Sunday, April 15, 2018

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Apr 15, 2018): Country Scramble

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Apr 15, 2018): Country Scramble:
Q: The letters of SWITZERLAND can be rearranged to spell LIZARD and NEWTS — LIZARD being the singular name of an animal, and NEWTS a plural. Name another country with this same property. That is, name another country whose letters can be rearranged to spell two animals — one singular and one plural. It's a major country. What country is it?
I can't say this puzzle sounds very new.

Edit: The puzzle from February had the answer of NEW MEXICO where you dropped the W and got MICE, OXEN.
A: MEXICO --> MICE, OX

150 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.

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  2. That was sure quick and easy. Back to bed. Another rainy day here.

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    Replies
    1. Rainy in Berkeley too. Hope roof secure.

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  3. The smaller animal is found just about everywhere. The larger has a much more limited range, but is indeed found in the puzzle's country.

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    Replies
    1. The answer I got finds both animals everywhere, albeit with different names

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    2. Wow - a friend just sent me the answer, the one being hinted at as not new. Yes, two equally good answers, and I hope Will acknowledges both.

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  4. Not sure what constitutes a "major country", but I have three answers.

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    Replies
    1. My wife said, "So, now we have major countries and shithole countries?"

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    2. I’m going to guess by major country they mean the average American has heard of it and can find it on a map. That narrows it dow to about 7. 😂😂😂😂

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  5. If it is the one I am thinking of it is almost a repeat puzzle.

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    Replies
    1. You're right - this one isn't new. --Margaret G.

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    2. Yep yer right! It's Deja Vu all over again!
      :~P

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  6. It seems like deja vu all over again!

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  7. I found the intended answer but I also found an interesting alternative that has its good points.

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    Replies
    1. Can't anagram "porcupine" and "hedgehog" into a country????? Back to the drawing board.

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  8. I have a quiet, strong feeling that I got this right.

    Paul Sanchez wrote a song that says I might as well go to . . . the major country in question. If he were better-known, I wouldn't post that.

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    Replies
    1. Here is Susan Cowsill singing the song in question, Mexico:

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KkF7mYcXiGU

      Here is Paul Sanchez and the Rolling Road Show featuring Debbie Davis:
      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=fZ2vLPL2pbE


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  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  10. I wonder why Will didn’t do the puzzle and example in reverse. You don’t have to have gone to a good college to get this one.

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    Replies
    1. I had the same thought. Switzerland would have been more challenging.

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  11. Will should have given todays example as the puzzle and todays answer as the example. LOL

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  12. I've got two answers so far. Interestingly, in one answer, you can interchange which animal is pluralized, but in the other only one animal can be plural.

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    Replies
    1. The plural animal in my more challenging and more fun (!) alternate answer can also be singular.

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  13. I don't understand why, with a mediocre puzzle like this, Will Shortz felt it necessary to offer a spoiler hint. Was it because leaving out an entire shithole continent would make it easier for Sharon this time?

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    1. Am I the Sharon of which you speak? Should I be offended? I did not hear Will give the puzzle. I do not have the answer. I am in the corner if you want to come whisper it to me.

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    2. As opposed to all the other Sharons? Of course you should be offended. I never go a full day without finding at least half a dozen things to be offended by. I've already exceeded that limit by double today. You didn't say which corner, and I don't have all evening.

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  14. Nick -

    I have the same alternative answer as you do.

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    Replies
    1. Ah, but which answer is the alternate?

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  15. I think this is going to get interesting, with such a recent rerun and Will's aversion to alternatives.

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  16. Name another country whose letters can be rearranged to spell two places where animals live.

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    Replies
    1. SDB is just jealous of your clever puzzle.

      Bonus Puzzle #1 (easy): Name a world capital, remove the first and last letters, reverse the remaining letters and the result is a country.
      Bonus Puzzle #2 (less easy): Name a well-known actor; a Google search (or Duckduckgo for those not yet assimilated) with the last name first might yield a mineral. Hint, everyone has this mineral.

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  17. I started with the "major" country that was farther afield, only later (from these clues) getting the answer that Blaine and others allude to.

