One knows the stops while the other stops the nose.
—Miles Histand, Portland, Ore.

What is the difference between a renowned attorney and a storm drain? One is a great suer while other is a sewer grate.
—Ryan McNeill, Watkinsville, Ga.

What is the difference between a ship and the Rose Bowl Court? One floats on the waves while the other waves on the floats.
—Mike Strong, Mechanicsburg, Pa.

What's the difference between a power hitter and the operator of an outdoor movie theater? One drives in runs while the other runs drive-ins.
—Steve Feldman, Framingham, Mass.

What's the difference between a beach bum abroad and the lord of the manor? One surfs overseas while the other oversees serfs.
—John Byrne, Medford, Mass.

1) What is the difference between a traveler too sick to go and a husband with his feet in the way? One misses the trip while the other trips the Mrs.
2) What is the difference between a happily married working man and a man getting a divorce? One kisses his wife goodbye upon leaving his house while the other kisses his house goodbye upon leaving his wife.
—Patrick Berry, Jasper, Ala.

Several more entries Will liked that were repeated:

What is the difference between a jeweler and a jailer? One sells watches while the other watches cells.

What is the difference between a break-dancer and a museum curator? One busts a move while the other moves a bust.

What is the difference between a mariner and narcotics agents? One sails the seas while the others seize the sales.

What is the difference between a politician and an Indian restaurant chef? One curries favor while the other favors curry.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Nov 13, 2016): Creative Challenge - Beat the Rap vs. Wrap the Beet

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Nov 13, 2016): Creative Challenge - Beat the Rap vs. Wrap the Beet:
Q: This is a two-week creative challenge. The object is to write a conundrum or riddle that starts "What is the difference between ..." — in which the answer involves a transposition of words.

For example: What is the difference between a chatterbox and a mirror? Answer: One speaks without reflecting while the other reflects without speaking. Or: What is the difference between a lucky criminal and some Saran with a garden vegetable? Answer: One beats the rap while the other wraps the beet.

Change of spelling in the words is allowed, but not necessary. Entries will be judged on their sense, naturalness of wording, humor, elegance and overall effect. You may submit up to three entries. Mr. Shortz will announce his favorites — and the overall winner — in two weeks.
Hmm... not much to comment on this week. Obviously this is different than most of Will's puzzles in that it is open-ended and is a two week challenge. Start collecting your ideas and we'll discuss them all in two weeks after the deadline.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Nov 6, 2016): No Vowel Left Behind

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Nov 6, 2016): No Vowel Left Behind:
Q: Think of a sign that's frequently seen around this time of year — two words of four letters each. Among these eight letters all five vowels — A, E, I, O, and U — appear once each, along with three consonants. What sign is it?


Edit: My hint was "LOVE MAUI" which uses the vowels in the same order as the answer.
A: VOTE AQUÍ

Sunday, October 30, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Oct 30, 2016): Name in the News

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Oct 30, 2016): Name in the News:
Q: Think of a name in the news that has a doubled letter. It's a person's last name. Change that doubled letter to a different doubled letter, and you'll get the commercial name for a popular food. What is it?
A: (Evan) MCMULLIN --> MCMUFFIN

Sunday, October 16, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Oct 16, 2016): Five, Four, Three, Two, One, Blast-off!

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Oct 16, 2016): Five, Four, Three, Two, One, Blast-off!:
Q: This is a two-week challenge. Take the digits 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1, in that order. Using those digits and the four arithmetic signs — plus, minus, times and divided by — you can get 1 with the sequence 5 - 4 + 3 - 2 - 1. You can get 2 with the sequence (5 - 4 + 3 - 2) x 1.

The question is ... how many numbers from 1 to 40 can you get using the digits 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 in that order along with the four arithmetic signs?

You can group digits with parentheses, as in the example. There are no tricks to this, though. It's a straightforward puzzle. How many numbers from 1 to 40 can you get — and, specifically, what number or numbers can you not get? Will Shortz will reveal his solution in two weeks.
Enjoy the two-week math challenge. Feel free to post *how many* numbers you can create, but just not specifics on which ones and with what expressions.

