Sunday, July 28, 2019

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jul 28, 2019): Abracadabra!

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jul 28, 2019): Abracadabra!:
Q: The word BEVY is "alphabetically balanced." That is, the first letter, B, is second from the start of the alphabet, and the last letter, Y, is second from the end of the alphabet. Similarly, E and V are each fifth from the ends of the alphabet. Can you think of a six-letter word related to magic that is similarly balanced?
Giving a clue is not easy this week, so I'll just say Wikipedia has multiple entries for this word. Also the answer isn't HOVELS.
A: WIZARD

222 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. The answer may be rearranged to two slang terms, neither of which is derogatory.

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  4. Hats off to Blaine, who gets up, solves the puzzle, finds a graphic, creates a clever title and (usually) a challenging clue, and posts it all by around 6 am local time.

    I don't know if he listens to a podcast, but the local station only broadcasts the puzzle at 5:40 or so.

    That's a flurry of activity; I don't even wake up until hours later.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, Blaine, The More Than Adequate (following on the puzzle creator's name).

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    2. Both Blaine and his blog are truly amazing! We ought never take for granted this forum he provides us weekly.

      LegoAddsThatWeAlsoOughtNeverTakeForGrantedThePuzzlesThatWillProvidesUsWeekly

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    3. How do you think he does it every week?

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    4. Yep... there's no site like Blainesville.

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    5. For my next trick I'll need a volunteer!

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  6. Sheesh! Tears welled in my eyes seeing this series evolve. After some hummus, I sensed the thirst in my zinnia and wetted the soil. I then did one pushup and one pullup and my face is redder than ever.

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    1. It was so dry the trees were begging the dogs.

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    2. That was a southernism," So dry the dogs were bribing the trees."
      The word that got me in my travels is prestidigitacion which reminded me of my last annual physical and why I really prefer a male doctor on my team. I am not sure this one works either.

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    3. I messed that up" So dry the trees were bribing the dogs."

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    4. My first thought this mourning (sic) was, prestidigitation, but I suspect it has more than 6 letters, although I did not check to see for sure.

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    5. You must be good at this if you can do a one handed card riffle shuffle?

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    6. Speaking of performing well with cards. The photo of the card fan Blaine chose is very poorly executed. The individual cards should be evenly spaced. It all comes down to practice.

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    7. What is a 16 letter unbalanced word that is related to Magic?

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  8. I have the answer and it's not BLAZOY!

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  9. I have two answers, but one of them will require some determination to defend.

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    1. One of them must be a GIVERT.

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    2. Or maybe it's that magic font LOVELO?

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    3. Hmm, I forgot about the 6-letter constraint, so I only have one answer after all. Sorry about that!

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  10. Frankly my dear I don't give a damn.

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  11. Reading the Sunday Times this morning I half expect a protector from all of this evil bubbling up in the world. Alas.

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  12. I agree that this is a most clever puzzle, but it made me feel old as it reminded me of one of my favorite TV shows ... of the 50’s.

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    1. feinstee, I am a fan, but I fear your comment may be TMI.

      LegoFandango

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    3. I'm #TeamLego on this one.

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    4. My "not a fan" response was directed at the posting as TMI, not what was mentioned in the posting. I was just going for subtler bluster.

      [Note: STRAP condemns the last 2 words in that statement!]

      Now we just need to remove one more comment.

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    5. Sometimes I feel as if I am a Flatlander playing three-dimensional chess with the superior inhabitants of Blainesville.

      LegoWhoActuallyPrefersToPlayOneDimensionalCheckers

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    6. With your link to the satiric novel you're no flatlander Lego; it's just hard to suggest folks remove their somewhat revealing posts without drawing attention to the posts that are revealing.

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  14. I'd be too scared to even try to create one of the clever clues that you guys always come up with.

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  15. What do you think of President Dinky Toadstool's grandstanding on Baltimore?

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    1. It was brilliant. I grew up in the Rust Belt and this is exactly how his base talks. They are in awe because he is saying what they can’t because of the liberal PC Police (not that it’s just immoral and wrong). They don’t blame the global economy for their jobs vanishing they blame immigrants and blacks. So yeah, 100 million of them are cheering today.

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    2. Eco - Ever since DT was elected, I have always thought "who says Roy Cohn is dead"?

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  16. Puzzles like this help me take my mind off all that’s going on in Washington.

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  17. I knew if I tried harder, I could identify the answer.

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  18. I published this same puzzle in Games magazine, August 2005 issue, Wild Cards section.