    Fun Fact: the weight ratio between the larger and smaller animals is very similar in both answers, though the actual weights are not.

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  18. When we visited there in 2012, I came home with five sutures in my elbow, the result of slipping on a flight of stone steps. The customs inspector who asked about items we were bringing in did not see the humor in my response to his question about souvenirs.

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  19. I thought I was on the way to an epic answer when I found a country with emus and anteater. Alas, there was a bird left over.

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    Replies
    1. Lancek,
      Was it a bird with two eyes?

      LegoALambWithNoEyes

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    2. Just, literally, a bird. Plus the aforementioned emus and anteater.

      BTW, I nominate Costa Rica as the country with the highest animal-names-to-length-of-country- name ratio that doesn't quite work in this puzzle.

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  20. It's my birthday today, but alas I haven't found the answer yet, after looking through an entire list of countries. I agree that maybe Will should have used the puzzle answer as the example and vice versa. At least I could find NEWT and LIZARDS in SWITZERLAND. BTW looking up the Paul Sanchez lyric proved to be a dead end.

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    1. I have the good fortune of knowing Paul, but I know that his audience is a small one. As I noted, if he were better-known, I wouldn't have posted that clue.

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  21. I finally figured this one out!! This was a good one!

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  22. Someone's clue on here is really a giveaway. I did not need it. I almost rejected my first answer I had while listening to the puzzle. Thought ws would not give a puzzle so easy.

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  23. I admit I'm an animal (I'm not a vegetable or a mineral, after all); and if I am, then so are YE. In fact, all MEN are animals, including RINGO. We're really not so much different from APES.

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    Replies
    1. Paul,
      Are you implying that Ringo was occasionally prone to sing a poor song?

      There are scads of tricky puzzle on Joseph Young's Puzzleria! this week, including a nifty two-week creative challenge.

      LegoAlsoAsksIfPaulBelievesThatJerrySeinfeld(Logically)IsNotAMan?

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    2. Paul,
      If we accept "I'm an animal", how about Serbia and Syria?

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  24. Well I found three names of nations that anagram to a singular and a plural animal. I found two more names of nations that anangram to two singular animals.

    Of all the answers it is pretty clear to me which one Will considers a "Major Country".

    Will post all five on Thurs afternoon.

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  25. Clues not used on air.

    On-air challenge: Every answer is a familiar simile, like "sly as a fox" or "sharp as a tack." I'm going to give you rhymes for the first and last words. You tell me the similes.

    1. Dizzy as a flea
    2. Green as a thistle
    10. Split as a griddle
    11. Dead as a suite

    Pls don't post the answers. Let everyone try their hand at it. Thx!

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    Replies
    1. A couple of them remind me of the mnemonic for the signs of atropine overdose.

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    2. I have to be #1 to get #2 and stay #3. If I don't I'll be #11.

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  26. I've got an answer but it doen't please me. I've named one of these animals by a slang term for it.

    Oh well, maybe I'll have a 3AM Aha! moment with another answer

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  27. If I am correct, my brother gambled and won to pay for a vacation to this country.

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  28. I finally have it! Deja vu indeed!
    Musical clue: Fleetwood Mac

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  29. And, in fact, Lindsey Buckingham was not there at the time.

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    1. Mysterious clues there Cranberry!

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    2. Fleetwood Mac song Hypnotize from the album Mystery to Me:
      They say there's a place down in Mexico
      Where a man can fly over mountains and hills
      And he don't need an airplane or some kind of engine
      And he never will

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    3. The song is actually called "Hypnotized", with a D, but Mort pretty much ruined my revealing moment. He did not, however, mention that the song, a personal favorite of mine, was written and sung by former FM guitarist/singer Bob Welch, God rest his soul. The song came out in 1973, a year before the Buckingham-Nicks duo joined the band and replaced Welch. Of course, why Buckingham was recently fired from the band remains a "Mystery To Me", and perhaps a lot of us. Maybe he should tour with Don Felder, who was let go from the Eagles a while back. It could be called the "Can't We All Just Get Along?" tour.

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    4. BTW James Taylor and Firefall both recorded songs with "Mexico" as the title, and if I'd chosen to use either as a musical clue, JT would probably have been easier to look up to eventually find the title. Firefall's song may not have been as well-known, unless you're a real fan. I like them too.

