Sunday, June 30, 2019

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jun 30, 2019): Why is the Word Abbreviation so Long?

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jun 30, 2019): Why is the Word Abbreviation so Long?:
Q: There is a standard two-letter abbreviation for an English word that has an unusual property: The first letter of the abbreviation is the second letter of the word. And the second letter of the abbreviation does not appear in the word at all. What's the word, and what's its abbreviation?
It's not Massachusetts = MA

Edit: This was a hint to the REDSOX = RX, DOSE puzzle from not too long ago.
A: Prescription, Rx

170 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.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the shoutout, Blaine. Settling into retirement in our new home.

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. Really? Then your dog should send in the answer, when it's finished drinking from your toilet.

      Delete
    2. Hey, that was pretty funny! Though I had to wait quite a while to get the joke.

      Delete
  3. Did anyone see Nicole Cliffe's profile on Alanis Morissette this week? I thought it was fascinating.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. PRESCRIPTION -> RX

      I originally wanted to reference the song "Not the Doctor", which was a little oblique. After I posted, I remembered the album was called Jagged Little Pill, which was a little more on the nose than I wanted.

      Delete
  4. “Pound” and “lb.” have been mentioned in last week’s comments. That doesn’t work, but it got me to thinking about irregularities in abbreviations, and painstaking review of an appropriate list got me an answer.

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

    ReplyDelete
  6. I don't think you need a Ph.D to figure this out.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Is anyone else having trouble submitting the answer on the npr website?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. You just have to resubmit the answer and make sure hit their catcha icon just right.

      Delete
  8. It just took longer than usual. It probably needed something to pep it up.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Pretty easy one today. The NPR web site is probably slow because so many people are submitting their answers. The answer came to me as my wife was listing all my faults and what I should do to correct them.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think it was a rather junky puzzle. Or should I have said trashy?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hm, I wonder if there's more than one answer... or maybe I'm just being obtuse? Some of the clues commenters are giving I don't get at all.

    I don't think I would have said that my answer was strictly speaking an abbreviation of the long word. It's in the same family as abbreviation, and I think it's fair to count it -- I'm not really complaining about Will's puzzle so much as wanting to see if others thought the same.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. I think I can give a clue here that Blaine will accept, and it's even an actual reply to your post!

      If you look up not the word, but the abbreviation only in the dictionary, it will show the foreign language word from which it was derived and which, curiously, is spelled identically to another common English word.

      While this other word does start with the abbreviation's first letter, like the word for which the abbreviation supposedly stands, the second letter occurs nowhere in this other word either!

      Delete
    3. That is definitely the answer that I have, yes. And the explanation for the second letter of the abbreviation is interesting, too.
      But do you think that's the one everyone is giving clues to?

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

    ReplyDelete
  13. Maybe I've been reading too much William S. Burroughs.

    ReplyDelete
  14. There's no way I know of to look this up. The answer just came to me as I was drying off after a shower.

    ReplyDelete
  15. At first, I thought of a false answer: its first letter does not appear in the word, and its second letter is the first letter of the word. But this false answer led me to a valid answer, which often appears in the same text.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I have a too-obvious musical clue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think you could even get away with naming the show it's from.

      Delete
    2. The musical clue I thought was too obvious was Blue Oyster Cult's (Don't Fear) The Reaper. In the classic More Cowbell sketch on SNL, Christopher Walken utters the line, "I got a fever...and the only prescription...is more cowbell."

      Delete
    3. And here I was thinking you were referring to "A Spoonful of Sugar" from Mary Poppins.

      Delete
  17. My advice: Don't drink black coffee on an empty stomach! Ugh! :( Or try to solve the puzzle before coffee.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Replies
    1. I had forgotten the name of this 60's British group, but not there #2 hit--"Love potion number n ine."
      It is funny-I thought Rx had to do with the Rexall drugstores of my youth where I could get a nickle coke, but it apparently means recipe.

      Delete
  19. After a pause, NPR accepted my two answers.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Replies
    1. tmi for me (even in Japanese)

      Delete
    2. WW you may be correct. When I translated the word it immediately refocused my attention even without doing any further research and I got it moments later.

      Delete
  21. How about a word whose abbreviation ends with the last letter of the word and the first letter is not in the word.