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    Replies
    1. "A plagiarism on both your houses."

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    2. I assume it's independent discovery, not plagiarism.

      I called these kinds of words "magic mirrors".

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    3. WS did spend 15 years at Games Magazine, editor from 1989 - 1993. One guesses he didn't abandon all connections after that.

      It could be independent discovery, though it could also be subconscious memories of having read the puzzle. I'll give the benefit of the doubt that it wasn't intentional plagiarism.

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    5. Nyet.

      eco, your phrasing was a bit confusing, but I figured out your intent.

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    6. As I recall that is the mansion the widow was told by a psychic she would have to constantly remodel, or add to, in order to keep on living. Were she alive today I have no doubt she would be a Trump supporter. I base this assumption on her critical thinking skills.

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  19. Blaine, as you told us what the answer isn't, didn't you in fact reveal what to me seems like a perfectly legitimate alternate answer?

    If a number of submissions to the NPR puzzle site are what you said the answer isn't, won't Will have to accept them?

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    1. I can’t see how a hovel has anything to do with magic.

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    2. It doesn't, but "hovels" is the only "alphabetically balanced" 6-letter English word besides the answer.

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    3. HIVERS = winters in French...

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    4. Yes, it's also an English word: HIVERS = Ones who collect bees into a hive.

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    5. Gotta add it to the Moby Word list.

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    6. It also has another great property. Move the S in HIVERS to the beginning and you get SHIVER, which we do when we are cold. And move the H to tne end and you get IVERSH, which is being somewhat like IVER.

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  20. The creator of this week's puzzle, Andy Blau, a magician who performs under the name Zoltan the Adequate, ought to change his stage name to either Zoltag the Adequate or Zolman the Adequate.

    Levo

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  21. Recently, I submitted an escape room concept with a magical theme. I called it "Now you see me..." I included several puzzles, most of them card-themed. Not to toot my own horn, but I think even Houdini would be impressed.

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    1. My maternal grandfather was a well known magician during his younger years, and knew Houdini. He was also a ventriloquist. I still have the dummy. No, not my grandfather, the figure. It even has tear ducts. I never saw him perform even a single trick as he had arthritis in his fingers later in his life. I, however, taught myself close up magic tricks several years ago, and worked part time in a magic store demonstrating card tricks, etc. I prefer tricks with normal cards etc., vs. gaff tricks.

      If you want to try something difficult, try to see if you can cut a deck of cards with one hand. You may be able to do it on your first try, but a spinning cut of the deck will take lots of practice. Then you can try and learn how to do a one hand riffle shuffle of the deck. Not easy, but fun. Then, if you enjoyed that, you might try learning how to perform Three-card Monte.

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  22. Replies
    1. That being Mr. Wizard's World

      http://www.mrwizardstudios.com/

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  23. If I have the answer, then bullet might be a clue.

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    Replies
    1. My hint was "How do you think he does it?" Referring to Pinball Wizard

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  24. There is a 'very strong' interpretation, a 'strong' interpretation and a 'weak' interpretation of the example 'bevy'. The very strong interpretaion is that the letters must be in alphabetical order. The strong interpretation is that early letters must be before late letters. My answer assumes a weak interpretation. Perhaps 'grit' is a better example.

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    1. Charley, point taken. Although, if the analogy is to a balance or scales, it would not matter which side the letters are placed on.

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  25. As the third Hardy Boy, Thomas, would have said a couple of weeks ago, "What is magic without a little herring de red in the recipe?" Shake and bake, and, as you said - abracadabra.

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  28. Replies
    1. No! Use the first link to submit your answer to NPR.

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    2. Blaine,
      I do not want to point it out, but you are missing a total give-away post. If you still are overlooking it, you may contact me via email at Gulliver's Travels, if you get my drift.

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    3. SDB is correct. I'd considered commenting on the offending post but didn't want to call attention to it.

      Delete
  29. I thought I'd be sitting in the corner wearing a dunce hat on this one but an answer came with the snap of my fingers.

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  30. Pro Wrestling Clue - A mainstay back in the WWWF days.

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  32. There area a lot of comics, pseudonym. Can you identify the ones you mean?

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    1. Clark has followed the prime directive, to "provide indirect hints to the answer to show you know it, but make sure they don't give the answer away."

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

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  33. Would the architect REM KOOLHAAS have a job if his name were Bill Jenkins?

    Would JAKOB DYLAN have a recording contract if his name were Bill Jenkins?

