Sunday, June 09, 2019

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jun 9, 2019): Actor and Writer Puzzle

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jun 9, 2019): Actor and Writer Puzzle:
Q: Think of a famous actor, first and last names, that together contain each of the five vowels (A, E, I, O, and U) exactly once. Add an M and rearrange the result to get a famous writer, also first and last names. Who are these famous people?
I spent too long trying to make Julia Roberts or Hugo Weaving work. I do have an answer, but I'm still not convinced it's the intended answer.

I wasn't sure how "famous" they each were. They weren't names that came immediately to mind for me.
A: LEN CARIOU + M --> ALICE MUNRO

227 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. Funny, I also had Roberts and Weaving. I know of the writer more than the actor, though both have been well awarded. Hard to think of good clues.

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  3. LOL! I have been trying those two also, but now I will stop and hunt elsewhere.

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  4. Sounds like three (or more) of us have been searching the same lists of actors, with the same result.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, lists of actors have so far failed me. Lists of authors, too.

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  5. "I just can't understand why some people don't think rearranging letters makes a proper puzzle" said Will Shortz enigmatically.

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  6. Unlike last week's puzzle, which, along with its (very modest) creator was held in universal esteem, this is not as easy as pie.

    If my current answer is correct, I suspect some will argue about the rules set for this dreadful puzzle. There is a connection to transportation....

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  7. May we refer to Michael Douglas as Mike? And to his father as Kirke?

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  8. I can't even make Thomas Cruise work ...

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

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    2. Bela has to stay on the page. Forever. Because he is eternal.

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  10. What are a few good lists to use for this one? I can't seem to find any just typing "actors or authors with all five vowels once".

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  11. If I have the intended answer, interestingly, neither of these two people were born with their famous names. Another similarity is that both originated from the same country. --Margaret G.

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    1. I have the country part but not the names. It must not be the answer. No wonder I'm feeling "meh" about it.

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    2. You probably have the same answer that I do, since I don't know if it's the intended answer, either. Check again about the names. Add a letter somewhere in the surname of one of the people, and get an animal. --Margaret G.

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    3. We have the same answers, though we can debate the name part, to be honest I think you're being a little too technical.... But I don't hold it against you, I think you were the first to solve this obscure puzzle.

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    5. Ecoarchitect, yes, I'm being technical. But since when was anything too technical for this page. LOL! --MG

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    6. Rob: Thanks for clue. I almost gave up on that author's name as cannot find actor. Great...There is hope!

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    7. You are welcome, but oh, dear! I didn't think about this possibility, but the hint that I gave I meant to be obscure, meaning that you could not get the answer from the hint but you could confirm, if you had the answer, that I had it, too. I didn't mean for my hint to be a guide to anyone, like Natasha, who could use it for confirmation of half the answer and thus be set on the right track for searching for the first half.

      TMI? I still think the actor's name is obscure, but should I delete my hint?

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    8. Rob, I think your hint helps as well as confirms. I vote for you to delete, to prevent the deleterious effect.

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    9. Rob: I think blog administrator would have deleted your clue by now. I may not have correct author anyway as cannot find actor.

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    10. OK, my hint is gone, and apologies for not realizing that confirmation of half the answer would have helped others to the full answer.

      The hint above about adding a letter to the actor's last name is not nearly so helpful!

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    11. Rob, you helped me. That is one obscure actor though. Neither qualify as famous in my world.

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    12. Not familiar with either of these people but I found the author earlier and the comment about the same country saved me a lot of time. After a long day of puzzling, time for a shower and shave.

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    13. I'm pretty sure I have the AUTHOR and the COUNTRY. But I'm still not there yet with the ACTOR. Any guidance so I might see I'm underway on the correct route?

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    15. I just got it. Now I can sleep better.

      And, yeah, that's not a "famous actor." It's a "working actor," which isn't trivial, but not famous.

      And not VICTOR MATURE either.

