## Sunday, August 12, 2018

### NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 12, 2018): The Missing Link (Part 2)

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 12, 2018): The Missing Link (Part 2):
Q: Continuing on from Part 1, here's Part 2 of the challenge.

These four words have a very interesting and unusual property in common — something about the letters in them (all the letters). What is it?

SCARECROW
SCREENSAVER
CAMERAWOMAN
CURVACEOUSNESS

When you know it, think of a common 7-letter word that shares the unusual properties of both last week's and this week's words.
If you are thinking anagrams, you are heading down the wrong path. Personally I don't feel the second property is that uncommon. However some of you may still be wishing the deadline was extended another week.

Edit: The hints were "down" and "extended" trying to hint at the missing descenders and ascenders when written in lowercase. And the word "uncommon" was an example of such a word.
A: In lowercase, the words have no ascenders and descenders
scarecrow
screensaver
camerawoman
curvaceousness

The common words that I found that could both contain a planet and only use these letters were:
aVENUeS -> VENUS
MAnneRS --> MARS
MAnuReS --> MARS
MARacaS --> MARS
MARoonS --> MARS
MARrowS --> MARS
MoAneRS --> MARS

I submitted AVENUES because VENUS wasn't included in last week's planet list.

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.

2. So, I figured out the first common property. I've yet to figure out the second, but the puzzle says it has to do with the individual letters. As such, I've come up with a 7 letter word that meets last week's criteria and if composed exclusively of letters in the words in this week's puzzle. So, basically, I have the answer, I'm just missing a step. Am I cheating?

1. Hmm... are you prepared to go on air and answer the question about how you came up with your answer? I wouldn't do that in case I embarrassed myself.

2. I'm in the same boat; I can't see (yet) the distinguishing factor for the letters in today's words, but I can make a good seven-letter answer to the overall question using those letters. And if I were asked on air, I'd say that. Or I might say, "And I only realized what the commonality of the letters was when I read it on Blaine's."

3. No excuses! None! Zero! :)

4. Very nice!!!

5. I concur, Woman and "Mor-man!" (Or, "Me concur, Woman and 'Mor-man!'")

MeLegoYouBlainesvillians

3. Unused clues from this week's On-air challenge:

I'm going to give you two words. Rearrange the letters in each of them to make another word. Then think of a familiar saying or proverb that contains both those words.

Example: CHEAT GOD --> TEACH and DOG --> You can't teach an old dog new tricks.

6. FOAL NEON

7. HATES SWEAT

As usual don't post the answers so everyone has a chance to solve.

1. More if you're really bored:

EVIL WORTH
SPAKE SWORD
FINDER DENIED
PAROLED POSTS

2. Very nice Berf!!

3. Answers for this week's unused clues.
6. FOAL NEON → loaf none --> half a loaf is better than none
7. HATES SWEAT → Haste Waste --> Haste makes waste.

I'll let Berf provide his own answers.

1. Case as in lower case block letters. What you need to find the property of the included letters this week.

4. It bears repeating...WTF?!

1. No that does not have the property.

2. If cleverness is the property, this puzzle does not have it.

2. Birds do it better; no specious argument there.

6. I've thought of some other words that I think fit just as well for this puzzle:
INANE
IDIOTIC
STUPID
ASININE
PATHETIC
POINTLESS
TIME-WASTER
UNCOOL
HAREBRAINED
MORONIC
WORST
INSULTING
WHY?
MEANINGLESS
LUDICROUS
LAME
UNFORGIVEABLE
CRAPPY
DISAPPOINTING
TERRIBLE
HORRIFIC
DEVASTATING
UNFUNNY
TASTELESS
ATROCIOUS
If you must, consider all the letters. There are no anagrams here.

1. Awesome sarcasm :)

2. One might find a solution to this puzzle by looking up your a**s.

3. A solution is not an acceptable answer but an answer might be an acceptable solution.

7. Hmmm,

Was Bhunter's hint left a week ago disappear just this morning? a whole week later?

