Sunday, August 25, 2019

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 25, 2019): You Have Two Weeks to Escape

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 25, 2019): You Have Two Weeks to Escape:
Q: This is a two-week challenge. It may sound impossible, but it's not. You wake up trapped in a round room with six doors. A voice over a loudspeaker tells you that five of the doors are booby-trapped and will bring instant death if you try to open them. Only one door provides an opening that will get you out safely. The doors are evenly spaced around the room. They look exactly alike. Your only clue is that on the wall between each pair of doors is a large letter of the alphabet. Going clockwise, the letters are H, I, J, K, L and M. Which is the correct door that will get you out ... and why?
Read carefully. Don't choose a booby trapped door or you can kiss your *** goodbye!

144 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 two-week deadline of Thursday Sept 5 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 two-week Thursday deadline. Thank you.

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    1. Correction: The two-week challenge ends *Wednesday* Sept 4 at 3pm ET

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  2. I have an answer, somewhat consistent with Blaine's comment, but I don't feel sure and can't say for sure. There's a second option too for a safe escape.

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  3. I don't have a clue yet.
    Nevertheless, here is a sneak preview of a "Riffing Off Shortz And Zion Puzzle" that I will be posting on Joseph Young's Puzzleria! this coming Friday:
    "You wake up trapped in a round room with five doors. A voice over a loudspeaker tells you that four of the doors are booby-trapped and will bring instant death to an innocent person if you try to open them. Only one door provides an opening that will not take the life of this innocent person. The doors are evenly spaced around the room. They look exactly alike. Your only clue is that on the wall between each pair of doors is a large letter of the alphabet. Going clockwise, the letters are H, I, J, K and L.
    Which door is the correct door to choose, just because it is the right thing to do... and why?"

    LegoWhoAgreesWithSpikeLeeThatOneOughtAlwaysTryToDoTheRightThing

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    1. If you attempt to solve, and succeed in solving, the above "Riff-Off" puzzle, please do not post your answer until Wednesday Sept 4 at 3pm ET, which is the earliest that Puzzlerian!s are allowed to post their answers to the August 30th Puzzleria! (This time is also the earliest that you can post your answers to this particular two-week NPR challenge from Will Shortz and Lee Zion.)
      You may, of course, give hints to my riff-off puzzle
      any old time you want.

      LegoWhoHasVeryRecentlySomehowDevelopedAnIrrationalFearOfOpeningAnyDoorWhatsoever!

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  4. I don't want hijack your answers but here are THIS WEEK'S CARTOONS, ECO's previous contribution included.

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  5. Since this is a 10.25 day challenge and there's obviously no "right" answer (The madman who put me in this torture chamber is supposed to be a rational being?), why not make it an essay question with the most articulate support of any choice being the winner?

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    1. Paul,

      There other reasons why you might have awakened in a room like that. Think about it.

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    2. Hmm ... I can't recall ever being in a round room.
      Thanks, Clark, now I've got something to ponder.

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    3. You've never been:
      Under the US Capitol dome (and many state capitol buildings and city halls)?
      The Jefferson Memorial? Okay, not really a room, but fairly enclosed.
      National Gallery of Art (DC) Rotunda?
      The Pantheon in Rome?
      The Reading Room in the British Museum?
      Turrets in many old European castles?
      Temppeliaukio Church, Helsinki?
      The Mapparium at the Mary Baker Eddy Library in the Christian Science Headquarters in Boston? The acoustics inside the glass globe are amazing. If you go as a teenager, stand in the middle, where your voice is fully echoed, you shouldn't say "I am the one God, ruler of the Universe." Trust me.
      Numerous medical operatory theaters, including the one which Jan will soon visit at Massachusetts General in Boston?
      The rebuilt (or original) Globe Theater in London?
      A barn silo?
      A railroad roundhouse?
      The Chapel at MIT?

      Okay, I probably spend more time at these things than most. I missed the 5:40 airing of the puzzle, but after listening to it later I feel better about my answer.

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    4. The Fall River Historical Society has a lovely round room, too.

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    5. Well, OK, I've been in the U.S. Capitol rotunda, but I never woke up there.

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    6. I've slept in a room without square corners in a motel near Bryce Canyon NP. But, sleeping in a round room? Nah, I never woke up there either.

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    7. I've slept in a yurt a few times (or ger, as the Mongolians say, and pronounce gare).

      Does waking up in a room that is spinning around count?

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    8. I'd like to find a way to get someone out of an oval office that's got a boob trapped inside.

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    9. I was once attacked by a pair of red footed Boobies on Heron island. When the pizza delivery guy opens the wrong door is everyone killed?

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    10. Eco- The Mapparium is on my bucket list. Would Grants tomb also qualify?

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    11. They never talk about attacking red footed Boobies when they are selling you on a Galapagos Tour.

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    12. I was once savagely attacked by Peter of Peter Paul & Mary. But it's a long story.

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    14. Plantsmith - Grant's tomb (downstairs) is good. The list I made is hardly comprehensive, just off the top of my dome. The Mapparium is cool, the people are creepy.

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  6. I'm going to be in FL going into the second week. I don't care.

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  7. As I ate some leftover pizza for breakfast, the answer came to me...I think!

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  8. Replies
    1. Most famous episode of all time. I tried to watch it,but it was in French.

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    2. The one above is in English.

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    3. I think the French version may be Jean-Paul Sartre's "Huis Clos"..."No Exit".

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  9. Came up with two answers, neither of which is entirely satisfying, but both of which point to the same door.

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  10. Seems one must make some assumption(s) about the person who wrote the letters. Not sure such assumpmtions are valid.

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  11. Nary a peep from many of the usual suspects; maybe they're enjoying the waning days of summer?

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    1. Preparing to go back to teaching at the college tomorrow. Puzzle too challenging for me. I give up. I did notice something interesting that may be a lead to solution.

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    2. If the "only clue" is as stated, it seems to lead to a particular door. If that is not the only clue, another approach seems to lead to the same door. However, not wanting to fall into a trap, this seems to be a good one to consider carefully before barging through.

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    3. You haven't heard a peep from me because I mistakenly touched a booby-trapped door, which resulted in instant death.

      You can send condolences care of Blaine.

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    4. As interesting and challenging as this puzzle is, these kind of puzzles don't do much for me! I'm not giving up but I sure won't be trying real hard to solve it.

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  12. A round room is good if you are being pursued.

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    1. My uncle died trying to go pee around the corner of a round house.

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  13. Head for the Roundhouse. They can't corner you there.

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  14. I'm puzzled for sure. My Dad and my little brothers have a theory, but I'm not buying it. I think they're headed for instant death, unfortunately.

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  15. I think this was a pretty clever puzzle. I will be interested in hearing from others in a couple of weeks or so. No clue here.

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  16. Antonie De La Rosa paddle stands from San Francisco, California to Hawaii. Check this out:

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=4&ved=2ahUKEwjZpNi21J_kAhX6JzQIHWp-AosQwqsBMAN6BAgJEAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DPD31DHE5foA&usg=AOvVaw0a-4iF3GItmbZZgohWu7sp

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  17. As Snagglepuss would say, “Exit, stage right!” Of course we don’t hear from him any more.

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  18. Pull out your cell phone and order a pizza. Wait for a knock.

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    1. Like. But where do you give as your address?

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    2. One large Pepperoni, one large mushroom, no drinks, bring them to the round room and use the door without the instant death, please.

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    3. It could be, that the booby trap is unidirectional (only works for those exiting).

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    4. And it is free if not delivered in 20 minutes.

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  19. Somebody hold Will's beer, there is a special contestant next week.
    Could it be The Donald?

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  20. I think the key to this puzzle is "INSTANT" as in "instant death." There are not that many actions like "opening a door" that bring INSTANT death...

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  21. Thought for the day (not safe if you've eaten recently!):

    CNN reported that "The White House released a statement contradicting President Trump's claim that First Lady Melania Trump has "gotten to know" Kim Jong Un. In fact, the two have never met."

    While Melania has never met Kim Jon Un, Ivanka was on the last trip.

    Does that ruin your dinner?

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  22. wonder why started with h and not g.

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    1. It's like the old kids' joke "why was 6 afraid of 7?"

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    2. Song selection" The Animals.We gotta get out of this place."

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  23. Replies
    1. Either that or a new type of barrage balloon.

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  25. for all that is holy, I need a clue. I don't normally do puzzles but I heard it on the radio and its keeping me awake at night

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  26. It helps if you draw a diagram of the puzzle

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    1. Or hire, at great personal expense, an architect to do it for you. Of course the architect will not meet your deadline, draw something to their own taste, not yours, will violate local codes, and will draw something that you can't possibly afford.

      Works for me.

      Blaine's original hint, "read carefully," is important for solving the puzzle. I found listening carefully also helps. Sorry Unknown, we've all been in this place before, but local codes prohibit us from offering easy clues.

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    2. what about this, is it really obvious or really complicated?

      I have lots of guesses, is it obviously one door?

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    3. for the diagram, are the doors warped? or are they flat, regular doors? or does it matter?

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    4. I think The Doors disbanded when Jim Morrison died. Does that help?

      eco,
      I hope you didn't take those comments from your Yelp file? :-)

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  27. I am tempted to ignore the big letters and just use the open one.
    If that isn't an option, I don't have another yet. I am stuck on finding one that, given the dire certainly of error, seems foolproof.

    Will's supplier this week runs a nifty newspaper and has a sense of humor that gets him in trouble.
    Unless, of course, I am confusing him with the Korean ping-pong player.

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  28. I kept going around and around... but I think I finally figured it out! Guess I'll find out for sure next week.

    --Margaret G.

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  29. I was say too busy to spend much time on it Sunday, but I solved it while driving to the ocean Monday morning.

    I don't really have a hint I feel good about posting, but I will say that there are more hints than Will said. Read it carefully and use logic to solve it.

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  30. I live on the tiny Maltese Republic Island of “Gozo” where we enjoy summer long festivals. Last week we celebrated “Santa Marija Feast” with festivities which included religious observances, parades, fireworks and street horse racing.

    Anyway, to the puzzle: I have two plausible solutions. The first of which seems to be in accord with that postulated by the Pizza loving commentators, the second is based on the use of a code, intended or otherwise, which is embedded in the puzzle’s construction. Unfortunately, the two solutions do not feature a common door for safe exit.

    I’ve been solving Will’s puzzles for more than twenty-five years but since moving to the Island five year ago I’m no longer able to submit answers on-line due phone number complications.

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    1. So you have the dreaded red footed Boobies there? I hope not.

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  31. If Lawrence O'Donnell is correct, will the loan cosigner make a presidential resigner?

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  32. Unless they were to stray far from their normal nesting and breeding grounds, we don’t get Red Boobies on the Islands in the Mediterranean. Probably just as well as we have a lot of hunters on the Maltese Islands who seem ever on the look out for a new trophy to bag. Other than for the hunters, Red Boobies would probably adapt well to life here due to climate and habitat similarity with that their more normal home grounds.

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  33. I don’t suppose solving this puzzle hinges on having similar handwriting to Mr. Shortz, does it?

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  34. I haven’t a clue as to why this puzzle would hinge on will’s handwriting. But I did, only once, have the opportunity to meet with him a good many years ago on the eve of his investiture into the degree of “Doctorate “, at Wabash College, Indiana USA.

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    1. I’m essentially asking if the puzzle is based on the specific geometry of the letters on the wall in some way.

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    2. Noah,
      That is for you to figure out.