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    16. Yes, VICTOR is fully ripe. I think he died in 1999.

      And, when I posted above that I had the WRITER but wanted to know if I was on track to get the ACTOR, I asked for:

      "Any guidance so I might see i'M UNderway on the correct ROute? But nobody bit. Still, I got it eventually and organically.

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    17. I was misled by the name change hint because I don't really see Leonard vs. Len or a maiden name vs. married name as all that unusual. But I still had the right pair. My hint was "meh" which if you drop the "m" you get something Canadians say, eh?

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    18. I also thought Margaret G. was a little too technical, many people don't use their full/ formal names. Similar to tricycle/ trike from last week....

      And what about middle names? Where do you draw the line? I should know that by now.

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    19. Shouldn't that be:

      Tanks, Trike Van Truck?

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  12. Do you have to write a thesis to get a medical degree?

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    Replies
    1. I added an M to Bela Lugosi, rearranged it into a plausible sounding name, searched for it and found a doctor. I suppose I could lie and claim I was hinting at "Munro Doctorin'", or something like that, but it was just a joke.
      After that, I scanned a list of plural animal names, found LICE and added A, searched for "writer Alice", ignored the Lewis Carroll links, found out the short story writer is Canadian, searched for "Canadian actors", encountered the name LEN CARIOU for the first time, and confirmed my answer with a strategically placed B.

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    2. From the clue for "plural animal", I first (mis-)focused on MICE (since I knew that the author's name contained an M). Found nothing, then thought of LICE and ALICE. Then found ALICE MUNRO on a list (I had heard of her, so might gotten this anyway). Then (with knowledge that actor was also Canadian, from other clues (even from Blaine!), searched through a shorter list of Canadian actors.
      Subsequently (thanks to eco's post(, found two anagram searchers that return proper nouns. Both yielded (with appropriate input, knowing the answer) ALICE MUNRO but only one gave LEN CARIOU.

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    3. Paul, your post above was also a hint, as one of Cariou's films was about getting into med school via illicit means.

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  14. Hmmm, obscure and yet both have impressive resumes and both have received significant awards appropriate for their work.

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  15. When I figured it out, I could barely place the actor's name and was thinking the Puzzlemaster was really stretching the definition of "famous." Then I looked up the actor on IMDB and realized the actor and I are connected in a couple of interesting ways. I'll save the story for after Thursday afternoon.

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  16. Will Shortz definitely seems to love this actor!

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  17. I'll admit I am not a fan of Julia Roberts. I got nothing, but will do my best Erin Brockovich.

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  18. They should change the name of the Sunday Puzzle to "Will Shortz's Occasional Exercise in Futility". Not worth getting up for, IMHO.

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  19. Or how about "Wait, Wait Til Thursday"?

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  20. The animal is also a resident of the country.

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  21. Was Chou EnLai an actor or an author? I always forget which and then an hour later I'm hungry for the answer.

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  22. And Blaine's Blog could be renamed "The We Have It, You Don't Players"!

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    1. honestly most weeks i just don't have the time to sit at work and pour through random lists of people. If I don't get on the trail to the answer quickly I usually don't wind up solving it. I'm on a streak of 2 weeks in a row without a solve right now. Many of these "puzzles" seem to be getting increasingly less clever as time goes on.

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    2. bdeclue, and a lot less satisfying. . .

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    3. I've sent him several clever, and didactic, puzzles I coined, but he will not use them. His excuses are ridiculous too because he does not follow them with other offerings. Lego gets to use some of my rejects, so you don't have to take my word for it. He declined one of mine because it might be solved using lists. Another because he knew the answer, and another because he didn't know the answer. I am not making this up.

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  23. Without giving away the answer to the puzzle, can anyone explain to me how an actor can be both famous and obscure?

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  24. Natasha, You should have been up here for the PNB last night. You would have loved it.

