Sunday, September 09, 2018

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sep 9, 2018): Your Place or Mine?

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sep 9, 2018): Your Place or Mine?:
Q: Think of two well-known companies — one in five letters, the other in four letters. Write the names one after the other.

The result, when spaced differently, will name a well-known geographical location in the U.S. (in two words). What is it?
Not counting mergers

Edit: Exxon merged with Mobil in 1999 to become ExxonMobil.
A: MOBIL + EBAY = MOBILE BAY

182 comments:

  1. Here's my standard reminder... don't post the answer or any hints that could lead directly to the answer (e.g. via a chain of thought, or an internet search) before the deadline of Thursday at 3pm ET. If you know the answer, click the link and submit it to NPR, but don't give it away here.

    You may provide indirect hints to the answer to show you know it, but make sure they don't give the answer away. You can openly discuss your hints and the answer after the Thursday deadline. Thank you.

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  2. This puzzle would have been more appropriate last weekend.

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  3. My husband is obsessed with this puzzle. He solved it in 5 minutes. We’ve driven through the place on Spring Break.

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  4. Bonus Puzzle riff from last week: Name a famous political figure whose first and last name conceal the 6-letter last name of a political associate in consecutive letters?

    Indirect hints encouraged, let's give folks a chance and hold off on answering until Thursday.

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    Replies
    1. eco,
      I ran this puzzle on Puzzleria! (in a longer form, of course) within the past 17 months. I was very proud of "discovering" it, and even sent it to Will Shortz. He didn't use it. It is such a great piece of coincidence and trivia that I believe he and I both realized someone else must have had already thought of it, and had perhaps even made a puzzle out of it. (Indeed, after some research I discovered that the "coincidence" even cropped up in campaign slogans/literature.)
      Here is an oblique hint:
      Change a letter in the political figure's last name and rearrange the letters in that altered result to form the last name of another political figure who was born in a state nearly abutting the birth state of the other political figure.
      This second figure's first and last names conceal a string of 6 consecutive letters which, if you double one of its letters, forms a palindromic 7-letter string.


      LegoLamentsThatNotMuchIsNewUnderThePuzzlingSun

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    2. Lego:
      Sorry for stealing your puzzle. I had also figured I was not the first to notice the coincidence; unlike you I was too lazy to check into it further.

      And yes, there is further coincidence with another politician's ready anagram, which I can only add that the circle is complete with the coin-cidences of yet another politician, who served between the two, and admired the first and was admired by the second.

      That and a buck will get you a cup of coffee.

      Delete
    3. eco,
      "Stealing?" Nah! Just a great mind (yours) and a pseudo-great mind (mine) thinking alike.
      "Coin-cidences." Love it.
      Yes, these political figures were NO IRRELEVANT FOLKS!
      The first guy's last name begins with the same letters as the last letters of the second guy's first name!
      Not sure I understand "ready anagram."

      LegoWhoIsOnly"Rough"lyUnderst"and"ing"Ready"(OhWaitThats'sAFourthGuy)

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  5. If Robot from Lost in Space answered the NPR puzzle, would he have to ask Will Robinson to check the “I’m not a robot" box?

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    Replies
    1. 10111001 is binary. When translated to hexadecimal it is "B9" This was the robot's designation. It is also a play on the word "benign".

      From Wiki: " Class M-3 Model B-9 General Utility Non-Theorizing Environmental Control Robot"

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  6. I worked on this full speed until I found an answer.

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  7. Blaine your comment was helpful. Thanks so much for this blog. Even if I don't solve the puzzle, I love reading the comments. These people are all capable of solving the Nation's Crossword.

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  8. A happy solution was mine.  I did not have to mine lists of companies or toponyms.  I got it during my run with mine eager dog.

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  9. I know it well, but I won't say how.

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    Replies
    1. This, combined with your post below told me exactly where to look. A post earlier about Spring Break confirmed it. Just a matter of looking up local places. Thanks!

      Delete
  10. The name of one of the 5-letter company's competitors is a clue.

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  11. If the former Bear, as in Bear Stearns, merged with Sears, they'd be Bear's Ears.

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    Replies
    1. Sounds good to me, jan. So much natural beauty!

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    2. BTW getting back to the Nation crossword, lately I have seen that magazine in my doctor's waiting room, but as much as I love cryptic crosswords, there's never going to be enough time to solve that puzzle because they'll call your name eventually. And the last time I tried to access the Nation website on my Kindle, I couldn't get the crossword to appear. I should probably try it again. Maybe it's easier this time.

      Delete
    3. I think The Nation only makes its crossword available to subscribers, but a digital only subscription is just $12/ year.