1. Seems an erasure can occur, even now

2. Bhunter posted "Avenues" last week as a possible solution to that week's part of the puzzle. It also was a solution to this weeks part of the puzzle.

8. Is the puzzle answer two seven letter words or one?

1. After figuring out the common property on list one and the (different) common property on list two, Will wants a seven-letter word that can be part of both lists. There are potentially a couple words that can work.

2. Have found eleven that fit but only about six could be called common words.

3. Thanks so much, Blaine.

9. You have to really mind your p's and q's with this puzzle.

1. Having found a second answer that works, I now see how doubly brilliant this clue is.

2. Cross your t's?

10. Not obvious yet, but not worried.
It may be important the the webpage version and Blaine's both left out the modifier "in this case" after "(all the letters)".
I guess this is meant to emphasize some contrast to last week's list.
I have a 7 letter word that fills out the first four nicely, but today's are a mess.

'

1. WW,
Am waiting for you to explain some of your more cryptic comments this week.
Mort

2. MC, see below. Our faculty meeting today precluded my posting earlier. I know, I know, where are my priorities?

11. This puzzle is not a highlight, pretty certain I do (do not, it's tRump time!) have the solution, but I also feel parts may be missing?

Was Mies van der Rohe was right that "less is more"? I have three (6) letter words, and two (5) letter words.

12. Three solutions. One I am sure one is the intended answer. As to the others, one is a bit of a bastard, the other a real stinker.

13. Our PuzzleMaster must get lonely sometimes. Using all the letters in the four words, I've spelled "WOMAN CURVES". As far as the PM's original subject, the only other person to really bring it up this past week was our President, and I'm beginning to think HE had the better idea!

14. The teach this stuff in grade school. Too bad that was so long ago.

1. Good thing someone was paying attention.

2. Btw, I wasn’t pointing to the/they. In fact, I bet most of us saw “they.”

3. Didn't even occur to me that you might be pointing to the/they. I just had a desire to fix it.

1. A Case o' Corona for 600, Alex.

15. "ERASURES (OR SMEARS) ON EXAMS ARE A NO-NO... NERVOUS? ERASE SOME ANSWERS?"
"[SWEAR!] WOE IS US. WE SCORE ZERO!"

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

2. REASON CAN NEVER CROWN OUR OWN ANSWERS OR RAZE OUR MORE NERVOUS EXCUSES.

...and now it's off to bed. G'night!

3. And now, you've started using X's and Z's. I still don't get this part! THE WHOLE THING IS STUPID!

4. Careful cran, you could get a stroke.

5. Wait for the morning, pour a little half and half in your coffee, and let the answer come to you.

6. How about you both wait for the morning, and let a stroke come to you? I have to start this week with a doctor's appointment tomorrow and then a dental appointment Tuesday. I don't need this crap!

7. Trust me, a.m. is the time to solve this puzzle.

8. But the morning isn’t.

9. Cranberry,
Do you understand why X's and Z's might fit the parameters of the puzzle?

There is a reason why Lego and I included them.

10. There is also a reason why I no longer care. Try and figure that one out if you can.

11. don't let the zen vex u

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1. Save this discussion for after Thursday, please.

2. . . .Save other things things, too, please.

17. Found a new (to me) word: OURANOSAURUS.

To bad Will is looking for a seven and not a twelve letter word.

VENEMOUS would also work but it has one too many letters. ;~)

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19. As it happens, I work with this property (mostly its opposite) extensively, in the professional work that I do. So sue me!

20. Not related to this week's puzzle (though a curvaceous scarecrow museum would be awesome), it's not too late to make your end of summer vacation plans.

I suspect SDB has some home town pride. I've only been to 8 of these places, how about others? What's your favorite?

21. While I have heard of the Gum Wall and could very easily visit it, I have no intention of ever doing so, nor do I ever think of it. It might be more interesting than my 1987 visit to Epcot though. I don't think there is much of anything man made in this country that would interest me. Maybe a straw house.

1. I've designed a few straw houses, none have blown down but my first burned down in last year's wildfires. I've also designed a straw school and a straw nature center.

