Sunday, September 01, 2019

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sep 1, 2019): You Have Less than One Week to Escape

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sep 1, 2019): You Have Less than One Week 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?
Shh! Don't give the answer away before the Wednesday 3pm ET deadline.

Edit: The room is round, so the spot where the letters wrap must be important otherwise it could have been a single wall with several doors. Also, the letters are *between* the doors. So this points to the exit door being being between M and H, but why? Reread the question and focus on opening and out; they seem to be key.
A: When marked with "OUT" the door between M and H forms a word for an opening — "MOUTH".
This is my theory as to the intended answer, but I'll have to wait to Sunday to have it officially confirmed.

159 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 Wednesday 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 Wednesday deadline. Thank you.

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  2. Didn't we have a similar puzzle last week?

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    Replies
    1. Yes, and it's still INSTANT DEATH if you submit the wrong answer...

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    2. Well I submitted several days ago, so I guess I'm alright.

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    3. We tried to reach out to the man who died (opening the wrong door), but he was unavailable for comment...

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  3. Turns out that once you escape the round room, avoiding the Instant Death, that room is itself embedded in another round room. With more Instant Death. But no large letters this time.

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  4. I'm going to go out on a limb and say I think I detect a lack of enthusiasm this week.

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    1. hijack + limb contain the letters in order HIJKLM + ABC...

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    2. Sorry to hijack your limb. Hope it hasn't caused an instant death...

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    3. enthusiasm noun
      en·​thu·​si·​asm | \ in-ˈthü-zē-ˌa-zəm
      , en- also -ˈthyü-\
      Definition of enthusiasm

      1a : strong excitement of feeling : ardor did her work with energy and enthusiasm
      b : something inspiring zeal or fervor his enthusiasms include sailing and fishing
      2a : belief in special revelations of the Holy Spirit
      b : religious fanaticism

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    4. Just biting my tongue until the deadline.

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  5. Come on gang, go back to your bedrooms and go back to sleep!

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    Replies
    1. Watch out for the red footed Boobies. I think they over winter there.

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  6. Ted Allen. Chopped.
    I had to look them up.

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  7. I may have the answer and it is, like others have posted, based on a careful reading of the puzzle, then thinking it through to a logical conclusion. It was a tough puzzle but I think my answer is correct. I'll find out Wednesday.

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  8. A clever answer is certainly in store for us later this week.

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  9. I don't think I have ever seen a hurricane like Dorian. It is so powerful and almost stationary. Wow!

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  10. We turn on to the home stretch.
    I have a nicely affirmative answer that solves 2/3 of the puzzle.
    I look forward to finding out how that final 1/6 is unequivocally accounted for.

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  11. After lots of consternation, today I entered the answer I came up with when the puzzle first aired.

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  12. Well, I sent in my guess and explanation today. Is my answer logical? Sort of. Am I confident? No.

    I did think that the on air Maroc thing was lame-o and that the "celebrity" seemed sorta slow. And only three categories? WUWT?

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    Replies
    1. Oh, you must mean the "celebrity" I had never heard of before.

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    2. I was not aware of him either, but hey, there are plenty of celebs that I am unaware of. I await the correction.

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  13. These past three or four days I have been listening to my little Sony shortwave radio trying to hear any hurricane reports from the Caribbean. It has been zilch this time around. Maybe it's a combination of Ham radio going the way of the dinosaur or probably Dorian has just caused absolute havoc down there. Just not hearing anything from that region. Usually I can hear somebody talking about conditions. I am just in awe at the damage I've seen so far in the news.

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  14. The safe exit door is the one between K & L.

    Main Hatch Is Just Knob Left

    Each letter is the initial letter of a word. The doors and letters are equally spaced, which is a hint that the words do not necessarily begin with H, although they do progress in order, but may begin with any of the letters. The letters should form the words Main Hatch Is Just Knob Left. The puzzle does not state that the doors are on the wall, but that the letters are. Therefore the doors could also be on the floor or the ceiling.

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  15. For whatever it's worth, REUSED POLKA is an anagram of LOUDSPEAKER.
    Suppose the loudspeaker is mounted on the wall above the door between M and H. Further suppose all the doors have OUT printed on them. That might make some kind of sense. I know, stepping into a MOUTH seems like "out of the frying pan into the fire" but you could also exit through a mouth, I guess.
    But really, as I expressed earlier, I see no reason to expect a reasonable solution when dealing with a sadistic psychopath.