      So pony up for a good cause with good reporting, as well as a decent crossword, a bit political at times but not as hard as Harper's, and a piece of cake compared to the Times of London or The (formerly Manchester) Guardian or The Observer.

      Delete
  12. This reminds me of the time I saw Jeff Foxworthy perform in Saint-Tropez.

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  13. No unused clues in this week's On Air Challenge.

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  14. I hope Lego doesn't open an alpine resort at the geographic location, it will bankrupt him.

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  15. I learn something new every fifty years or so.

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  16. Solved while riding in my car. It would have been harder if I was standing still.

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  17. Bonus puzzle: Change one vowel in the location to a consonant, rearrange all the letters, and you'll get the name of a gone-but-not-forgotten singer, first and last names. And it's not one of the many we've seen pass on this past year-and-a-half.(Or has it actually been two years by now?)

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    Replies
    1. Cranberry: Was that your anagram puzzle in the NYT's today? Congrats if it was!

      Delete
    2. It is not, surprisingly. That Patrick Berry is from Athens, GA, as he clearly mentioned in the interview. I am from Jasper, AL. Either there's something in the water in these parts, or guys named Patrick generally like word puzzles. I don't know for sure. If I were a professional puzzlemaker like my namesake, we'd probably have to include our middle initials so you could tell the difference. I did see his byline once included a D as his middle initial. Mine is J. I actually think if I turned pro I should use sort of a funny byline alluding to the fact there are two of us. Maybe something like "The Other Patrick Berry". Probably make a better screen name than Cranberry. Maybe I'm prejudiced about these things, but I still think I'm more handsome than he is. Pat, if you're reading this(I don't know if you do read Blaine's regularly, but if so, let me know), grow some facial hair, we'll talk.

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    3. cranberry,
      Okay then, how about "The Better-Looking Patrick Berry"?
      You could easily be a professional puzzle maker. If I weren't so cheap you would already be one! I appreciate all the excellent puzzles you contribute to Puzzleria!

      LegoWhoWondersIfTheSingerIncranberry'sBonusPuzzleEverRecordedAChristmasCarol

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    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  18. I thought the PM was the most accepting of an alternative answer as he has ever been.
    I came up with Denis Sanders myself just because I tried to fit in my own ride, a Pathfinder.
    I also remember being very moved by his short "A Time Out of War" about a truce during the Civil War. I saw it in high school and once later; it is online and I intend to watch it again.

    Today's answer came quickly even though (or maybe because) it has a typical Shortzian shortcoming.
    It took a while for me to be sure that clues were pointing the right way.

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    Replies
    1. I agree that he seemed unusually gracious with this on-air mention. However, I don't think you could really argue that Denis Sanders qualifies as a "famous" film director, so I don't think this jokey answer really deserves acknowledgment as a valid response. A bit maddening if you recall the many other times WS has failed to mention legitimate alternate answers to his often imprecisely worded clues.

      Was WS influenced by the offhand suggestion of the affable Joseph Young on the blog last week?

      Delete
  19. Three months ago I stumbled upon this blog in search of clues. Now I look forward to Blaine’s initial hint and then following everyone’s wit & wisdom. This is my first comment, so hope it’s well received; It’s a bit surprising how no one has mentioned Lynyrd Skynyrd.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, welcome aboard, Renople.
      You, and other newbies to Blainesville, might also enjoy visiting my blog, Joseph Young's Puzzleria!, which you can link to using Blaine's PUZZLE LINKS.
      I failed to give the answer to my riff-off of eco's bonus On Air Challenges in last week's comments.
      Here they are:
      1) "You've got me on my knees,... I'm begging, darling please," and "It's late in the evening; she's wondering what clothes to wear," are _____ ______.
      2) The Joker speaks of the Pompatus __ ____.
      3) It wasn't a dove that returned to Noah with a freshly plucked olive leaf in its beak; the latest Biblical research suggests it was instead an ___ ____!
      4) "___!" ______ say from the pews say after concluding the Lord's Prayer.
      5) Because maple and oak tree boughs hang over my roof, every autumn I experience an unwelcome build-up of _____ _____.
      6) During the time Ronald was leading the USA, in New York City __ ___.
      7) The general manager of the WNBA franchise in Minnesota ____ ____ to long-term contracts.
      8) If your Apple Developer Enterprise Program membership expires, your ____ _____.
      9) After Adam forgoes his fig leaf for a pair of boulder-washed denim jeans, _______ _____. [Note: The first blank itself has two words.]
      Answers:
      1. ERIC'S LYRICS
      2. OF LOVE
      3. ARK LARK
      4. "AMEN!" LAYMEN
      5. EAVES LEAVES
      6. ED LED
      7. INKS LYNX
      8. APPS LAPSE
      9. EVE EYES LEVIS
      I don't understand all of the hints to this week's puzzles (including eco's effort that has me building an alpine resort!), but most of the ones I do understand are clever, quite, neither too tired nor trite.
      Speaking of bicycles, I was out riding mine today. Many cyclists were. To my surprise, I found myself gaining on a Mr. Armstrong not named Neil or Louis. He noticed the gap between us was narrowing. He began pumping his pedals furiously in a feckless attempt to maintain his lead. Amazingly, I actually pulled past him for a second or two when Lance dared relax!
      (There is one hint in this post.)