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    1. SDB: Thanks for letting me know. What did they perform? I hope to see the Mariinsky Ballet perform La Bayadere in the fall in berkeley. Mariinsky spelled with two i's believe it or not!

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    2. Signature
      Music
      Barret Anspach
      Choreography
      Price Suddarth
      Tarantella
      Music
      Louis Moreau Gottschalk
      Choreography
      George Balanchine
      The Moor’s Pavane
      Music
      Henry Purcell
      Choreography
      José Limón

      Variations on the theme of Othello.
      Theme and Variations
      Music
      Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
      Choreography
      George Balanchine

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    3. SDB: Balanchine great! Thanks. Will check out website.

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    4. The entire program was great and all the sets too.

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    5. SDB: Previews were great! Lucky you!

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    6. SDB and Natasha- Note from a proud grandfather: My 15-year old granddaughter Lexie will be interning with the PNB this summer.

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    7. Lorenzo, that is really exciting news for you. I hope she does well.

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  25. Paul Scofield doesn't seem to be the intended actor, however you may be happy to learn that his name anagrams into Fecal Spud Oil. Try thinking of that the next time you have fish and chips.

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    1. And if you think that is interesting, then consider this: Patti Lupone who starred in Evita anagrams into someone who flies a legume, or a Peanut Pilot.

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    2. I guess I won't be considering this

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  26. Friday was my birthday. I made one wish and then, cut the cake.

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    Replies
    1. Hey, Friday was my birthday too! Are you me?

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    2. And you could be Prince too-6/7/58" Happy belated BD Ben.

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    3. It's hard holding the sexiest of all birthdays. Prince, Emily Ratajkowski, Tom Jones, Anna Kournikova -- the pressure is enormous. I hope you can handle it.

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    4. Also, Plantsmith, I'm sorry to be the bearer of tragic news, but I could not be Prince. Prince died a few years ago. In fact I'm Emily Ratajkowski.

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    5. Well, even when Prince was alive he wasn't always Prince.

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    6. That is a lot of pressure. I only knew about Prince. He lives in my heart. Musical genius.

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    7. If it lessens the pressure, Thurman Munson was a good ballplayer, but not all that sexy.

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    8. Also deceased. Also National doughnut day 2019. Sourcream cruellers are pretty sexy too.

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  27. Trying to solve this week's puzzle was about as much fun as applying for a reverse mortgage.

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  28. Do you have to be very mature for this puzzle?

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    Replies
    1. I'm assuming, due to the fact that this comment has lasted twelve hours on the board, that this means the FAMOUS yet OBSCURE actor is NOT VICTOR MATURE.

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  29. Finally got it. Sweet! And not as easy as pie.

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    Replies
    1. Agreed. Bit of a slog, but I got there.

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    2. Big round of applause to anyone who could solve this without a very long list from the internet.

      Bonus Puzzle (would you expect otherwise?:

      Name a murderer and fugitive (famous? well, he was on the FBI Top 10 list), add an "n" to his name and rearrange for a "famous" writer. First and last names for both.

      Bonus Puzzle Hall of Fame and a copy of Can't Can't (no Kenken) for those who can answer, please hold off until Thursday 3pm EST, hints welcome.

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    3. Bonus Answer: Luis Macedo → Claude Simon

      Not familiar? Like Alice Munro, Claude Simon won the Nobel Prize for Literature. I guess the BPHF remains empty.

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  30. Just got there. As has been noted before, neither the actor nor the writer is known by their birth names. Similarly, the animal you get by adding a letter to the actor’s surname, is known by different names, depending on where seen.

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    Replies
    1. The actor animal and writer animal do get together.

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  31. Its not, I'm guessing, Bela Lugosi?

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    Replies
    1. Nor Rosalind Russell, Rosamund Pike, or Bruce Davison. That narrows it down!

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    2. Did everyone go through actors' lists? With our pop culture I figured writers' lists would be shorter, and it only took about 15 minutes to find the answer.