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    5. MEXICO, OX, MICE
      SENEGAL and NAGS and EEL(or EELS and NAG)had crossed my mind too, but the whole "where to put the S" problem forced me to disallow that answer. Clearly both could end in S to make the plural form.

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    6. Don't worry about it, Mort. Perhaps I shouldn't have said you "ruined" my chance to quote the song. You just did it ahead of me, that's all. It doesn't matter.

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  30. These puzzles keep taking me longer to solve, perhaps for somewhat the same reason it takes me longer to get dressed than it used to.

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    1. It seems like it takes longer to find, and then put on, my socks.

      (See what I did there?)
















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  31. I was expecting, or maybe hoping, that the larger animal would be the plural, so I was searching a list for its least common letter. That lead me straight to the answer, with the smaller animal being the plural. So, my solution came to me strictly on a lucky guess.

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    1. TMI
      You're providing information that may be helpful to others in solving the puzzle. You could wait until after the Thursday deadline to post this kind of information.

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    2. Wait, my small animal is singular, not plural?

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  32. I love that image that Blain used at the top of page with the world map as animals. Maybe on an extra large T-shirt.

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    1. I agree, Al. Blaine is a master at conjuring clues and clever images... while under the pressure of time, to boot. He usually uploads his blog long before the breakfast dishes are done.
      I am curious, Al. Have you attempted my two-week creative challenge now appearing on Puzzleria?

      LegoWhoBelievesAlHasEncounteredFewPuzzlesHeCannotSolve

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    2. I will check it out, Thanks.

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  33. Took me a while and was a little disappointed in the answer. Was hoping for ostrich in South Africa. Unfortunately afcau isn't an animal.

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  34. The rain finally stopped, I walked into the sun and another unconventional answer came to me.

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  35. The PM's friendly hints (e.g. "major country") most often turn out to be a way to disqualify alternative answers. So with no hint involved, you better use Brazil, not Burkina Faso.

    It is too bad that he doesn't have an assistant that could have pointed out, as posters here have, how he might use the recent rerun answer as a clue instead of one of the answers.
    I have four good answers so far. I might even send them in to make sure some are ignored.
    Not to worry, I use a anagrammed phone number to avoid getting "the call."

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  36. I hope that on Sunday, Will has something gnu to offer.

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    1. I think he will say "name a country, rearrange its letters to spell two animals - one a reptile, one an amphibian. One answer will be plural one will one singular and the country will be neutral." That would not be a repeat of a recent puzzle.

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  37. Replies
    1. Speaking of which...
      MAGA = Many Attorneys Getting Attorneys.

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    2. Today's awful aviation news from Philadelphia just reminds me of that Twilight Zone episode!

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    3. It reminded me of the movie Goldfinger.

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  38. I can't believe it took me this long to solve this one. If I hadn't by the deadline, I might have been fuming mad tomorrow. I think I just need to remind myself to think like a 12 year old from now on. Most of the country does as it is.

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  39. Speaking of...I still have that photo of the "We are Blaine" bumper sticker. And I tracked down the school: http://blainecps.com/wordpress/

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  40. It's Thoisday, when all gets revealed!!!!

    HooHaaaaaa!!!!!!

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  41. My official answer is Mexico which yields mice and ox. However, I found a second country that appears to meet the requirements, too. South Korea anagrams to auks – an aquatic bird (in the plural) – and hooter – a legitimate alternative name for owl as noted in several reference works. (You could also move the “s” from the first word to the second to yield auk and hooters, but I don’t think NPR would want to use that on the show :)

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    Replies
    1. I don't know about that. They seem to have no problem covering Stormy Daniels, or should that be uncovering?

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  42. 1. SINGAPORE → GAR + PONIES.

    2. PAKISTAN → PIKA + ANTS.

    3. SOUTH KOREA → AUK + HOOTERS (OWLS).

    Both “birds” and “insects” are “animals.”

    My hint: “roans” & “mare” suggests “ponies.” Similar to WW's clue: “derby.”

    I'm on vacation next week and I won't be able to post.

