Sunday, August 05, 2018

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 5, 2018): The Missing Link (Part 1)

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 5, 2018): The Missing Link (Part 1):
Q: 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
Don't get overenthusiastic — be sure to wait until after the two-week deadline. Here's a link to Part 2.

Edit: oVerENthUSiastic contains the letters of yet another planet in order.
A: All the words contain planet names

nEAndeRTHal --> EARTH
eMbARraSs --> MARS
SATURatioN --> SATURN
coNtEmPTUousNEss --> NEPTUNE

154 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, Aug. 16 at 3pm ET.

    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 two-week Thursday deadline. Thank you.

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  2. I have found the thing the words have in common, and am reminded of how extremely smart, stylish, and tasteful my mother was. I wonder what round two will bring?

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  3. Not part of the printed puzzle was Will's comment that there is something "INSIDE THESE WORDS that they have in common".

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    1. I wasn't going to mention that since it seems like a bit of a giveaway, but it did go out over the air, so I guess we have to accept it.

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  4. Considering the likelihood that the follow on challenge will be to come up with additional words sharing the property, shouldn't we, in the spirit of fair play, refrain from posting them here?

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    1. We wouldn't want any contamination of the puzzle, would we?

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    2. I doubt that will be the follow-up puzzle. Especially if repeats aren't allowed.

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    3. Any repeated answers may only be seen as unnecessary pollution.

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  5. Eternal hand bears arms, auto-trains, consumes top tunes...

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  6. With Blaine's blessing, I submit the following words that share the property:
    POLLUTION,
    RESTAURANTEURS,
    TETRAFLUOROETHYLENE, and with a bit of a stretch,
    GROCERIES.

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    Replies
    1. There might be a controversy about POLLUTION.

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    2. Rob, I consider the controversy so minor as to have been dwarfed by subsequent events.

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    3. Except that the word is spelled RESTAURATEURS.

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    5. Most dictionaries recognize restauraNteurs as a misspelling. Do you use it? Bet you don't.

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  7. We might need to go back to the Pleistocene to answer this one.

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    1. Oh, lets not go there. To many venomous critters. Although I always did like the mastodons and subalpine forrests.

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    2. MC, to many venomous critters: “______ ______ _____ _____ ___?” ;-) Apologies, I am being a smart-arse today.

      Mastodons and subalpine forests are very cool!

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    3. I appreciate your enthusiasm!

      Btw, this clue is being saved for another puzzle.

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    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    5. Would love to be able to edit posts but there could very well be a good reason not to allow that. As I mentioned below, I would not be surprised if Will asked for clues for the remaining answers on the short list of solutions to the puzzle.

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  8. Surprised that nobody's mentioned that Will listed his four words in order.

    I found 2958 words with this "very unusual" property. But, 13 years ago, I could've found 138 more.

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    1. 15 of those words are on the list for more than one reason.

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    2. Are you sure that you aren't mixing things up a bit???

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    3. 11 years ago, I couldn't. 13 years ago, I could. Why quibble?

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    4. jan, that made me laugh. Why indeed?

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  9. I'm trying to think of the word that is holiest. If we think big there are probably more answers than we can imagine.

    Off to Mendo County for a couple of days, hope I don't get fired.

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    1. Drumming up business, or is that too macabre?

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    2. eco, hope you travel safely there and back.

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    3. BB: Clients from 20 years ago lost their strawbale house last October, we're about to submit for a new (not strawbale - wahhhh) house to replace it.

      WW: It's bizarre seeing this massive plume of smoke to the east, and a smaller one to the south. As I was driving just now there was a big smoke plume pretty close to where I'm staying, but my Airbnb host says they're doing back burns. I hope so.....

      Hoping for the best for Mendo Jim, around 4 this afternoon there were some plumes coming from Potter Valley, but I'm not sure which part he lives in. The east part of town had evacuations this morning, I haven't checked since then to see the latest.

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    4. Hope the back burns do the trick. Those plumes of smoke sound scary.

      We've had quite hazy conditions here for several days from the smoke. The particulates make one's eyes burn.

      Stay safe all you Californians!

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    5. Thanks for your fire concerns.
      The huge plumes of smoke that have blown up every afternoon for over a week are now well to the east of Potter Valley, nearer to Lake Pillsbury in the Mendocino National Forest.
      In camping and bike riding I have probably covered 90% of the roads and trails in the area. Sort of like my backyard burning.