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  16. According to the wording, you are looking for the door that provides an opening that will get you out.

    When marked with "OUT" the door between M and H forms a word for an opening — "MOUTH".

    Last week's hint was "... kiss your *** goodbye" which hints at what you can do with your mouth.

    This week's hint was "Shh! ..." which hints at bringing a finger up to your mouth.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. I went with this answer too. That's why I said I was biting my tongue.

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    3. This answer (to use the very careful wording the Sports Illustrated chose nearly forty years ago to describe Yankees fans' salute to George Steinbrenner) "creates a partial vacuum with its mouth."

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    4. Huh? Is today Wednesday? And is the deadline today?

      I used the same logic as Blaine, though I started with words that might fit between the various pairs of letters, and after seeing M(out)H I looked at the wording again.

      A rare occasion where I understood Blaine's witty (and confirming) clue. Though I thought the SHH! might refer to SHOUT!

      From my hints:
      "I ... can't say for sure." I can't mouth an opinion.

      "There's a second option too for a safe escape." My first thought was HoudinI, but that didn't make sense.

      "after listening to it later I feel better about my answer." If you listen carefully WS's voice changes pitch slightly when he says opening and out.

      "maybe they're enjoying the waning days of summer?" Perhaps enjoying the great out-doors?

      "In Jan's posting there is a clue to this week's Puzzle, is it a direct or indirect link?" Jan linked to Woody Allen's "Annie Hall". Allen was also the director of "Interiors".

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  17. First thoughts:

    The door between J & K will allow you to exit the room without “instant death.”

    To rig the door to deliver “instant death” requires certain lethal devices; all the letters except J & K start a word for a lethal device that can be rigged to deliver “instant death.”

    H = HANDGUN or HAND GRENADE.
    I = an IED (Improvised Explosive Device).
    L= LANDMINE.
    M= MACHINE-GUN or MOLOTOV COCKTAIL.

    No devices beginning with J or K begin a word that will deliver “instant death.” Neither a JAVELIN nor a KNIFE can be rigged to deliver “instant death” at the opening of a door.

    So any door that has H,I,L,M on one of its sides will produce “instant death.” The only door that does not fit this situation is the door between J & K.

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    Replies
    1. A jolt of juice or a well-placed karate kick can each be lethal in a short time span.

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  18. I'm with Blaine. That was my submission.

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  19. I thought the answer for this puzzle would be the door between K and L. The reason is this:
    Out of all the letters, HIJKLM, only K and L form an enclosed space between them . The right side of the K having that little v shape and the vertical side and the L butting up next to it. Now,
    putting a door between them "provides an opening" to it, as called out in the puzzle.

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  20. I considered the MoutH opening solution, but finally opted for the door between H and I. "Instant death" begins with I and ends with H. Therefore, the H - I door falls outside the zone of instant death into which the other five doors fall. I will be interested to see the official solution as I asl considered two other crazier potential solutions. Then again, crazy is in the loudspeaker of the . . . . you know.

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  21. I thought you should pick the door between the H and the I. If you continue wrapping the alphabet around the room, the letters of the words IN and OUT bracket that door.

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    Replies
    1. And the word HINT also surrounds that door, too.

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  22. Applying some meta-logic to the puzzle, why does the room have to be round? You could have just as easily had 6 letters on a single wall and 5 doors between them. The obvious answer is that the door between the last letter (M) and first letter (H) are important. Furthermore, why this sequence of letters? Why not A, B, C, ...? Or why not a shorter or longer list of consecutive letters? Again it seems to point to M and H being important. The third question is why put the doors between the letters? Why not have a number of labeled doors? That seems to say that something goes between M and H which I say is "OUT" to form "MOUTH" which is also an opening. Other thoughts?

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    1. Here's my thought. You should be writing the future puzzles, NOT Lee Zion.

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    2. Blaine, you do make good points, but I have a problem with having to take assumptions where other assumptions could lead to a different answer.

      The beginning of the puzzle starts with "It may sound impossible, but it's NOt". If you would continually wrap the letters around the room, N would land on H and O would land you on I. That would indicate the door between H and I, explain the reason the room is round (since the letters would need to wrap), why they start with H, and explain as to why the letters fall between the doors as opposed to on them.

      You could also assume that the room is a clock, and that "Only one door" is a reference to time, at which 1:00 is the door between H & I. This would assume that H starts at 12:00, but gives logic as to why the room is round as well.