Edit: A bit of a trick here. You can create 39 numbers, but not 39. :)
A: Without resorting to tricks, you can write expressions for all but number 39.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Oct 9, 2016): Grabbing a Bite to Eat Before the Movie

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Oct 9, 2016): Grabbing a Bite to Eat Before the Movie:
Q: Name a famous actress of the past — first and last names, 10 letters altogether. Change one letter in the first name and one letter in the last. The result is a two-word phrase naming a food item often found in a kitchen cabinet or refrigerator. What is it?
I was looking into the yard and the answer came to me.

Edit: Obviously I was looking out the "Rear Window"
A: GRACE KELLY --> GRAPE JELLY

Sunday, October 02, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Oct 2, 2016): What Do You Do?

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Oct 2, 2016): What Do You Do?:
Q: Name an 11-letter occupation starting with H. If you have the right one, you can rearrange the letters to name two things a worker with this occupation uses — one in six letters and one in five. What occupation is it?
I came up with curtains and a towel, but that isn't right.

Edit: My clues were to shears (curtains) and a drier (towel).
A: HAIRDRESSER --> SHEARS + DRIER

Sunday, September 18, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sept 18, 2016): Drawing a Blank

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sept 18, 2016): Drawing a Blank:
Q: Think of a familiar three-word phrase in the form "[blank] and [blank]". Drop the "and" then move the last word to the front to form a single word that means the opposite of the original phrase.

Here's a hint: The resulting single word has seven letters. What is it?
I'm literally drawing a blank... and another blank.

Edit: I guess you could say I was getting nowhere with the puzzle.
A: HERE and NOW --> NOWHERE

Sunday, September 11, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sept 11, 2016): Colors of the Rainbow? Days of the Week?

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sept 11, 2016): Colors of the Rainbow? Days of the Week?:
Q: Think of a well-known category with exactly seven things in it. Alphabetize the things from their ending letters, and the last letter alphabetically will be "e." In other words, no thing in this category ends in a letter after "e" in the alphabet. It's a category and set of seven things that everyone knows. What is it?
Okay, figured that out and now I can get ready to go to church.

My hint was going to "mass" as in "land mass".
A: The seven continents (Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, South America)

Sunday, September 04, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sept 4, 2016): Anyone Call For An R.N.?

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sept 4, 2016): Anyone Call For An R.N.?:
Q: If you squish the small letters "r" and "n" too closely together, they look like an "m." Think of a common five-letter word with the consecutive letters "r" and "n" that becomes its own opposite if you change them to an "m."
I have a myriad of excuses as to why I forgot to post the puzzle and answer last week running the gamut from A to Z, but mainly my wife and I were very busy constructing costumes for the family to attend a convention this weekend. I intended to post as soon as I figured out the answer last Sunday but never came up with it, so forgot to get back to it. Apologies to all.

Edit: My hint was "running the gamut from A to Z". On a boat the equivalent would be from stem to stern.
A: stern --> stem

Sunday, August 21, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 21, 2016): Name that Rhyme

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 21, 2016): Name that Rhyme:
Q: Name a famous person with the initials B.S. and another famous person with the initials G.M. — whose first and last names, respectively, rhyme with each other. One of the names has one syllable and one has two syllables. Who are these famous people?
I'd rather be reminiscing about my vacation.

Edit:The song Reminiscing mentions Glenn Miller, and during American Idol's 2007 broadcast of Idol Gives Back, Ben Stiller jokingly threatened to sing the song nonstop until $200 billion in donations was achieved.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 14, 2016): The Cat's Away...

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 14, 2016): The Cat's Away...

I'm unable to post the puzzle this week, but I didn't want to leave you without a place to post comments on the puzzle. Somebody help me out by posting a copy here. Then feel free to add your *hints*.

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.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 7, 2016): All that Glitters is not Gold - Answer

Here's an autopost of the solution. You didn't need "help" this week because those are the repeated letters that are removed.
A: MICHAEL PHELPS --> MICAS

Sunday, August 07, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 7, 2016): All that Glitters is not Gold

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 7, 2016): All that Glitters is not Gold:
Q: Name a famous Olympics champion past or present — first and last names. Remove every letter from the name that appears exactly twice. The remaining letters in order will name certain minerals. Who is this Olympics star?
You've probably figured this out already, so you don't need my help this week.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (July 31, 2016): Ponies Accept Seared Caviar

NPR Sunday Puzzle (July 31, 2016): Ponies Accept Seared Caviar:
Q: Take the four four-letter words LIMB, AREA, CORK and KNEE. Write them one under the other, and the four columns will spell four new words LACK, IRON, MERE, and BAKE.

