Sunday, December 17, 2017

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 17, 2017): Modern Conveniences

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 17, 2017): Modern Conveniences:
Q: Think of a convenience introduced in the 19th century that is still around today. Its name has two words. Take the first three letters of the first word and the first letter of its second word, in order, to get a convenience introduced in the 21st century that serves a similar purpose. Their names are otherwise unrelated. What two conveniences are these?
I can't think what it would be.

Edit: I eventually figured it out. My comment contained hints to "reference lists" and to enlisting the help of others.
A: YEL(LOW) P(AGES) --> YELP

162 comments:

  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.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I hope that's not a clue, Blaine, because I can't think what it would be either, and I'm serious about this.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Finally a puzzle that came to me fast. Maybe it’s because I’ve had a very strong dislike for both of the conveniences.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Well, it isn't a carpet sweeper as that has nothing to do with cars...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nor a kitchen sink which has nothing to do with 21st Century kits.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. Were you going for pilot light and the 21st Century pill?

      Delete
  5. Looks like it’s my turn for the disappearing post glitch.
    Second attempt.
    Unlike the newer incarnation, the 19th century version could be recycled. It was also of great help raising children.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you're talking about you post on last week's blog, it didn't disappear. It was one of several post that came after the 200th post of the week, so you have to click on "Load more" at the bottom of the page to see it.

      Delete
    2. One of my posts disappeared, well before #200.

      Delete
    3. Jan - the post that disappeared was here, but disappeared. I paraphrased my original and reposted./ Second version is above.

      Delete
  6. Interesting to refer to these as "conveniences". On my ambulance squad, "convenience bags" are what we give patients to throw up into.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmmm -- Got a "Notify me" email from saukriver in response to this posting, but it's not here now. It looks like postings are indeed disappearing.

      Delete
    2. You don't have it, do you, WW?
      #me neither

      Delete
    3. Paul, #got_it. I'm not shy about posting that, either.

      Delete
    4. Paul, Saul, and All, #how_about_you?

      Delete
  7. In the 19th Century, you saw the first reports of UFOs and space men in the U.S., which conveniently gave people with nothing better to do something to talk about. Now, we have spam email for that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a little out there.

      Delete
    2. But not too far from in here, JC.

      Delete
    3. “If it’s out there, it’s in here”, from a set of iconic Yellow Pages ads created by Jay Chiat (JC) of Chiat/Day advertising agency, in the mid 1980’s. “Furniture Stripping”, “Rock Drills”, “Conductive Shoes” and others.

      Delete
    4. But isn't that only really true in Nevada, if you know what I mean?

      Delete
  8. Got all bases covered except "similar purpose."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So, if we can establish some universal purpose to which all lesser purposes contribute, I think you're GOLDEN, MJ.

      Delete
  9. I am afraid my first post disappeared also. Where can I complain?

    ReplyDelete
  10. None of my posts have disappeared, but then I haven't figured out the puzzle either. Not particularly crazy about this one. Not angry, just not crazy about it. If I check back here later and someone's actually said something that sounds like a good enough hint I might be able to work with, maybe it'll be worth it. Otherwise I got nothing, but I've had worse problems lately and Christmas is another week away, so I'm not saying I don't particularly care about this week's challenge. I've just had more to think about these past few months without trying to solve a difficult challenge every few weeks. I'm probably just going to wait it out until Thursday. Then those of us who haven't solved it yet will learn something new, whether it really is a clever puzzle or not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't speak for others, but I think this puzzle only came quickly to Jan, ken, Superzee, Buck Bard, and maybe Brain, whose crues are way too Blainy for me.

      I heard it while driving north, and got it listening to the NPR piece on Hallmark TV movies that followed, though not very directly.

      Though it could be wife immured....

      Delete
  11. Last week it was Smith, but this week I think Vassar and Radcliffe are what we seek. Or not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. eco, I think I see where you are headed here. I almost headed to Vassar myself up until mid August when Smith came through with a better aid package. I have wondered what a difference that last-minute choice may have made in my life. {Although Northampton, the town, beats Poughkeepsie hands down.}

      Delete
  12. I went through many reference lists, but when I finally just asked my wife for her input, it finally came to me.