      Also easier to eliminate Dinesh D'Souza and Suzanne Collins, as they don't have an M. Mary Russell Mitford and Rosemary Sutcliff just didn't work out, nor did the answer to the Bonus Puzzle.

      I hope I haven't earned my BA for this.

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    3. I felt sure I had the writer right (I did), but it still took the longest time to find the actor.

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    4. Yes, I went through a similar process.

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    5. I suppose I cheated a bit, once I found the writer I used an anagram finder that, unlike www.dcode.fr, includes proper names. No thinking involved which is what I do best.

      But since the Executive Board of the Society To Ridicule Anagram Puzzles has declared this puzzle to be innately illegitimate I guess it isn't cheating.

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  32. I like that "famous writer" contains the five vowels exactly once.

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    Replies
    1. And it has an "m."

      I hate spending time on this kind of puzzle, but in a weak moment yesterday I looked at all the Oscar nominated actors since forever without finding the vowel requirement. Did I miss it or maybe it is some other kind of actor?

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

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    3. Ben, PLEASE REMOVE YOUR POST!!!

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    4. I don't think that is correct? If so I have the wrong actor but I don't see anyone whose name matches the AEIOU condition in the IMDB listing. Then again perhaps I am looking at a bad list?

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    5. In fact, I was offering a "clue" which was NOT a reveal. I mentioned a movie in which a **clue** to the "acting person" appears, but not a giveaway.

      But if you happened to read the Blaine Blog, and happened to have watched that dreaded movie (you have my condolences), and you ALREADY thought you had the right answer, then you would KNOW you had the right answer.

      (or, put more tersely, I have "read" and understand the "Blaine Terms & Conditions" in full.)

      But obviously SKYDIVEBOY took the bait and SKYDIVED/SKYDOVE right on to my head.

      So, never mind.

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    6. I didn't find your clue to be revealing, but I didn't think about it too much. I hope we get an explanation Thursday.

      How do we know SDB eats worms? He has baited breath.

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    7. Okay, so here's the little episode of note.

      I got the answer, no lists. I thought of ALICE MUNRO and then, when I couldn't find a famous actor who worked out, I looked at FIRST NAMES I could make out of the letters ALICEUNRO, and I thought of LEN.

      If you Google "Canadian Actor Len," the FIRST result is LEN CARIOU. I was pleased.

      After this I posted that, for a hint, you could watch the dreaded POLAR EXPRESS, a lamentable 2004 kids' robotically animated feature.

      Mind you, SDB, LEN CARIOU is not listed in the credits and doesn't appear in the film. (Nor does ALICE MUNRO.) But there is a long and stupid segment where the train is on its way through Canada to the North Pole and is stopped by a pack of a million CARIBOU.

      So enough with the "Ben Delete Your Post!" please.

      Anyway, didn't get the call. On to next week.

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    8. Very clever bro. When do they usually call?

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    9. Not long after the closing time of 3:00 p.m. ET, say around 3:20 or so. In my experience, it's been a call from an NPR minion, with a 202 area code, who gives you the good news, gets your snail mail address, and gives you instructions for The Call you'll get around mid-day on Friday to tape the on-air segment.

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  33. Is anyone else amused that "author writer" also has each vowel once and only once?

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  34. Did _anyone_ get this puzzle without consulting lists and doing research? Not me. I will tell you on Thursday where I looked.

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    Replies
    1. I just got it! And without using lists. Shocking.

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    2. When do I say enough and throw in the towel?

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    3. Typically at 3pm on Thursdays?

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    4. When lists and anagrams are involved, I usually throw in the towel on Sunday morning immediately after reading the puzzle. For some unknown reason, I took it up this evening and after a couple of tedious hours got the answer. (The comments about the countries of origin helped narrow down the second list.) I really should get a life!

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    5. Threw in the towel and went to the movies.

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    6. Liz,
      Let me guess. The star of the movie you went to see was Terry Jacquard, right?