      LegoWhoProclaims"IAmDaLambdaWhoPedalledPast"SlowAsAnts"Lance!

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    2. Welcome, Renople. I am curious about “Renople.” Reno people? Derivative of Penelope? Or. . .?

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    3. WW, oh boy...the name comes from a tall tale of a tattoo inked on a very sensitive area whilst traveling through Turkey many years ago that once read “Remember Constantinople”.

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    4. Ok, Renople, that just brings up more questions. What happened to “member Constanti,” in the sensitive area? Maybe we don’t want to know. . .

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    5. It’s true... that play on words is Byzantine.

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    6. Welcome to Jamaica, have a nice day!

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    7. Is your girlfriend named Wendy too?

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    8. I heard it as "Short" and "Shorties Truck-stop, Chattanooga, Tennessee"

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    9. The fascination escapes me.

      —(W)ink (W)ink

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  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  21. Found one of the brands staring at me whilst meandering on the interwebs this morning. Didn't take too long to find the other brand.

    Was a bit surprised at what the PM called a well-known geographical location though. While I have heard of the location, the only thing I know about it is a nearby city and the state it's located in.

    OTOH it does have a song named after the location that has been covered by a number of well known singers.

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  22. What's in a horse trailer, maybe?

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  23. I had to do some digging as I wasn’t familiar with the specific location, but I can at least say I’ve heard of it now!

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  24. If I got the right answer, I actually don't think that one of them, strictly speaking, is a company. Or did I get a decoy?

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    Replies
    1. Yes, Will ought to have added a caveat similar to last week’s. . .

      Delete
    2. No caveat needed, Goog--, er, Duckduckgo the name and the company is there. Though it is easy to get these mixed up.

      I never use this company and I haven't used its type of product for over a year.

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    3. We can discuss further Thursday. . .

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    4. One of these companies used to have a big presence around the metro area, but not so much any more.

      Delete
    5. By any chance, are you the author of this puzzle?
      My reason for asking is that I believe you are also from Cowtown.

      Delete
  25. Time to heat up some of the pasta sauce I made last week.

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    1. With some fava beans and a nice chianti??

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    2. No fava beans, but you are right about the Chianti.

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    3. No particular clue here SDB. For some reason your pasta allusion conjured up the word chianti and then the quote from Hanibal Lectre.

      Delete
  26. I bid this puzzle a fond adieu.

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  27. I’m guessing that a lot of the readers of this blog are fans of Anthony Bourdain and his well-traveled shows. The “last episodes” come to us on September 23 with W. Kamau Bell in Kenya. I’ll be tuned in.

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  28. I'm stuck on this one. Not Memphis, I'm guessing. I'll muscle through I guess.

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    1. Muscle is not much closer than Memphis.

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. Muscle Shoals, Alabama is only a little closer geographically to Mobile Bay than is Memphis, Tn.
      Alphabetically Muscle Shoals is also a bit closer to Mobile Bay than is Memphis.

      Delete
  29. It seems the invisible mouse has swept away our international spammer, just as we were honored with messages from the greatest lawyer in Tehran.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Blaine, for removing that suspicious post. It just didn't seem legit, to me!
      Eco - Just saw your post!

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    2. Eco: As soon as I saw that suspicious post I sent Paul Drake over to Bakersfield, to investigate. He got right on it and the path led him to the Far Seas (with due respect to your earlier post).

      Delete
    3. Yes, 68Charger (a.k.a. Perry Mason), Private Detective Drake has always been a willing ocean Hopper.

      LegoWhoAlwaysTriesToDirectHisFeetToTheSunnySideOfTheDellaStreet

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  30. This puzzle I understood
    And submitted as each of us should
    The question my friends
    Is how many sends
    Of answers will Will deem as good?

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  31. Is the intended answer a city and state, a place, or?

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    Replies
    1. Figuring that out is a large part of the fun. . .