      I'm just saying that even when someone arrives at "the answer", they can't be completely convinced this is the intended answer.

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    3. I had thought of the "clock" solution as well. My guess was between H & I because that is "one" o'clock. I didn't submit anything though because I did not feel totally sure...

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  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  24. HI -> The only state abbreviation
    HI -> If you continue to write all the letters around the room - the door between H and I will have 5 letters while the other have 4.
    HI -> Because the letters of OUT after doing the above appear in those columns (as well as the letters of NOT - "it may seem impossible, but it's NOT"

    All of these answers suck in my opinion - so Im hoping someone comes up with something better.

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  25. Good puzzles have good, definitive solutions with minimal assumptions needing to be taken. If any of the answers above are correct due to their implied "logic", I would rather open one of the other 5 doors.

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    1. I love your answer the best. Instant death would have provided me more satisfaction than working on this puzzle.

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    2. And we had to wait for over a week and a half for this...

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    3. I should have just waited instead of putting my neurons through this ordeal.

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    4. Wrong! Unless someone got the call and informs us of the intended answer we will still have to wait until next week on Sunday. But with so many plausible answers I would say the puzzle is very flawed.

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    5. I hope I'm delightfully surprised with a clear winning answer. That would be wonderful.

      Phew. Okay. Venting over. I'm OUT.

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  26. Blaine,

    I also thought it should be between the M&H, but for a different reason. I assumed I was in there because it was in my home (M&H.) and I placed myself in it to go to sleep.

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    Replies
    1. Do you really have a round bedroom with 6 doors and letters between each? And how often have you awakened trapped in your bedroom?

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    2. Yeah, I guess you're right...spoilsport!

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    3. Im still trying to figure out your previous week's comment of figuring it out while looking at leftover pizza

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  27. This is the answer I submitted. It looks pretty simple compare to these “MOUTH” and “NOT” solutions. Maybe I didn’t take everything into account . . .

    The correct door is the door that exists between the adjacent pair of letters H and I. The reason is perceptual (has nothing to do with meaning). In the round room, each door exists between a pair of adjacent alphabet letters. The correct door is indicated by something that is visually different about one of the adjacent letter pairs. The letters are capitalized and are viewed upside down. Either the captive is standing on his head, or the letters were printed upside down to begin with. When seen upside down all the adjacent letter pairs look different than right side up, except for the pair capital H and capital I. These two letters look the same whether viewed upside down or right side up, making them visually different from the other letter pairs, thus marking the one correct door for safe escape.

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  28. I have now come to the conclusion that were this an actual puzzle with real mortal consequences that EACH one of us had to solve, then Blaine's Blog would be greatly reduced in size.

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  29. Not having some solved a puzzle, is rarely a source of pride. But I’ll gladly make an exception for this two week challenge.

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  30. Fairly often, too often actually, Will's puzzles cause me feelings of unease.
    We'll see if he comes up with an answer that satisfies everyone. Or anyone.
    As did Jan, I thought continuing wrapping the letters made sense, since Will said they were the "only clue."
    Doing this gives six sets of letters. only one of those sets, MSYE, provides a word (an anagram as fate would have it): YES.
    If there is ever a word that you want to see when looking to avoid total destruction, it has to be "yes."
    The big "YES," now on the wall, then points to the two doors adjacent to it.
    But not more, leaving only a fifty/fifty chance of escape, not as good as hoped.


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  31. I can better appreciate the conundrum the Brits are having with Brexit!

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  32. Everyone is leaving out the fairly obvious explanation:
    The letters around the room can be used in the sentence, "Hi, I'm Jim Milk." a quick Google search for "Jim Milk" reveals and address in Kailua, HI. H-I is obviously the door that leads to freedom.

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  33. I did not a door this puzzle and stopped looking after awhile.

    Good choice.

    It's the "I can't get no satisfaction" challenge so far. . .

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  34. I went with M-H door also, but for a different reason. All the other doors are indicated by letters that are sequential, leaving no gap or opening between them. M-H clearly has a gap or opening. I do like Blaine's MoutH logic. I also noted that the ABCDEFG letters are musical notes and with the exception of c, when written in lower case cursive, they have loops/enclosures in them. Which made me think lower case, and both the i and j have single dots. Turns out that does not seem to be any type of braille or international symbol for out or exit. Of note, the only letter not represented in the words in the puzzle is J but I couldn't make anything happen with that.

