## Sunday, October 27, 2019

### NPR Sunday Puzzle (Oct 27, 2019): Dear...

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Oct 27, 2019): Dear...:
Q: Think of a familiar two-word phrase — 5 letters in each word — that might be something you'd write in a letter. The first and last letters are the same. The 3rd and 8th letters are the same. The 4th and 7th letters are the same. And the middle two letters are consecutive in the alphabet. What phrase is it?
Here's a bonus puzzle: take a 5-letter word. Change the 2nd letter so it is three earlier in the alphabet. Change the 5th letter so it is one later in the alphabet. Write the word backwards and... Are you following me so far? Great, because I don't remember what the answer was supposed to be.
A: YOURS TRULY

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.

2. Preposterously easy. Have there ever been 3,000 (or more) correct answers?

1. There were 5,000+ on February 21, 2010

2. And the week before that, there were 3600 correct answers...

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

1. This gave me the answer

4. Took longer to read the puzzle than to solve it.

1. Same experience was mine indeed

5. Will is guilty of TMI.

6. Way too easy, truth be told!

7. With email and text messaging taking over inter-personal communications, I can't remember the last time I saw this phrase.

8. Change one letter in the first word and get an archaic form of it. Change one letter in the second and get a girl's name.

1. I actually find that the archaic form of the first word changes every letter of it!

2. It takes a village.

9. The Syria birds are flocking

10. What's a letter?

1. Should have said email. 😃

11. Of the 10 letters, the two not mentioned in the puzzle may feel left out.

1. The two "left-out" letters are "alphabetically balanced" (that is, equidistant from the middle, or ends, of the alphabet, as in this late-July NPR puzzle).

LegoWhoNotesThatPuzzleria!PurveysAWeeklyBevyOfPuzzlesThatEvenAWizardWouldFindChallenging

12. Why does this jerk keep insulting us this way? Week after week after week we get nothing.

1. My guess is that it is the equivalent of sweeps week, or in Wills case, contract negotiation time, and the more he can show that people tune in and participate in the puzzle, the better his chances of being retained and paid. What, you think he does it for free.

2. TomR, interesting comment, likely true.

3. I've made similar comments many times before, but I now am of the opinion that WS is just not any good at choosing suitable puzzles. He is simply a self promoter like, well who's that guy in the White House?

13. I really have no idea why the puzzles keep getting easier each week.

1. I know! I always feel disappointed when I can solve it instantly.

2. Solution..Just do not send in the answer on census weeks.

3. Natasha: Are you getting juiced again? Don't worry, they'll cut you off again soon.

Just don't take a deep breath of satisfaction with solving the puzzle, air quality is now in the Unhealthy range for you and me. Folks closer to the fire are lucky; the monitoring stations don't have electricity, so they don't know how bad the air is.

4. Yes, ignorance is bliss. The most blissful place I can think of is a Trump rally.

5. I know my power may be brief. Trying to think how I can use it effectively to combat evil. Thanks for warning. I have been in bliss land today for a change. Have to lecture tomorrow in bad air place. Hoping the college will close. I ordered lots of lanterns and emerg. Suppies from amazon. Stores sold out yesterday. Met nice people in same situation.

6. It is better to have "met nice people" than to net mice people. I think.

7. My comment began with I really.... which was intended as a shout out to YOURS TRULY

14. Another puzzled solved before I finished reading it....ugh.

15. I'm waiting for next week when Will taps out the answer to us in Morse Code.

16. Ahh, isn't life more than grand when with an easy puzzle?

Okay, here's a harder puzzle (not much): find the mistake in Blaine's hint.

17. Californians, wish we could send you our significant snow. Stay safe!

1. Why, is dark and cold better than just dark?

2. Indeed, do you have a non-corrupt utility company you could spare?

3. Snow to put out the fires, eh? We could melt it first, if you'd like.

I didn't think of power companies and corruption in the same thought before PG&E.

4. Seems like a flaky solution.

Local journalist Tim Redmond has been fighting PG&E for as long as I've lived here.

18. Puzzle too easy or puzzle is too hard. Time to quote Oscar Wild again: "Life is too important to be taken seriously." Really and honestly it is.

1. I prefer a quote from the late, great Red Skelton: "Why take life seriously? No one's getting out of it alive, anyway!"

2. The sad thing is, many people actually believe that.

3. While we're quoting Red Skelton, then we have to mention the line attributed to him about Harry Cohn of Columbia Pictures, possibly the most despicable mogul of all time, whose funeral attracted so many people that the overflow crowed filled the street in front of the temple. As Red supposedly said, “It only proves what they always say—give the public something they want to see, and they’ll come out for it.”

(As the conscientious researchers at quote investigator have demonstrated, the joke predates Cohn's death by more than a decade and it was probably George Jessel, not Skelton or Groucho or any of the other usual suspects, who said it first. https://quoteinvestigator.com/2014/12/06/want/. But it's too good a line to forego.)

19. Coincidentally, I found the answer this morning while Donald Trump was talking about it.

20. I haven't written a letter in decades. But, even when I did, this, honestly, wasn't my favorite phrase.

21. Scrumptious

1. Jan. I went to school with a Jan Edwards. He was a fraternity brother at Oregon State at SAE. You are of the male tribe? And of course there are my favorite duo- "Jan and Dean." I am trying to get your clue. It does seem quite delectable.