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    2. It depends what you mean by fun ;).

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    3. ;-) Dave, I will share that getting the 4-letter company first is very helpful.

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  33. Replies
    1. Only one of the most underrated rock groups ever, that's who! And one of my personal favorites, in fact! Forgive him, Walter, he obviously doesn't know good music! Doctor Wu rules! There, I said it!

      Delete
    2. Today I've got to go to a meeting with my new boss. He's probably the same as the old boss, though.

      Delete
    3. If you have not done so, check out Steely Dan’s Aja; it is one of the all-time great albums. Every track can stand on its own yet blends into a collective masterpiece recorded by some of the top sessions musicians ever assembled (among them Wayne Shorter, Michael McDonald, Bernard Purdie, Steve Gadd, Rick Marotta, Steve Khan).
      Favorite lyrics;

      When josie comes home
      So good
      She's the pride of the neighborhood
      She's the raw flame
      The live wire
      She prays like a roman
      With her eyes on fire

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    4. >40 years later the album is still as fresh as it was when I first heard it. Favorite lyrics:
      Well the danger on the rocks is surely past
      Still I remain tied to the mast
      Could it be that I have found my home at last
      Home at last


      Anyone who can incorporate Homeric tales is all right.

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    5. Anyone who's not at least heard of Steely Dan has been living under a rock for many decades. Or is at least a dead duck.

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    6. Methinks Mort Canard is our resident eiron in his original question.

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    7. Would that make the current White House resident our alazon?

      His astounding assertion that the death toll in Puerto Rico is a lie created by Democrats is just the latest in his string of madness. Every day I am shocked by what he does, but I am no longer surprised.

      Delete
    8. On a lighter note, you can listen to the person responsible for the name "Steely Dan" on this video. Warning, this is not necessarily fit for work, and some of the songs, like "Scum and Slime" and "Game", are particularly disturbing. But "Tenement Lover" remains a favorite.

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    9. Indeed, although with 45, alazon may need to be changed to be modified to “a la bozo (n).”

      Delete
    10. ^^^ changed or modified, not both

      Delete
    11. My post, of course was not to question who Steely Dan was but to suggest another musical clue.

      I have a number of Steely Dan albums in my collection and know their music well.
      Jan posted Steely Dan who have a song with "mobile" in the name. (Will leave it to Jan to explain the hint) My post was meant to suggest a better known song "Going Mobile" by "The Who".

      Since the song was top 40 and is still very well known I hesitated to do it as a stand alone hint. As a response to the Steely Dan hint it did just nicely without being a giveaway.

      Delete
    12. 68Charger got my reference as he responded with the lyrics quote about the new boss being the same as the old boss.

      Delete
    13. Word Woman,
      Not technically irony, but yes my posing it as a question was designed to divert attention from the the hint.

      Delete
    14. https://tv.getyarn.io/yarn-clip/86b7cb24-f65a-4dbe-a949-a177ac76f185

      Delete
    15. Mort C: Yes, I was hoping that's what you were going for with your "Who" post!

      When I found the answer I immediately thought of the Who's "Who Next" album that contained the song "Goin' Mobile". It also contained "Won't Get Fooled Again" with those closing lyrics of ♫ "meet the new boss, same as the old boss"♫. To me, that has to be in the top ten, maybe top five albums of all time!!

      Delete
  34. Besides memory loss (mainly for recent events), old age (76) has brought me fading ability to concentrate...but last night I got a lot of sleep, and this morning I FORCED myself to get out the Scrabble tiles and really WORK to get the answer !...I cannot describe how it buoys me up to get a tricky one like this ! ( BTW, playing around with Scrabble pieces often helps me solve...and it doesn't waste any electricity, like the computer does !

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    Replies
    1. Big Ron,
      I too use Scrabble (or Bananagrams) tiles both to solve and to create puzzles. It's a tactile thing, like turning pages of a book.
      cranberry, IMHO, is correct about Steely Dan... quirky and occasionally jazzy, but also accessable and even Top-40-popular.

      LegoSaysYouGottaLikeAnAlbumTitled"KatyLied"WithAPhotoOfAKatydidOnItsCover

      Delete
    2. You use Scrabble tiles too, Lego? Lately I had started putting them on my board as I was coming up with new cryptic crosswords that I hope all Puzzleria! regulars will see soon. It helps that an average Scrabble board is usually 15x15, just like the average cryptic grid. I've already got some down on paper already, but I'll have to go back over the clues I made up, because sometimes I do start second-guessing myself about the wordplay, or does the surface reading make any sense on its own, or whatever. Puzzlerians stay tuned! BTW interesting fact about Steely Dan: Both Donald and Walter have said Katy Lied was NOT their favorite album, yet it definitely is mine. Go figure!

