Sunday, July 29, 2018

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jul 29, 2018): Let Me Phrase That Differently

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jul 29, 2018): Let Me Phrase That Differently:
Q: Think of a familiar two-word phrase in 8 letters — with 4 letters in each word. The first word starts with M. Move the first letter of the second word to the end and you'll get a regular 8-letter word, which, amazingly, other than the M, doesn't share any sounds with the original two-word phrase. What phrase is it?
A: MAIL SLOT --> MAILLOTS

200 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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  3. I was able to get this quickly by consulting... well, I won’t say. But oh, my gosh, I would not have gotten it otherwise, because that eight-letter word was a new one on me! Thanks for the vocabulary boost, Will!

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    1. This was the one piece I needed to confirm my answer.

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    2. LOL! And I am happy to have the counter-confirmation you just gave.

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  4. After dancing around different methods of nailing down this puzzle, it was best to go the straight forward route.

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  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. Sorry. I'm a newbie--didn't realize my comment might be a giveaway. Love your blog, Blaine.

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    2. Dang. I always miss out on the give-a-way posts.

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  6. This puzzle has its ups and downs for me, so I’m gambling I have the correct answer.

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  7. Solving this puzzle makes your head swim.

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  8. I don't think I ever would have solved this without SDB's giveaway hint. (Though, Blaine's was pretty blatant, too.)

    My granddaughter doesn't know the highly irregular eight-letter word. She uses a two-word phrase that sounds like it starts "B-A-B-Y-".

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  9. I did not get this one as quickly as I’d hoped. Neither the phrase nor the word are terms I use with any regularity, though I know them both.

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  10. Can someone mansplain it to me?

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  11. Methinks this is a good puzzle, but I wouldn't place it among Will's megahits.

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    1. Walter White and Jesse could have really used that in their RV, methinks. (I just started watching Breaking Bad, I know I'm late to the party)

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    2. definitely one of the megahits.

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    3. jsulbyrne et al., what are the megahits?

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    4. Well, it's subjective. What I consider megahits others may think are massive stinkers.

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    5. jsulbyrne, I am curious about your megahits (and I was looking for a spot to put one more clue.)

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  12. I see the one during the week. The others might attract my gaze if suitably displayed.

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  13. I don't know, this is a rather thin puzzle today.

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  14. I would have saved this puzzle for another season.

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  15. I love these sort of puzzles because it allows me to keep up with my Excel formula skills. I had never seen or heard the one word term before, until I looked it up as a possible answer. Apparently many people have.

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  16. Got it - but can’t think of a good clue to post.
    Though if you change the first word to a different four letter word, you’ll get a more common phrase which is also a slang reference to a body part.

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    1. As for the body part slang, I've definitely heard it in a commercial parody on SNL. Won't say who was in it, though(except for that week's host).

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    2. Including that week's host, that should be. Other than that person, it would be just cast members, if course.

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  17. Finally got it, no thanks to Mr. Shortz. Hair-splitter that I am, I take issue with this puzzle.

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  18. I have seen the 8 letter word but had no idea what it was or how to pronounce it.

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  19. Andrew: look it up in the online dictionary and you can hear it pronounced. I was not sure if you really know how to pronounce it and are leaving a clue.

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    1. I just heard it pronounced more than one way. If you hear it pronounced in one particular way(I won't say which), clearly only the M still sounds the same.

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  20. Mendo Jim: Are you part of the Potter Valley evacuation? My Redwood Valley clients sent a pic yesterday from their property, and I hear it's only gotten much worse. Fingers crossed for you.

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    1. Thanks eco
      I am ignoring my second mandatory evacuation in 9 months. One of the current fires is much closer than last time.
      Right now all of my area and western Lake County are affected, but officials don't seem to have learned from last October and are issuing various orders with little sense.
      I and my kids in Upper Lake should be OK.
      PG&E has contributed with a day-long, counties-wide power outage.

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    2. Power outages when it's 102° can't be fun. The news said they were doing that for firefighter safety and to minimize potential fires from lines that might go down.

      I saw various orders and advisories, hard to make heads or tails from them.

      Glad you're okay, obviously the big concern is which way the winds blow, it seems like they're fairly steady from the west now, quite the opposite of last October.

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    3. MJ: I hope your kids have left Upper Lake now. The fire seems to be headed that way, and it looks like no break in the high temps.... and the Geomac maps don't look good. Yikes.

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    4. Stay safe, MJ. Even though I misused your name in last week's answer. :) --Margaret G.

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  21. Rearrange to get what you would not want to miss after the gala.

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    1. Change one letter and rearrange to get something you'd perhaps like to have.

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    2. And change one letter from the above answer to get a certain kind of geologist.

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    3. And change no letters from the original, rearrange to get something I might want the geologist to find.

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    4. eco, is this a bit of a word stretch (as is my kind of geologist)?

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    5. No stretching of words, and no stretching of the capabilities of a geologist, far lesser folk (myself included) have embarked on successful searches.

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  22. Sdb: I noticed something you forgot to do.

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    1. I didn't forget. Please don't say what it is.

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    2. "Okay, Ms. Natasha. You won't tell my Mum, will ya?" (start watching around the 20-minute mark)

      LegoSaysChrysanthemum'sTheWord

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    3. Lego: what do you mean re. 20 minute mark?

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    4. Natasha,
      That's about where the following dialogue between Woody and "Miss Chambers" occurs:
      Woody: You won't tell my mother, will you?
      Diane: Mum's the word, Woody.
      Woody: You won't tell my mum, will you?


      LegoRumblin'Stumblin'Fumblin'Bumblin'Mumblin'!

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    5. Lego: Thanks. I do not recall that dialogue. I did like the repartee between woody and Diane, though. Brings back memories of fun TV show.

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  23. I have to say I’m feeling like the group curmudgeon here. Giving the first letter and the number of letters in each part was just dumbing this down. These puzzles have become a “can I solve it this week” to “how fast can I solve it?” It reminds me of one of my favorite writers in my youth, Stephen King. His early works were edgy and rough, but they grabbed you and didn’t let go. I attribute that to a good working relationship with editors to get the novels honed. The last handful of novels ramble and wander and I just can’t read them. It’s like he’s a star and no one wants to anger the star, screw up the deal. I feel like they would publish his grocery list, if they could. These puzzles are the same way. WS is comfy in his seat, the checks clear, and as long as he shows up every Thursday NPR is thrilled.
    -
    I was actually disappointed I solved this one as quickly as I did. I remember chewing on puzzles for days and many weeks I did not get it. But the fun isn’t in the solution, it’s in the chase. I felt much better about the answer I didn’t get when it was revealed than I do with these “over clue-d” dumbed down puzzles.
    -
    Maybe they’re playing the mass market game. I wonder what the WS of 30 years ago, who lobbied for the first degree in puzzles, would say?

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    1. Buck Bard, earlier Sunday you wrote:

      Buck Bard Sun Jul 29, 11:40:00 AM PDT
      “I love these sort of puzzles because it allows me to keep up with my Excel formula skills. I had never seen or heard the one word term before, until I looked it up as a possible answer. Apparently many people have.”

      Then you follow with the critique above including this:

      “Giving the first letter and the number of letters in each part was dumbing this down.

      I disagree. I needed a place to start the puzzle. From the tenor of comments this week, I am guessing many people did, too.

      I might have changed a word or two in the puzzle but I did think this was one of Will’s better choices as a Sunday puzzle. I solved it without Excel or other computer assistance and was pleased with the answer. For me, it hit the right level of difficulty. I enjoyed solving it. . .and it seems you did as well.

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    2. Well said. How in the world would anyone be able to solve this difficult puzzle without someplace to start from? This is one of the better puzzles in my opinion.

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    3. I agree with WW and SDB. I don't know how to use Excel to solve this kind of puzzle; my tools were a sheet of paper and a pen, with the computer to verify the rather obscure word. Took me over an hour, mostly because I didn't correctly guess the consonant sound that would change, and the obscurity of the new word.

      I suspect this was true for many, as there weren't a lot of hints early Sunday except SDB, Ron, Rob and Cran. Even Blaine didn't give a hint in his initial posting.

      I also liked the puzzle because it reminded me of the complexity of English, and its polyglot roots (like its people) make for odd and sometimes contradictory pronouncements.

      The Capone --> Pacino puzzle could have been harder by, say, starting with "a notorious person from the 20th Century". Capone was the first "Chicago person" I thought of, so I had that done before WS repeated the puzzle.

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    4. Is Excel one of those things that pops up telling me I can use it free for 30 days if I sign up when all I'm trying to do is read what I thought was a simple file I downloaded, or am I thinking of another of Bill's tools of enslavement?
      I went to a list with a hunch [not unlike Dean Farley] and the answer popped up fairly quickly.
      No, there weren't a lot of early Sunday hints; not at all.

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    5. The fun for me is not the chase. I like getting the solution. Not getting this one though.

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  24. I remember the Shortzster's using a similar word fairly recently, but I think more had actually heard of it.

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  25. That was quite educational. While I have seen the 8 letter word, or a variant thereof, in print, I doubt I've ever heard it spoken.

    Then again, having lived in the suburbs for the last 61 years, I can't remember the last time I've used the item described by the two word phrase.

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  27. Whoopsie! TMI, I guess, even though everybody already has the answer.
    Suffice to say that the one word answer is amazingly non-regular.

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  28. Mendo Jim, “. . .everybody already has the answer.” That’s a large assumption and I doubt it is true.

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    1. How about "everybody here?" That's smaller.

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    2. Smaller but still doubtful as the truth.

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    3. Whoops again.
      I didn't know that what prevails here is necessarily "the truth." ;)

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    4. Some of the usual suspects haven't posted hints, though many (most?) of the heavy hitters have. We have no idea how many lurk in the shadows (Hi Lurkers!) and the prime directive is not to end a post with a giveaway.

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    5. Lurkers, tell us the truth—are you still working on this week’s puzzle?

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    6. With just a quick look at last week's posters, we've also not heard from regulars and semi-regulars Margaret G., 68Charger, Clark a pseudonym, Mort Canard, TomR, Nick Missios, Shyra L., metsma, Joe Kupe, among others.

      Either it's a more difficult puzzle or perhaps folks are on vacation or. . .?

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    7. Margaret G here - I can't post here from work due to technical gotchas, but yes, I did get an answer, and many of the clues above corroborate it. I'm not totally satisfied with my answer, but it's the only one I can think of right now.

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    8. Hi everyone, I have the answer but I am afraid it was answered for me. My sister came up with it fairly quick. To be honest, I don't think I would have been able to answer this weeks puzzle. I was stumped!!
      We've been in Tulsa seeing my son, his wife and the grandkids. It was fun but Sundays, on trips like this, leave little time to work on the harder puzzles.
      Congrats to everyone who has correctly answered this!!
      On a different note, I just can't believe the fires in California & Colorado. How sad and terrible to have to go through this. Around Kansas City, we have been surrounded by rain storms but all we get are tiny downpours. We are also classified as a high drought area, too. It looks like I will be planting more grass seed this Fall!! A small price to pay though, compared to others.

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    9. Just don't become a Droughting Thomas.

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    10. Ha, ha! After a while, you kinda give up on the yard, though! Oh well...
      It was strange on the way back to K.C., though, our car was constantly being hit by these giant bugs that seemed to be on kamikaze missions. I don't know what they were, I'll look over the radiator tomorrow to find an example, but they were hitting the car hard! I bet they were 1 1/2 to 2"s big. I thought one had half a chance to crack the windshield!!

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    11. I rather doubt they were Japanese. I would look more toward Putin as being the source.

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    12. The one that had the biggest thud looked like a cicada! I saw it for just a split-second before impact, as I was going about 70-75 mph.

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    13. WW asks, ``Lurkers, tell us the truth—are you still working on this week’s puzzle?'' For this lurker, the truth, or The Truth, is that the answer is ``no.'' That said, the two-word phrase I submitted comes to mind regularly at the apartment I now live in and the house I used to own. Not sure if it will be relevant to the house I just bought in Colorado.

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    14. Thanks for the shout out.

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    15. I'm not the brightest bulb, but have solved many puzzles except for last week's and now this week's. Yes, I'm still lurking.

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    16. Hello lurkers. Good to see all your bright shiny words!

      FloridaGuy, will you change your screen name? Welcome to Colorado soon.

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    17. WW, the move to CO is not imminent. Should be between 2 to 4 years from now. We'll see.

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    18. eco, I enjoy that video every time I see it.

      FloridaGuy, when you come, please bring road paving supplies, extra police and fire personnel, and good driving manners. Just planning ahead. . .

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    19. Got it on my run this morning. I was a lurker!

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    20. Seriously funny. . . especially the driving part.

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  29. Here but Duluth has been unseasonably hot (for us) .

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    1. Hi loop. We have missed you. zeke creek?

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    2. I've had nothing to add. Plus, summer projects have taken presidence .

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  30. Instead of Trump doing a shutdown, why doesn't he do a shut up?

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    1. Sdb: lol...send dt that comment.

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    2. Natasha, Thanks, but I don't Tweet. You may do it for me if you like. Let me know if you do though.

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  31. The two-word phrase is hardly ever seen anymore. Not the phrase itself, but what it actually is. As for the eight-letter word, I probably wouldn't know one if I saw one(or more than one, as the case may be).
    Now that's ambiguous!

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    1. I have the two-word phrase at home. And the eight-letter word is on the home page of a major news site today!

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  32. In the Russian language, the words "would" and wouldn't" sound remarkably similar, so I guess the mix-up is quite understandable.

    Regarding this weeks puzzle, it makes me think of one of those weird coconut cookies.

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  33. Apparently I do my best thinking in bed. I don't seem to do much sleeping there- just tossing and turning. I got this puzzle when I remembered plurals. Clues that helped: Blaine, ron, Floridaguy and Superzee.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Sharon, thank you, your hint helped me. I will now slap my forehead in the shower (where I do my best thinking) bc I have one.

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    3. Sorry if my clue helped get to a solution. Comments are intended to confirm an answer - not lead to one. (Wink wink.)

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  34. This one has me totally lost. Last week, I really didn’t put any effort into it, so this will make two weeks in a row where I won’t submit an answer.

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    1. Gosh if I can do it, anyone can. Take a hard look at Blaine's comment at the beginning. Then consult Google. Or just go have a snack and try next time. That is usually more satisfying.

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  35. I've got nothing this week. Can't find a way to tease out the answer with logic or lists.

    Will try again next week.

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    1. Mort,

      I thought I was the only one that felt that way this week

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    2. The use of modifiers in the puzzle text is telling. It is a "familiar" two-word phrase" but a "regular" 8-letter word. To describe this 8-letter word as "familiar" would have been misleading, unfair and highly irregular. So, Will Shortz used the word "regular" instead.

      LegoWhoIsJustARegularJoeWhoIsNotAllThatFamiliarWithTheVastnessOfOurEnglishVocabulary

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    3. Lego, are you suggesting the "regular" 8-letter word is on bran(d)?

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  36. No issues solving or submitting this week’s puzzle. Hopefully Someday I’ll get picked to play on air. I’ve been trying since the postcard days!

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  37. Canadian Broadcasting is reporting there was only one dog tag that came with all the human remains from North Korea. That is very suspicious, and why are we not reporting this by our media?

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  38. That story is very troubling, this is the first I've heard of it and it ought to be "front page headlines". A quick look on the web sheds a little light on it but yes, the media just doesn't seem to be covering it very much.
    Here's a link to this story from the St. Louis Post Dispatch. It's there but does not seem to be prominently displayed.
    I'm very skeptical of whether these caskets actually contain the remains of American servicemen.

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    1. Our Fear Leader being duped by the duplicitous grandson of the Dear Leader? Impossible!

      This Military Times article goes into more depth. DNA could tell the ethnic origins, but they could be from Australians or other Europeans. And of course Asian Americans also fought in Korea. Another mess.

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    2. Sorry, he's the son of "The Dear Leader", Kim Jong Il, grandson of "The Great Leader", Kim Il Sung.

      Here's catchy little tune for your morning wake up. I wonder if DJT will have something like this for his military parade? I feel like goose stepping.

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    3. With apologies to Kazuo Ishiguro, “Remains of the day and week and year and decades. . .”

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  39. MAIL SLOT > MAILLOTS

    My Hint, which I removed:

    "Not sure I want to give this one my stamp of approval."

    I removed my hint because jan thought it was a giveaway. I disagree, but when it brought undue attention to my post I thought it prudent to delete it.

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    1. I thought it was an acceptable clue, well done.

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    2. SDB: You did not remove your clue from the last week's blog. I tried to tell you and I think you left it there anyway.

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    3. I know that Natasha. I left it there on purpose. I saw no reason to delete it.

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  40. MAIL SLOT >>> MAILLOTS

    “I did not get this one as quickly as I’d hoped. Neither the phrase nor the word are terms I use with any regularity, though I know them both. I bicycled part of the Tour de France route just before the July race as a teenager and learned then about the MAILLOT JAUNE. >>> Quickly as in Speedo as in one piece bathing suit or MAILLOT. Thanks for “one piece,” Blaine.

    “Sugar beets” refers to Louis Malle (close to Maille and hence MAILLOT) who was descended from a sugar beet nobleman.

    “I would have saved this puzzle for another season.” >>> for spring, particularly the Spanish month of Mayo, as in Cinco de Mayo/MAILLOT.

    “ jsulbyrne et al., what are the megahits“ >>> et al. >>>ATOLL >>> Bikini ATOLL >>> Bikini vs the MAILLOT

    "Change one letter and rearrange to get something you'd perhaps like to have. " >>>
    MAILLOTS - O + A >>> TALISMAN

    And change one letter from the above answer to get a certain kind of geologist. >>> TALISMAN - I + U = TALUSMAN (made-up term for a geomorphologist)

    “RRH” refers to Red Riding Hood, a 2011 movie starring Alexandria MAILLOT.

    "Lego, are you suggesting the "regular" 8-letter word is on bran(d)?" >>> MAILLOT Co is a Thai company that produces "heart made swimwear."

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    1. Where did the "N" come from in your rearranging of "maillots" ?

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  41. MAIL SLOTMAILLOTS:(mä-yō′). The “S” is silent in the plural of “maillot(s).”

    My hint: The “Tour de France” leader wears → the “maillot jaune,” the yellow jersey.

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    1. I took your "Tour de France" clue to mean french word and when I looked up "one piece" by Blaine I saw Maillot so I thought I was onto something. It took a few minutes of thinking of other clues to get mail slot because I dismissed maillot at first because it was not 8 letters. But then I remembered plurals!

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  42. MAIL + SLOT --> MAILLOTS

    So, that’s how “MAILLOT” is pronounced!

    The last place I remember using a mail slot was in my parents’ Manhattan apartment – which we moved out of in 1957. Their Long Island house had a mail slot in the front door, but it had been sealed to keep out the draft and we used a mail box attached to the wall next to the front door for incoming mail and a letterbox down the street for outgoing.

    My house, and every house I’ve lived in since 1974, has a rural mail box, mounted on a post at the end of the driveway.

    Does anyone still have a mail slot?

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    1. Still quite common in your older city neighborhoods, at least here in Ky.

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  43. My hint was not at all. At all sounds like atoll, Bikini is an atoll, and a maillot is not a bikini.

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    1. That is not a hint, that is a confusion.

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    2. It is a beautifully crafted clue meant to show on Thursday that Paul knew the answer. . .but not a hint to give away the answer before then.

      That's what we strive for here.

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  44. mail slot --> maillots

    "I thought [Jan] would get this right away": Jan is from New Jersey, and "maillots" is sometimes pronounced like the Mayo, which all physicians and their assistants know.

    "change no letters from the original, rearrange to get something I might want the geologist to find": I was thinking silt loam, a soil type used in natural building materials like rammed earth, cob, and adobe bricks.

    "the prime directive is not to end a post": every day (except Sunday) posts end in my mail slot. Or recycling bin.

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    1. eco, you could take that silt loam to the imaginary talusman or actual geomorphologist for analysis. The rest of us geologists just lump it as Q (Quaternary).

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    2. The only mayo I use is on my BLTs. Which I made just the other night, to celebrate my wife's recovery from spine surgery, since with bending, lifting, and twisting verboten, that's the only kind of BLT she's allowed.

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    3. It is mä-yō', the "a" in father, not mayo (mā′ō).

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    4. Oh ɡʊd ˈɡreɪvi, not the pronunciation police again. I said sometimes.

      Maillots is pronounced more like my-oh, or perhaps muy-oh, than the a in father, at least in what I linked above, and here, and here; listen to the French pronunciations, it's their word after all. This is probably not how to say it.

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    5. WW: we use a large mouth glass jar (like the kind used for maillots-naise) and a little water to do our testing. Could we get a geomorphologist for the same price?

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    6. eco, maillots-naise had me laughing out loud. I thought of clueing something pointing toward “Me, oh, maillots, down by the bayou. . .”

      My favorite geomorphologist became a nun after getting her PhD. You might be able to get nun of the above for a reasonable rate.

      Btw, your last link won’t open for me.

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    7. Ron, that "a" sounded nothing like father. You get what you pay for with the Free Dictionary.

      Apologies, WW. Try this link for a different pronunciation of maillots.

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    8. I speak French fluently and the English & French pronunciations of "maillot" are identical. Click on the pronunciation icon for "maillot" and listen carefully for the "a" sound and you will hear it is the "a" in father. If it were the "a" in "mayo" then it would be the same as the "ai" in mail and would not fulfill the conditions of the puzzle that the eight-letter word NOT "share any sounds (other than M) with the original two-word phrase."

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    9. Another LOL.

      I tried, in vain, to find a “mail shirt” made of USPS envelopes stuck on a shirt. But, I did find this >>>

      https://youtu.be/RR2VgDr4zyA.

      Maillots are a snap by comparison.

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    10. Thanks to our discussion here, I decided to look up Katie Hirschboeck, who, last we heard, became a nun. . .but she did not join the order after all! She later joined the Tree Ring Laboratory at the U of AZ and was an early proponent of climate change:

      https://tucson.com/lifestyles/faith-and-values/faith-shapes-environmental-beliefs-for-these-catholics/article_0d9bc974-1918-5ba0-819e-b3cb39f8395b.html

      It is strange to have pictured her as a nun all these years. . .

      eco, thanks for asking about a geomorphologist! I would trust her with any silt loam question.


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    11. WW: I know a couple of natural builders in Tucson, it's a warm bed for such things. Good that she's found a balance between her religion and her science. I see that the Republican Congress critter from down there hasn't.

      You could try this for going postal with clothes.

      Ron: I listened to your tape, and though they claim maillot is the same a as in father, I ain't hearing it. Theirs sounds more like Pfizer. I also listened to their father pronunciation, not even close.

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    12. I am batting .000 at opening your links today, eco. Do I need have Pinterest to see it perhaps?

      I am happy to have been in touch with two college friends today about Katie. Both were surprised. Several in the geosciences department were less than thrilled when she went to a nunnery. But, as says at the end of the article, she is an educator at heart. She was talking about serious climate change as our TA in geomorphology. She was the gifted teacher, not the professor, who showed his distain daily for having to teach lowly undergrads.

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    13. I can't speak for Pinterest, I never use it, the site came up on Goog.., you know. Try this: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/356277020492809252/.

      And yes, lots of prof's think lowly of undergrads. Some think anything below a Post Doc isn't worth the time of day.

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    14. ECO: Try saying the two syllables separately as though they were two words: MAH YO, MAH YO. Now bring them closer together: MAH-YO, MAH-YO.
      Now say them as though they were one word: MAHYO and compare that sound to the pronunciation icon for "maillot."

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    15. Nope. Free Dictionary still says MY-YO, a soft MY, somewhat like Mai Tai. Now I'm thirsty.

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    16. Had my drink, now isten to this pronunciation, which they claim is the same "mä" as maillot. Do you really hear the same first syllable?

      Note that I'm not saying either is the same as Mayo - though I've heard some mispronounce the clinic that way. Berkeley's Vice Mayor (Maio) pronounces her last name very much like maillot.

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    17. Of course I hear the same first syllable,but shorter than in Mah Jong. Better have your hearing checked. It is not MY YO.

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    18. My hearing is fine, you need to work on your cognition. This came up last year over some other pronunciation, you clearly hear things differently. Your short a in maillots stops at m.

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    19. Perhaps we can move on to another pronunciation— “synecdoche.” Isn’t that a city in New York?

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    20. I stand by what I hear. It is not "cognition."
      It is what the dictionary is saying is the pronunciation of "maillot" and I hear that.

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    21. This is interesting. I am not hearing either of those pronunciations. What I am clearly hearing is: MOIST.

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  45. So my clues were “this puzzle has its UPS and downs”. As close as I dared to get to usps without getting hammered. Also “gambling” I have the correct answer. Referring to slots, a gambling option.

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  46. I was going to make a comment about epic movies on TV like Laurence of Arabia (shown in letter box) but was too shy.

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  47. MAIL SLOT -> MAILLOTS

    > My granddaughter doesn't know the highly irregular eight-letter word. She uses a two-word phrase that sounds like it starts "B-A-B-Y-".

    Her “babyng suit” is technically a maillot.

    > Reminds me of my favorite room at the Met museum.

    Many suits of mail there. I never wore chain mail while sending a chain letter. Not sure whether armor mail and maillots are etymologically related.

    > I have the two-word phrase at home. And the eight-letter word is on the home page of a major news site today!

    The Unicode Consortium is considering a proposal for a maillot emoji.

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  48. I wrote: "I was able to get this quickly by consulting... well, I won’t say." I consulted a list of eight-letter words beginning with M, and I got it quickly because in an alphabetized list, "maillots" shows close to the top.

    I wrote, "But oh, my gosh, I would not have gotten it otherwise..." Reverse "oh, my" phonetically and you get "maillots."

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  49. I knew the word or the phrase had to be French, but never got beyond that. Oh well, I'm going to look at the brand new website I got for my birthday and forget about being "skunked" by this weeks puzzle

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  50. It is too bad that Will Shortz will probably never understand the interesting discussions that are engendered here by his mediocre puzzles.

    A while back one of them involved "skorts," an item of apparel that more had apparently heard of (not me).

    I will be surprised if this one gets 100 "correct" submissions.

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  51. I got this answer by looking up a list of 8 letter words starting with M, same as Rob - but I have to say, I much prefer puzzles that I can solve without the aid of the computer or internet. And I could not solve this one without the internet, so my satisfaction rating is 1 out of 5.

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  52. I have to share this. Just received a call from my son (early 20's) who is out with friends. He asks me what was the answer to the puzzle. I ask,who wants to know? He replies,all of them. As I give the answer & he is telling them, there is yelling and laughing. His friends try to solve this every week.
    BTW, I have a mail slot. Small as ... I set a basket out for larger items and magazines, but some still try to stuff into the slot.

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    1. Liz, thanks for sharing about your son and his friends. Happy to know that the yelling and laughing extends to the 20-something set as well!

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    2. Absolutely! As we were hanging up, I heard him say, "told you she would know". Better than winning.

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    3. Most assuredly! Do they ever go to Blaine’s?

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  53. My clues about post and postcard days was reference to the mail system. When you change the first word to another 4 letter word to get a slang body part, I was referring to “coin slot”. Which Cranberry appeared to pick up on!

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  54. Thinking that where you have lived and worked during your life determines if "mail slot" means for incoming or outgoing.
    Or both, perhaps.

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  55. MAIL SLOT, MAILLOTS
    Re Snipper's comment: If I remember correctly, the ad parody on SNL involved some sort of feminine hygiene product for cleaning one's "coin slot"(my sense of decorum prevents me from saying exactly where), and featured Kristen Wiig and host Lindsay Lohan, both dancing around in a goofy manner. I'm sure it's on Hulu somewhere under "SNL Clips".
    I had assumed the MAIL SLOT was part of most people's front door to their house, mostly during the 20th Century. I don't think I know anyone who still has one, but I've never really checked.
    I have never seen a MAILLOT at all, at least not that I know of. It's like a leotard, right?
    So much for "regular" eight-letter words. BTW I found it right away Sunday morning while looking through a list of eight-letter words beginning with M. I'm never usually that lucky finding these things in lists like that, but since it was under MA, it was bound to happen.