But all are in the Bay Area/ Northern California, visit this site to plan your next vacation. Washington is #6 of US states, though I think the list is a bit out of date.

22. ^^^ If your post contains a seven-letter word that you think is the answer, please delete it now.

We don't reveal here until after 3 p.m. ET Thursday, 8/16. Check out Blaine's directives in the first comment.

Thank you.

23. Just checking, but would I be ERRONEOUS to think I'm on the right track?

24. Is there really only one correct answer? I have two that seem equally correct and don’t know which to submit.

1. If you see the replies in Natasha's thread, there are potentially more than one word that will work. Will asks for *a* word (not *the* word), so pick the one you want to submit and justify why.

2. I have found 7 common words that qualify and I'll reveal them on Thursday after the 3pm ET deadline along with which one I think is Will's intended answer.

3. "... and justify why."
Since when?

4. I have found "seven common words that qualify" also.

5. I have found six common words that work, but one is different than the others.

25. Natasha thread still not sewed up the answer.

26. Curses! It took me this long to find a plausible property for the second set of words. Now I just need to plough though and find a seven letter answer.

27. I'm curious -- how many people who post here also do the NY Times crossword and variety puzzles? This week, they ran a Time Test featuring several NPR-esque challenges.

1. I do. And noticed the first item was the baroness senora puzzle from a few weeks ago.

2. Did you cram for the test?

3. I know jan has mentioned doing them. Where is jan?

4. Yes, I do the crosswords and variety puzzles. Didn't really think the Time Test was much fun. I really like the cryptic crosswords in The Nation, too.

As for this puzzle, I figured out the first part right away, but am still struggling to find the key to part 2. Thought I had it at one point, but no.

5. It is very zen to see what you don’t see.

6. Don't be afraid of zen. That would be xenophobic.

28. Coincidentally, a figure in the news this week has a seven-letter name that also shares the unusual properties of both last week's and this week's words.

1. Excellent observation, John Bowers.

2. Bravo, John. You ought to post here more often.

LegoWhoIsJustOneOfSeveralBowersToJohn'sSuperiorPowersOfPerspicacity

3. Wow!! Great connection!

29. Paris and Berlin have two of my favorites.

30. I enjoy learning from the research I do while trying to solve these puzzles, and with this puzzle I have learned a lot, except for the solution for either one. I am obsessing about this, trying too hard, and am calling it quits.

1. Sometimes all the maneuvers you can muster can’t overcome the puzzle gods. As to learning, I was delighted to discover that funky bird dance (see above). What did you learn that you can share now?

2. I've tried all kinds of ideas but nothing really clicks. I wonder if it is something simple & obvious. I'll keep trying but not so much!

3. I learned the lyrics to songs, more than I wanted/needed from the Pleistocene era, and this group is smart, funny, obtuse, creative lyricists, and want to help.

WW, my aunt was a geologist.

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

5. Liz, cool about your aunt being a geologist. Was she into hard rock or soft rock?

6. She would have laughed at that question. She liked iron(y).

7. Don’t we all? ;-)

Did she work in gold/silver/platinum/aluminum/other mining or maybe teaching/research?

8. USGS. Traveled, compiled maps, lived and worked in Reston, VA, for a few years. Before that she was in Menlo Park/Palo Alto/Lucerne Valley.

9. USGS is living the dream!

1. Sharon! You're back!

2. Sharon, ditto.

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1. It may just be a sinus flareup.

32. I think "interesting and unusual" also describes this week's puzzle and the discussion here.
I am afraid I am not going to like the intended solution.

33. I think the answer is Omarosa, tho I don't trust it without going to the tapes.

1. i thought of Omarosa also. But only got the answer to week 1... still trying to think of what ties together week 2 words. Any other hints y'all can give?

2. Teryl:
We are not here to give hints that will help anyone solve these puzzles. Our hints are to be cryptic and only show we have solved a puzzle after the deadline.

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4. SDB should've stopped after "We are not here to give hints that will help anyone".