      Delete
    3. When I solved this I immediately thought of:
      "They got a name for the winners in the world
      I want a name when I lose
      They call Alabama the Crimson Tide
      Call me Deacon Blues."

      I also like Katy Lied, hell, I love all the albums, but Aja touched my soul.

      Drink Scotch whiskey all night long
      And die behind the wheel

      Delete
    4. I've heard the Alabama reference was actually derogatory. Still, my favorite(supposedly)insulting lyric aimed at my home state has to be in Neil Young's "Alabama":
      "Your Cadillac has got a wheel in the ditch and a wheel on the track." Huh?! Skynyrd, rebuttal?

      Delete
    5. Really, derogatory? I'll have to research that, naive me just thought it was a reference to the red clay (that my father had to point out every time we drove thru Alabama to visit my aunt in Mississippi-vaca in hell). If I remember correctly, there was a rebuttal.

      Delete
    6. I wrote ..."cannot describe how it BUOYS me up..." because describing it would be describing floating on my back in the salt water of mobile bay "...sort of a lame hint...did anyone get it ? ( the computer "using electricity" was just a joke !)

      Delete
    7. I wrote ..."cannot describe how it BUOYS me up..." because describing it would be describing floating on my back in the salt water of mobile bay "...sort of a lame hint...did anyone get it ? ( the computer "using electricity" was just a joke !)

      Delete
    8. I thought you were being homophonic with both BUOYS (which I assume they have many in the shallow waters of Mobile Bay) and a stretching of BUYS, a primary activity on Ebay.

      Delete
    9. Yes, FBA was my hint about not believing no one had mentioned Lynyrd Skynyrd. Their rebuttal was pretty much a mic drop;

      Well I heard Mister Young sing about her
      Well I heard ole Neil put her down
      Well, I hope Neil Young will remember
      A southern man don't need him around anyhow

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  35. As hurricane Florence approaches the east coast, I am greatful for the weather technology we have today. What I have always heard about the 1900 hurricane that hit Galveston TX, was the way the USA was so unprepared. 
    Hurricane data, back then, came from ships at sea and had to wait until they docked. Key telegraph lines were damaged and critical information about the storm was ignored for political reasons, too.
    This storm hit Galveston and eventually morphed into a huge depression as it traveled north into Kansas and Iowa, eventually heading northeast into Quebec, Canada and out to sea as a category 1 hurricane.

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    Replies
    1. Very true, "Isaac's Storm" (support your local bookstore which is not named Amazon!) is an excellent recreation of that tragedy.

      But even modern technology can't compensate for human stupidity and crassness. Everyone knew the dangers of Katrina to New Orleans more than a week in advance, and yet Bush's FEMA did virtually nothing to help evacuate the low-income citizens without cars - they could have requisitioned every school bus within a 300 mile radius to evacuate people to Baton Rouge. Or somewhere closer, a hurricane's violence dissipates quickly once it hits land.

      Even in NO the storm wasn't that strong, a friend's house there only suffered some roof shingles being blown off. The deaths were from flooding, largely due to the Army Corps' MRGO foolhardy attempt to improve on nature.

      But the horseshowmen did nothing.

      Delete
  36. MOBIL + EBAY = MOBILE BAY

    “Working 8 to 5” refers to the 8-5-1864 Battle of MOBILE BAY during the American Civil War when Union Admiral Farragut led his flotilla through the Confederate defenses at Mobile, Alabama, to seal one of the last major Southern ports.

     “Sounds good to me, jan. So much natural beauty!” pointed to Prince William Sound, where the EXXON Valdez oil spill happened, 10 years before the ExxonMobil merger. Natural beauty referred to “Nature abhors a vacuum.” >>>  Standard Vacuum was a joint venture by Standard Oil of NJ and MOBIL Oil.

    “Sweepstakes” was another nod to Standard Vacuum. 

    For eco: “Today, Mobil continues as a major brand name within the combined company, as well as still being a gas station.” Mobil is considered a brand rather than a company now.  But, I will agree that the parent, ExxonMobil, owns companies like “Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited.” My friends who still work at ExxonMobil are chided daily to use the full parent company name. Hair-splitting, I suppose. Yeah for not using any of their product for a year, though.

    From the ExxonMobil site: 

    “Finally, fuel dispensers at Exxon- and Mobil-branded service stations have built-in filters to provide a final cleaning just before the fuel enters your vehicle’s tank.” Thus, all “Mobil” stations and products are considered “brands,” not companies. Any Mobil links out there head you back to the ExxonMobil site.
     