    ReplyDelete
  22. This is variation on a previous Sunday Puzzle theme.
    While comments are not supposed to give away the answer, I am some strange "already got it" clues.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Another musical clue: The Rascals.

    ReplyDelete
  24. For those who cannot solve or don't want to solve this week's puzzle, you can still win a lapel pin. Fill a bag with 26 Scrabble tiles, A through Z. Take one tile out. Take another tile out and place it next to the first.
    The odds are 1 in 650 (or about 0.154%) that you are looking at Will Shortz's intended answer.
    Those odds are probably better than getting the call and claiming the lapel pin!

    LegoWoRequestsThatBrainyBlainesvilliansCheckHisMath

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your math is correct, however you've incorrectly used the term "odds" as if it were a synonym for probability. In mathematical terms, odds has a distinct meaning that shouldn't be used interchangeably with probability. Both are ratios expressing likelihood, but where a probability is the ratio of *favorable* outcomes to *total* outcomes (e.g. 1 in 650), odds are the ratio of *favorable* outcomes to *unfavorable* outcomes (e.g. 1 to 649 in favor). Or more often we want the odds against an event (e.g. 649 to 1 against).

      Another example, flipping heads is a probability of 1/2, but odds of 1:1 in favor. But you wouldn't be the only one that has used "odds" incorrectly. I see it often in the media and even on lottery sites.

      Delete
    2. Thank you, Blaine. Your blog has always been informative as well as entertaining.
      Fake news is bad, but so is fake word usage. I stand corrected.

      Lego'sWhoseOddsOfWritingEvenThisVeryCommentFlawlesslyIsRoughly1to99InFavor(WhichIsAprobabilityOfOneInOneHundred...Right?)

      Delete
    3. If you do the same thing with a full Scrabble set in the bag, the probability that you'll be looking at Will's intended answer is 1/165.

      Delete
    4. I think Charles means 1/1650

      Delete
  25. I think if I ever won, and the phone rings sometime around 3 p.m., and they tell me all the junk ( oops! Sorry, trash) I get for solving their stinking puzzle, I'll just pass and have 'em donate money to my local NPR affiliate. It's pledge week anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. Sarah H. Sanders, where are you?? Come back Sarah H. Sanders!!
      Wait, wait, what am I saying. Stay away Sarah!!

      Delete
  27. I know number(NO), ounce(OZ), and pound(LB), but sadly I've been unable to find the intended answer. Therefore, this puzzle sucks. Called it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. Read William S.Burroughs or see a croaker!

      Delete
  28. For some this will be easy to solve, but for others it will not. Not because they are not familiar with the abbreviation, but because they have no use for it in their lives. I never would have solved it without using a list. Here is my hint: 60 Minutes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had started perusing lists, but then the answer popped into my head.

      Delete
    2. I had to laugh when I read that! The biggest problem I had with this week's answer was trying to post something that would not get "the big hammer"!

      Delete
    3. I forgot I had posted a hint: 60 Minutes. All their commercials seem to be drug ads. It is the only TV show I watch.

      Delete
    4. This was the week not to be hammered, eh?

      Delete
    5. SDB: If you watched other TV shows you'd see they ALL are overrun with drug ads. But it's not like that's dangerous or anything.

      Delete
    6. eco: I knew watching TV is dangerous, but I had no idea it was more so if there are drug ads. That's morose.

      Delete
  29. I thought the second letter would have been the first when I was first trying to figure it out. Then an early clue here revealed it. My old ass should have gotten it quicker.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I initially read it backwards as the first letter of the word was the second letter of the abbreviation and the first letter of the abbreviation didn't appear anywhere in the word. I found a solution for this alternate puzzle.

      Delete
    2. Can’t Tell you how many hours I’ve wasted over the years misreading the puzzle!!!!

      Delete
    3. I read it correctly, but then I would discover my mind had turned it around, and I would go back and read it again, and it would do the same thing. Usually I find I have missed something in my initial reading of a puzzle, so I have learned to read them several times to hopefully avoid this problem.

      Delete
    4. Wow, have any of you guys ever tried LISTENING to the puzzle?!? Foolproof way to avoid misreading.

      Delete
    5. Or am I perhaps just mishearing your comments

      Delete
    6. My Sunday mornings are often filled and I do not listen. I don’t really care about the on air puzzle, so I don’t go back and listen to the recording. It’s faster just to read it.