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  35. I'm wondering if the voice sounded like Morgan Freeman or was it more like the lady in my cell phone who loves to say, "Make the first available legal U-turn."

    Also, when I woke up, which (or is it what) direction were my feet pointing? And if I fell back asleep, would things be different when I awoke again? And Instant Death - the Instant part sounds kind of attractive. Like poof, your dead with no undue suffering and sobbing. It could be worse I suppose.

    And I do not have an answer yet, but it's only Wednesday.

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    1. I too kinda liked the idea of a quick and easy death, so I wasn't too worried about not solving the puzzle, but I feel better now I did.

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  36. Possibly forensic evidence could lead to a clue?

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    1. In 1973, when I was living in Spain, I had a bought of dysentery, but I didn't think of myself as being forensic.

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    2. I had to pull sentry duty once in basic training, but that wasn't in dysentery.

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    3. I heard that too, Jan. In Annie Hall, where you heard it in 1973.

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    4. In Jan's posting there is a clue to this week's Puzzle, is it a direct or indirect link?

      Funny thing is I'm not sure Jan knows it, and I only laugh because he posted a spoiler to the Bonus Puzzle. My small vengeance, if only I had the powers of blog administration, you'd be cowering at my feet!

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  37. So now we have football to watch . . . as Ted Karras to Tom Brady.

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  38. Replies
    1. That's what the tree said when it was logged out.

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  39. I was also, at first, but then I saw something simple, straightforward and obvious. So happy that I didn’t have to overthink it.

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    1. So what you’re saying is, if I’ve filled three pages of a legal pad with diagrams, figures, and the Morse code translations of the letters H-M... I might be overthinking it?

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    2. (....) (___ .) Did I remember that from boy scouts? I think i flunked that merit badge.

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  40. I don't think I've solved the puzzle, but if I did, I don't like it, and he did it again.

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    1. If only I understood what hugh was trying to say, I'd have a clue!

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  42. I *think* I have the same answer as at least many of the others here.
    If not for the (approximate) confirmation that others found the same answer, I would be very doubtful that it's the intended one. So I think I'm in about the same situation as Jan.

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  43. It took a long time, but at last here is a Bonus Puzzle, slightly related to this week's puzzle:

    A well known television theme song contains a 3 word phrase that includes a number. Increase that number by 1, and the result will be words that don't rhyme even though they only differ by their first letter.

    What are the words, what is the show, and how is this related to this week's puzzle? Ron, try to hold your fire for at least a little bit.

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    2. I should have said Ron, and others, hold your fire and let others try to solve this.

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    3. Thanks Bostonian, I think you're new here? If so, welcome. There are fewer rules for Bonus Puzzles, but it's nice to let people ponder, especially when many seem to struggle with the main puzzle this week.

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    4. You're right; I am new here. Still pondering over how the bonus puzzle might be "slightly related" to the main one.

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    6. Again I say, "others, hold your fire and let others try to solve this."

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    7. Thanks Jan, your voodoo doll has been unpinned from my task bar.

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    8. Eco - I always liked that short lived TV series "The Day The Earth Stood Still" and it's catchy theme song:
      Klaatu Barada Nikto

      ;)

      I still liked the real answer!

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    9. ECO-And could this show have anything to do with cars or a particular car? Marco Polo? And if you lessen the number by one could you get a song having to do with a particular instrument?

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    10. Hmmmm, while transportation was important at the outset of the show, and was a constant theme throughout, cars were not.

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    11. Well I guess it is not Knightrider.

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    12. My sacred vow is to never, ever, have a Bonus Puzzle related to David Hasselhoff.

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    13. eco, are you sure it's not a sacred cow?

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    14. David is one of my heroes, Underrated after his magnificent performance in "Baywatch 2". Magnificent.

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    15. "When television is good, nothing--not the theater, not the magazines or newspapers--nothing is better."

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    16. "When it comes to the Presidency, nobody would be better than Donald Trump."