2. Yes, I'm a guy. It's a movie reference. (The movie was based on a book in which the character doesn't appear.)

3. You can tell who the GPs are around here.

4. And an apt spoonerism comes to mind as well.

5. Bonus Puzzle 3:
Think of a phrase that would describe what DJT was last night, when spoonerized would be what most people in the US would like to say to him.

You don't have to wait until Thursday to reveal this one.

6. Oh yes GP. Gentlemen puzzlers.

7. As a grandfather of three girls can anyone tell me who the hell UMA is? The oldest dressed as this character from the Descendants Disney show which I have never seen.

22. Okay, 2 Bonus Puzzles rejected by WS this morning:

1. Name something in 9 letters that you might see in a church. Move the 3rd and 4th letters 3 places later in the alphabet, and the result is something else you might see in a church. What are the two things?

2. Name something you can find in your house. The etymology/ word origin is something that is no longer to be found in that thing, What is the item and what is no longer found in it?

As always hints welcome but please no answers until Thursday 3 pm EST.

1. The substance no longer found in the thing was first replaced by ammonia and subsequently by other substances. But some still use the term that derived from the first substance to name the thing.

2. "Ice box" is not the answer. Maybe you have something else in mind?

3. It is a good alternate answer, though.

4. I can no longer afford to keep my toilet filled with eau de toilette. But I wish others would.

5. No ice in your ice box?

6. I can think of one answer...

7. I think it was a mistake to start following this thread.

8. Have a second answer. Connecting the two words is virtual alchemy.

23. I always do the puzzle with my SO. He confirmed my correct response! :D

24. Bone Us Puzzle:

Think of a familiar three-word phrase — 4 letters, 2 letters, 4 letters — that might be used to describe today’s puzzle and most presidential tweets. The first and last letters are the same. The 2nd and 8th letters are the same. The 3rd, 5th and 9th letters are the same. The 4th, 6th and 7th letters are the same.

What phrase is it?

Hint: You can rearrange these 3 words in any order and the meaning will not change.

When you’ve solved it, send it to the NPR Ombudsman no later than 3pm GMT tomorrow. Only one entry per gerrymandered voting district please.

25. A person that solved this puzzle

1. I, yours truly, solved this puzzle.

26. Yea, verily, methinks this wouldbe conundrum doth stink!

27. I wonder if 45 would get the AG involved in this situation.

28. Very first thing I thought of. Had to read it over to make sure the directions were accurate.

29. I think it's time that NPR and the NYT wrote Shortz a Dear John letter

30. This is the letter I'd like to see delivered, and I would gladly pay the postage!

31. Answer submitted in Morse Code

32. Skip Dear John and just go straight to the answer. This puzzle was comically easy.

33. Plantsmith,
Since you are from Seattle, if you can provide me with a disposable email address, I will send you the Seattle joke I made up Friday afternoon. It requires a little political awareness of Seattle today and some of the PC police will not like it, although they would really be reaching. Everyone I've told it to so far has laughed out loud.

1. Go ahead SDB, share the joke with all of us. You might get some bafflement, but it won't lower anyone's opinion of your humor....

2. This comment has been removed by the author.

3. or Rachel Dolezal? She is in Tacoma i think along with Tonya Harding. Yea some real folks out there on the left coast.

34. Power is on finally. Hope all who lost power have theirs also. I have been cold for days.

1. Be careful, Natasha. Power corrupts.

2. SDB: Yes, I will,now that I found mine. I guess that is what started DT on his power journey. We all should be careful now as lots of residents have power now.

35. Another powerless day planned for California. Natasha, have you checked https://psps.ss.pge.com/? You can type in your address and see what your future holds. Looks like the Berkeley Hills don't get it this time, but Mendo Jim and Potter Valley will lose it again.

For PG&E it's not so much goodbye as Auf Wiederscrewin'.

1. Eco: Did you know that the old landline phones work when the power is out. They do not plug into a socket. I have some of those and they worked when power was out. My other landline phones that plugged into outlet did not. Glad I did not get rid of those old phones. I heard the cell tower batteries eventually died out and people could not use cell phones. I wonder if these phone should be sold again. Maybe they already are. Have to check on that. This is very important as most people do not have landlines anymore. Can be deadly in firestorms.

2. Just looked up my address and PGE says no impact. Hope that lasts! Thanks eco.

3. Not all landlines are the same. In my last house, we had FiOS, Verizon's fiber optic cable service for voice, data and TV. Great service, but it requires power for the fiber optic electronics. Comes with a battery backup, but that only works for a few hours. Good thing I had my inverter during Hurricane Sandy.

4. I've kept an old landline phone for exactly that purpose, though being corded is frustrating. Thankfully it doesn't happen too often. As you say, when people have abandoned that simple technology they head to a path of uncertainty.

After the 1991 Oakland/ Berkeley firestorm they played some heartbreaking messages from people who were trapped in the fire, who had called relative's answering machines.

5. Jan, What is an inverter? I saw people on the news who had the old dial phones and they were saved because of that yesterday. I am not sure what is needed for the old landlines but I think they work anywhere. