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.
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.


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.


  1. Feel free to continue the discussion. Remember the deadline is Wednesday this week.

  2. Anyone else pondering the conundrum of the word conundrum's origin?

    It made me think of Winston Churchill's famous 1939 quote:

    “I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma, but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.”

    And perhaps the conundrum is actually the innermost nesting doll inside the riddle above.

    I discovered this in my search about conundrums. (By the way, conundrum is not from Latin so the plural form is not conundra. I thought of some Canadian puns around tundra conundra but, alas!)

    It's truly a conundrum!

    1. Here is the link I referenced in the next to last paragraph above:

  3. What’s the difference between the Old Testament and the Trump administration?

    Answer: One begins with a list of boring begats and the other begins with bigots who are abhorrent.

  4. Replies
    1. With apologies to Bob Kerfuffle, I believe I will start calling DT President-Elect Kerfuffle.

    2. @Word Woman - I suppose I can live with that, especially considering all the negative epithets DT has attached to the name "Woman."

    3. Ah, Bob Kerfuffle, thank you for overstanding!

    4. I like the quote, but have to disagree. DT isn't a moron. He's a liar, misogynist, racist, xenophobe, narcissist, nepotist, militarist, plutocrat, con artist, swindler, anti-scientist, anti-humanist, defaulter, friend of organized crime, likely child rapist, and so much more.

      Mencken's description applied beautifully to George W Bush, and almost to Dan Quayle and Sarah Palin.

    5. eco, You're holding back again.

    6. And isn't it weird to find Mitt Romney as possible Secretary of State a breath of fresh diplomatic air?

    7. I suppose, like the proud Democratic party (I'm glad I parted that train wreck 20 years ago), we have to "work together and stand by the next President". Even the one that stole the electoral college.

      This cabinet is shaping up to be all angry white men.

    8. Yeah, that worked well for the German people when Hitler was appointed chancellor.

    9. And that was my point in saying we shouldn't call him a moron. In the early years there were all sorts of terms for the Corporal. We do the same at our own peril.

    10. The most scary part of all this for me is not the appointments and violence already happening; no, it is those, who should know better, telling us we have to give Trump a chance and see what he will do. Any fool should be able to see what he will do.

    11. Watching the election night results trickle in, I kept thinking of that movie "Idiocracy". How can people elect this extremist?? People are not thinking this through! How easily the masses can be fooled.

    12. Eco: So much for draining the swamp!
      WW: It sure says quite a bit, seeing Romney as 'a bit of fresh air'. Pretty sad...

    13. Cheeto Tweeto strikes again: "not nice."

  5. We have been monitoring this blog and are concerned with many of the names:

    68Charger: Thanks for buying American! We're going to bring those jobs back, except for the things that are more profitable for my kids.
    Lorenzo: Your name sounds foreign, expect a visit soon.
    Word Woman: You should know your place is to speak only when spoken to.
    Skydiveboy: You're mostly okay, but you would do better to be known as SkydiveSuperFanofArmyRangersandNavySeals.
    Jan: Your name is gender ambiguous, we don't want any trouble from you. Got it?
    Ecoarchitect: Knock off the Eco crap!
    PlannedChaos: We have extra eyes on you.
    Natasha: Tell Vladi we said hi!
    Legolamda: We don't understand your name and therefore you must change it!

    Blaine: You are the Master of this blog. You have absolute authority, understand what that means or YOU'RE FIRED!

    1. Trumpster...16:

      A) That's fine, just keep those $25 mill checks coming in for that noble institution, Trump U. !!

      B) Yeah, get those Chargers back to the US of A!

      C) Can you also get some of your family on board?

    2. I want to get some of Trumps family on board and deported.

    3. Влади сказал, чтобы дать его очень лучший к группе Trumpster. Я думаю, что ваш лидер мог прочитать это даже при том, что он имеет трудное время с английским языком.

    4. Отлично, мы рассчитываем на сотрудничество с вами. Существует работа, которая будет сделано в Восточной Европе.

    5. Look, if you two are gonna talk dirty, for God's sake, get a room! ;)

    6. Tr...16 -
      Hey, it beats Siberia!

    7. Trumptransition: Ничего. Мы так рады, Дональд у власти скоро. Я думаю, что Дональд не читать хорошо на английском языке. Правильно. Он нуждается в помощи.

    8. I can see Vladivostok from my screen. Seems like a nice place. I think I could live there if the natives were friendly.

    9. Paul: We are trying to watch our language.

      Natasha: Дональд не нуждается в помощи. Америка нуждается в помощи.

    10. Trumptransition2016: Вы связаны с его Величество Дональд?

    11. Natasha: Я очень скоро будет его рабом. Или его в плен. Мы все будем.

    12. Trumptransition: Есть что-то не так с этой картиной, что вы рисуете.

    13. я согласен с вами, есть слишком много, что это неправильно. Я даже не знаю, что это такое, так как я понятия не имею, что я делаю.

    14. Trumptransition, С Днем благодарения

    15. Спасибо, наилучшие пожелания.