5. Ouch - Jan got spanked.

6. It's happened before. Don't think I deserved it this time.

7. Nothing personal against you, Jan. My comment was in regard to everyone else's so-called "cryptic" hints when you yourself haven't solved the puzzle yet. To quote Chris Rock, "They ain't got nothin' fer ya!"

34. So: I'm not unusual or interesting, you're not unusual or interesting, he isn't, she isn't. But us -- we're interesting? Very disappointing!

1. I prefer to think of us as awesome & uncommon.

35. I see some gray area here. . .

36. Those of you who are still struggling - I know you can crack this case! It took me past noon to get the answer. I think it's just the wrong season - too warm. Glad I'm not in Arizona! --Margaret G.

37. I believe I have "the" answer, and it seems to me that some of you are off track. Including Blaine with his seven possible answers. Blaine, I don't think so. And hey SDB, what's wrong with Barcelona?

38. The answer has proven elusive this week(s), thought I might have had it, but then again...no. Back to being reclusive because conclusively, I am STUMPED!

39. Some good news, I'm pretty sure the answer is not maillot.

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41. Trump has just now revoked John Brennan's security clearance. He has now revoked several security clearances of people who have criticized him. This is the outrageous behavior of a fascist dictator and sends a message to anyone who needs a security clearance in order to keep/obtain many government and/or civilian defense jobs. I suspect the stupid Trump backers will think this is a great idea and not understand how dangerous this is for us all.

1. As much as you can be shocked I can't believe you're surprised.

His whole mission, his whole raison d'etre, is to destroy everything. And he thinks he can remake it in his own image. Seems already true for the Gonads Of Putin, will the whole country fall into the abyss?

Johnson in Minnesota, and the other tRump wankers will be a real test. Wouldn't it be sweet if Kansas puts Kobach in the Roy Moore dustbin of history? Same with Arpaio in Arizona?

Will we wake up November seven to a better answer?

2. What did I post that ever gave you the idea I am "shocked" or "surprised" at this? I know exactly was Trump is about.

3. I never thought you were surprised, but we should all be shocked. Every single day.

4. I am disgusted, appalled, outraged, revolted and many other adjectives, but shocked is not one of them. I knew what was going to happen when I saw the results coming in November 8, 2016 and said so at that time. If I neglect to keep my gas tank filled I am not shocked when I run out of gas. I would only be shocked if I ran out of gas when the gauge indicated it was full.

5. I have no idea what this week's answer might be, but I just wonder if Trump's pulling of Brennan's security clearance might be an indirect result of Omarosa getting under Trump's skin. She may actually have something damming on him and this is a way for him to deflect attention to something else. It seems this is his usual MO.

6. ECO - Sure was disappointing to see Kobach win the primary. I was hoping that maybe KS voters had finally seen the light.
I hope Nov 7th will be an encouraging one!

7. I am somewhat encouraged that Kobach did not win the governor's race by a lot. That was an extremely close race and he only won by about 500 votes. We'll see in November!

8. 68C: As I noted above it would be true justice if KS decided (as AL did before) that Kobach is too outrageous and elected Kelly. Not counting on it, since 2x as many Repubs voted in the primary. But what happy irony if they discovered Kobach had (as Sec of State) somehow cheated?

What I can't figure out is after the disastrous Brownback economic experiment why anyone would vote for the Grifters Over People. What's The Matter With Kansas?

9. What the matter with Kansas is is they have failed to evolve there since following Tennessee's lead. You can Scope it out if you want.

10. The problem here in Kansas this fall is that it will not be a straight heads up between Kobach and Dem. Laura Kelly. There will be a strong independent candidate in the race by the name of Greg Orman who almost unseated our geriatric republican senator Pat Roberts last time around. In a straight up race I would give the nod to Laura Kelly but with Orman in the race I think Kobach could take the office with a plurality. NOT GOOD FOR KANSAS!!!!

11. MC - Yeah, that's my big fear!!!

12. The other day I had a glimmer of hope that Kobach might be falling into a trap, like Eco pointed out, since being Secretary Of State, he would not recuse himself from a vote recount. That could have been very politically risky. Alas, the way things worked out he did partially bow out of the process, not fully, but just enough to avoid a major constitutional crisis.
As bad as things look, there may be hope. Somewhat recent history shows Democrats can win the governorship, much like Kathleen Sebelius did in 2002. Oh well, maybe!!