This is called a double word square. I'd like you to find a double word square with 6-letter words. Specifically, your square must include the words PONIES, ACCEPT, SEARED and CAVIAR. These four words must be among the 12 common, uncapitalized six-letter words in the square. Can you do it?
A: Here's the answer:

ACROSS
CLARET
CAVIAR
EMIGRE
PONIES
TRENDS

ACCEPT
CLAMOR
RAVINE
ORIGIN
SEARED
STRESS

Sunday, July 24, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (July 24, 2016): Men's Kitchen Attire

NPR Sunday Puzzle (July 24, 2016): Men's Kitchen Attire:
Q: A spoonerism is an interchange of initial consonant sounds in a phrase to get another phrase, as in "light rain" and "right lane." Name something seen in a kitchen in two words. Its spoonerism is an article that's worn mostly by men. What is it?
The problem I had was that the name I would have used for the kitchen item has the same initial sounds. And what I would have called the men's item would have the same initial sounds. Thus they would both be spoonerisms of themselves, not each other.

Edit: I'd probably call the kitchen item a pie pan and the clothing item a tie tack.
A: PIE TIN --> TIE PIN

Sunday, July 17, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (July 17, 2016): Mixed-up American Politicians

NPR Sunday Puzzle (July 17, 2016): Mixed-up American Politicians:
A: Name a prominent American politician — first and last names, 11 letters total. Rearrange these letters, and you'll get a country plus the former name of another country. Who's the politician, and what countries are these?
A: NANCY PELOSI --> SPAIN, CEYLON

Sunday, July 10, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (July 10, 2016): The Boys of Summer

NPR Sunday Puzzle (July 10, 2016): The Boys of Summer:
Q: Think of a phrase that denotes a particular major-league sports team in 12 letters. The first 6 letters are the same as the second 6 letters rearranged. What team is it?
A: THE MIAMI HEAT

Sunday, July 03, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (July 3, 2016): Shall we play a game?

NPR Sunday Puzzle (July 3, 2016): Shall we play a game?:
Q: Take the word FALSE and divide it between the L and the S (e.g. FAL and SE). FAL is the start of the word FALL, and SE is the end of the word RISE. And, of course, "fall" and "rise" are opposites. Do the same thing for the word SHALL. Divide it into two parts, so that the start of it starts one word and the end of it ends another word — and those two words are opposites. The dividing point is for you to discover. There are three different solutions and you are to find all three.
A: SHORT and TALL, SHARP and DULL, SHAKY and STILL and SHAN'T and WILL

Sunday, June 26, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (June 26, 2016): State of the Union Address

NPR Sunday Puzzle (June 26, 2016): State of the Union Address:
A: Think of two well-known American cities, each five letters long. The first two letters of the first city are the state postal abbreviation of the second city. And the first two letters of the second city are the state postal abbreviation of the first city. What two cities are these?
What are you waiting for? Something here to lead you to the answer?

Edit: The hints were "what are" which sounds like "water" and "lead" referring to the metal.
A: MIAMI, FL(orida) and FLINT, MI(chigan)

Sunday, June 19, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (June 19, 2016): There Is Still Work to Do

NPR Sunday Puzzle (June 19, 2016): There Is Still Work to Do:
Q: Think of a word that means "unfinished." Add one letter at the start and one letter at the end, and you'll get a new word that means the opposite of the first. What words are these?
For some reason this reminds me of the Tom Hanks --> Thanks puzzle from nearly 10 years ago.

Edit: Dennis the Menace's dog was named RUFF. The cartoonist for Dennis the Menace was HANK Ketcham. Add a letter before and after and you get THANKS.
A: ROUGH --> WROUGHT

Sunday, June 12, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (June 12, 2016): C D B? D B S A B Z B!

NPR Sunday Puzzle (June 12, 2016): C D B? D B S A B Z B!:
Q: This week's challenge comes from listener Andrew Chaikin of San Francisco. Take the word baci (Italian for "kisses"). You can rearrange the letters to "I C A B" — which sounds like a sentence, "I see a bee."