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    Replies
    1. Not quite true about websites leading to ExxonMobil, see this website.

      Delete
    2. OK, eco. For someone who doesn’t use their products, you are quite familiar with their links . . . ;-).

      I didn’t want to just say “K.” Apparently, dropping the O in OK means the writer is angry.

      Delete
    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    4. I had looked earlier to see whether there is still a separate company called Mobil. I still don't know, but think you're right and they are just a brand. But who knows what goes on in Europe and Africa. I don't care, do U?

      I apologize to Superzee for using the K term, two weeks ago. I didn't know it signified anger, I thought I was being cool and hip.

      K?

      Delete
    5. Mobil and cows, eh?

      As to your “K?” >>>

      https://getyarn.io/yarn-clip/86b7cb24-f65a-4dbe-a949-a177ac76f185

      Or maybe you’re really mad. . .

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    6. 1 : arising from, indicative of, or marked by mental disorder
      2 a : completely unrestrained by reason and judgment : unable to think in a clear or sensible way
      b : incapable of being explained or accounted for
      3 informal : intensely angry or displeased
      4 carried away by enthusiasm or desire : extremely or excessively fond of or enthusiastic about something or someone
      5 : affected with rabies : rabid can't tell, too much foam below my eyes
      6 : marked by wild gaiety and merriment : hilarious
      7 : intensely excited : frantic
      8 : marked by intense and often chaotic activity : wild
      9 US, informal : great in quantity, amount, extent, or degree

      All this, and more.

      Delete
    7. Your checkered past returns. . .

      Delete
  37. Mobil & Ebay = Mobile Bay

    My Hint:

    "Time to heat up some of the pasta sauce I made last week." I used two large bay leaves in that sauce.

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  38. I wrote, “A happy solution was mine. I did not have to mine lists of companies or toponyms. I got it during my run with mine eager dog.” I crammed those “mines” in there because naval mines used to be called torpedoes, and "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" was the famous order issued by Admiral David Farragut during the Battle of Mobile Bay. (He didn’t use those exact words, but that’s the way it is remembered.)

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  39. MOBIL (before merger with Exxon) + EBAYMOBILE BAY, Alabama.

    Change the “I” to an “R” and rearrange to yield Bob Marley.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Mobil + Ebay ---> Mobile Bay
    This puzzle would have been more appropriate last weekend. Last weekend was the Labor Day Holiday:
    1) Ebay was launched Labor Day weekend, September 3, 1995.
    2) The Labor Day weekend is also the 4th busiest for travel, or when we're very mobile. That makes Mobil happy.
    3) Holiday Stationstores is the 18th largest convenience store that, like Mobil, sells gasoline.
    4) You can use a mobile "app" to make purchases on Ebay and at Mobil gas stations.

    I hope Lego doesn't open an alpine resort at the geographic location, it will bankrupt him. Alpine Resort is located on Egg Harbor, referring to Lego's egg puzzle from 3 weeks ago. The first item sold on Ebay was a "broken" (= bankrupt, and also the classic cryptic clue for an anagram) laser pointer, which anagrams (UGH!) to alpine resort.

    I never use this company and I haven't used its type of product for over a year. The last time I bought gasoline was August 2017.

    Bonus Answer: Abraham Lincoln's first vice president was Hannibal Hamlin. Lego notes the ("ready"? I must have been typing in my cofveve) anagram to Clinton. Clinton admired John Kennedy, who in turn admired Lincoln, and in the 1970's people stamped Kennedy's profile on Lincoln pennies, and listed amazing coin-cidences that may not be so amazing to cynical Snopes.com, though I like the part about Monroe, Maryland.

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    Replies
    1. eco,
      I mistakenly thought the intermediate prez was FDR, not JFK:
      "Yes, these political figures were NO IRRELEVANT FOLKS!"
      NO IRRELEVANT FOLKS anagrams to FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT.
      "The first guy's last name begins with the same letters as the last letters of the second guy's first name!"
      frankLIN roosevelt; abraham LINcoln.

      LegoWhoNowDoesn'tFeelSoBadAboutNotUnderstandingeco'sAlpineResort/EggHarborHintWhichIsTheMostObscureHintEverPublishedOnBlaine'sBlog!

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    3. That was a good Snopes article. As I read it I kept thinking what Maryland had to do with both Lincoln & Kennedy. When I saw the connection I thought it was the best coincidence of them all!!
      Another coincidence not talked about much was that Kennedy was shot in a "Lincoln", and Lincoln was shot in a seat made by the Can-A-Dee seat company.



      (Ha ha!)