13. I had forgotten about Sebellius, why did Kansas elect someone who eliminated the state debt and strengthened education without raising taxes? And reduced abortions by improving health care?

They won't make that mistake again!

14. And don't forget Finlandia, Op. 26.

15. I saw a performance of Finlandia at Finlandia Hall. Heaven on earth.

16. Ã–Ã¶Ã¶Ã¶Ã¶, TÃ¶Ã¶lÃ¶!

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1. Actually, one can write letters to the newspapers, donate \$5 to a candidate, put up a yard sign, and even knock on doors to support a candidate or issue. We can do much more than just vote. We can get involved.

2. TomR: Excellent ideas. What really makes an impression too, if you are lucky enough to have congressional reps & senators that have town hall meetings, is to show up and voice your opinion!
Voting is definitely important but letting your representatives know where you and your fellow contituents stand can influence their votes on the issues greatly. Not every rep or senator does that though.

43. Reminds me of a crude mnemonic about the:

44. AVENUES is my favorite of the 8 words I found that qualify. It includes VENUS spelled in order within the word. [aVENUeS]

All the letters acemnorsuvw may be written or typed without descenders or ascenders.

If written in cursive the pen does not need to be lifted off the page, which may be why X and Z were omitted.

The first week's 4 words all contain a planet spelled in order. Only Mars & Venus qualify for the second week's stipulation.

The 8 seven letter words I found that qualify are:

AVENUES avenues
MANNERS manners
MACRONS macrons
MANURES manures
MARACAS maracas
MAROONS maroons
MARROWS marrows
MOANERS moaners

1. SDB,
You may be right with your solution using cursive lettering. The cursive "Z" does descend below the baseline and the cursive "X" does require one to lift the pen to cross it. Will have to see how Mr Shortz explains it.

2. Cursive? What’s that? ;-)

45. The solution to last weeks challenge was words with the names of planets embedded in them. (Letters must be in the order the planet name is spelled)
nEAndeRTHal → Earth
eMbArRaS → Mars
SATURatioN → Saturn
coNtEmPTUousNEss → Neptune

The letters in the words in this weeks challenge all have the property that when you write them in lower case block letters they do not protrude below the baseline or above the mean or “x” line. (Look up “mean line” in wikipedia if you need more clarification)
Included letters are: a,c,e,m,n,o,r,s,u,v,w,x,z
(“x” & “z” did not appear in the sample words but have the property)
Excluded letters are: b,d,f,g,h,i,j,k,l,p,q,t,y

So the solution to the puzzle must be words that have the name of a planet embedded in them and are made up of the included letters. Must also be seven letters long.
The only planet names with the lower case property are: venus, mars, & uranus.
mercury, earth, saturn, jupiter, & neptune don't work for already containing excluded letters.
“Common” words I have found are as follows:
1. avenues
2. manners
3. marrows
4. moaners
5. manures
6. maracas
7. maroons
8. comaros → Chevrolet (Comaro) sedan, plural.
“Uncommon” words:
9. macrons → Punctuation marks indicating a long vowel sound.
10. meaners → meaner (plural meaners) One who means or intends something.
11. mammers → To hesitate, mumble, or stammer from doubt. “He mammers.” Middle English.
12. marrons → Spanish chestnuts often preserved in vanilla-flavored syrup.
13. marvers → Flat metal plates used in glass blowing.

All the words but “Avenues” contain the word “mars” in them. “Avenues” contains the word “Venus”. I would have loved to find an acceptable 7 letter word that contains “uranus”.

1. Mort Canard a.k.a. Dead Duck:
Will you please stop posting about Uranus?

2. Did you planet this way?

3. Bahahahahah!!

4. As I posted earlier the only word I could find that contained the word Uranus and fit between the baseline and mean line in lower case block lettering was "OURANOSAURUS", a dinosaur from Niger. Sadly it has 12 letters instead of the require 7.