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  35. I have been away from my computer and unable to post until today. I had the answer on Sunday. I am surprised that nobody has mentioned the actor, PAUL SCOFIELD, with all the others. My answer agrees that both the actor and the writer have the same nationalities, but are not American...

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    Replies
    1. I see SDB mentioned Paul Scofield. Try Bruce Davison...

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    2. Or try Joseph Schildkraut... or Thomas Sutcliffe.

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  36. The writer was fairly easy - what they are known for is what I prefer to read. The actor was really hard. Even when I saw the name I had no clue until I looked up a picture. Instantly recognizable.

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  37. Lovely weather huh Eco? I picked the wrong two days to go to Napa!!!! 🥵

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    Replies
    1. BB - Is this the new normal?? I always thought this area didn't get this hot until much later in the year!?

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    2. It might just be abnormally normal. It was 85° inside when I got home after 9 pm! Probably worse for Natasha, even though she isn't that far away it's often 5-10° warmer in her neighborhood. And another 10 miles east is 10° warmer still.

      Napa sounds brutal, so was Blainesville this week; at least most people there have air conditioning....

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    3. Eco: Yes, it is warmer where I live. Like death valley! Need to go swimming.

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    4. Natasha: Nice that the air conditioning finally turned on, isn't that what we get for these outrageous housing prices?

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    5. We broke a high temp record here in Seattle, today, both at the airport and downtown. It was at least 91 degrees. I don't have AC, and was outside bike riding and washing the car, etc. and didn't even notice. But it does get me thinking about air conditioning after reading your above post. Most who rely on it only use it occasionally, and this I find so ironic because it is just in those few times it seems to fail.

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    6. We had 97° yesterday and 95° the day before; Natasha's part of town is usually 5° warmer.

      The air conditioning wasn't broken, it just took too long to start up. It finally came on at my place around 7 pm tonight, probably an hour later for Natasha.

      It's going full blast now, even getting a little chilly inside (73° now), but I'll probably keep the cooling going all night. It's a luxury I can afford, and it's nice waking up to mid 60's in my place.

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    7. To each his own. I like it hot. The 91 we had here today is not at all hot, just perfect, although I am waiting for 100+ in Eastern Washington and Oregon so I can go enjoy that invigorating blast of warm I love so much. This is what I live for.

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    8. Eco: I do not have air conditioning. I should get it I guess. Just suffer. Glad you are cool.

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    9. It's the one advantage we flat-landers have over you hill people. Everyone down here has access to air conditioning, whether they want it or not.

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    10. Wow, why can't you control it??

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    11. Eco: So you have ac installed in your house and also have the breeze. How luxurious.

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    12. No A/C in my house, it's a system for this and other neighborhoods. It's neither controlled nor governed; but at least it's free.

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  38. Finally solved this, thanks to various bits from various posts here. Calls into question what is a reveal and what isn't.

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  39. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  40. LEN CARIOU + M = ALICE MUNRO

    My Hint:

    "The animal is also a resident of the country."

    Caribou, a.k.a. reindeer, are residents of Canada, although they do not vote.

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  41. LEN CARIOU, ALICE MUNRO

    > Finally got it. Sweet! And not as easy as pie.

    As in SWEEney Todd. Worst pies in London.

    >> Do you have to be very mature for this puzzle?

    > 83, on average.

    Len Cariou is 79. Alice Munro is 87.

    > The actor animal and writer animal do get together.

    ALICE – A = LICE. CARIOU + B = CARIBOU. They’re in there.

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  42. LEN CARIOU, ALICE MUNRO

    "Strictly speaking, that is." >>> ALICE MUNRO was born ALICE LAIDLAW, evoking strict laying down of the law.

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  43. I wrote, “Strike a letter from the author's first name to get an animal plural.” Then I fretted about whether as a confirmation of the author’s name my hint might be a guide to getting the actor’s, and so I deleted the message.