      Delete
  30. I kind of quibble withe Will's rules/construction of the question, but I got the answer last night

    ReplyDelete
  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I hope all those with ankle sprains last week are on the mend!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Most, if not all, of us will have one of these at some point in our lives. So it is written...

    ReplyDelete
  34. People who receive this item in their profession capacity today rarely perform the act upon which the abbreviation is based. Doing so was more common in the past.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Musical Clue: Buchanan Brothers

    ReplyDelete
  36. Replies
    1. Rich, have you bothered to read Blaine's standard reminder posted above?

      Delete
    2. Blaine didn't monitor that well this week. At least 2 if not 4 other "clues" in here that gave away the farm

      Delete
    3. I read the disclaimer but thought this was compliant (especially having seen other posts). No harm intended.

      Delete
  37. PRESCRIPTIONRx (usually written ℞ )

    Did You Know?
    The "R" in "Rx" stands for the Latin word recipe, meaning "take," and the first doctor to use "Rx" used it as a verb with the same meaning, "Rx two aspirin" being equivalent to today's "Take two aspirin." (The word recipe had had the same function from the 13th through the 17th centuries.) Those two letters were a 19th-century take on a 16th-century symbol, the letter R with a line through its slanted leg-the line signaling that the "R" is functioning as an abbreviation. It wasn't till the early 20th century that "Rx" came to be used as the noun we know today. As for the noun "recipe," it followed the same trajectory, referring to a medical prescription for about 100 years before it developed its connection with cooking in the early 17th century.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Deadline this week is Wed. July 3rd at 3:00 pm EST.

      Delete
  38. I wrote that I got to thinking about irregularities in abbreviations, and this meant the ones from other
    languages. I looked at a list of countries, that my review, which I called “painstaking” in my hint
    (PAINStaking), got me SPAIN and ES. But I bet Rx is the expected answer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm, I thought your pains-taking was a too obvious clue for what opioids are supposed to do.

      Delete
    2. LOL! I was careful not to give away a clue to Spain, little realizing that there was TMI for Rx.

      Delete
  39. Rx > PRESCRIPTION

    I missed hearing the deadline is today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How did I miss that also?

      Rx, prescription

      E.H. =  Eye of Horus >>> "Among several alternative theories, however, is the belief that the Rx symbol evolved from the Eye of  Horus, an ancient Egyptian symbol associated with healing powers. 

      Delete
  40. PRESCRIPTION > Rx. I kind of disagree that this is an abbreviation for the WORD Prescription but clearly its an abbreviated form of the definition of sorts. Oh well. I turned it in. Assuming that if I haven't been called by now, I won't be.

    ReplyDelete
  41. From last September:
    "Q: Name a major professional sports team. The first and last letters of the team's name specify something that is an anagram of its interior letters. What team is it?"

    The answer was Rx (Redsox) with dose in the middle.

    Happy Independence Day to all. I think President Whats-his-name may end up with more egg on his face than usual.

    ReplyDelete
  42. "It's a mystery." The Sunday Night Mystery Movie Series in the 1970's (I think NBC then ABC) rotated among Columbo, McCloud, and MacMillan and Wife (before women were considered people). The first episode of Columbo, aired in 1968 before the series, was titled "Prescription: Murder". Small irony, that episode was on TV yesterday.

    "the answer popped into my head." I worried this might be too obvious, but perhaps Blaine is cutting us slack for this "Celebrate and Honor Dinky Toadstool" Holiday.

    ReplyDelete
  43. I hope to see many of you tomorrow in Washington D.C. for the wonderful reelection parade. I will be on the lookout for those wearing NPR lapel pins.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Looking forward to tomorrow's, bound to be impressive, D.C. Mall extravaganza!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The "Blue Angels" are going to perform in Kansas City this weekend and usually they arrive a few days early to practice. Watching the local news today, it appears they did arrive here, but then head to D.C. (tomorrow?) for the flyover . So, either late Thursday or early Friday they head back to KC for their usual routine.
      I wonder how much extra $$ it costs for all that travel??

      Delete
    2. They will be in my thoughts & prayers. I will be praying they all crash into the Trump Hotel.

      They come here every August for their shameless warmongering that is also harmful to our environment. I am not saying they are not fun to watch, but I am completely against what they stand for.