    Would GIANNIS SINA OUGKO ANTETOKOUNMPO still play in the NBA if his name were Bill Jenkins? Yes, he would.

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  34. Whew. I thought my last post might be a close call for the BA, eco.

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    1. I think I understood your intent, more on Thursday. Blaine has a tough job deciding which to shoot down.

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  35. An especially challenging puzzle. I had to don my thinking cap to solve it.

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  36. Correctomundo, eco. My reply query was rhetorical, just as you presumed. Pseudo's post allowed for such on a week, as Blaine noted, giving a clue is not easy. Testing the envelope can be good sport - as most everyone here appreciates.

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  37. I don't know how many ways there are to approach this challenge, but I think I must have tried nearly all of them.
    This is one of Will's best efforts in a while (with Zoltan's help, of course).
    Now I think I will work on the assertion that the answer is only one of three English six letter "alphabetically balanced" words.
    Jan said two. What is the consensus?

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    Replies
    1. Trump's trying to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census?

      Three (at least).

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    2. If we were in Scandinavia trolig would probably be a likely answer (the letters are also in reverse alphabetical order, Will Shortzson should pay attention).

      And since they're predominantly white Trump will allow that entry.

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    3. MJ - I can’t speak for the others, but I used magic.

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  38. And now for my next trick I will attempt to pull a hat out of this rabbit.

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  39. I just took a closer look at the photo of the card fan Blaine chose. It is not even real. He is holding the cards in a manner that cannot produce a fan. FAKE MAGIC! If you can't trust your magician, who can you trust?

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  40. Blaine, based on all the blatant hints this week, I've been wondering if you might consider setting up a gmail account for us to flag too revealing hints, without the need to point them out right on the blog?

    I realize this might be more work for you, but it could also be less to have other eyes monitoring comments.

    That's my magical two cents worth today. Let us know what you think.

    Anyone else here have a different idea?

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    1. I like it. This would provide a way to identify, without calling attention to, marginally errant posts. Often the errancy is culturally linked, so it may not be obvious to some, while being blatantly obvious to others.

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    2. Let's include sections for deleting puns and Philly sandwiches.
      And posts in Russian unless they are from Moscow Mitch.

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  41. Ahh? Ve vill be vatching our neighbors and reporting on them? As a token Deplorable here, I resemble that remark. "Culturally linked"? Yikes.

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    1. GB - I will better be able to explain the basis for my culturally linked comment on Thursday. Suffice it to say that whether a post appears to violate Blaine's directive strongly depends on where you live, etc.

      For example, to a New Yorker, the word Columbus will always be associated with Circle but to an Ohioan, it would be associated with his or her state's Capital

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    2. In my little town Columbus is known as the first European slaveholder, and some barely remember that was the name used for the holiday in October that is now Indigenous People's Day.

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    3. Also in Washington state I grew up on the banks of the Columbia river, names ,"sake of the hit Roll on Columbia.

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  42. Folks, I'll repeat my quote from Oscar Wilde: "Life is to important to be taken seriously". Calm down and enjoy.

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    1. Clark: Great post! Something does not seem right about reporting others on here.

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    3. I think Word Woman's suggestion is worthy of intelligent discussion without any need for hysteria.

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  43. Right you are, C a p. Maybe you could go over to one of the sports boards I frequent and throw some oil on some occasionally really rough and tumble water.

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  44. I missed the "related to magic" clue, so this took me longer than it should have to solve. But it reminds me of the joke on Mrs Maisel about the Mexican magician who said he would disappear on the count of three. Uno, Dos, and poof - he's gone, without a trace.

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    1. But do you know about he Hawaiian magician who can make a coconut disappear simply by palming it?

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    2. I still have not figured out what the puzzle is about by doing the puzzle in reverse.

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  45. For those who have solved the NPR puzzle this week, the current edition of Joseph Young's Puzzleria! (see Blaine's PUZZLE LINKS) features a "mathematical-as-Puzzleria!-gets" puzzle, titled Googolplex Paradox Slice. It is tenuously related to the present NPR puzzle. My puzzle involves the relative values of googol, googolplex and infinity.

    LeGoogolPlexiGlassHalfEmptyOrGlassHalfFull?It'sAllRelative

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  46. What did the Magic Fisherman say?

    "Pick a cod! Any cod!"

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  47. SDB - During your adventures jumping out of perfectly functioning aircraft, did you have the occasion to encounter The Flying Sorcerer?