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    4. My sole hint to the NPR puzzle was embedded in my bicycle reverie:
      "Speaking of bicycles, I was out riding mine today. Many cyclists were. To my surprise, I found myself gaining on a Mr. Armstrong not named Neil or Louis. He noticed the gap between us was narrowing. He began pumping his pedals furiously in a feckless attempt to maintain his lead. Amazingly, I actually pulled past him for a second or two when Lance dared relax!"
      LANCE DARED RELAX anagrams to ALEXANDER CALDER, who was famous for his mobiles.

      LegoWhoNowThinksThatHis"LanceDaredRelax"HintIsEvenMoreObscureThaneco's"AlpineResort"Hint!

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  41. Mobil eBay Mobile Bay. My hint was Buddy Holly- Peggy Sue- Pegasus-Mobil Oil

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  42. One of my hints was "OTOH it does have a song named after the location that has been covered by a number of well known singers."
    There are at least two songs named "Mobile Bay". The more famous song has been covered by Johnny Cash as well as a duet between Merle Haggard & George Jones among others.

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  43. MOBIL + EBAY -> MOBILE BAY

    > What's in a horse trailer, maybe?

    A roamin' roan?

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    1. Or, perhaps a racehorse named MOBILE BAY:

      https://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/thoroughbred/mobile-bay/2012

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    2. Jan,
      I busted out laughing when I saw your post!!
      Well done!!

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  44. As Northern Virginia and the DC area prepare for what will hopefully be a near miss by Hurricane Florence, our thoughts are directed towards our neighbors in North and South Carolina and the Tidewater region of Virginia. Which is why my post is a little late this week.

    May the storm pass quickly and may all in its path be sheltered from its effects.

    As to the puzzle...
    Mobil, eBay —-> Mobile Bay
    My comment, that being in my car made this puzzle easier was because I was mobile at the time. But, IMHO, the best comment was Jan’s, “What’s in a horse trailer?” (A mobile bay?) My comment that he had spiced things up was a pointer to the regional favorite seasoning, Old Bay.

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    1. And may all the folks in Andover, North Andover, and Lawrence, MA, and vicinity be safe in the gas explosions.

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    2. Sheesh! Fires at 70 different addresses in those cities! Columbia Gas sure knows how to improve service! When they said they'll "relocate your gas meter", they left out the velocity and distance it'll travel, I guess...

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    3. Scary stuff. My brother in Cambridge says the roads and the air are a mess.

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    4. What a nightmare. Probably of little consolation, but at least it's not the dead of winter.

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    5. WW - How is your brother doing? Was he directly affected by the fires? I'm hoping he only had to contend with traffic jams & such.

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    6. Thanks for asking, 68C. He is fine, well south of the gas explosions. He was ready to leave quickly, though, if he needed to. The traffic would have made that somewhat complicated, though.

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  45. MOBIL+EBAY, MOBILE BAY
    Of course, MOBILE BAY is located in my home state of Alabama, so I had to get this one(even though I'm a little embarrassed to admit it took my figuring out EBAY would make it some kind of bay, and then I started going through a list of U.S. bays and found it right away, thanks to my home state being first alphabetically. What can I say, it was early Sunday morning and I should have gotten it sooner than I did, but I was still tired! So sue me!)
    My Weird Al reference had to do with the brilliant parodist's use of the Backstreet Boys' hit "I Want It That Way", and changing it to a song about a guy constantly buying useless junk on Ebay(also the song's title).

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    1. In an early post you said you “knew it well” and that’s usually how people refer to places they grew up. In a later post you said you were from Alabama. Also in an earlier post someone from Houston said they drive through there on the way to Spring Break. Spring Break is a Florida thing. All this pointed very specifically to the Gulf Coast. I got it quickly from those.

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  46. Is anyone here able to solve this week's Car Talk Puzzler?

    https://www.cartalk.com/puzzler/browse

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    1. Your link went to their browse page, which doesn't have the most recent puzzle, just the Sep 1st which they answer. Can you cut and paste the puzzler?

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    2. eco:
      You seem to have missed my point entirely. The link I provided is correct, but there is no puzzle presented this week. That is the puzzle I alluded to. They keep screwing it up.

      Last month the lackey posted a puzzle with the answer, and this was not the first time either, and then the following week they presented a different puzzle. The next week they again presented the puzzle from two week previous where the answer had been given, but this time it was done properly and they deleted all reference to even having a puzzle the week where the answer was given at the beginning. This week they have not presented any puzzle at all.

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    3. Ah, having never visited the cartalk website the subtlety flew (drove?) past me. Many websites have archive pages separate from the current.