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    6. Glad to hear you're not in harm's way, from Redwood Valley it was hard to tell which hill was burning. But sorry "your" land has been scorched, that's painful.

      Last night had an enormous plume very close as I was heading to my airbnb - a bit disconcerting, but when I got there the host said it was a back burn. As I was leaving around 2 today I saw that same River Fire erupted just east of Ukiah.

      My client said you can usually tell what's burning by the color and movement of the cloud - maybe like the Inuit you folks have 50 words for smoke.

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  10. If you look it from a different perspective, I think these might work
    HERMAPHRODITES
    ZEALOUSNESS

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

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    Replies
    1. ...and the solution only requires a very short list. Even the morons won't require all ten fingers to count them.

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  12. So much for the pronunciation discussion.
    Will says "maillots" has an "s" sounded at the end.
    So much for non-repeated sounds.

    As promised I was surprised that the number of of entries was over 100, if it was.

    This the first time I think Blaine has censored Will's phrasing of the of the puzzle, keeping "hidden" hidden.

    Otherwise the new offering is a non-starter for me.

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    1. I had the same thought about Will’s pronunciation of the ‘S’ in MAILLOTS. With that pronunciation, the puzzle answer does not meet the puzzle criteria.

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    2. Even as Will pronounced it, MAILLOTS has a voiced Z sound, not an unvoiced S as in MAIL SLOT.

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    3. The "S" in MAIL SLOT has an "s" sound. The "S" in MAILLOTS has a "z" sound. They are completely different.

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    4. I see. It sounded so odd to hear the ‘S’ pronounced at all as I’m used to the French pronunciation.

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    5. Will just mispronounced it on the air. If you go to Google Translate and enter Maillots as either an English word or a French word the “s” is silent in both cases.

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    6. Will's from Indiana. Hoosiers pronounce "Peru" as "PEE-roo".

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    7. I am from Indiana too. I do not pronounce it that way PEE-roo.

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    8. Isn't Pee-Roo what an Aussie says to a kangaroo when he wants it to urinate?

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    9. Interesting. Google Translate pronounces the English word "maillots" as "mal lows." There, the 'LL' sound is heard, similar to the last two syllables in marshmallows.

      However, you will hear no "L" nor will you hear an S or Z in my "MAILLOTS," stateside or in France.

      What the L, it's an interesting topic, anglicizing words from other languages. What to do? I lean toward preserving the original pronunciation wherever possible.



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    10. Brits and Americans seem to go out of their way to mispronounce foreign words, even when they are pronounced exactly the same in English. An example is the German word Braun. It is not any different from the English word Brown in meaning or when used as a name, other than the spelling, yet we never pronounce it correctly.

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    11. Google translate is still very rough. Even though I rely on it professionally I take it with a grain of salt, understanding that it get’s the big thing right.

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    12. THIS is the definitive pronunciation of "maillots", which proves how reliable the internet can be.

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    13. I also watched that video a few days ago and almost fell off my computer chair laughing, but fortunately managed to stop myself before I fell into the fresh discharge of vomit awaiting at my feet also caused by the video.

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    14. Natasha, I'm also from Indiana and I don't pronounce Peru that way. I also do not pronounce 'told' as 'toad'.

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  13. While I'm here ... I'd suggest that people not post any more examples of words that fit the puzzle, because you never know what might be planned for next week ...

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    1. Hi Will, May be too late unless they remove posts. Great puzzle today. Thanks.

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    2. That's why I didn't name those 15 dual-qualifying words in my 08:08 AM PDT post above.

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    3. Yeah Will, as long as you're here, explain why the plural of maillots has a "z" sound.

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    4. Never take an empty social media account at it’s word. It may be WS, but with the state of the web it is more likely an impersonator. Most real accounts take some effort to establish and validate their identity. This account has nothing other than a name.

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    5. Buck Bard: I bet it was not WS. We should write to him and ask.

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    6. I am the biggest skeptic in this room (but not this blog), but I'm reasonably confident that Will Shortz is the real McShortz. His posts in the past have his tone down pretty well. A fake WS would not have apologized to Patrick J. for "stealing" his puzzle.

      I'm less convinced that Natasha's friend Trumptransition is really DJT.

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    7. BB,
      The WS account has posted here a number of times and I think if it was not the real deal, Blaine would probably have taken action.

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  14. I believe this is the first puzzle this year not requiring a list in order to solve.

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  15. Most people call me Neanderthal. A few others call me scatterbrained.

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  16. I wonder if the second half will be words with a different property, and you have to come up with a word that has both...