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  48. I like this:

    https://www.upworthy.com/seesaw-border-kids-playing-us-mexico

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  50. BONUS CHALLENGE: (with apologies to eco)
    What is the longest word you can find that
    1. repeats no letters, and
    2. contains none of the thirteen pairs of letters that are equiduistant frm the end (or middle) of the alphabet: AZ, BY, CX, DW,... MN?
    For example, DUSTPAN, ANTIQUE, ANCHOVY and POTHEAD are 7-letter examples, and EMPHATIC, EQUATION, CANOEIST and DESPOTIC are 8-letter examples.
    The longest words I can come up with are ten letters long. I trust you Blainesvillians can do better.

    LegoWhoWouldRatherBeAnAntiquePotheadThanADespoticCanoeist

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    1. With apologies to you, the longest word that repeats no letters is readily found in a Google search. There are 2 with 15 letters.

      I'm a little confused about your second challenge. Do you mean the word can only have 1/2 of each of the 13 pairs - e.g. if it has an "A" it cannot have "Z", if it has "Y" it cannot have "B", etc.? And no repeated letters? So the theoretical longest is 13 letters?

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    2. Exactly, eco. You explained it perfectly. Can I hire you to edit my Puzzleria! puzzle texts?

      LegoWhoThanksecoForCuttingThroughTheConfusion

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    3. Except I read it as 2 different challenges, when in fact it was a single challenge with 2 criteria. Maybe we can collectively cut WS a little slack (just a little) for occasional ambiguity in his Puzzle's wording?

      I suppose that is why G*d created lawyers. That, and because G*d is the cruel and vindictive one of the Old Testament.

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  51. BACKGROUNDS and LUMBERJACKS each have 11 letters and no "equidistant pairs."

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. There is a 17 letter word without repeating letters, subdermatoglyphic, though it's not common.

      In addition to BACKGROUNDS I had THUNDERCLAP, also 11 letters.

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    3. Yes! (it was not in Wikipedia's list). But THUNDERCLAPS does not work.

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  52. From the list of isograms here and by inspection for equidistant pairs, there are no 13- letter, 12-letter, nor other 11-letter words that fulfill both criteria.

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  53. eco, SUBDERMATOGLYPHIC is a 17-letter isogram, but it does not fulfill the "no equidistant pair" criterion, as SH, BY, RI, OL, GT are present.

    Of course, any isogram over 13 letters must contain at least one equidistant pair.

    Another long isogram (which I have actually used in a presentation) is UNCOPYRIGHTABLE. Works of Federal employees are not subject to U.S. copyright; i.e., they are uncopyrightable.

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    1. SUBDERMATOGLYPHIC was an answer to Lego's first challenge, longest word with no repeated letters. UNCOPYRIGHTABLE was the 15 letter word I first indicated.

      By the way, does your interface not allow you to hit "Reply" to a previous comment? It's located directly under each post, though it's a subtle light green color on my computer. Using it continues a thread, rather than starting a new comment.

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    2. eco, note the wording on Lego's bonus challenge. It states "What is the longest word you can find that
      1. repeats no letters, and
      2. contains none..."; i.e., both criteria must be fulfilled. [emphasis mine]

      wet using "reply" I normally try to do so, but Bing does not always comply. For some reason I cannot blog-comment from Chrome, only from Bing. This time, Bing signed me out and messed it up. Sorry.

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    3. Ahh, I misread his challenge, thinking 1 and 2 were two different (but related) challenges. Thanks for clarifying; I think we agree that we have outwitted Lego with 3 legitimate 11 letter words.

      I refuse to use Chrome, Google knows too much already. Try Mozilla's Firefox. It's free and it doesn't track you, at least not too much.

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    4. I have used Firefox, but have not tried it with blog entries. YOur point with Google is well taken. I have Chrome set up to clear cookies when I exit, but of course all the data is stored somewhere...

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    5. Great interchange, you guys.
      ecoarchitect and geofan have indeed outwitted me with their trio of legit 11-letter words. My congratulations.

      LegoWhoAdmitsUtterDefeat

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  54. Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor

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  55. Growing up on the West coast and visiting NYC for the first time I realized I had never had an authentic Philly cheese steak. Something about how they grill the bread and chop up the steak on the grill. Awesome bread in NYC.

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    1. I imagine some Philadelphians might have something to say about considering a Philly cheese steak from New York "authentic". For authentic NYC bread, see bagels. New Yorkers might also claim pizza, but really, for that you need to go to New Haven, CT.

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    2. And if someone from NJ tries to pin you down on Taylor ham versus pork roll, run.