Now, think of a unit of measurement. Rearrange its letters and read them out loud to form a sentence complimenting someone on their appearance. What's the word, and what's the sentence?
Just read C D B! by William Steig and you'll probably get the answer. Or if not, he has a second book in the series called C D C!.

I'm not sure you can call these "volumes" but that's what I was trying to hint at.
A: QUART --> URAQT (You are a cutie)

Sunday, June 05, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (June 5, 2016): Pack your Bags

NPR Sunday Puzzle (June 5, 2016): Pack your Bags:
Q: Name a famous actor — seven-letter first name, four-letter last name. Take four consecutive letters from the first name and three consecutive letters from the last name. These seven letters, in order from left to right, will name something that's often packed nowadays when taking a trip. What is it?
I like to travel to see the world.

Edit: "See world" sounds like "SeaWorld" which is in San Diego, home of the San Diego Chargers.
A: RICHARD GERE --> CHARGER

Sunday, May 29, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 29, 2016): Game, Set and Match

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 29, 2016): Game, Set and Match:
Q: What is the most consecutive points a tennis player can lose and still win a best-of-five-sets match? There's no trick. It's a straightforward question. The modern tennis tiebreaker rule does not come into play.
So basically you've got to figure how many sets you can get behind and still be able to catch up?

Edit: You'll be almost ready to lose the 19th consecutive set. Add 57 (hint: Heinz "ketchup") and you have 76 points.
A: 76 points. You start by going up 5 games and 40-love (3 points). Your opponent then needs 5 points to win that game, and 6 more games (24 points) to win the first set 7-5, 24 points to win the second set 6-0 and then another 23 points to be at 5 games and 40-love in the third set

Sunday, May 22, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 22, 2016): Another Household Item

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 22, 2016): Another Household Item:
Q: Name a common household item in 6 letters. Change the middle two letters to a P, and you'll get the 5-letter last name of a famous person who professionally used that item. What's the item, and who's the person?
Is pectin a household item used professionally by Chef Jacques Pépin?
A: CAMERA --> CAPRA

Sunday, May 15, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 15, 2016): Creature Comforts

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 15, 2016): Creature Comforts:
Q: Name a creature in nine letters. The name contains a T. Drop the T, and the remaining letters can be rearranged to spell two related modes of transportation. What are they?
A: BUTTERFLY --> UBER, LYFT

Sunday, May 08, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 8, 2016): Household item

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 8, 2016): Household item:
Q: Name something in 11 letters that's a common household item. You can rearrange the first six letters to form a synonym of a word spelled by the middle three letters. What is the item, and what are the words?
For some reason this was the first thing I thought of today. By the way, if you rearrange the last 6 letters, you can name something else that is a common household item, and something that definitely is NOT.

Edit: Given that Sunday was Mother's Day, Mom was the first thing I thought of. The last 6 letters of the answer can be anagrammed to REMOTE or METEOR.
A: THERMOMETER --> MOTHER and MOM

Sunday, May 01, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 1, 2016): Entrance and Exit

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 1, 2016): Entrance and Exit:
Q: Think of a word that means "entrance." Interchange the second and fourth letters, and you'll get a new word that means "exit." What words are these?
Anyone watch Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

Edit: An episode of the show from 1991 was entitled "Gateway Getaway" where Robocrook steals the St. Louis Arch. It's especially notable for what happened in the final round.
A: GATEWAY --> GETAWAY

Sunday, April 24, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (April 24, 2016): Drugstore Singer

NPR Sunday Puzzle (April 24, 2016): Drugstore Singer:
Q: Name a famous singer — first and last names. The last four letters of the first name spelled backward plus the first four letters of the last name spelled forward ... read together, in order, name a section of products in a drugstore. What is it?
At a minimum we need a name like BURL IVES, with four letters in each name.

Edit: Burl Ives was in the musical "Paint Your Wagon" and sang "They Call the Wind Maria". The song was the inspiration for Mariah Carey's name.
A: MARIAH CAREY --> HAIR CARE

Sunday, April 17, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (April 17, 2016): Give 'em the old Razzle Dazzle

NPR Sunday Puzzle (April 17, 2016): Give 'em the old Razzle Dazzle:
Q: Take the name of a famous musical. Write it in upper- and lowercase letters, as you usually would. Now turn one of the characters upside-down and move it to another place in the title. The result will be the last name of a well-known stage performer. What is the musical, and who is the performer?
Chicago? Nope. Cats? Nope. Hmm... I'm not getting it!