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  43. I wrote, "The smaller animal is found just about everywhere. The larger has a much more limited range, but is indeed found in the puzzle's country." I was thinking of PAKISTAN / ANT, PIKAS when I wrote that. I understand the answer related to the February puzzle, and will be glad to hear about others.

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    Replies
    1. We went with Pakistan, Pikas and Ant too.

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  44. Did you have a good teacher? My first answer was Pakistan --> ants, pika. The clue referred to Is_lama_bad; a lama is a teacher, not a monk or priest. Mexico --> ox, mice only came later.

    Pikas weigh between 120 and 350 grams, ants weigh between 1 to 5 mg, the ratio is about 50,000.
    Ox weigh between 640 kg and 1090 kg, mice weigh around 20 g, again the ratio is about 50,000.

    Some may answer Senegal --> nags, eel. I doubt this would be accepted.

    Bonus Answer #1: world capital, remove the first and last letters, reverse the remaining letters for country: Bogota --> Togo

    Bonus Answer #2: well-known actor, last name first might yield a mineral: River Phoenix, the Phoenix (AZ) river is known as the Salt.

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    1. The two L llama, he's a teacher
      The one L lama, he's a creature
      The camel too has but one L,
      Yet two humps, that's his double feature!
      (Cows, mice and oxen sing "No L")

      LegOgden'sNutGoneFlakyLambda

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. I think you've got your Mnemonics mixed up there Legolamda.

      The Llama Ogden Nash
      The one-l lama, He's a priest.
      The two-l llama, He's a beast.
      And I will bet. A silk pajama.
      There isn't any. Three-l lllama.

      P.S. Hate not being able to edit postings.

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    4. I thought a three L-lama was a big fire...

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    5. Thank you for your editorial guidance, Mort Canard. My doggerel about llamas, camels, cows, mice and oxen ought to have read:
      The two L llama, he's a creature
      The one L lama, he's a teacher
      The camel too has but one L,
      Yet two humps, that's his double feature!
      (Cows, mice and oxen sing "No L")


      LegoCameleopardnerInCrime

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  45. MEXICO >>> MICE, OX (likely the intended answer)

    BANGLADESH >>> BENGAL, SHAD (can be both singular and plural). (The more challenging and fun answer)

    Clues to MEXICO:

    "FraGa" refers to Francis Galton and OX.

    Clues to BANGLADESH:

    "Derby" refers to the SHAD Derby, the annual May festival in the CT town where I grew up.

    "Royalty" refers to SHAD being considered the "King of Fish" to the BANGLADESHI people.

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  46. As I said Sunday, this challenge is going to put Wee Willy in an alternative universe, so to speak.
    To the several fully acceptable answers above and still to come, we can add:
    Larks and Ani (both birds) and Caiman and Doe (used a a plural). The countries are obvious.

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  47. Looks like my answers have already been covered.
    Mexico > Mice & Ox
    Senegal > Nag & Eels
    Singapore > Gar & Ponies

    For two singular animals I had:
    Macedonia > Caiman & Doe
    Myanmar > Myna & Ram

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    Replies
    1. Slovenia – vole and anis, or ani and voles.
      Ani – a black, long-tailed bird of the cuckoo family, found in Central and South America. Vole, a burrowing mouse-like rodent, found in Eurasia and North America.

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    2. Sri Lanka – larks and ani or anis and lark.

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  48. What is the answer to #11 on the puzzle on air last sunday?

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    Replies
    1. Свекла очень популярна в России. Вещи, которые являются красными, больше не популярны. Но нам нравятся шейные связи вашего президента, и мы надеемся, что они не станут петлей.

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    2. The mnemonic for the signs of anticholinergic toxicity is ""hot as a hare, blind as a bat, dry as a bone, red as a beet, and mad as a hatter". (As our formerly red friends with expertise in chemical weapons know well...)

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    3. Transition: Возможно, подарки от уважаемого президента России.

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    4. Президент России уже дал много подарков. Он теперь получает вещи взамен. Мы надеемся, что вы сможете оплатить эту стоимость.

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    5. Transition: DT может просто обвинить правительство в том, что он делает для своих поездок во Флориду. Я плачу за эти связи в конечном итоге через свои налоги.

