Sunday, May 20, 2018

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 20, 2018): Hit Film with Sequels

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 20, 2018): Hit Film with Sequels:
Q: Take the title of a famous Hollywood flop. Change an A to an R, then rearrange the letters to spell a famous box office hit — which went on to spawn sequels. What films are these?
As with most things, we can blame Shakespeare.

Edit: The phrase was made familiar in Shakespeare's sonnet 29, "my state...sings hymns at heaven’s gate"
A: HEAVEN'S GATE --> THE AVENGERS

149 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. If you take the last three letters of each movie and rearrange, you get a word with calendrical significance.

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    1. And the root of that word is also the title of a famous Hollywood flop.

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    2. That flop was the first I'd thought of, but couldn't find an anagram. Thank goodness I kept looking.

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  3. The flop was one of the first two I though of when Will said the words Hollwood Flop.

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    1. But Gigli doesn't contain the letter A. :)

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    2. Actually I wanted it very much to be either Ishtar (no anagrams for ishtrr) or Popeye (no "A"). Oh well maybe next time.

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  4. Looking forward to June 9th.

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    1. June 9th > Belmont > steed > The Avengers
      I could not justify fewer degrees of separation.

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  5. If you’ve studied film at all this will take you 60 seconds to solve, and 59 of those will be solving the anagram. It’s a fascinating story, because this director had other films that are on many people’s top 10 of all time list. This single flop destroyed his career. But in reality, he helped that effort quite effectively with his personality.

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    1. But, then again, Hollywood female directors of major “flops” can be narrowed down to Ishtar and Elaine May. Did any of you see it?

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    2. I didn't see Ishtar, but I did see that your link is also a flop. This link is better.

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    3. Thanks, eco. That's the one. But, nothing beats this flop.

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    4. A famous actor with an island home starred in the director's most successful film and the flop.

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  6. Laurel or yanny? I hear laurel.

    Bonus Puzzle #1: Take the title of a not-so-famous Hollywood flop. Change an H to an S, then rearrange the letters to spell a famous box office hit — which went on to spawn sequels. What films are these?

    Bonus Puzzle #2: Name a well-known fictional character who has appeared in books, plays, movies and television. Change one letter in the last name to get the name of a well-known person, who does not share the common appellation of the fictional character. Hint: both share a country.

    Bonus Puzzle #3: Take the last name of a famous person. Change an A to an R then rearrange the letters to spell the last name of a famous box office character — featured in (too) many sequels. What names are these?

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. I got #3 and I hear laurel.

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    3. I actually saw the flop mentioned in #1 in a list while looking for the intended answer, and I immediately figured out the anagram for myself. As for the other two, I have no idea. Laurel.

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  7. I got #1 and #3 while still trying to figure out the WS puzzle ...

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  8. I haven’t seen the flop though I have seen other movies by this writer/director. I also haven’t seen the anagrammed box office hit or any of its sequels. But I have the answer anyway. Just goes to show what a little creative looking-through-lists can do for ya.

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  9. Online resources thankfully keep this from taking too much time.

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  10. At the end of last week's blog Jan pointed out that one of this week's movies shares it's name with a notable television show. The show has nothing to do with the subject of the movie. I will say that the TV show starred a legendary brunette actress that put a lot of blonds to SHAME!!!!

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    1. You can almost still hear the wedding bells pealing for Charles and Diana’s son, Harry, and his bride, Meghan.

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    2. I think you may have the details backwards.

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    3. HW, looking forward to reconvening on Thursday.

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    4. WW
      Would have to say there was no honor in being a successor to the brunette actress like there was in being her predecessor. ;~)

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    5. Of course I wasn't telling WW she was wrong, but following up on her reference to Emma Peel with a coded reference to her partner, John Steed. "Details" = "deets." "Deets" backward is "Steed."

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    6. The Avengers hero Emma Peel was a brunette who was often cast against evil blonds who came across as vacuous and shallow.

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  11. Good and challenging one for me this week! Maybe Sir Shortz and the Blessed Interns have listened to the prayers from the puzzle peasants.

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  12. That’s funny.... I anagrammed the flop and got another flop.

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  13. For those of you who haven’t gotten this week’s solution yet, one thing’s for certain: when you do get the answer, you’ll _know_ you’ve gotten it. There will be no lingering vagabond / pyromaniac uncertainty.