  6. I remember one of these from when I was a kid. "What's the difference between a jeweler and a jailer? A jeweler sells watches and a jailer watches cells."

  7. Picked my three best to submit. This one didn't make the cut.
    What's the difference between IKEA furniture and buyer's remorse?
    IKEA furniture is DIY; buyer's remorse is, "Why did I?"

  8. If anyone understands the significance of Blaine's 'get out of jail free' card and can clue me in without crashing the multiverse, I'd be infinitely appreciative.

    1. "Beat the rap" versus last week's image of "Wrap the beet."

    2. Reminds me of yesterday at the supermarket when I walked through the produce section and the employee working one of the displays held up a vegetable as I approached nearby and said, "Meet your beet."

    3. Well, of course; duh!
      But I was already infinitely appreciative of you, WW, so what do I do now?

    4. I'm happy with infinitely appreciative. :-)

    5. Who wouldn't be?
      And who doesn't deserve it?

    6. WW: that's a gem of an image, is it sapphire or a semi-precious stone?

      If I squint I can see a face, a la the man in the moon, but this one has a distinct scowl, much like the man in the tower (with a light bow shaped comb over).

      Intentional, coincidental or my imagination?

    7. eco, yes, indeed. It is the sapphire variety of corundrum. "CORUNDUM CONUNDRUM" is my working title for this week's Partial Ellipsis of the Sun.

      It was intentional. Glad you saw it. The images of orange varieties of corundum I perused lacked the scowl and combover of Cheeto Tweeto, so I went with blue.

      Life is so multi-faceted, eh?

    8. Perhaps we all, like the Hamilton cast, can torment him until he's blue in the face.

      Too bad that non-incident eviscerated any coverage of the Trump U. scam settlement.

    9. Happy Colorful (not Black) Friday!

      New post on CORUNDUM CONUNDRUM: Sapphires, Rubies, and Padparascha is, at long last, up over at Partial Ellipsis of the Sun.

  9. What's the difference between holiday music and
    Simon, David, Ann, and John among others?

  10. What is the difference between the 2016 presidential national vote and one candidate's high-pitched ironic snort? The first is NAY TRUMP and the second is a TRUMP NEIGH!

    "POST-TRUTH" named word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries.

    The publisher pointed to the recent expansion in meaning of the prefix “post-”, saying that “rather than simply referring to the time after a specified situation or event – as in post-war or post-match”, in post-truth it had taken on the meaning of “belonging to a time in which the specified concept has become unimportant or irrelevant

  11. It's my birthday so you have to be nice LOL
    What's the difference between the gentleman who succumbed while on the Titanic and the overzealous tavern owner who went overboard while brewing his own malt? One bought the farm while the other fought the barm.

    1. So that's where "barmy" comes from!

      Happy birthday, RoRo!

    2. Have a luminescent trip around the sun, RoRo!

      And Happy Thanksgiving Eve, all.

  12. Once again, I didn't get the call...but here are my entries:

    What's the difference between Traffic Court and a lineup?
    In Traffic Court DUI is criminal; in a lineup you ID criminals.

    What's the difference between the Denver Broncos and a juicer?
    The Denver Broncos are the Orange Crush; a juicer crushes oranges.

    What's the difference between a Good Humor truck and bombing the Islamic State?
    A Good Humor truck has ice creams; bombing the Islamic State creams ISIS.

  13. Super Zee - Mighty Isis likes your entries although she does not like people taking her name in vane, or vain , or vein

  14. A few of my entries:
    What's the difference between...
    ...what makes you sleepy on Thanksgiving Day and an accident in the bleachers due to a spectator's big feet?
    One is tryptophan, the other a fan tripped.
    ...a caveat before revealing information some viewers might not want to know and a vigilant killjoy?
    One is a spoiler alert, the other an alert spoiler.
    ...a single guy who dates promiscuously and an extremist dietitian?
    One sees fast women, the other sees women fast.

  15. As I've said in the past, I don't like (and don't try to solve) puzzles without specific answers. But congrats to all who did.

    Hope everyone here has a great Thanksgiving!

  16. Mine are pretty simple, compared to most here, but I enjoyed coming up with them:

    1) What's the difference between a math teacher and a charity watchdog?
    one causes quizzes and the other quizzes causes.

    2) What's the difference between a mariner and a bargain shopper?
    ... One sails seas, and the other sees sales.

    3) What's the difference between a photo developer and an efficiency engineer?
    ... One processes films and the other films processes.

    4) What's the difference between a librarian and a fair director?
    ... One exhibits books and the other books exhibits.

    5) what's the difference between a grocery shelver and a banker?
    ... One changes stock and the other stocks change.

    6) what's the difference between a baker and a nature film-maker?
    ... One flours a pan, and the other pans a flower.

    --Margaret G.

  17. A few others that I hadn't posted yet:

    What's the difference between…
    …A cinder block and a marsupial? One is to be a wall, and the other is a wallaby.
    …Sanding lumber and entering an aircraft? One is a way to plane a board, the other is a way to board a plane.
    …The income gap and a rich person? One is man-made, the other is a made man.