    I made no progress consulting lists of actors or authors. I got the answer by asking Google:

    “Julia Roberts””Bela Lugosi” name vowels

    all in the search line. That got me to a PDF document about “Supervocalics,” famous names that had all five vowels, and what those with the names were famous for. And voila. Given my relative ignorance of the author’s name, and complete ignorance of the actor’s, that was the only way I was going to get this one.

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  44. Len Cariou + M --> Alice Munro

    Cariou + B ---> Caribou. Caribou and reindeer are the same species, although caribou, found in North America and Greenland, tend to be somewhat larger than the Eurasian reindeer.

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  45. Both these people are Canadian: Actor: LEN CARIOU, Writer: ALICE MUNRO [Nobel Prize in Literature, 2013.]

    Both persons can legitimately be considered “famous” in my estimation.

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  46. Len Cariou → Alice Munro

    this is not as easy as pie. Len Cariou is best known for his portrayal of Sweeney Todd, the fictional murderer who, with Mrs Lovett, bakes his victims into pies. Yum!

    If my current answer is correct, I suspect some will argue about the rules set for this dreadful (Sweeney Todd first appeared in a Penny Dreadful) puzzle. There is a connection to transportation....
    Rules Set → Laid law, Laidlaw is Alice Munro's birth name, and was the largest provider of bus services - for example school buses.

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  47. Well, I had the author, but it was a huge stretch to expect (most) people to come up with Len Cariou (my apologies to Len).

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  48. Replies
    1. He plays NY District Attorney Robert Morgenthau in the current Netflix series about the racially charged Central Park jogger case, "When They See Us". With a Best Actor Tony as well, yeah, I'd call him famous.

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  49. Well, I got Alice Munro but gave up on the actor. Too tedious for me.

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  50. Actor - Len Cariou 

    Author - Alice Munro

    I said "solving this puzzle was about as much fun as applying for a reverse mortgage" because, these days, Len Cariou's fame is appearing with Tom Selleck in "Blue Bloods" on CBS. Since I never watch that TV show, these days I only see Tom Selleck on TV commercials plugging away for reverse mortgages.
    Len Cariou was a familiar face but I never knew his name.

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  51. I am with Natasha - I have Alice Munro written on my pad and all kinds of Lou Carine type names, but no Len Cariou - which I wouldn't have recognized anyway. I suppose it's a legitimate puzzle, but not a fun one. I guess there will be fewer than 100 "correct" entries, but they may just say. "we got over 350 entries" which doesn't mean they were all correct.

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    Replies
    1. I agree. This week she said they got over 300 SUBMISSIONS. I wish they could be consistent. I guess they are since it changes each week. I seem to recall hearing the author name, but I don't know where I heard it, and I don't think I ever heard of the actor. But even if we had known of these "famous" people, so what? It was an exercise in tedium with no reward when solved.

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    2. SDB - did you get the call?

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    3. No, by this week I meant Sunday.

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    4. As I recall they said they got 1300 [submissions/ responses/ emails/ something] to last week's AMAZING puzzle. I didn't think it hard, but didn't think it was a near census puzzle.

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    5. TomR: I looked at a jumble name solver and lists of Canadian Actors and still could not get it. Not my cup of TEA!

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    6. TomR: https://anagram-solver.net/aliceunro
      The actor's name comes right up! Now I know how to solve in future.

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  52. What is the smallest number of submissions ever received by NPR for a weekly puzzle?

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    Replies
    1. At least one NPR puzzle received only one correct answer.

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    2. Wow! I bet she/he got the call that week.

      Reminds me of the time some years ago (1970s?) when a scheduled 747 flight (I believe LHR-JFK) had only one passenger.

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    3. The answer is zero and the call went to a guy who wrote a program proving there was not an answer.
      Everybody makes mistakes, but Will dealt with this monster poorly.