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    1. That seems likely. But it also seems likely that you’ve made an error.

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  18. This puzzle makes me a little jumpy, jittery even. I hope I don't seem too overanxious. BTW I think I may have an idea what one of the words next week may be, but of course I won't say it here.

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  19. Will said this morning that there were only 230 correct entries for last weeks puzzle. Evidently Maillots are not well known even though most folks know what a mail slot is.

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  20. When I was little I lived in Germany, and my dad would regularly teach me how to solve this week's puzzle.

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  21. Out of curiosity, is there a clue for every item on the short list of solutions?

    Have accounted for all but two of the answers.

    Please don't post the clues as that might be what Will will ask for next week.

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    Replies
    1. I do have a clue for one of the two remaining but it is a dead give away and very unsatisfying. Will publish when it is no longer a spoiler.

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  22. Sunday in the south of France, attending Mass but using an alias.

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  23. Musical clue: The Wanderer.

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  24. Motorcycle at the repair shop, needs a Harley Davidson engine.

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    Replies
    1. Sorry to hear that. Which HD do you ride?

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    2. Thanks SZ, bu no worries. Will disclose after reveal deadline

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  25. Spent too much time yesterday trying to solve this, only to have it come to me today. From now on, I'm waiting at least 24 hours before looking at these challenges.

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  27. I have NO idea what this puzzle is about.

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    1. You're in luck! You have 2 weeks to figure it out this time.

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    2. And we don't think you're a moron. Perhaps there is one nearby that exerts influence on you?

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    3. Keep looking at Will's four words, Sharon. The one that clicked for me first was the third one. Then I realized that the key to the first one was right under my nose.

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    4. And you never know when I might be leaving a clue. . .

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  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  29. Whoopee! Just got a call from Donald Trump! At least that's what the caller I.D. said, I did not answer it, either. Today is an important primary voting day so I know what that is all about! 
    It was something though, that he took the time off from his busy day to call me!

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    Replies
    1. Golly! You are truly blessed. Maybe Kim and Putin will call too.

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    2. Yeah, I've told them to always use the "RED" phone!
      The elections today in Kansas & Missouri will be interesting, I am still hoping for signs of a blue wave. The biggest contest in KS will be the one for governor. I hope it's anyone but Kobach!!!

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    3. As a Kansan I am also hoping it's not Kobach.

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    4. He and his kind, really scare me.

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    5. Well the margin in the Repub primary is exceedingly close, and guess who gets to oversee the recount?

      "It's not the people who vote that count, it's the people who count the votes."

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    6. Eco, just saw your posting. First though, how are things where you are? I keep seeing the news about the fires & wonder how you, and the others from this blog who are from that area, are doing? 
        Yes, we are part of Johnson county, where the heart of the snafu is. I never thought I'd get so concerned in politics but we stayed up past midnight last night, watching the local news for election results. It was very frustrating as JoCo voting results just would not update. It was so aggravating to see the lead keep changing between Kobach & Colyer all based on just a percent or two change in the total vote. That total percent of returns never went over about 83% for over a stretch of about two hours. We gave up watching and went to bed around 12:30. The latest results weren't posted until just before 8 a.m. this morning.
        To hear that Kobach will now be even a little bit involved with the potential recount really ticks me off. He should recuse himself from the process immediately.
      On another angle to this, there is an Independent candidate who is glad about the turmoil. He thinks he can win the governor's race if Kobach is the (R) front-runner. I am afraid he will just split the vote among democrats and give the race to Kobach. He has no chance of winning!
      Anyway, everyone is mad about the delay in the results and now to hear Kobach is probably involved with judging those results is very upsetting!! 

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    7. 68Charger,
      I am shocked, shocked I tell you, to hear you speak that way about an elected official who has taken an oath of office. The very idea of him cheating on the vote counting is about as absurd as the chance of a tornado in Kansas.

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    8. SDB - The Post Office has instructed us to write in the initials "BR" after "Kansas" in our return address. "BR" is for "Banana Republic"!

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  30. Until I consulted with Sir Elton John, I thought it was gonna be a long long time ‘till the answer came around to me

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  31. I am at the end of reading a book published in 2009, The Myth Of American Exceptionalism, by Godfrey Hodgson.

    I want to share the last sentence in a paragraph at the bottom of page 174 because it is very funny, or would be were it not so prescient.

    "Some of George Bush's admirers at the 2004 convention carried posters asking how they were to shoot liberals if their guns were taken from them, but everyone knew that that was only a joke in bad taste, not the portent of an American fascism."