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    17. Due to my frustration with this week's puzzle, I thought my "go to" person would give me the sccop on this week's answer but, noooo, she is no longer relevant!
      So, I have decided to seek a higher power!

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    18. Higher power like 10^100 (spelled properly, of course). . .

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    19. Don't tell us you're Duckduckgone?

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    20. How strange. It was the absolute first thing that popped into my brain. As for our current puzzle though, I'm afraid I'm not much of a knewer.

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  45. are the letters uppercase? or does that matter?

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  46. Is there any indication that the loud speaker thingee is a two way affair?
    I think I recognized the voice and if I could just get a chance, I can explain to her that it was all a misunderstanding and she should see her way clear to let
    me out without blowing the whole damn thing up.

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  47. Like some others here, I enjoy writing computer programs/scripts to solve these puzzles when possible..
    This time, the one I wrote was incredibly short, and didn't seem to do anything.

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  48. Maybe, just maybe I got the theme song and the words. The rest? Nada.

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    1. If you're referring to the Bonus Puzzle, I think you, and all others, will be disappointed in the connection. It's pretty simple, aka lame.

      I hope you don't yell at me, but do tread carefully and repeat your breathing exercises. I'll explain before Labor Day.

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  49. You are old, Father William, the young man said, and your hair has become very white...

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  50. I've arrived at an answer and then submitted an entry. I hope it's correct! My partner thinks I've just isolated a door without proving why that door won't kill me. We'll see...

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    1. I too noticed the "and why?" and suspect it is ambiguous as to its intended meaning. It may mean nothing more than how did you come to your conclusion of which door is the way out, rather than exactly why. I also think most people are overthinking the problem. Anyway if Trump doesn't start WWIII we will find out soon.

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    2. Overthinking – yes! I have already made my escape.

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  51. Jimmy Kimmel has apparently only just recently heard of Dildo, Newfoundland, and has put it on the map so to speak. This has lead to his now running for mayor of Dildo. Dildo, Newfoundland is a stand up community and I do hope this will not lead to an erect shun.

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  52. What’s that saying? Life is lived between A and Z? Or something like that.

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  53. Berf mentioned a "second half" to this puzzle, to which concept jan replied "?".
    Will might provide such when he realizes that both of the answers he has received so far are wrong.

    I have started thinking of five empty portals with the sixth revealing one of the fragrant oatmeal cookies I have in the oven.
    The outcome of a mistake is less dire, but the idea is the same.
    The best, in fact the only, answer I have increases the odds of a favorable outcome from 1 in 6 to 1 in 2.
    It is a nice answer, but must be a wrong one.

    I have the sense unease about this one that the Sunday Puzzle often gives.

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  54. Oh, heavens. I think I figured it out, but I would have hoped for more elation, less "Really?!".

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  55. Okay the submission period is over, this thing is killing me, what does have?

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    1. Yes the submission period is over, somebody please step up and put me out of my misery immediately.

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  56. As the sedative wore off, I awoke groggily to find myself alone in a large round chamber. My head began to clear, and I remembered who I was. I was a Yeoman Third Class in the Federation Starfleet, and this chamber was one of the docking bays in the spaceport on which I was stationed. Then a sense of panic arose as I recalled why I was here. I had been tried by a military tribunal for treason against the Federation. I had merely misfiled some of the Commander's secret documents, but they had found me guilty and sentenced me to death by spacing!


    My eyes quickly scanned the chamber to note the six bay doors arrayed around the perimeter. They all looked exactly the same, but with the artificial gravity produced by the spaceport's rotation, I knew that the door in the direction that felt like "up" would lead back into the spaceport. I desperately climbed toward it, but found that the interior controls had been disabled!


    It was at that moment that I heard the other five bay doors begin to slide open. I frantically tried to grab something, anything, to hold on to, but as the air rushed past me, I was swept along with it - out through the nearest open door and into the cold emptiness of space. As the last breath was forced from my lungs, I cursed Commander Shortz and the tribunal that had done this to me.

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