      BTW the Sept 1st puzzle has an alternate answer that I believe is equally valid. Care to try?

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    4. First, there is no current Car Talk. Just the web site and a new old puzzler each Saturday morning. Maybe. The answer is posted electronically at exactly 9 PM our time, so it is very difficult for them to screw that pooch.

      Yes, my first thought was that he could have been traveling on a train and was now in a dry county or something like that. The point is to immediately recognize that he is not in a bar, but traveling.

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    5. My answer would work if he were sitting in a bar. But not recently. Maybe around the last time I listened to Car Talk.

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    6. I got my email version of the "Drinks" puzzle on 9/10.

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    7. Aren't you going to share your alt answer? I doubt you have one that fits.

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    8. He's 19 years old goes to a bar on December 31st at 8 pm. 4 hours later, on January 1st a new state law raising the drinking age to 21 goes into effect.

      This happened in the mid 1980's as Reagan threatened withholding federal highway funds from states that did not raise the drinking age. Some states grandfathered folks who had reached drinking age, but I don't think all did.

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    9. I suppose an alternate could be that he was in a bar on a cruise ship sailing in international waters, and 4 hours later they had entered US territorial waters.

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  47. Lamest puzzle ever. WTF is Mobile Bay?

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    1. Yeah, Chesapeake, San Francisco, Oyster ('cause I'm a Billy Joel fan), Hudson (but that's in Canada, isn't it?), Biscayne (where's that?), Montego (?), Monterrey (?) ... all familiar bays, but Mobile? Even our resident Alabamian had to consult a list.

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    2. Also, a Google search of "fair hope" will probably get you there faster than any legitimate route.

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    3. Dave, I figured the 4-letter word contained the geographic feature in 3 letters, so that brought me to Bay, and thus eBay. A quick search of US bays brought me to Mobile.

      It seems it’s a bay we ought to know—4th largest US estuary, largest bay for jubilees (swarms of sea life, as Paul noted above), and a prominent battle site in the Civil War.

      I’m curious to see if Will will address the “company” name, which has been changed to just a brand name in 1999.


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    4. I first hoped for a company named Iver (Ives makes door hinges) but otherwise followed the same path.

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    5. And, as to “WTF Mobile Bay,” as Charles and jan alluded to, the paraphrased “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” was uttered by Union Admiral Farragut during the Battle of Mobile Bay.

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    6. At least Farragut wasn't imMobile.

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    7. I like the way you figured this one out, WW. Very clever. However, I’m pretty well traveled and I’ve never heard of Mobile Bay. I’m sure many others haven’t either.

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    8. Thanks, Dave. It’s understandably a rather unknown bay; but its prominent geographic features make that somewhat surprising. I somewhat hazily recall going through the north end of Mobile Bay on a bus trip in college (Tucson to Portland to Seattle to Chicago to Hartford to Miami, though Mobile, and back to Tucson; Greyhound had an unlimited $99, 2 week-pass).

      Perhaps the Mobile Chamber of Commerce needs a new slogan? “Damn the torpedos, full speed ahead into our calm seas and seafood jubilees in Mobile Bay!”

      Or?

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    10. Like Word Woman I came to the answer through the brand eBay. Was looking through some auctions with the puzzle in the back of my head and the fact that a bay was a a common geographical feature popped into my brain. Then looked for a brand that only required the addition of a final "e" to become the name of a "well known" bay. Having worked at a Mobil station my senior year of high school, I didn't have to think too long.

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  48. For one thing, Mobile Bay is a great place to sail a small boat. Warm water, not-too-big waves, and frequently has good wind. It's usually where I go for my once-a-year "away" regatta. For me, it is 600 miles each way, towing a boat, but well worth it. I solved this one almost immediately.

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    1. Maybe all that rain keeps the tourists away >>>

      http://blog.al.com/live/2013/02/mobile_-_not_seattle_-_the_rai.html

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  49. For once I have to agree with the PM, in that I consider Mobile Bay to be a well known place. That fact helped me figure it before getting out of bed last Sunday.
    Of course he did have to mess up the description of "Mobil," and trying to figure out why is another puzzle.

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  50. Next week's challenge: These five 2-word phrases have something very unusual in common. What is it? When you find it, think of another two-word phrase that has the same property.

    Property rights

    Land mine

    Sales order

    Color scheme

    India ink

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  51. Next week's challenge: These five 2-word phrases have something very unusual in common. What is it? When you find it, think of another two-word phrase that has the same property.

    Property rights

    Land mine

    Sales order

    Color scheme

    India ink

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. I'm hoping the phrase "screw this" has the same property. Talk about not being worth getting up for.

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