      Delete
    3. Aside from all that, my point is how much that diversion will cost!!

      Delete
    4. 68C: You inspired the entire Photoshop Division here at Ecoarchitect Corporate Headquarters to put down their work and create Dinky Toadstool's Dream.

      Delete
    5. The cost goes up each year since it began April 1946.

      Delete
    6. The good news is there may be a lot of VIP seats available. Another embarrassing moment for the man who embarrasses all of us.

      And a well placed lightning strike would convince me to go to church.

      Delete
    7. If anyone here does get a VIP invite, and you do attend, PLEASE WEAR CLINTON & OBAMA BUTTONS.

      Delete
    8. Thanks Eco, just trying to help! I liked your submission, too!

      SDB - I guess there is a lot of "overhead"... I wonder if there will be a lot of coughing during his speech??

      Delete
    9. I doubt it. He usually snuffles.

      Delete
    10. SDB. Our house in so. Seattle is just east of Boeing field and we could usually get to see practice runs over the house. Very impressive. Won't be seeing that this year. However- guess what here in Atlanta they are producing a Betsy Ross t shirt in protest to KAP and the banned sneakers. Cool huh? Hope to get the yard sign this week. Lets see is it Insleeee?

      Delete
    11. eco: What is lube angle?

      I grew up (well I tried anyway) in Wedgwood and saw them as far back I my memory goes. Not the T shirts; the Blew Angles.

      Delete
    12. SDB: lube angle sounds like a car talk term. Funny coincidence, I decided to retire this morning.

      Delete
    13. eco: Nope. You're thinking of lube dangle. It's why grease monkeys wear baseball caps.

      Did you go to Les Schwab, Goodyear or Firestone?

      Delete
    14. None of the above, I went to a local, family-owned place 2 blocks from my office.

      Berkeley doesn't allow corporations in its borders - the Burger King, Taco Bell, KFC, and Barnes & Noble all went out of business, while the local businesses nearby continue to thrive.

      Delete
    15. Did they ban firecrackers too, and just allow sparklers?

      Delete
  45. Long time reader of this blog, first time commenter. I too thought of Prescription, but dismissed it as the answer because of the fact that the R technically stands for "recipe." I'm just wondering if anyone else thought of FX for "effects" or if I'm crazy?? I did not submit an answer at all because I was really uncertain but I was definitely leaning towards "FX" rather than "RX"...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome and congratulations for coming out of the shadows.

      Others alluded to the issues with the wording of this puzzle; I had a discussion with an English major whether Rx is actually an abbreviation, but we couldn't come up with a better term.

      Given the predilections of the puzzlemaster I strongly suspect Rx is the right prescription.

      Delete
    2. I say good on ya for coming up with a fine alternative answer, maybe even a better one.
      Prepare yourself to be ignored by Will Shortz.
      Post here all you like, we are in need of new blood.

      Delete
    3. Welcome, Courtney. Stay tuned for more special FX in DC tomorrow.

      Delete
    4. FX and RX were my submissions.
      RX appears in my dictionary.
      FX does not.

      Delete
  46. Two too-obvious musical clues that weren't mentioned:
    "Jeremiah Peabody's Polyunsaturated Quick-Dissolving Fast-Acting Pleasant-Tasting Green and Purple Pills" (Ray Stevens)
    and
    "Coconut" (Harry Nilsson)

    ReplyDelete
  47. The other abbreviation hinted at above was qd for "daily." It derives from the Latin "quotidie" which is cognate to French "quotidian." The abbreviation qd often appears on an Rx slip (take 2 tab qd).

    ReplyDelete
  48. I thought of Aq for water (latin aqua).

    ReplyDelete
  49. I am looking forward to the upcoming holiday but I still wonder how all the fireworks affects most returning war veterans.
    Don't get me wrong, I have lit my fair share of fireworks over the years, but I have quit shooting them the last 4-5 years, mostly because of their cost and the potential hearing loss!
    Any more though, I have thought more and more about what our veterans think of all the flashes and noise on a typical July 4th night?
    Last year we went to my nephew's July 4th party which is about 40 miles north of us, almost a straight shot on the highway. It's legal to light fireworks there but I had more fun last year just watching everyone else "lighting up".
    The kind of creepy part though was the drive home on the highway. There were so many fireworks being shot off that I had to be extra cautious to keep my eyes on the road and not watch all the near by action!!
    The "big" thing around here seems to be mortars, M-80's and those things that involve dry ice. The latter sounds like dynamite going off.
    It was neat to watch but I couldn't help but wonder what our returning vets think or do on this holiday??
    Not being critical, just wondering...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not to mention all the pets, like my dog, who hate all the noise.