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  14. Three unused clues in today's on air challenge.

    On-air challenge: Every answer today is a popular advertising slogan, past or present. I'm going to give you two words. The first is an anagram of one of the words in the slogan. The second is one of the other words in the slogan. You tell me the slogan.

    Example: PEEKS GOING —> It keeps going ... and going ... and going [Energizer]

    3. T-SHIRT OBEY
    4. NIGHTS BETTER
    8. FRINGE GOOD

    As usual please don't post the answers till Thursday so everyone gets a chance to solve.

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    Replies
    1. Same parent company for #3 & #4; #8 used to be part of a rival company.

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    2. ecoA,
      Your wording is better than mine.

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    3. It always is.

      Now, may we talk about that large, Hester Prynne-ish "A" looming at the end of ecoA? Forget Laurel and Yanny, is it eco or ecoA?

      You know where I stand.

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    4. ecoA+, thank you.

      I said I heard Laurel, but not just now when I started the NY Time's listening tool. Though it then reverted to Laurel. I can hear both words simultaneously (or back and forth by focusing on that word) when I slide about 1/2 section to the right.

      Though to me it sounds more like "Yalie", and no I haven't Envied those Ivied snobs.

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    5. BTW I heard Laurel till more than a full click into the Yanni column.

      Anyone who wants to call me Mort is more than welcome to. The phrase Canard Mort is french for Dead Duck it is not my real name. If you know me you will understand that it is a multi level pun that I won't explain here and now.

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    6. Mort, do you canardcanardaller?

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    7. Bwahahahaha!!!!

      I might have in a previous life. Je suis Mort.

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    8. On-air challenge: Every answer today is a popular advertising slogan, past or present. I'm going to give you two words. The first is an anagram of one of the words in the slogan. The second is one of the other words in the slogan. You tell me the slogan.

      Example: PEEKS GOING —> It keeps going ... and going ... and going [Energizer]

      3. T-SHIRT OBEY → Obey your thirst → Sprite
      4. NIGHTS BETTER → Things go better with Coke
      8. FRINGE GOOD → Finger lickin' good → Kentucky Fried Chicken

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    9. The other part of what ecoarchitect and I were trying to get at is that Sprite and Coke are a part of Coke enterprises. KFC is a part of Yum Brands which used to be owned by Coke competitor Pepsi Cola.

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  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  16. I've never seen any of these films. And I'm unclear as to why we'd blame Shakespeare; I'd sooner blame another Will. Although it does seem like this flop stirred up quite a tempest.

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    1. Do a search with the flop's title and Shakespeare; that'll change your mood.

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    2. "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,..."

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    3. Ah! Got it. Teller of Penn and Teller has a production of Macbeth at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre that I saw recently. The audience was very white. It must have seen a ghost.

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  17. On Comet, on Cupid, on Donner and Blitzen!

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  18. I just listened on NPR to some Texans who used their common sense to come up with a realistic solution to the school shootings. They said it is not guns that are responsible, but not having prayer in our schools. They said all we need to do is bring prayer back in the schools.

    So, you can see how simple it really is. Now we need to use the same common sense logic to solve the problem of church shootings. It should be just as simple, and to me the obvious answer would be to institute standing for the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of each service.

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    1. Well, yeah!! Thoughts, prayers, and pledges are the best defense against violence!! Uh, wait, no, they're not. Sorry, got those confused with controlling the ammosexuals who think that owning, and firing, high-capacity weapons makes them more potent, powerful people.

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    2. I do like that word—ammosexuals. Did you come up with that one yourself? It's definitely a barrel of laughs.

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    3. No, I can't take credit for that one. It's been floating around the web for a few years.

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  19. Would anyone consider the flop to be a cult classic?

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    1. No, but I am in into the occult.

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    2. Curtis, here? Yes. «wink,wink».

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    3. Have never heard of any people who were that into the flop.

      Subject of the flop is based (loosely) on an even that is certainly worthy of a movie and I believe some more successful movies are connected with the event.

      The Flop is also peopled with actors who have done very good work elsewhere.