    ReplyDelete
  13. The 19th century convenience would have been unimaginable without a prior invention. Although not requiring a physical connection, the two were commonly co-located, and often used together.
    The 21st century convenience also requires the use of other devices.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In the form of the intended answer, that's true. But the 19th Century "convenience" existed much earlier, in only slightly different form, almost 200 years before the invention you note.

      I think I must save how I knew this until Thursday.

      Delete
    2. I based my comment on the chronology given in Wikipedia for the specific convenience. I don’t doubt there were predecessors and I’ll be interested to learn which ones you refer to.

      Delete
  14. Ah, Paul, I see elsewhere that you are there. Not saying where. . .

    ReplyDelete
  15. I found a better answer than yesterday, but it too seems to fail the "similar purpose" test, Paul's reassurance notwithstanding.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have come up with 2 or 3 answers that don't seem to me to be quite valid.

      Delete
    2. I have two answers that do not appear suspect.

      Delete
  16. In the 19 Century, they used BASic Senses to predict the weather. Now, we've got Big Mouth Billy BASS.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A bit of a stretch, jan, but worth it.

      Delete
    2. Is that what happens when a fish gets Hooked on Phonics?

      Delete
    3. jan, I think you should scale that down a bit and put it the Bass-O-Matic.

      Delete
    4. I'm sure all the Alexas out there are thrilled. How did they choose "Alexa" anyway? I may be taking on Alexa-like qualities .

      Delete
    5. WW: so you're saying you "make noises ... your digestive system makes when you eat too many beans"?

      Very mature.

      Delete
    6. Amazon chose ALEXA as the Echo's default wake word due to its relative rarity in day-to-day conversation. You can use the Echo app to change the wake word to COMPUTER, ECHO or AMAZON. As a Star Trek fan, I changed the wake word to COMPUTER one of our devices - but as my wife is an IT/Communications Specialist, our routine conversations caused too much confusion and we went back to using ALEXA on all three of our Echos.

      Delete
    7. Ahem, eco, I did not mean those noises but instead my ability to answer an asked question (with that link). But, you likely knew that. . .

      For me, passing gas is left for the gas fields of Texas, CO, and OK.

      Delete
  17. I should have solved this one more quickly since I used the century 21 convenience just yesterday. Now that I have the solution, I would say this is a very good puzzle.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Tsk, tsk, hints!

    ..."similar purposes" continues to baffle.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Sooo..is the answer really just 4 letters???

    ReplyDelete
  20. I've only come up with a few innovations/conveniences that occurred in the 21st century. Nothing seems to work with things like iPad, iPod, or apps.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, Curtis, no help with the state car of CO this week.

      Delete
    2. Actually, your state car is not too far off as a clue.

      Delete
    3. Not seeing a strong connection but looking forward to hearing more Thursday.

      Delete
    4. Curtis, go north of us, young man!

      Delete
  21. I just came up with an interesting potential answer, but I doubt it is the intended answer.

    ReplyDelete
  22. It's an appropriate puzzle for this time of year, maybe. I'm seeing a lot of patients with running noses lately.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Crazy puzzle! It's a pity it has nothing to do with Shirley Temple or turtle doves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. Maybe it doves, cranberry pie.

      Delete
    3. Sorry, PJB, I couldn't help myself.

      Delete
    4. Thanks for the comment, Sadistic Deviant Blogger.

      Delete
  24. If y'all will excuse me, by now tomorrow's New York Times crossword should be up and running. That's a real and far more satisfying challenge.

    ReplyDelete
  25. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Last night at 2:30am in the hallucinatory limbo between wakefulness and sleep, I managed to convince myself that Plutonium Generator must be the intended answer. Needless to say, I woke up and realized I probably will not be solving this weeks challenge...

    ReplyDelete
  27. Now that I got the answer I'm never going to be able to unsee this.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I finally got it!

    Here is my hint:

    I am reading another of the many books on El Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James). This one is by Paulo Coelho, "The Pilgrimage." I have in the past read numerous books on this subject, thinking I might even make the walk, as my younger brother did years ago. But the more I read about it, the more I don't want to do it. I find reading about it far more fun than I would the actual experience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Dive, stop. Stop, will you? Stop, Dive. Will you stop Dive? Stop, Dive."