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    1. That's pretty prescient, and scary. Even having spent most of my life in the Mountain West, where no one bats an eye at gun ownership, I find it disheartening to think that so many of our citizens think that owning guns is a God-given right, and necessary to "protect" their freedom.

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    2. One might question why not alienable rights require protection. But I'd never ask Tony Soprano.

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  32. Heavens! I think I finally got it, after obsessing about anagrams. I saw Bears/Rams, and thought for a bit that the elusive anagrams might be words that fell into the same category, like two NFL teams, or two animal types. Occam's Razor prevails: make fewer assumptions for the correct answer.

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    Replies
    1. Glad I was able to help, Curtis!
      [I don't really think that I did, but the timeline might seem to indicate it, so, work with me, here, okay?]

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    2. Well, actually, none of the postings here helped my find the answer, but many contributed to confirming it.

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  33. Rubber Soul and The White Album come to mind...

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    Replies
    1. Not Revolver, but what about the Holster?

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    2. ... Okay, maybe Revolvers, too...

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  34. I'll say one thing for 'em, they sure did go out on top.

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  35. This fortnight edition (no, not fortnite!) is a real killer! It actually makes me wonder what university (or college) the puzzlemaster went to.

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  36. As Charlie Brown would say, 'I gotta rock'.

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  37. Replies
    1. There might just be a Cornell of truth to that. Except that there isn't.

      Education: University of Virginia, Indiana University Bloomington, University of Virginia School of Law

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  38. Politicians only get to the top because they have no qualifications to detain them at the bottom.
    Peter Ustinov

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  39. Since many are bored with this (so far) easy puzzle, how about a creative challenge?

    Name the song (or two, control yourselves) that best describes Trump and our condition. Include the lyrics that you think are most applicable - just a line or two, please don't cut and paste the whole thing.

    Note that there are plenty of websites that offer such things, try to stay away from songs specifically written about Trump, and Green Day's "American Idiot" has already been done.

    My offerings: They Might Be Giants' "Kiss Me, Son of God", which includes
    I built a little empire out of some crazy garbage
    Called the blood of the exploited working class

    Tough choice between that and "Your Racist Friend".

    Second choice: Carly Simon's "Legend In Your Own Time":
    But a legend's only a lonely boy
    When he goes home alone.


    Don't be limited to rock songs, or even modern songs.

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    Replies
    1. It would be difficult to find a more approprrate rallying cry than the Horst Wessel Song to describe our country today. Here is a line or two translated from the original German:

      "The flag is high, our [MINDS] are closed"

      "The [G.O.P.] marches with silent solid steps."

      "The street is free for the [white] battalions"

      "The street is free for the Storm Troopers."

      "Millions full of [shit,] look at our swastika"

      "Soon will fly [Trump’s] banners over every street"

      "March in [hate] with us in our ranks."

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    2. BOB DYLAN:

      Our preachers preach of evil fates
      Teachers teach that knowledge waits
      Can lead to hundred-dollar plates
      Goodness hides behind its gates
      But even the President of the United States
      Sometimes must have to stand naked...

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    3. With apologies to Carly Simon:

      You walked into the (Republican) Party
      Like you were walking onto a yacht
      Your hair strategically dipped below one eye
      Your face, it was apricot
      You had one eye on the mirror
      And watched yourself gavotte (ew!)
      And all the girls screamed that they'd be your pee-er
      They'd be your pee-er, and
      You're so vain
      You probably think this song is about you
      You're so vain,
      I'll bet you think this song is about you
      Don't you?
      Don't you?

      Won’t you?
      Won’t you?

      Wouldn’t you?
      Wouldn’t you?

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    4. From Liverpool:


      Donny was a man who thought he was a loner
      But he knew it couldn't last
      Donny left his home in Manhattan
      For some California arse

      Get back, get back
      Get back to where you once belonged
      Get back, get back
      Get back to where you once belonged
      Get back Donny, yeah ♫

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    5. Great creative challenge, eco.
      I cannot top any of the excellent offerings Blainesvillians have posted here. The are truly creative!
      And besides, I am busy putting the finishing touches on next week's Joseph Young's Puzzleria! (see Blaine's PUZZLE LINKS) which I will be uploading in a little less than two hours from now.
      The titles of this week's puzzles are:
      Emily’s transplanted ancestree;
      Great baseballs of fire?;
      It’s in Anna’s or Hannah’s hands;
      “Squeezing” corporate America ’til it sings;
      and
      Fanfare for the common ground (seven puzzling "entrees" that "riff off" Will Shortz's current NPR two-week creative challenge)
      Stop by and take a bite or two, why don't you?