Edit: My hint had question marks, an ellipsis and an exclamation point to point you to thinking about the punctuation.
A: Oliver! --> (Laurence) Oliv¡er

Sunday, April 10, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (April 10, 2016): And Threes a Crowd...

NPR Sunday Puzzle (April 10, 2016): And Threes a Crowd...:
Q: Name something in eight letters that's usually bought in pairs. Change the second letter to the letter two spaces later in the alphabet, and you'll get a new word that names something else that's usually bought in pairs. Both words are plurals. What are they?
Put the two words together and that's also something that you can buy. Who knew?

Edit: You can buy Speakers for your Sneakers or even Sneakers made into Speakers
A: SNEAKERS/SPEAKERS (Will also accepted Slippers/Snippers)

Sunday, April 03, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (April 3, 2016): A=1, B=2, C=3, ...

NPR Sunday Puzzle (April 3, 2016): A=1, B=2, C=3, ...:
Q: Take the word EASY: Its first three letters — E, A and S — are the fifth, first, and nineteenth letters, respectively, in the alphabet. If you add 5 + 1 + 19, you get 25, which is the value of the alphabetical position of Y, the last letter of EASY.

Can you think of a common five-letter word that works in the opposite way — in which the value of the alphabetical positions of its last four letters add up to the value of the alphabetical position of its first letter?
I'm crossing this off my list of tough puzzles; this is way too EASY!

Edit: My hint was to crosswalks which are called "zebra crossings" in the U.K.
A: ZEBRA is one possible answer. TABLE, WHACK and MACED also fit the criteria.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (March 27, 2016): Both man and woman...

NPR Sunday Puzzle (March 27, 2016): Both man and woman...:
Q: It's a two-line verse from the Nov. 12, 1803, issue of the Boston Weekly Magazine:

I am both man and woman too,
And go to school as good boys do.
Will Shortz is looking for the answer to this riddle so submit your best answer to the NPR website.
I've pulled an image from the original issue of the Boston Weekly Magazine (November 12, 1803) if that helps.

Edit: The same rebus/riddle appeared in the December 1759 issue of The London Magazine. The answer given in the following month was that the answer is "I". But this answer was less than satisfying so Will picked a different answer.
A: Ruler

Sunday, March 20, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (March 20, 2016): A Mix of Vowels and Consonants

NPR Sunday Puzzle (March 20, 2016): A Mix of Vowels and Consonants:
Q: Think of a common nine-letter word that contains five consecutive consonants. Take three consecutive consonants out of these five and replace them with vowels to form another common nine-letter word. What is it?
Just to clarify, the first word has 5 consonants in a row; they aren't consecutive in the alphabet. I could have been at this for many weeks if I hadn't changed another assumption I incorrectly made.

Edit: My hint was "weeks" sounding sort of like an antonym of strengths. My mistaken assumption was that Will wouldn't pick a plural as a word so I was initially focused on compound words corkscrew. Incidentally, STRENGTHS is the longest English word with just one vowel.
A: STRENGTHS --> STRENUOUS

Sunday, March 13, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (March 13, 2016): Monthly Actress and Poet Meeting

NPR Sunday Puzzle (March 13, 2016): Monthly Actress and Poet Meeting:
Q: Take the name of a well-known actress. Her first name starts with the three-letter abbreviation for a month. Replace this with the three-letter abbreviation of a different month, and you'll get the name of a famous poet. Who are these two people?
At least there are only 12 months to deal with, not 13.

Edit: The actress played President Alma Coin from District 13 in "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay" (Parts 1 and 2).
A: JULIANNE MOORE --> MARIANNE MOORE

Sunday, March 06, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (March 6, 2016): Five Words on a Keyboard

NPR Sunday Puzzle (March 6, 2016): Five Words on a Keyboard:
Q: Bail, Nail, and Mail are three four-letter words that differ only by their first letters. And those first letters (B, N, and M) happen to be adjacent on a computer keyboard. Can you think of five four-letter words that have the same property — that is, they're identical except for their first letters, with those first letters being adjacent on the keyboard? All five words must be ones that everyone knows. Capitalized words and plurals are not allowed. What words are they?
The word "adjacent" may give you some problems, but assume that Will meant "on the same row" and it will all mesh. If you still have problems, you could always just pry up a few keys.