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    3. What’s the place in New Haven that has the odd shaped pies?

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    4. You mean Yale? Those are just odd shaped minds.

      Or do you mean something from this article?

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    5. But, if you really want the best pizza in NY, go to Razza in Jersey City.

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  56. We went to Pick a Bagel in Manhattan. I had an everything bagel with pecan/honey cream cheese. MY DIL was appalled. So not PC. Thanks for heads up on Taylor ham. I heard it was kind of a civil war there? Someday I will have a real Philly cheese steak, but not in Georgia.

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  57. What you want to find is either a plain, onion, or salt bagel with (plain) cream cheese, nova lox and a slice of Bermuda onion. Nothing fancy. And if you go into an NY deli for a corned beef or pastrami sandwich DO NOT ASK FOR MAYONNAISE!!!!!

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    Replies
    1. Sounds really good. They had some kind of cream cheese with lox mixed in?

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    2. Snobby NY-ers would turn their nose at cream cheese with lox mixed in. Has to be a separate slice.

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  58. And do remember the half sour pickles.

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  59. I just looked at the puzzle for the first time and submitted answer with 3 minutes to spare. Took just a few minutes to solve. Wonder if I will get the call. Hope there is magic for you all.

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  60. WIZARD

    "Water Closet" has the same initials as Wizard's Chest, a magic store here in Denver.

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    Replies
    1. Thought it was a reference to Harry Potter. British term.

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  61. WIZARD.

    “alphabetically balanced”

    WD = 4th letter from each end of the α-bet.
    IR = 9th letter from each end of the α-bet.
    ZA = first & last letters of the α-bet.

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  62. I wrote, “The answer may be rearranged to two slang terms, neither of which is derogatory.” If someone is a WIZ, that person is highly skilled somehow. If something is RAD it is cool or awesome.

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  63. W→I→Z⤵
    D←R←A⤶


    While we know Blaine is a wizard at these puzzles, the real hint was in "That's a flurry of activity": A quote from his misdirecting clue in the April 12, 2009 blog. The answer to that puzzle was Brazil → Lizard, sort of like wizard.
    Hats off: That puzzle occurred on Easter Sunday (as in Easter bonnets), and wizards are usually depicted wearing hats.
    who gets up: I suspect many of us who get up at that hour need to take a whiz, is that "your innate" (say it fast) sense?

    Speaking of lizards, did you know there is a species called Blainville's Horned Lizard?. This fulfills our FCC requirements for educational programming for children.

    DT's grandstanding... was actually a question about his standing as a Grand Wizard in the KKK. His target of Baltimore reminded me that the NBA team Washington Wizards used to be the Baltimore Bullets? This also led to Blaine has a tough job deciding which to shoot down."

    I assumed GB's comics question was to work in the word identify, as in Wizard of Id. I weakly tried to add Freud's ID as our prime directive,, as in "The id contains the libido, which is the primary source of instinctual force that is unresponsive to the demands of reality." Per Wikipedia.

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  64. Reference to an authentic Philly Steak-- it apparently needs Cheese_ whiz. Hence Wizard.
    Is this for real?. And it comes in a aerosol can?

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  65. After erroneously claiming to have an alternate solution, I proceeded to post a comment Blaine had to remove (first time for me, I believe). How embarrassing!

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    Replies
    1. What did our cruel master remove?

      If you live in Colorado, Washington, California or the other 8 states and DC where recreational pot is legal, you can trip out to this video. I'm sure I've posted it before.

      This scene is pretty good (balanced on the biggest wave, you race towards an early grave), but I really like it starting at the 8 minute mark.

      Delete
  66. Right you are, eco. The comics reply was to reference "id" by way of "identify". And to SuperZee's "culturally linked" observation, I also thought of the Washington NBA club. Talk about cultures. When the name change took place, I understand the owner was concerned about the violent overtones of the name Bullets. I also thought that it was ironic (if not an inside joke) that the name was changed to that of a top rank in good old Kappa Kappa Kappa. I'm surprised in the current PC/take-a-knee/woe is me culture somebody hasn't complained. It is indeed a strange world - culturally.

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    1. Until 2016 the KKK had largely become an historic relic, with notable exceptions in the Deep South, where they still terrorize.

      In recent times protestations against wizards have come from conservative religious groups, not from the PC crowd.