    I hope that the answer is very clever and satisfying on Sunday. I burnt way too many brain cells on this one, and I like to save them for the vodka.

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  35. It was never mentioned if the person trapped in this room for ten days, had access to a porcelain throne.

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    1. Along the line of the double letters theme, I thought of OO on each door, so the door to the right of L would be LOO.

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    2. The first strawbale building I designed was for a Waldorf School; they changed the original gardening classroom into a weaving studio, which I called the LOOM Room.

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  36. Various theories that struck me:
    1. The letters between the doors could be large MINISCULE letters, i.e. h i j k l m. Only i and j have tittles. This fits with the early hint "my eyes are up here", all the talk of boobies, and Blaine's hints chock full of double letters.
    2. If one sings the alphabet song starting with H, it goes H I J K L M NOP. If an E is added to NOP, it anagrams to OPEN.
    3. As others have noted, HI is a greeting.
    4. The "forensic approach" assumes that you (the body) were brought in through the un-booby-trapped door. Look closely for any evidence of dragging a body through each door (fabric particles, footprints, scratching, hairs, etc.) and exit there.

    Geofan

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  37. I went off in a completely different direction and picked the door between L and M.

    “The Apollo Lunar Module, or simply lunar module (LM, pronounced ‘lem’), originally designated the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM), was the lander spacecraft that was flown from lunar orbit to the Moon's surface during the U.S. Apollo program. It was the first crewed spacecraft to operate exclusively in the airless vacuum of space and remains the only crewed vehicle to land anywhere beyond Earth.

    “Structurally and aerodynamically incapable of flight through Earth's atmosphere, the two-stage lunar module was ferried to lunar orbit attached to the Apollo spacecraft command and service module (CSM), about twice its mass. Its crew of two flew the complete lunar module from lunar orbit to the surface and later _flew the ascent stage back to the command module_, whereupon it was discarded.”

    -- Wikipedia

    My personal opinion: this puzzle sucks. Worse even than the upside-down alarm clock puzzle.

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    Replies
    1. Chuck, agreed.

      Although I did learn "HIJKLMNO" is a representation for H2O.

      Definitely not worth it.

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    2. This puzzle couldn't hold water.

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  38. Another approach - only works if you sleep with a cat.
    Have the cat open each door until the opening is found. As is well known, the cat has 9 lives and there are only 6 doors. So when your cat opens the un-booby-trapped door (on the nth try), it will have 10 - n lives left. So you will exit the room alive and with a cat with 10 - n lives remaining.

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  39. I hope I don't get so much wrath for the
    Bonus Answer: Clearly the greatest song ever written: "Five passengers set sail that day on a three-hour tour." Changing three to four yields three words that should rhyme, but don't. Ron will argue that four and tour rhyme, but they don't. Four and tor rhyme.

    Connection to the main puzzle: the people are trapped and trying to get out - I warned it was a lame connection. And transportation is a main theme, just not cars - except for Gilligan's bamboo taxi, which was clearly the inspiration for the Yugo.

    I hope you don't yell (Howell) at me, but do tread carefully (walk Gingerly) and repeat your breathing Gilligan - gill again exercises. I'll explain before Labor Day (end of Mary AnnSummers. And yes, I know summer doesn't officially end until the Equinox. Get over it.

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    Replies
    1. eco, I can never find anything tropical at the grocery store in the Gilligan Aisle.

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    2. Hugo there expecting coconuts and palm trees after all. . .

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    3. In Ithaca (NY) there was a women's clothing store called "Isle of You' (say it fast and gag!).

      Not sure they were also aware that Ithaca is a Greek island, they would have scored a Homer Pun if they did!

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    4. Those opening and closing credits are from the second season of the show. In the first season's credits, you can allegedly see a US flag flying at half staff, as the Minnow leaves the harbor; the scene was filmed on November 22, 1963.

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    5. Mostly true, and good trivia. According to Mental Floss the harbor scene was scheduled for Nov 23. Honolulu Harbor, where it was filmed, was closed for 2 days after the assassination as a period of mourning. So the filming was a little later.

      The first season also had the lyrics "and the rest" instead of "the Professor and Mary Ann." Russell Johnson and Dawn Wells were rightly offended, and Bob Denver took up their cause with the producers, who had the lyrics changed.

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    6. 77 Sunset strip. with my reference to cars. And all start with same letter. Oh well.