      LegoTwelvePence(WaitWaitIsn'tOnePenceMoreThanEnough!)

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    6. Would "Fool on the Hill" be a little too obvious a choice?

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    7. The Czars delight
      From the Alt-Right
      When they're evading taxes.
      They say, "Only fools"
      "Obey the Rules"
      While they're evading taxes.

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  40. Phil Ochs parodied his own Here's to the State of Mississippi with a take-down of Richard Nixon. I think it works just as well with Trump's name:

    And here's to the government of Richard Nixon
    In the swamp of their bureaucracy
    They're always bogging down
    And criminals are posing
    As advisors to the crown
    And they hope that no one sees the sights
    And no one hears the sounds
    And the speeches of the president
    Are the ravings of a clown.

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  41. Replies
    1. jan, you're not being fair. Trump wasn't speaking about white people.

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  42. I am confused.
    Are we supposed to condemn Tennessee for executing a criminal today, or are we to commend Tennessee for not wasting drugs and polluting the environment by discarding them carelessly? I simply cannot hold both of these conflicting ideas in my head simultaneously.

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  43. SDB - On a different note, were you aware of that guy flying/stealing the Alaskan Air passenger plane as it was happening? I would have been in awe seeing the action take place, especially if I had my camera and scanner with me.

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    1. I didn't hear about it until this morning. Good filming I thought.

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    2. Yeah, it sure was. Also, I still wonder if it was good flying or damn lucky!

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    3. I thought he came in a little hot on the landing.

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    4. Ha ha!! He didn't even get any frequent flyer miles, either.

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    5. Yeas, but he was comped for this flight.

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    6. Though he really stuck the landing. Too soon?

      I don't think I've ever seen stunt flying in a plane that large, and I'd think pulling off a barrel roll and deep dives is pretty hard. The audio said he had the autopilot off, was he good or just lucky?

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    7. I've seen Bob Hoover do engine-out aerobatics in a Shrike Commander, a smaller high-wing twin, including dead-stick landing. But, "good filming"? If I never see another portrait-format cell phone video, it'll be too soon.

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    8. As for other large plane aerobatics, I'm sure you've seen the video of the B-52 that almost completed a barrel roll at Fairchild AFB in 1994. Must be something about Washington state...

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    9. I am still amazed at that LM-100J , the civilian version of the C-130 that did a barrel roll at Farnborough this year. Its about at the two minute mark on this video.

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    10. "Must be something about Washington state..." Dreary gray skies make it hard to distinguish the horizon line, they don't know which way is up. All people can do is drink too much coffee, it's enough to make them want to jump out of planes.

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    11. Boeing chief test pilot Tex Johnston did 2 barrel rolls of a 707 over Lake Washington on the test flight during Sea Fair in 1955.

      Barrel rolls are super easy and safe.

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    12. I should have said that LM-100 was doing a "loop"!

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  44. Wouldn't it be nice if Will actually turned this into a worthwhile Sunday Puzzle with part two?
    Our damn fire has circled around for another go at Potter Valley, with new columns of smoke, backfires, dozens of heavy duty pieces of equipment rolling down my lane with accompanying aircraft up to 747's.
    And complicated by hip replacement a few days ago on Tuesday. Home and coping with a good friend for coach and helper.

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    Replies
    1. Jeez, we're with you in spirit, just wish there was some way to help!
      Watching the news reports about that fire fight, it is amazing all the different types of aircraft being used. Some of those maneuvers being used by their pilots is breathtaking.
      Good luck with your hip surgery recovery, too!!

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    2. Having only experienced it briefly last weekend, you have my sympathy MJ. It's a weird feeling watching the looming smoke, and knowing that a shift in the wind could be disastrous. It was also strange having fire fighters everywhere, a bit what the Brits felt in WWII.

      Good luck being hip again; everyone I know who has had that was ultimately very happy.

      I suspect WS is going to ask for additional words with the same properties, though he might ask us to go elsewhere. This wouldn't be so hard for some, but really hard for others.

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  45. I found only one stumper when coming up with similar words, but I did find a familiar 3 word phrase that completes the set. I'm hoping that's the challenge.

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  46. Next week's challenge: 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? 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.

    SCARECROW
    SCREENSAVER
    CAMERAWOMAN
    CURVACEOUSNESS

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