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    4. Curtis,
      Forgive me the meaning of your comment just came to me. (facepalm)

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    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    6. Ah, Curtis, more on Thursday. Words are wisely chosen, eh? {Your clue was spot on.}

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    7. Mort Canard - I forgive you, for I've made the same sort of misinterpretation in many forms in my life.

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  20. Replies
    1. I could never suffer through that awful movie again. I would prefer death with dignity.

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  21. I think it would be much more ironic if "laurel" started to sound like it was saying "hardy". Almost as if the sound were gaining weight, wouldn't you say?

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    1. I will say anything you ask of me in order to not have to sit through a Yanni concert.

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  22. I finally figured out it wasn't Shake and Shrek

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  23. I got the answer, but by cheating... Thanks to Wikipedia and an anagram engine

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    1. Using the tools on hand isn’t cheating

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    2. Thanks Curtis. It's nice to be a member of a team!

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    3. Searched for the movie but pencil and papered the anagram. I like rearranging letters, trying to tease out words.

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  24. Curtis is right.
    Anyone who solved this with only paper and pencil should claim so loudly.
    I dislike anagrams so thoroughly that I went only and immediately to Clark's resources and feel good at having done so.

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    Replies
    1. Mendo Jim,
      I on the weekly challenge I will look at the given clue for an anagram and see if anything jumps out at me. If not it's off to the Internet Anagram Server. Drawback is that the Server's dictionary doesn't have a lot of names in it. So if you are needing the name of a famous person it's hit or miss very often.

      For instance Server will solve for Spike Lee but won't come up with Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, or Myrna Loy.

      Given that the weekly challenge is usually not just an anagram but often a list check and an anagram, I don't consider it cheating.

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    2. P.S. Yah, yah, I know that Spike and Lee are both regular words and not just names.

      Mort

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    3. DD,
      Is Myrna Lloy on the Periodic Table?

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    4. Sorry but can't make an alloy from m-y-r-n.

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    5. Well that's a horse of a different color.
      Didn't realize Radon was yours. :D

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    6. I Ride an Old Paint, and plan a Radon the stock market.

      Delete
  25. I've now been solving Will's puzzles for about thirty years. However, I moved from the USA to the tiny Mediterranean Island of Gozo three years ago since when I have not been able to submit answers due to absence of an area code for the Island. It doesn't stop me solving for personal edification and as we are six hours ahead if I were to get a call it would likely intrude on my evening glass of wine at a sidewalk or beach-side cafe. As for this week's puzzle, it took me a little longer than usual and I not seen either movie. The second movie title reminded me of a weekly TV Series (with same name) which was screened in the UK when I was in my teens. I'm now 70+,that TV series was based on a Spy Drama and one of the co-stars subsequently featured in an early James Bond Movie. Anyone care to name that co-star and the role subsequently played in the James Bond movie?

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    1. Well we certainly would not want to intrude on your glass of claret (did you say just one glass?) now would we?

      What I want to know is why you were not at the bloody wedding? We all waited for you, but no, you were not to be found. I do hope you at least sent the lovely couple a nice toaster or something. But to be truthful, I too am in my seventies and very jealous of you there suffering in Gozo, whilst I am having to stick it out in this shithole country.

      Oh well, should I win again I promise to send you my pin.

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    2. As a fellow 70 year old, I too remember the TV series. But revealing the costar's name will have to wait until Thursday.

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  26. I missed out on watching the wedding, I left that task to my wife, instead I went out to hike some of the rugged, very scenic, Gozatan cliff top trials. It will soon be too hot to do this comfortably until the fall. But I somehow need to work up a thirst and justify the wine.

    Hiking here is not quite so tough as in the USA, where I lived for more than a quarter century, or northern Italy and the Pennies of the UK where I also lived at various times. However Gozo has an advantage of compactness as well as challenge for the hiker. It is also great for sea swimming which can be undertaken near year round. But inadvisable at the moment due to an influx of Jellyfish.

    Since posing the the question with respect to the British TV series and associated co-star it came to mind that more than one co-star also appeared in James Bond movies.

    Life on Gozo is very different from that in the UK or USA, or, for that matter any of the other six countries in which I've lived and worked. Some aspect of life here are like taking a three or four decade step back in time. Particularity so the village life-style with family run stores, traditional bakeries and daily deliveries from the fish and fruit merchants.