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  40. I picked the door between J and K, since K is a symbol pointing the way out.

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  41. I guess I was more focused on the negative, ``I don't want to die,'' than the positive, ``I want to get out.''  So I submitted the door between I and J.  Each of the other letters can be anagrammed with ``DIE'' to get a common word--HIDE, DIKE, IDLE, DIME.  So, the door between I and J is the only one that doesn't implicitly say DIE next to it.

    I am not saying I prefer this solution over others posted here.  I do know that members of STRAP will not like this solution, if that's what it is.

    So far we have MH, HI, IJ, JK, LM.  Does anyone have reasons for KL?

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    Replies
    1. Oops. SDB has KL. So we have all 6 doors.

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    2. From my above discussion, I favor:
      1st choice MH
      2nd choice IJ
      3rd choice HI
      The cat and forensic models could yield any door.

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    3. I had a KL answer at the 12:09 time slot for different reasons. Basically, it's:
      Out of all the letters, HIJKLM, only K and L form an enclosed space between them . The right side of the K having that little v shape and the vertical side of the L butting up next to it. Now, putting a door between them "provides an opening" to it, as called out in the puzzle.

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  42. I think it is the door between M and H.
    M=13
    H=8
    MxH=104 as in "10-4" -- the radio code meaning "Affirmative."

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  43. I think it’s between K&L
    Process:

    Convert all the letters into their number value.
    8 () 9 () 10 () 11 () 12 () 13 ()
    Add them with their neighbor # to identify each door.
    8 (17) 9 (19) 10 (21) 11 (23) 12 (25) 13 (21)
    Turn them back into letters
    H (Q) I (S) J (U) K (W) L (Y) M (U)
    Since this results in double U’s the correct door is between K &L, which is door W.

    The “Shh” hint, and the “sounds impossible” hint, point to the UUs, because the most common word with two Us in it is Vacuum. Sound is impossible in a vacuum.

    🤷‍♂️

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  44. My answer is the same as Blaine's.
    I think a proper answer to this puzzle should give the solver the sense that, yes, this must be the answer.
    And I don't think any of us got that sense. I can only suppose that Will did!
    (I'm not assuming that my answer is right here -- although it does seem to be the best of the ones posted in comments, to me, and the possibility that there is a better answer, that nobody in Blainesville thought of, is *extremely* slim, imho.)

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    Replies
    1. Au contraire. I did get that feeling when I came up with my answer. All the doors would have a knob or some other opener, and it fits perfectly with the sentence/phrase I came up with. I can also see why Blaine would get the same sense when he came up with his solution.

      In the past, when WS has presented us with 2 week challenges he has said on air that he read each and every one of the submissions, but they were what he called creative challenges. I am curious if this will be revealed come Sunday.

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    2. SDB - If you are right about the "creative challenge", I wish WS would have said so. Right now I am very disappointed with the results.
      Maybe we will surprised on Sunday.

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    3. I think this has been a 2 week period of "creative rationalizations." I'm not an Occamist, but usually the Puzzles go for the simplest solution, which I think is putting your foot through your M-out-H.

      Looking forward to the Sunday rage. Usually WS does an easy puzzle after a hard one.

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  45. So, nobody here got The Call? Or will that come Thursday so as to give WS a couple of days to read after returning from Moroc?

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    1. They never said why the deadline was moved to Wednesday, usually that's for a holiday like Thanksgiving.

      From what people have said the initial call is from an intern, confirming that you can do the on-air puzzle with WS and the host on Friday. We know the intern has the answer (they've accidentally posted it in the past) and can thus determine the winner without WS.

      So my guess is WS is not available Friday, and they moved the on-air taping to Thursday.

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  46. Going around the room
    H door I door J door K door (etc)
    Since only "one door" has an opening to safety, and "I" is a way to represent the number one, you want "I door," the one between I and J. I think that is as good as any I've seen so far.

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  47. I am amazed that I got the same answer as Blaine! I said "I kept going around and around... but I think I finally figured it out! Guess I'll find out for sure next week." - and I thought for sure he'd remove my post if I were right, since I said "out" twice. Sadly, I did not remember to submit my answer in time. Oh well! It will be interesting to hear/see the answer on Sunday. --Margaret G.

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  48. Right, eco. That one day, Thursday, notice was my experience. And if you are correct about this week's taping, the initial call would have been made today - and apparently nobody here got it. So, we wait.