      Delete
    2. "Look Dive, I can see you're really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over."

      Delete
    3. Watch the Martin Sheen film THE WAY 2010.

      Delete
    4. I watched it a long time back. Thanks for the clarification.

      Delete
    5. Doesn't clarify for me, unless you're trying to cross link the awful 2010.

      "Dive, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye." Explanation tomorrow.

      Delete
    6. Sounds like Aussies doing 2001. "Open the pod buy door, HAL!" (Move each letter up one to get IBM, of course.)

      Delete
    7. One of my three fav films by my fav Director.

      Delete
  29. Solved this? You're a lucky man.

    LegoLucianoLindyCharmsStarStrikeNumberHorseshoeDuck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When one extracts the newer convenience from the older convenience all that remains, paradoxically, is the essence of youth.

      LegoSaw

      Delete
    2. Also the only people who get hired these days.....

      Delete
  30. Dumas books and lamb's ears seem to come to mind.

    ReplyDelete
  31. If you ask me, this entire experience has been held liable. Whoever came up with this puzzle must be some sort of pony-driving SCUBA master.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's actually the best puzzle of the year I think.

      Delete
  32. Came up with an answer, but I don't think it's right. At best, it's right-ish...

    ReplyDelete
  33. I hardly even give a fuchsia kwintet anymore.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Seriously, what kind of Jerome Kern came up with this one? Such a foot locker!

    ReplyDelete
  35. I think it's safe to say it's not Synthetic Lipid Imitation Butter.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Last minute hint: All roads lead to the answer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I tried Cecil Rhodes to Zimbabwe and it doesn't work.

      Delete
  37. Yellow Pages & Yelp

    My hint:

    “I am reading another of the many books on El Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James). This one is by Paulo Coelho, "The Pilgrimage." I have in the past read numerous books on this subject, thinking I might even make the walk, as my younger brother did years ago. But the more I read about it, the more I don't want to do it. I find reading about it far more fun than I would the actual experience.”

    The story is true, and I first thought I would post that I had FINGERED it out, but then I thought that might be too much of a give away. I was thinking of the slogan: “Let your fingers do the walking” that they used back in the day. I then thought of the book I am now reading that I used in my hint.

    My hint was telling you that it would be far easier for my fingers to do the walking, as in turning the pages of a book, than to be actually doing that tedious walking. I was indeed letting my fingers do the walking.

    Thanks for perhaps the best puzzle of this year, I loved it, even though it took me three days to answer it.

    ReplyDelete
  38. 1. First commercial TOILET PAPER in the U.S. 1857. See: History of Toilet Paper.

    ToIP → Text over IP

    “Serve a similar purpose” → Can be used to “clean up” noisy environments, etc.


    2. The APPLIANCE STORE, (Sears Roebuck, mail order appliance stores, 1893), a 19th Century convenience.

    21st Century Internet APPS, can be obtained/purchased on line, a modern convenience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really like your first answer, Ron. Though I fear another poop emoji coming on....

      Delete
    2. Thanks, jan. I thought I had the answer there and I did not go any further looking for another answer.

      Delete
  39. YELLOW PAGES, YELP

    > Digital media.

    Let your fingers do the walking...

    >> I would say this is a very good puzzle.
    > I agree, Lorenzo. I’d give it four stars.

    ... Which is a very good rating on Yelp.

    > It's an appropriate puzzle for this time of year, maybe. I'm seeing a lot of patients with running noses lately.

    If your nose can run, I guess your fingers can walk.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jan, I considered using the four-star comment but feared the wrath of Blaine and settled for "very good."

      Delete
    2. jan, I thought running noses referred to YELLOW snot.

      Delete
  40. YELLOW PAGES >>> YELP

    "I'm not shy about posting that, either." refers to Shy Anne or Cheyenne, WY, where the first YELLOW PAGES were accidently printed on YELLOW paper.

    "Look north, young man." to Curtis here in CO also refers to Cheyenne, WY (see above).

    Lego's clever observation refers to LOW AGE, which can also be LOWAGE, a certain tarriff on shipping.