    There are downsides, but not many, the worst of which is the journey time from here to the airport on Malta. Although only twenty-five miles apart it can take upwards of four hours. Gozo has no airport and other than by helicopter the only way on and off the island is by sea. The semi-isolation helps maintain the uniqueness of this location which is steeped in Myth and Legend and has some of the worlds oldest know man made structures in stone. The peoples and architecture have been influenced by numerous invading forces over many millennia. These invaders also contributed to the official Maltese Language which primarily a hybrid of Arabic and Greek. It is the worlds only Semitic language written left to right in a thirty character Roman Alphabet.

    The cost of living here is also relatively low when compared with the USA, UK and many mainland European countries. The island of Malta is much more expensive with respect to housing costs but other costs are similar to Gozo.

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    1. The superintendent of my former building was from Gozo. His bumper sticker read "I <3 Gozo." Wouldn't think there'd be enough of a market for that item to exist, would you?

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  27. In addition to the Bond movies and TV show links described above there was a book by a well known author with a singular variant of the hit movie's title. A made-for-TV movie, of the same title, followed.

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  28. I’m guessing it wasn’t Groundhog Dry.

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  29. In order to obtain camel’s milk do I have to go to a dromedairy?

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    1. As long as you don't let any Bactrian Bacteria get into that milk...

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    2. What do camels drink at tea time?

      Camelmile, of course.

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    3. Why has no one seen Camelot's banner?

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  30. Be careful when parking in the desert. You certainly wouldn't want your camel towed.

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    1. Would you rather be pigeon toed? At least you could retrieve your camel at the used Camelot.

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  31. I had a new mattress delivered yesterday. Much taller than the one it’s replacing. So this afternoon at answer time, I’ll likely be at the mall looking for new sheets. Anyway, my flop has the initials of the first and middle names of a famous writer. Catch up with you later.

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  32. I find Chuck's clue timely, but rather transparent.

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    Replies

    1. HEAVEN’S GATE >>> THE AVENGERS

      “44” refers to Wyoming, the 44th state, site of HEAVEN’S GATE.

      “You can almost still hear the wedding bells pealing for Charles and Diana’s son, Harry, and his bride, Meghan.” refers to THE AVENGERS and the character Emma Peel, played by DianaRigg.

      Curtis, here? Yes. «wink,wink». refers to the HEAVEN'S GATE cult leader, Bonnie Nettles, who used the nickname "Wink."

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  33. So many ignorant people, so few comets.

    Heaven’s Gate and The Avengers.

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  34. HEAVEN'S GATE (changing an A to an R) → THE AVENGERS.

    “Sings hymns at heaven's gate...” Shakespeare, Sonnet XXIX.

    ATE + ERS = EASTER (TEASER)
    The connection between ISHTAR & EASTER.

    The Avengers (UK TV Series starring Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg).

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  35. Flop: Heaven’s Gate. Hit: The Avengers.

    As several bloggers have commented, there was a 1960’s British TV series which shared the hit’s title. Most famously, The Avengers, starred Patrick Mcnee as John Steed and Diana Rigg as Emma Peel. Like Honor Blackman, who preceded her in the role of Steed’s assistant (as Cathy Gale), Dame Rigg went on to star in a Bond movie.

    Apparently less well known is the 2003 book by Frederick Forsyth, Avenger, which was made into a made-for-TV movie in 2006. While I missed the movie version, I can highly recommend the book.

    My reply to Chuck's comment points to two of H. G. Wells' books. The Time Machine and The Invisible Man.

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  36. Laurel or yanny? I hear laurel. Did anyone note this was a clue? Laurel's first name, Stanley, is a homophone for Stan Lee, creator of many of The Avengers' characters, and I read he has a cameo in the latest movie.

    Bonus Answer #1: Not-so-famous Hollywood flop. Change an H to an S and anagram. Hart's War --> Star Wars
    Bonus Answer #2: Well-known fictional character, change 1 letter for name of well-known person. (Miss Jane) Marple --> (Meaghan) Markle, who even before last weekend's wedding could not be called "Miss".
    Bonus Answer #3: Well-known person, change A to an R and anagram for box office character. Obama --> Rambo, Stallone is also in the news advocating (and succeeding) in getting a pardon for Jack Johnson. Perhaps the first decent thing he and Trump have ever done?