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  49. BREAKING NEWS! We're all wrong, and the correct answer is the opening going to AL.

    Stay tuned, I will have an intern make a diagram with a Sharpie.

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    Replies
    1. All DT had to say was that he made a mistake and own up to it. But he won't apologize for anything!

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    2. Love this response! I needed a laugh after a frustrating 10 days trying to solve this puzzle =)

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    3. 45's new dog? A sharpei. Poor pup.

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  50. This was a hard puzzle! It had been a long time since Will Shortz did a 2-week challenge. When he finally did a 2-week challenge, it was difficult.

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  51. I went with the MOUTH thing.

    There was another idea I had, based on the fact that we were told to "read carefully." Two things stood out to me. One was that we were told there were LARGE letters between the doors. Not CAPITAL LETTERS, but LARGE letters, which I assumed meant lower case but big. And this made me look at the door between the i and the j, because both of those letters have "openings" between the dot and the bottom.

    But I also wondered why we were starting with H, and this made me think that M(OUT)H had to be the safe point.

    No instant death for me yet, but no call either.

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  52. I went with the door between J and K, as they are the only two letters that begin with a consonant sound (H, I, L and M all begin with a vowel sound). I think the MOUTH solution makes more sense, albeit still somewhat silly.

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  53. For me the thought of a mouth evokes an orifice that devours rather than allows for an escape. I now suspect that mouth will probably be the intended answer, but it does not work for me. I thought that an answer that pointed to the knob that opens the escape door had a certain elegance, but perhaps others do not agree.

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    1. I agree that others do not agree. The mouth of a creek or river does not devour, it is the opening to a larger body of water. The mouth of a cave can be an entrance or an exit. The mouth of a bottle is where liquids are poured. Even with the limits of biology, an animal mouth does more than devour, it is the means for communication, and for humans, some naughty smooching.

      Your acronym was clever, but I thought a bit too obscure for a reasonable answer.

      Delete
    2. an opening or entrance to a structure that is hollow, concave, or almost completely enclosed.
      "standing before the mouth of a cave"
      synonyms: entrance, opening, entry, way in, entryway, inlet, access, ingress; door, doorway, gateway, gate, portal, aperture, orifice, vent; way out, exit
      "the mouth of the cave"

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    3. I'm afraid I will always think of this as "the vomitorium puzzle."

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    4. I am as aware as anyone that mouth has several meanings, and did consider mouth of a river and all that, but when the word, mouth comes up, I do not think of any of these things first, but a human mouth.

      When I find myself in a strange department store, with inconvenient layout, designed to make it difficult to navigate, and I am looking for the exit, I sometimes will ask. (I know, as a male, I am not supposed to do that, but I do, just the same.) I never ask where the mouth of the store is. I never ask where the mouth of the Men's room is either, nor the Mens room, that so many have.

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    5. Mexith = like Brexit only Mexico.

      Delete
  54. I went with Occam's. Go through the one door that provides an opening that will get me out safely.

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  55. I apologize if this is a repeat - I can't verify my submission posted.

    I haven't seen this theory proposed yet. I took the ordinal value of letter H-M (h)=8 to M=(13) - If you start at (H) and subtract the next value clockwise (I) you get an outcome. So 8-9 = -1 (negative one or negative outcome) - The only subtraction that produces a positive outcome is M-H = 5 (all the others = -1) - M-H door is only positive outcome. I also took the outcome "5" and looked for 5 letter synonyms for exit/out. One of those synonyms is "MOUTH" so I guess there may be two ways to discover the right exit between M-H. So I'm putting on my blast suit and heading out the LM door. :)

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    Replies
    1. errr ....

      M-H door - I did the same thing on my NPR submission.

      Delete
  56. And lower case i and j compressed onto the door between them approximates a happy face. Ben may be onto something.

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  57. I took KL and dove through the "opening" between letters.

    That said this puzzle was really dumb and there are FAR better and more clever versions of it out there. Was doing these in grade school and they made more sense.

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  58. I went with Mouth. My clue - a clever answer is in store - was a reference to the store H&M.

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  59. How about this - Obviously each of the doors are between 2 letters, so it's reasonable to refer to a door as "HI", or "KL". With the exception of one pair of letters (LM), each of the other pairs is an abbreviation of a place where a wartime attack took place.