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    2. I have only been in Georgia for two years but have not seen much evidence of kkk terrorization. Stone Mountain where the KKK began and is the Confederate Mt. Rushmore with reliefs of Jackson, Lee and Davis is under heavy scrutiny and there is a push to sandblast it flat. I think that would be sad. There is also the removal of the Nathan Bedford Forrest statue in Athens- Namesake of Forrest Gump. Controversial area. There is quite a lot of terrorisation on the roads however here, including road rage, perhaps KKK influenced sujbconsciously.

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  67. I was correct, but, alas, my phone remained silent.

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  68. Eco, you just never know who'll think of what, I guess. I'm from the rural South - albeit not the deep South. Most of us have no more use for the white hooded thugs than we do for the black hooded ones of Antifa.

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  69. Wizard

    My comment, regarding 1950's TV, was in memory of Don Herbert, star of one of television’s earliest science education shows, “Watch Mr. Wizard,” which aired from 1951 to 1965. (The 1990's TV cartoon show, "Dinosaurs," included a parody version, with the host, Mr. Lizard.)

    Regarding Word Woman’s suggestion and my use of the term, “Culturally Linked.” A post last week read, “If I have the answer, then bullet might be a clue.” Having lived in the DC area since 1993, I immediately saw the link between the NBA’s Washington Wizards and their former name Washington Bullets. Did this violate Blaine's directive? As the post was allowed to stand, clearly Blaine didn’t think it a problem. However, knowing that Blaine and I have different backgrounds, I would have liked the opportunity to point it out to him, especially if I could do so, without calling undue attention to the post.

    The bottom line, from my perspective, is this is an example of the richness our different life experiences bring. To the submitter, a clever post, to me a potentially too revealing association, while to others who enjoy this blog, unremarkable.

    Would that all could learn to relish the richness and added flavor these differences bring to our world.



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    Replies
    1. Thank you, SuperZee. You understood exactly the spirit in which my original post was offered.

      Delete
    2. Most of the posts about answers and clues seem easy once you’ve got the answer because you’re looking at it in that light. Many people post “clues” that are so abstract you can’t tell if they have it at all. It all depends on your perspective. SuperZee is spot on. Many clues identified as TMI only see that way from a specific perspective or knowing the answer.

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  70. WD=fourth letters in the alphabet
    IR=ninth letters
    ZA=last and first letters, respectively

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  71. Wizard

    Ozempic starts with "Oz", like The Wizard of Oz. The Ozempic commercial uses the song "Magic", which was also in the Wizards of Waverly Place.

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  72. After solving this puzzle, I was going to post a link to the similar "La-Z-Boy" NPR puzzle I hazily recalled from the past. So, I entered "La-Z-Boy" into Blaine's search engine and, Voila!...
    there it was!
    But, I could not post the link, of course, because the example the puzzle provided of a 6-letter word with such "equidistant pair properties" was the word WIZARD.
    I now recall that I was frustrated by that 5.5-year-old puzzle because, while trying to solve it, I had assumed incorrectly that the answer (La-Z-Boy) had to be "alphabetically balanced" like the example given, WIZARD.
    There are no "alphabetically balanced" words longer than six letters apparently, so the next logical step, is seems, is to create "alphabetically balanced" word pairs or phrases. The first "Riffing Off Shortz and Blau" puzzle on tomorrow's Joseph Young's Puzzleria! (see Blaine's PUZZLE LINKS) asks you to find an alphabetically balanced three-word, 14-letter caption for an actual photo (albeit doctored) of a poet's wife.

    LegoWhoAdds"And,No,ThePoetIsNotToddRundgren"

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  73. WIZARD

    > I knew if I tried harder, I could identify the answer.

    Refers to the Wizard of Avis and the Wizard of Id.

    >>> Clue: Sunday comics
    >> Clark has followed the prime directive, to "provide indirect hints to the answer to show you know it, but make sure they don't give the answer away."
    > He took it to heart. [deleted]

    Refers to Johnny Hart, author of "The Wizard of ID". I don't think this went over the line.

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  74. My clue “...all that’s going on” in “Washington” referred to hoopla and the Wizards (NBA team).

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  75. My clue “this morning I half expect a protector from all of this evil bubbling up in the world” referred to the Harry Potter spell “Expecto Patronum,” which translates to “I expect a a protector.” The evil bubbling up in the world are the Dementors. If you’ve never been plagued with kids who love Harry Potter it would have been meaningless.

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  76. I was trying to some how clue-in later model P-51 Mustangs, British Spitfires and Lancaster's since they had variations of the "Merlin" V-12 engines. Try as I might, it was not meant to be.

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