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    Replies
    1. I join a few of the others who have a mail slot in their houses - since the temperature never changes here it's not a big deal on the heating/ cooling. I'm also on the board of a non-profit which has a mail slot in their glass storefront.

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  56. Did not get this weeks puzzle. As a bicyclist I am familiar with the Malliot Jaune.

    I headed off in the direction of words with "gh" or "ght" that would change sounds when a letter was moved. It did not occur to me that the transformed word might end up as a French term, or at least a term adapted from the french.

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    Replies
    1. I tried to solve this, for a short time, by trying to get a variation of "machetes" to work.
      Maybe getting "Mach", as in "mach one" or something like it, but of course, that did not make the cut.

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  57. Post Script: I am guessing that the number correct answers this week will be comparatively low. "Mail Slot" is not an entirely uncommon term these days, but I only know the term "malliot" as a French term for a cycling jersey. Never heard of it in relation to swimsuits.

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  58. I wanted to hint at Edward R. Murrow and Milo Radulovich.

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  59. In the old days, large apartment and office buildings usually had a central elevator and service area.
    Each floor had a mail slot which fed a glass enclosed chute.
    As a kid, I loved standing in these little lobbies and watching the mail from upper floors zipping by.

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  60. Breaking the Excel Fourth Wall

    Here's my procedure for solving this puzzle:
    1. Copy list of 8-letter words beginning with ‘m’ from word list website and paste into column A
    2. Apply =LEFT(A1,4) formula to column B to create list of 4-letter words from first half of 8-letter words
    3. Apply =RIGHT(A1,4) formula to column C to isolate last four letters of 8-letter words
    4. Apply =CONCATENATE(RIGHT(C1,1),LEFT(C1,3)) formula to column D to construct second 4-letter words
    5. Scan for possibilities

    An alternate (5) would be to copy and paste a list of 4-letter words beginning with ‘m’ and use a =VLOOKUP to help narrow the potential candidates. Eyeballing worked fine for me.

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    Replies
    1. That is a cool little procedure! It's amazing what Excel can do.
      Thanks!

      Delete
  61. In 1976, two guys named Steve, started a computer company, working out of a garage in Los Altos California. At the same time, Donald Trump, the son of a successful real estate developer, was already a multi-millionaire.

    The company the two guys named Steve started is now worth One Trillion Dollars. In the same period, Donald Trump has seen over a dozen of his business fail, and gone through six bankruptcies.

    Maybe we should find someone named Steve to run for President.

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    Replies
    1. You can also read how the "successful businessman" used tax breaks and deceit to build his "empire".

      Fortune notes he'd be wealthier if he simply invested in Index Funds. We'd all be healthier.

      On the other side, in the late 70's I was dating someone whose father had started a computer company in 1975, bought an airplane and a Porsche in 1976 (both were fun) went bankrupt in 1977, started again in 1978, and I have no idea what happened after that. For every happy Apple there are thousands who only found the pits.

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    2. I'm waiting for my copy of Rick Wilson'e new book, Everything Trump Touches Dies. Have you seen it? http://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Everything-Trump-Touches-Dies/Rick-Wilson/9781982103125

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    3. That must explain why his penis is so tiny.

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  62. The hazards of wearing a one piece maillot vs. a two piece bikini.

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  63. Next week's challenge: This is Part 1 of a two-week challenge. You'll need to solve both parts before you send in your answer. So hold your answer for now.

    These four words have a very interesting and unusual property in common. What is it?

    NEANDERTHAL

    EMBARRASS

    SATURATION

    CONTEMPTUOUSNESS

    You will need the second part of the two-week challenge before you can submit an answer to this puzzle. Tune in next Sunday or head to the Sunday Puzzle page on npr.org, Aug. 12, to hear the second clue for this challenge.

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    Replies
    1. Many avenues to solve this, just like last week. I predict that the challenge will be to find 4 other words with the same property.

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    2. Ho hum. The property I see is not that interesting or unusual. . .I will keep looking, even though this could be the answer.

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  64. Only 230 correct responses to last weeks puzzle.

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  65. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Will S. said, at the end, each of these words has something hidden inside of them. I did not record it but that was the gist of it. Maybe this part will be included on the NPR website audio, a little later.

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