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  37. I wrote, "If you take the last three letters of each movie and rearrange, you get a word with calendrical significance." The word is Easter. I was going to say "...you get a word for a religious holiday," but then I figured someone would tease out six-letter words for a religious holiday, get Easter, and use those letters somehow to get the answer. So I got a little more obscure, and invite everyone to express admiration for my scruples.

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    1. When I went out for lunch yesterday, I asked the waiter for a side order of scruples. He told me they were out of season. (No letter “R” in May, perhaps?).

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    2. Wow, Rob, an amazing 20 grains there!

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  38. HEAVEN’S GATE -> THE AVENGERS

    > I've seen neither of these, though I have seen a show with the same name as one of them.

    I liked The Avengers.

    >> Nike
    > Haven't thought about that in decades.

    When the members of the Heaven’s Gate cult committed suicide in conjunction with the appearance of comet Hale-Bopp, they were all wearing Nike Decades.

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    Replies
    1. Are you saying they died Decades before their time?

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  39. One of my partners handled an arbitration for the Editors Guild brought on behalf of one of the editors whom Cimino hired and fired during "Heaven's Gate." True to form, Cimino thought that he could run the hearing against him as well until the Arbitrator politely brought him down to earth. The arbitration turned out badly for him too.

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  40. Heaven’s Gate, The Avengers

    I had a new mattress delivered yesterday. Much taller than the one it’s replacing. So this afternoon at answer time, I’ll likely be at the mall looking for new sheets. Anyway, my flop has the initials of the first and middle names of a famous writer. Catch up with you later. H.G. Wells

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  41. Search "movie flop", plug the first one you have heard of into advanced anagram page: voila, SCRAP prevails in about three minutes.
    What was so bad about the movie? It had a pretty fair cast.

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  42. HEAVEN'S GATE, THE AVENGERS
    Pretty good clues this week. I'm actually surprised no one used the phrase NERVE GAS. It is a perfect anagram for AVENGERS, but then again maybe TOO perfect. I also have to admit I was almost going to comment on "44" earlier. That was my late father's number when he briefly played basketball for Alabama.

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  43. Donald Trump: "Commander Pence, prepare to head back to America, the summit with "Rocketman" has been cancelled."
    Mike Pence: "Your wish is my command, mon capitaine. Shall we watch another gladiator movie?"

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    1. There's something wrong with that cartoon picture. Can you see what it is?

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    2. What are all those controls, screens, and things on the ceiling of that plane?

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    3. I just assumed that stuff was there so that he had some place to hang all his medals!!

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    4. The artist clearly does not fly himself. The pilot is holding the yoke with both hands. Flying is not like driving a car where you should hold the steering wheel with both hands. You normally fly by holding the yoke or stick with one hand only. Once altitude has been reached and the plane is trimmed it pretty much flies itself and does not wander as a car might.

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    5. SDB: You probably know a lot more about that than I do! I wonder if the auto-pilot is what is used most of the time at cruise altitude. And not Otto-pilot!!

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    6. Autopilot is used by pilots flying cross country if they have it. Most small planes, such as Cessna 180 or 182 do not have it. In a car the road is constantly changing, or if straight, the car still must be kept centered. Also, in a car by using both hands you should be able to control a front tire blowout at high speed, but with only one hand you may die.

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    7. I learned something about flying now. Tks. Maybe you should write to.cartoonist. once i wtote a comment.on amazon books about jurasdic park book. There was an ertor in bood ..i cannot recall what it was..related to genetics i think. I will have to.look it up. Also i wrote to about an error.in a gary lardon cartoon related to.moswuitoes. i still have that colored cartoon all these years. I need to post again so.people see it. Love gl.cartoons. was shocked he did not know this information.

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    8. Sorry about spelling errors. Too late to correct.

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  44. Next week's challenge: Name part of the human body. Switch the first two letters to get a two-word phrase for something that is worrisome. What is it?

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    1. Not too difficult. Back to the long weekend

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    2. Got it – watching now for all the marvelous clues!

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    3. I have a possible answer, but Merriam Webster shows the worrysome itrm as a secondary definition. Think I’ll take a break and come back to it later.

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  45. Replies
    1. Easier for you medical folks, I had to laugh at this one.

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    2. Eco: I can think of a character that this applies to.

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