    "Last minute hint: All roads lead to the answer." >>> as in the YELLOW brick road from the Wizard of Oz.

    ReplyDelete
  41. The answer came to us in a Hong Kong hotel on Monday after we used the site to research the evening's dining choice: Ho Lee Fook: **** "Come for the name, stay of the food."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1JYHNX8pdo

      Delete
    2. Excellent Buck Bard. Although I don't hate the local channel, they did show all the journalistic responsibility we associate with Fox.

      Delete
    3. I almost never watch our local stations, but with the crash I had it tuned in. No idea why that station. But I remember hearing those names read aloud, turning to the TV, and thinking “Hoooooo Leeeeeee Shit someone is getting fired quickly.”

      Delete
  42. I hate Yelp and their shakedown of businesses ALMOST as much as I hate that environmental nightmare of thick yellow pages that gets tossed on my driveway once a year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are you saying you are not fond of Yellow Journalism?

      Delete
  43. YELlow Pages.

    I got this while they were talking about the TV ratings for the Hallmark Christmas movies.

    Smith and last week's puzzle referred to the Seven Sisters and the Pleiades star cluster: Radcliffe merged with Harvard and Vassar is no longer coed thus there are only 5 sisters (5 stars!); Subaru's logo has 6 stars, so was only off by 1 star.

    "Did you cry (Yelp) when you got it? #FAKE (phone-y) PUZZLE!"

    "OMG, nooo...." (no "o") refers to the line "My God, it's full of stars!" (like Yelp), from 2001: A Space Odyssey, the book, not the movie. I could have skipped the "nooo...."; it's been many decades since I read the book, the actual quote is “The thing’s hollow -- it goes on forever -- and -- oh my God! -- it’s full of stars!”. I guess Ron remembered they used the line in the sequel movie 2010, which I hold in disdain. Though it is an odd coincidence with the dated connection to the Martin Sheen film. Mostly I had fun teasing SkyDaveBowman.

    While the Yellow Pages came after the telephone, there were very similar "trade directories" in London dating to 1677, 200 years before Bell. Side note: What would have happened had his name been Glockenspiel? And I’ll countenance none of this Antonio Meucci garbage! America First!

    I had to look that up, but I remembered in Sherlock Holmes' "The Adventure of the Stockbroker's Clerk", the hapless Hall Pycroft is paid to write out lists of pottery sellers, though he exclaims “Surely there are classified lists?” The story was written in 1893, after the invention of the telephone, but that convenience was not widely available and wasn't included in Holmes stories until "The Adventure of the Three Garridebs", set in 1902 and written in 1924.

    All in all an excellent puzzle, I give it 5 stars!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Curtis, I don't know how you could have missed eco's Subaru star clue (not!).

      Delete
    2. eco, I did not know about Antonio Meucci, the Italian phone inventor. As to "America first," wasn't Bell from Scotland, not the U.S. of A.?

      Delete
    3. WW: no comment on your (yellow s)not! comment.

      Bell was originally from Scotland, but he was an American citizen. Besides, he was white (and male, and straight), which is all that matters these days. Italians are too dark and artsy...

      Delete
  44. APPLE SLICER and APPS both can segment a Macintosh

    ReplyDelete
  45. I keep bombing out! Last week I had Toyota Sienna / a nice toy yacht and this week I had telephone operator / Telo. Argh.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Of all the four-letter "conveniences" there are(and there seems to be a lot of them), YELP never once occurred to me. Hope I didn't sound too insulting. I was disappointed I couldn't think of it, so I played with words according to the directions in the puzzle. Being a gentleman, I can't really list many of the four-letter words I used. Sorry. Just being playful.

    ReplyDelete
  47. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  48. MY hint:
    "Solved this? You're a lucky man," was a musical clue.
    The "Y" in "You're" + the ELP (Emerson, Lake and Palmer) who had an early hit with "Lucky Man," spells out YELP.