      Delete
    2. Ya all just a bunch a mortar forkers.

      Delete
  50. Ancient Greece was highly competitive and the citizens of Athens would Plato win.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Speaking of Greece, I just learned about the Evzones. Anyone know a lot about them? Those shoe tassles are quite funky.

      Delete
    2. No, but the rumor about Trump being confused about our holidays and pardoning Turkey is fake news. A load of Instantbul.

      Delete
    3. They always say, clothes make the man.

      Delete
  51. I understand Trump wants as many weapons as possible to participate in his parade tomorrow, but no pens.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Replies
    1. Ron; so nice of you. Wonderful dancing! Inspied to take class.

      Delete
    2. Это именно то, что вы можете ожидать, если решите присоединиться к нашей победившей команде. А также вы получаете билеты на лучшие места для просмотра выступлений нашего лидера.

      Delete
    3. Trumptransition2016: Happy 4th of July!

      Delete
  53. Important News: A Special July 4th Guest Appearance Announced by the RNC.
    Due to a fear of sagging public approval and a small crowd size for Donald Trump's July 4th EgoBoost at the National Mall, a special celebrity appearance has just been announced!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm there now and not many people. I can't even find Roy Moore. I suspect the parade is going to tank.

      Delete
    2. Roy Moore? He was banned from The Mall.

      Delete
    3. Really! What instrument did he play?

      Delete
    4. He tried to play his organ in front of an unwitting 13 year old girl.

      Delete
    5. Didn't that organ have stops?

      Delete
    6. Was it a virtue so so performance?

      Delete
    7. It was a pipe organ. Okay, now this is getting creepy.

      Perhaps he was just trying to guitar without using violins.

      Delete
    8. It could have been a breach of contact.

      Delete
    9. I thought you'd pick a bass comment; Roy Moore did piccolo road.

      Perhaps a judge will order him to conduct prison time orchestration?

      Delete
    10. Pathétique Sonata followed by Fanfare For The Common Deviate. But I suppose chambers music would be more fitting.

      Delete
    11. Enema Variations and Pavane pour une infante défunte

      Delete
  54. I guess Donald Trump relies too much on the teleprompter.
    His knowledge and recap of history regarding George Washington and GW's role during the Revolutionary War needs a little tweaking.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One of the best kept secrets of the Revolutionary War is how General Washington managed his resources. As you know it was extremely difficult for our country to find funding sufficient to compete against the British army which was flush with cash. Now, getting back to that well kept secret, we are now privy to recently released alt facts indicating General Washington used frequent flyer vouchers for most of his troop transports.

      Delete
  55. I wasn't one of those "millions of millions of people" watching Trump on television yesterday, but today I watched the bit where he talked about the airports being taken over and not one of the expressions on the faces of the idiots in the background changed an iota.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So scary and sad. Yet we see this all the time!

      Delete
  56. Another little known fact regarding the Revolutionary War has to do with the famous photo of George Washington's crossing of the Delaware River. They were unsure if the picture would even turn out because they used a Polaroid Land Camera.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Does anyone know if there is a list of qualifications to be President? Perhaps there should be an application process and a citizenship exam. DT has the audacity to blame the rain and the prompter. Wow!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. US Constitution, Article 2, Section 1:
      5: No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

      No IQ test, no morality checks, no consideration of criminality or competence.

      The US Constitution is remarkably concise and brief, especially compared to the California Constitution which is a train wreck of words and clauses.

      Delete
    2. Thanks Eco. That explains a lot about our current situation regarding our president.

      Delete
  58. Not many today are aware that were it not for cases of tiny bags of dry roasted peanuts Washington's army most likely would not have survived the winter at Valley Forge.

    ReplyDelete
  59. This week's challenge: When you remove the last letter from Germany, Sweden or Somalia, what remains is a native of that country. What country, if you remove its last letter also leaves a native, but only after you rearrange its remaining letters?

    ReplyDelete