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  53. I said "If I have the intended answer, interestingly, neither of these two people were born with their famous names. Another similarity is that both originated from the same country"
    Len Cariou was born Leonard Cariou according to Wikipedia, and Alice Munro was born Alice Laidlaw. Both born in Canada. I thought those clues were generic enough that nobody could figure out the answer from them, but I maybe shouldn't have said that bit about adding a letter to the actors last name to name an animal. --Margaret G, who started with the M's in an author's list, and that made all the difference.

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  54. I was sure it was Alice Munro, but, yesterday, gave up and went to see Rocketman. Time better spent.

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  55. Never would've guessed. No wonder I couldn't get it.

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  56. Palast Awarded Prize for Investigative Reporting by Mexico's ...
    https://www.gregpalast.com/palast-awarded-prize-for-investigative-reporting-by-mexi...

    2 days ago - Association of Mexico Journalists annual awards, Mexico City. ... without any doubt, that AMLO [now President Lopez Obrador] had won.

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    Replies
    1. My little brother in Olympia just got a portable AC for his place. Guess I have to get one before my return to the Emerald City. 95 at Seatac?-close to where our house is. Crazy.

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  57. Replies
    1. Yes indeed. And let's hope the door doesn't hit her in the ass. We taxpayers will have to pay for its repair.

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    2. I can't believe she might try to be governor, much less actually become one. They would have plenty of notice on what they would be getting.

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    3. Is this the first time she has made a public announcement and actually told the truth?

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    4. Can't wait to find out who / what will replace her??

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    5. Perhaps an overweight hyena with alopecia.

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    7. It would be a slight improvement. At least looking at it would not make you ill.

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    8. I'm going to take it down. Good riddance to SHS.

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  58. https://anagram-solver.net/aliceunro
    I just found a great resource!

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    2. That was one of the two I noted above>. There may be others. geofan

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    3. Mu birthday wish was referral to the horrible film Death wish 2018- starring kind of Len Cariou whose name popped up when I googled Leno. Never heard of him.

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  59. Another lame puzzle. If Len Cariou and Alice Munro are famous, I guess everyone is famous.

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  60. Drat, I had Len Cariou but as illiterate as I am could not turn it into Alice Munro

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  61. Clark--I feel your pain. Because I also came up with Len Cariou, but rejected him as anything but famous. I mean really . . . .

    (I kept trying to make something out of Louis Calhern + m--now he was a famous actor!)

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  62. Over the last fifteen years, Boston has become a popular movie and television filming location, so the demand for background talent (aka extras) is high. I’ve had lots of fun working on four films, including earning a Golden Raspberry Award nomination for Worst Ensemble for That’s My Boy. (I play a runner in the climactic marathon scene, so that makes me part of the ensemble, right?)

    When I figured out this week’s puzzle answer, I recognized Len Cariou’s name, but couldn’t place him. I looked him up on IMDB and, sure enough, WE’VE BEEN IN THE SAME MOVIE…SPOTLIGHT. I’m in the crowd at the baseball game and he plays the recently deceased and long disgraced former archbishop of Boston Bernard Cardinal Law.

    So not only did Len Cariou and I work on the same movie, he portrayed SOMEONE I MET. From ages nine to fifteen, I was an altar server (or “altar boy” if you’re a traditionalist). When I was in high school, Cardinal Law celebrated mass at our church one weekend and I was selected to be one of the servers, which was a big deal. Your standard mass is already a production, but a bishop’s involvement requires more orchestration. His gear—pointy hat (miter), red beanie (zucchetto), shepherd’s crook (crosier)—warrants a prop master, usually a younger priest, who accompanies the bishop and provides additional direction to the servers as to when to hand to or take from the bishop any of those props. I would learn years later that the other priest assisting that day was Cardinal Law’s rumored boyfriend. After the clergy abuse story broke, Cardinal Law resigned as archbishop and was assigned to a plum role at Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. A short time later, that other priest was elevated to Monsignor and conveniently reassigned to Rome for further studies in canon law.

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