    HI = Hawaii
    IJ = Iwo Jima
    JK = Jammu and Kashmir
    KL = Kuala Lumpur
    MH = Marshall Islands

    Thoughts? Longshot, but I actually like this better than any of the others posted so far.

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    Replies
    1. I love it! Stronger than MoutH!

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    2. Marshall Highlands?

      LegoSuspectsThatUnlikeScotlandTheMarshallIslandsHaveNoHighlandsAtoll

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    3. MH is the postal abbreviation for the Marshall Islands (an independent country, but served by USPS).

      Delete
  60. I emailed Lee Zion, the guy who gave Shortz this puzzle, linking this blog.
    I hoped he would contribute some thoughts on the unprecedented variety-of-answers cluster he has caused here, but all I got back was "...since it's after the deadline, I can confirm that the posted answer is correct." I think this means Blaine's.

    I guess that means those that submitted "out" are possible winners.
    Of course Morocco Man did demand that you show your work, so there may have been some winnowing of the various approaches to fine tune the pool.

    It will come as no surprise that I will be suspicious of the number of "correct responses" claimed, especially if it
    is very far into double digits.

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    Replies
    1. I am still annoyed by this puzzle. Now Blaine is probably correct on the answer, but the the problem I have with this possible answer is that the wording on this puzzle states that "they (the doors) look exactly alike". So, the word "out" would not be on any those doors. If so, then "mouth" could not work.
      I am just not very impressed with this puzzle, oh well too late to complain, I am putting this one behind me.

      Delete
    2. Although, I suppose "OUT" could be written on every door.

      Vomitorium, indeed.

      Delete
    3. I guess I'm the only one that didn't hate this puzzle. Maybe because I got the answer and the "punch line" in about 10 minutes, so it didn't stress me.

      Or maybe I just enjoyed watching (virtually) so many struggle, like a latter day Marquis de Sade. I hope the doorknobs work smoothly.

      Delete
    4. eco, a pox(y) on your door, sir.

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

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  62. I expect the number announced this week will be number of responses and not number of correct responses.

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  63. 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.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ward,
      I look forward to your next novel (available wherever books are sold).

      LegoWhoKindOfLikesTheSimplicityOfBrisco's"HI"Solution(Below)AsWellAsOtherCreativeSolutionsPostedInThisSpaceSinceWednesdayButBelievesThatThe"MoutH"AnswerSuggestedByBlaineAndOthersIsLikelyTheIntendedAnswer

      Delete
  64. Huh. Chose HI. My reasoning that HI was a common OPENING to a conversation.

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  65. I also thought J-K was the worst option, as that means Just Kidding, and if he was just kidding, it wouldn't matter what door you went through.

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  66. During the storm there's always a Rainbow. A Randy one at that.

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  67. If you continue the letters forward and backward, isn’t there just door between A and Z? Seems to be the answer for me.

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  68. I agree with the MoutH answer, but think there must be some significance to the letters I, J, K, L. Perhaps there are words on the other doors that produce a phrase as you read around the room. If IJKL are just extraneous letters, it's kind of a dumb puzzle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Charles,
      Didn't you read my solution I posted right after the deadline?

      Delete
  69. This week's challenge: This week's challenge comes from listener Joseph Young of St. Cloud, Minn. Name a popular TV personality. Write the name in all capital letters. Rotate the last letter 90° and move it forward one spot — that is, move it in front of the preceding letter. The result will name a famous movie. What is it?

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  70. "more than 599 correct entries..."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought I heard "more than 599 submissions," not necessarily correct.

      Delete
    2. I heard "submissions" also, eco...
      which is the correct word because the puzzle pretty much beat almost all of us into submission (except, of course for you, Blaine and a handful of other perceptive Blainesvillians who arrived at MoutH).

      LegoWhoGuessesThatThereWereFewerThan100CorrectSubmissions

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    3. Was 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea a submission?

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    4. I believe that kinda mighta been skydiveboy's submission.

      LegoWhoAlsoBelievesWillShortzListensToAnAnalogRecordedVoiceEverWeekThatSays"YourSubmission,Mr.Shortz,ShouldYouChooseToAcceptIt..."

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    5. Nope. I did not bother with the structure.

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    6. Actually she said "over 599 responses."

      Does one have to utter a sponse to get a response? Now I'm riffing SDB as well as lego.

      Delete
  71. So what was the answer to this puzzle? Was MOUTH the correct solution?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it was as confirmed during the puzzle segment that aired this morning.

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