5. Ron,
As far as I am concerned, you win the puzzle this week!!! I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out something like that!!

Congratulations!! You have my admiration!

6. MC: niggling point, the muscle car is the Chevy Camaro, not Comaro.

7. Eco,
You of course are right! Thought it looked a bit strange. Still works as an answer though.

Am a Ford guy anyway.

46. Part 1:
Each word contains a planet with the letters in the correct order:
NEANDERTHAL → EARTH
EMBARRASS → MARS
SATURATION → SATURN
CONTEMPTUOUSNESS → NEPTUNE

Part 2:
“Something about the letters (all of the letters)”:
MARS + VENUS + COW
Each word contains 3 of the letters in “MARS:”
Scarecrow → SAR
Screensaver → SAR (& 4 of the letters in VENUS)
Camerawoman → MAR
Curvaceousness → ARS
“Curvaceousness” also contains the letters: Venus & Uranus.
Come up with 7-letter words that fulfill the conditions of Part 1 & using only the letters in “mars” & “venus” in Part 2:
1. MANURES → MARS
2. MANNERS → MARS
3. AVENUES → VENUS

Using the additional letters C, O, W:
4. MACRONS → MARS
5. MARACAS → MARS
6. MAROONS → MARS
7. MARROWS → MARS
8. OMAROSA (Manigault-Newman) → MARS

My (Part 1) hint: PALEOMAGNETISM → PLANETS

47. It seems like weeks ago I wrote, “I am reminded of how extremely smart, stylish, and tasteful my mother was.” This alluded to the famous mnemonic for the planets, “My Very Elegant Mother Just Sat Upon Nine Porcupines.”

1. My very excellent mother just served us nine pizzas.

2. Hence, Rob, my comment about your mom being a good cook.

Now, “My very excellent mother just served us nuts. . . .”

48. Avenues - I never considered anything with Mars, since that planet had already been mentioned. Also, as an aside, the letter z extends below the line in cursive.

1. See my post above, which includes x.

49. In addition to the 7 letter words, I had
6 letters:
manors
smears
macers
venues
and proper names
Marxes
Marcos
Marcus
5 letters:
mares
marms
4 letters:
mars (as in the child mars the walls with crayons).

From last week: "the word that is holiest" - holiest - i.e. (that is) = (Gustav) Holst, who wrote The Planets.

"we don't think you're a moron" addressed to Sharon, whose name is close to Charon (and pronounced the same by its discoverer) the mo(r)on of the former planet Pluto.

"This puzzle is not a highlight" - highlight is the longest word I could think of conmposed entirely of long letters.

Not sure why Blaine administered my comment, Lego wrote "WOE IS US"; I noted he had an error.

Cran getting a stroke of course refers to the stroke length of the letters.

1. Eco,
I loved your "highlight" comment! Nicely done.

2. The reason I removed your reply was you typed it all in lowercase which I thought was too revealing.
"we see one enormous error. can we remove?"

50. Did anyone here notice that this puzzle seemed to cause cranberry's Mercury to rise?

1. SDB,
Am still wondering why he found it so detestable and unworthy. Never saw him claim to have found the common property in this week's letters.

2. He does this when he can't solve a puzzle. Notice Blaine's response to his rant above is applicable to the puzzle.

3. I did notice and appreciate Blaine's response. Didn't quite understand Cranberry's venom.

51. Teachers classify the lower case letters as short, tall, or hanging when they teach kids to write. The letters this week are all "short." Also, if you put all the the letters used this week in alphabetic order (no space or commas, do not add x and z) and put that into google, you will get directly to the answer -- a puzzle asking what the next two letters should be (ans: x and z).

52. I couldn't post earlier as I've been out all day running errands. But if there were any lingering doubts, we can all be assured that avenues was the intended answer.

Because as I was driving home, I got the phone call!!!

My comment about additional words meeting the same criteria being bastards and stinkers referred to mamzers (Yiddish for bastards) and manures. Additional words meeting both criteria include: marries, marines, marquis, marinas, manners, marxism, and veinous.