    I think my favorite that I came up with is:
    …A diner asking for the check and Congress postponing a motion? For one they bill the table, for the other they table the bill.

    I have a couple others that I like at least as well, but they're blue. I didn't end up submitting anything.

    1. Oh just tease us huh? We want the blue ones. They can't be any worse than the two blue ones I posted, although the first one is not exactly according to the rules, since it is what they have in common.

    2. I already posted some of these on last week's blog, though you may not have seen them since I kept them in one thread kind of high up on the page:

      What's the difference between…
      …A contraceptive and a common traffic infraction? One is an IUD, the other is a DUI.
      …Weatherproofing and a strip club? One is a joint flashing, and the other is a flashing joint.
      …A recliner brand and getting lucky in Idaho's capital? One is a La-Z-Boy, the other is a Boise lay.
      …A movie set informant and a pisser? One leaks a take while the other takes a leak.
      …A plumber and a pisser? One snakes the drain while the other drains the snake.
      …A lead singer and someone taking a dump? One heads the hit while the other hits the head.
      …Disgraced military official, and later intestinal difficulties? One is a discharged Rear Admiral, the other is the rear discharge of an Admiral.
      Not blue, but perhaps morally repugnant:
      …Seeking legal remedy for a crime, and a potential Trump requirement for media access? One will press charges, while the other will charge the press.
      …A wife beater brought to justice and a functional Duracell? One is charged with battery, the other is a battery with charge.

  18. Difference between a professional wrestling match and a broken soap dish? One bars no holds while the other holds no bars.

  19. What is the similarity between a person in this country exercising their pet and a person in China who is cooking dinner?

    They are both walking (woking) their dog.

    1. SDB This one is beyond blue!

    2. Actually it is not blue at all. I realize some Caucasian people think it is politically incorrect, and I can never understand why, but they do, but my friends from China think it is funny.

  20. What's the difference between holiday music and
    Simon, David, Ann, and John among others?

    Handel's Messiah vs. messiah handles

  21. What's the difference between a daredevil and a lap dog? One flies by the seat of his pants, and the other pants by the seat of your fly.

  22. What is the difference between gunfire at the North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts, that is traditionally considered the opening of the American Revolutionary War and the launch of several dairy cattle into orbit to study the effects of zero-gravity on milk production?
    One was the “Shot Heard Round the World” while the other was the herd shot round the world.

    What is the difference between a state medical board and someone who falsifies driving permits?
    One licenses doctors while the other doctors licenses.

    What is the difference between and a corrupt financial broker?
    One rates the doctors while the other doctors the rates.

  23. Hi All,

    After not posting on this blog for a while, for the past couple of days I have not been able to post a comment here (using Internet Explorer 11 under Windows 10). The normal dialogue screen did not show up unless I replied to a specific post. Even then, It did not recognize any profiles, even though it showed that I was logged in (under Gmail). I switched to MS Edge and was able to post without a problem. Is IE 11 no longer compatible with this website?

    Thanks -- Phil J.

    1. Phil J., that's the same trouble Mendo Jim was having. I'll bet your hunch about IE 11 is right.

    2. WW,

      Thanks for the reply. Didn't notice Mendo Jim's posting. When did he post it?

      Thanks again -- Phil J.

    3. Phil J., you're welcome. It's been within the past month or so. He described not being able to open a new comment box but having to reply to an existing comment. You could easily do an internal blog search (in the upper right hand corner of this blog) if you want to track down exactly when. It's fairly recent, though.

    4. Mendo Jim, do you use Internet Explorer 11? I havent used IE for years, preferring Chrome or Firefox.

    5. There's no good reason to use Internet Explorer. I still use it, but mainly to test how my html code will look to people using that browser. As a test, after this page loads, scroll back up to the top of page. Does the "Blaine's Puzzle Blog" header have a solid black background? I rest my case.

  24. Here's one I submitted:

    What is the difference between people in Dubai and people in Abu Dhabi?

    People in Dubai don't like the Flintstones but people in Abu Dhabi doooooooo!

  25. I just received my "Make America Great Again" talking Christmas tree ornament today. I put it on the tree and every time someone in the room says something, it blares out "WRONG!, WRONG!".
    Very annoying...

    1. 68Charger, my ornament keeps saying things to the neighbor's cat which has her scurrying. . .

    2. WW - That's funny!

      Now my nativity scene characters have been sent to an internment camp.

      Have you seen this for sale on Amazon, yet? People are rating this thing with one star along with some hilarious comments. Amazon is trying to sell it for up to $250.

    3. What is the link? I tried but could not find what you are referring to.

      P.S. If anything bad happens to the child I don't want to know about it. :-)

    4. SDB - Try this one, see if it works!

  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

  27. Next week's challenge, from Mike Reiss, writer/producer for The Simpsons: 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?


For NPR puzzle posts, don't post the answer or any hints that could lead to the answer before the deadline (usually Thursday at 3pm ET). If you know the answer, submit it to NPR, but don't give it away here.

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