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    6. Наташа: вы все платите. И заплати. И заплати. Мы смеемся.

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  49. At lunch today, a friend and I were discussing translating lyrics from Italian to English. Anyone here have a good translation for "sen" in Italian? Google translate is flummoxed; we are wondering if something was left off the translation. . .which led me to this fascinating article discussing the essence of translation.

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    1. That article is really informative. I had always thought Pushkin was a popular sport in the Ozarks.

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    2. Indeed, sdb. And the return of Eugene Onegin is always fun.

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    3. Or as they say in the London slums: "It was Onegin and off o' gin."

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    4. See how Google Translate mangled that: Era Onegin e fuori di testa.

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    5. Here is the full text (including sen) for translating, all you Italian-speaking friends:

      "Signor che in ciel fra gli angeli vivi beato e santo.

      Chi mai ti invita a scendere tra noi figli del pianto?

      Amore!

      Amor che il vergine sen di Maria ti apri, che sul Calvario l'ultimo gemito tuo senti."

      It is for an upcoming concert.

      Grazie!

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    6. Lorenzo, how's your Italian?

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    7. WW
      From the context, I suspect "sen" means "seno" or breast. This would also be consistent with the use of "ciel" for "cielo" in the first line.

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    8. Thanks, Lorenzo!

      Any thoughts on that last entire sentence:

      "Amor che il vergine sen di Maria ti apri, che sul Calvario l'ultimo gemito tuo senti."

      With your help on the first part, it now reads:

      Love that the Virgin Maria's breast you suckle(?), that on Calvary your last moan you hear. "

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    9. WW,
      "ti apri" is the second person singular (familiar) of the reflexive verb aprirsi, which means to open oneself up. So,the sentence means something like:

      Love, that the virgin breast of Maria opens you up, that on Calvary your last moan you hear.

      I think "love" is Signor or Gesù. If apri had been written "aprì" and senti as "sentì", the sentence would be in the past tense, which seems to make more sense.

      I hope this is helpful!

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    10. Ah, that makes more sense, Lorenzo! Many thanks from my friend, all the concert-goers, and me.

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    11. Lorenzo, a further update: My friend writes "This is really helpful.  The tense was bugging me - and upon closer scrutiny of my print out, there ARE accent marks on apri and senti." 

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  50. I stuck with SINGAPORE/GAR/PONIES however, I'm equally impressed with Mexico/Ox/Mice.

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  52. In all seriousness, with so many good answers (I got SINGAPORE, PAKISTAN, BANGLADESH and SENEGAL in that order; never saw MEXICO), I really do wonder which was the original "intended" answer. I feel like MEXICO and PAKISTAN are the most legitimate answers, with SINGAPORE following behind closely.

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  53. Conwoman got the call this week. They called today saying that they had a staff meeting yesterday and couldn't call at 3:00. I had long hoped that we would be the first married couple to both win their own lapel pin, but someone on this board dashed our dreams a few months ago.

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    1. So what was the OFFICIAL answer that WS accepted from Conwoman????

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    2. Mice and ox. He didn't even mention any possible alternatives.

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    3. The Society To Respect Ants & Pikas is outraged by these Shorts!

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  54. Why are criminal defense lawyers allowed to go free?

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    Replies
    1. For the same reason content managers all seem unhappy, loan officers all work in groups, human resource managers all are barbaric and real estate sales workers all are as phony as $13 bills!

      LegoWhoAspiresToBeANewCarSalesmanWhenHeBecomesANonagenarian

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  55. NEXT WEEK'S CHALLENGE: This challenge comes from listener Dan Ezekiel of Ann Arbor, Mich. Take the name of a famous film director. Drop the first letter of this person's first name and you'll name a fish. Read the last name backward and you'll name another fish. What film director is it?

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    Replies
    1. I've seen this puzzle before, just a few years ago. No pat on the back for Dan Ezekiel.

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  56. It didn't take long to nail that one. Back to the crossword puzzle.

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    Replies
    1. Will we carp on Will again this week for a lame puzzle?

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  57. Nice!!!! Clever word puzzle where Internet Anagram Servers doesn't help!!

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