1. SZ,
What was your criteria for this weeks letters that allowed the use of the letter "i"??

2. "marries, marines, marquis, marinas, marxism, and veinous" do not qualify.

3. SuperZee: Congratulations! It will be fun hearing you on air.

4. SZ:
Congrats on getting the call. Good luck tomorrow.

To add to MC's comment the "q" in marquis is a flaw.

A larger question, I wonder whether WS only accepted "avenues", and none of the Mars answers. That would be troublesome, as nothing in his puzzle implied that the products of the first 4 words were to be excluded.

5. Mazel tov, SuperZee!

6. SuperZee, congratulations, and well deserved! Congrats to everyone else who answered this, too!

7. Congratulations, SuperZee! Have fun with the on-air challenge, and be ready to remind them to get your prizes (it took a while, but I eventually got all of mine :))

My hints were "I know you can crack this case!" (referring to looking at lower case letters); "It took me past noon to get the answer." (see "noon" and "answer"; "I think it's just the wrong season - too warm." (see "season" and "warm")

--Margaret G.

8. Congrats SuperZee! Will be listening Sunday Morning to see what the puzzle is and how you do.

9. Mazal Tom, SuperZee! We want to hear all about it!

53. Maybe if I come back later someone will have posted a workable solution.
Avenues and veinous (yes) and some others work for the first half, squeezing in the seven-letter red herring.

The letter characteristics are only a way to try to make sense out of Shortz' nonsense, as is using three of a planet's letters.
Wasting two weeks on one Will's losers is galling and the acrimony it has generated disappointing.

54. Mort and SDB - I didn't consider the "dot" over the lower case i to be an acender. If it is one, OOPS.
Eco - No excuse for the q. OOPS again.

55. Clues for Part 1:
“Sunday in the south of france, attending Mass but using an alias”
—Massalia is the ancient name of MARSEILLE (Mars)

Jan’s clue – The Wanderer
“at the Guggenheim Museum”
—I go around and around on the spiral aisles
—SOLomon R. Guggenheim, main benefactor – jplanets go around and around the sun

“Motorcycle at the repair shop, needs a HArleY Davidson ENgine”
—the Hayden Planetarium – “I’m in New York City”
Thanks again, SZ for your kind thoughts – much appreciated

Clues for Part 2
WW’s clue – trust me, the a.m. is the time to solve this puzzle
—“but the mornInG isn’t”

—-occurs on 5th “avenue(s)”

“as it happens, I work with this property (mostly its opposite) extensively in the professional work that I do”
—so sue me (all flat letters).
In my professional life I write brand names for pharmaceutical products. These names must be approved by the relevant regulatory agencies (FDA in USA, EMA in Europe, etc.) to ensure they will not be confused with one another and cause harmful medical errors. These agencies prefer pharma brand names with ascending and descending letters in them, to promote visual distinctiveness.

For Jan: “It is very zen to see what you don’t see”
—Start by looking at the letters in the words given for part 2 of the puzzle. Then go back to the rest of the alphabet and look at the other remaining letters which you had not seen in the puzzle – you will see all the ascenders and descenders.

1. “Easter Parade” helped me but I thought it referred to the Ascension

56. planets go around and around . . .

57. Congrats Super Zee! Enjoy playing on air with Will and Lulu.

And thanks Blaine, for not erasing my correct answer AVENUES on the blog 2 weeks ago.

58. Was sad to hear that we lost the queen of soul this morning. Not many voices that I can remember sounded like Aretha Franklin.

Heavenly choir has probably been waiting for her for a while.

59. PART 1: The words contain the letters in the names of planets, in order, EARTH, MARS, VENUS, NEPTUNE.

PART 2: The words, when written in lower case, have no ascending or descending letters—scarecrow, screensaver, camerawoman, curvaceousness.

FINAL ANSWERS: AVENUES (VENUS) is the more common word, but I found many others including VENUSES (VENUS), but that is not as elegant.

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“Superb Bird-of-Paradise” refers to a NEW BIRD species, AVE(S)NEW(S) >>> AVENUES.

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