Edit: My hints were the word give which was one of my words. There was also mesh which was a hint to "jive".
A: DIVE, FIVE, GIVE, HIVE, JIVE
Other answers are also possible.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 28, 2016): Graphing is Where I Draw the Line

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 28, 2016): Graphing is Where I Draw the Line:
Q: What two eight-letter terms in math are anagrams of each other, one from geometry, one from calculus?
I'm just going to say initially you may be confused, but you'll get it.

Edit: The initial letters of the two words are I and T.
A: INTEGRAL and TRIANGLE

Sunday, February 21, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 21, 2016): The Letter G, Served Three Ways

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 21, 2016): The Letter G, Served Three Ways:
Q: Think of three eight-letter words that are identical in spelling except for the fourth letter. Each word contains a G ... that is pronounced differently in all three words. What words are they?
I didn't know the answer at first, but I received some reinforcement; I feel much better now.

Edit: Hints were "don't know"=stranger, "reinforcement"=stringer, "feel much better"=stronger.
A: STRANGER (soft g sound), STRINGER (nasal ng sound), STRONGER (hard g sound)

Sunday, February 14, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 14, 2016): For Dinner Tonight We Have...

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 14, 2016): For Dinner Tonight We Have...:
Q: Name something to eat. Change one letter in it and rearrange the result. You'll name the person who makes this food. Who is it?
No need to be an "old-timer" this week. This should be easily solvable by any age.

Edit: Old-timer is an anagram of Time Lord, and the fourth Dr. Who was played by Tom Baker
A: BREAD --> BAKER

Sunday, February 07, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 7, 2016): The Cat's Away (again)...

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 7, 2016): The Cat's Away (again)...

I'm unable to post the puzzle this week, but I didn't want to leave you without a place to post comments on the puzzle. Somebody help me out by posting a copy here. Then feel free to add your *hints*.

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.

Update: Thanks for those that answered my call for help in posting the puzzle this week. While you were trying to figure it out, I was busy trying to navigate the curves of the various ski runs. I found myself face down in the deep snow inhaling ice particles several times. I handled it coolly though and didn't end up falling off any cliffs, so that's good. Now if I could just figure out the key to solving this week's puzzle...

Edit: Curve = Scoliosis, Inhaling particles = Silicosis. Other (shorter) words that work are coolly and cliffs. "Call" and "key" hinted at a telephone key pad
A: Looking at a telephone keypad, 2=ABC, 3=DEF, 4=GHI, 5=JKL, 6=MNO, 7=PRS, 8=TUV, 9=WXY. The first letters in each triad can be used to spell PAJAMA. The second letters in each triad can be used to spell REBUKE. The third letters can be used to spell several words, but for words using 9 letters I found SCOLIOSIS and SILICOSIS.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 31, 2016): Middle East Cities and Countries

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 31, 2016): Middle East Cities and Countries:
Q: Take the name of a country and a well-known city in the Middle East — 12 letters in all. Rearrange these letters to name another country and another well-known city in the Middle East. What places are these?
To clarify, the cities and the countries may not correspond but everything is in the Middle East.
A: BAHRAIN, DUBAI <--> IRAN, ABU DHABI

Sunday, January 24, 2016

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 24, 2016): Three Phrase Puzzle

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 24, 2016): Three Phrase Puzzle:
Q: Take these three phrases:

  • Turkey breast
  • Ski slope
  • Cash drawer
  • What very unusual property do they have in common?
    I suppose you could hire a private escort to help you get to where you need to be with this puzzle.

    Edit: If you anagram the second word in private escort you get private sector.
    A: In each phrase, the second word can be anagrammed to complete another common phrase:
    Turkey breast —> turkey baster
    Ski slope —> ski poles
    Cash drawer —> cash reward

    Sunday, January 17, 2016

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 17, 2016): Three Letter Category

    NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 17, 2016): Three Letter Category:
    Q: This one is an extension of the on-air puzzle where the example was vegetable --> leek or lettuce.

    Think of a category in three letters in which the last two letters are the first two letters of something in that category. And the thing in the category has seven letters. Both names are common, uncapitalized words. What are they?
    I was going to make a pun, but it was unfunny.
    Edit: And you would have liked it... it was a real gem. :)
    A: GEM --> EMERALD