    LegoGoingBackForASecondYelping

    ReplyDelete
  49. Okay, I didn't submit this week. I don't consider either of these items as conveniences. The yellow pages, when they still delivered them, were decidedly inconvenient. And, what can I say about Yelp? I don't use any online reviews, except Glassdoor, and even then, I take a jaded point of view about the reviews: the upset customers/employees are more motivated to write a review, so most reviews skew lower than they out to.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Came up first with apple sauce, then apple slicer, both leading to apps.
    Then I got Ivory Soap leading to ivos, intelligent voice operating system. All the sort-of refs to HAL made me think others had gone this route.
    Neither satisfied the "similar purpose" caveat which may have been meant as a hint, but was also a limiter.
    Even the Yelp/Yellow Pages answer is weak in this regard.

    ReplyDelete
  51. A bit late, but

    19th century convenience Yellow Pages; 21st century convenience Yelp.

    In addition to its primary use, the Yellow Pages, was commonly used at family dinners to, as a booster seat. Hence its use in “child raising.” This was especially true, growing up in New York City, where phone books were thick.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Replies
    1. I'm still around! This was a tough puzzle! I had no luck at all with it. Great Puzzle! Congrats to everyone who figured it out!

      Delete
    2. I kept thinking that any second it will hit me but it never did!!

      Delete
    3. I think the reason this was such a difficult puzzle is that even though some of us do not use any of the 4 letter new conveniences, or at least not often, such as UBER, LYFT, HULU, MOTH, IPOD, etc., we do hear of them all the time on NPR and probably many other places I am not using. When was the last time you heard YELP mentioned?

      Delete
    4. The clues were out there but yeah, I never pay attention to "yelp". Plus, I figured the Yellow Pages were a 20th century thing, but I'll have to admit, I didn't even think of it :(
      I spent too much time going down the rabbit hole trying to somehow get "ether" to work, even though it was five letters. Oh well, just a bad week of puzzling for me!!

      Delete
    5. If you use Google you’re inadvertently inundated with Yelp. it is always on the first page of results whenever you search for a product, service, or any sort of business.

      Delete
    6. Not so with duckduckgo.com. Another reason to use it!

      Delete
  53. Came up with, and entered, TROLLEY CAR and T-ROC, a vehicle introduced by Volkswagen in 2014, and not to be confused with TROC, which my fellow Philadelphians will recognize as a convenience of a different sort...

    ReplyDelete
  54. My own DWAG (Desperate Wild-Ass Guess):

    IMAging Camera ==> IMAC

    ReplyDelete
  55. The Christmas edition of Puzzleria! is now online (go to Blaine's PUZZLE LINKS and click on Joseph Young's Puzzleria!). Ten puzzles.The sixth Shortz Riff Off puzzle ought to be a snap for Will Shortz himself to solve.)

    (As an admitted Luddite, I beg the assistance from some helpful fellow Blainesvillian in accessing the annual family video in Blaine's excellent 2017 Christmas puzzle. I have solved his clever puzzle, but when I try to type the letters into the boxes to "unlock the video," I cannot make letters appear. I left-click in each box, but nothing happens. Help! Blaine's excellent year-end videos have become a kind of Christmas tradition with me. Thank you.

    LegoWhoFeelsLikeTantalusKingOfLydia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't try typing into the PDF. That's just there to let you know there's a "k" in the middle of the word. Go to the vimeo link, and enter the password you've discovered.

      Delete
    2. Thanks, jan. Duh!

      LegoWhoReliesOnTheKindnessOf"Strangers"ToWhomHeParadoxicallyFeelsOddlyKindredTo

      Delete
  56. New puzzle:

    The name of what well-known U.S. city, in 10 letters, contains only three different letters of the alphabet?

    Merry Christmas Eve!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Here's one I actually know - I have a college friend who's from there. Love the name! --Margaret G.

      Delete
    2. Yes, it just came to me, too. No tricks.

      Delete
  57. Only 150 correct answers last week. Perhaps 1/5 to 1/4 of those from here at Blaine's?

    ReplyDelete
  58. Thanks for posting the puzzle, ja... I mean Word Woman.
    This week's NPR puzzle is a Christmas gift from Will Shortz, one barely wrapped.
    (Check out Blaine's excellent Christmas puzzle and video if you haven't yet.)

    LegoAdds:ButThenAgainWeAllDeserveAChristmasBreak!(AndIHopejanIsInFineHealth)

    ReplyDelete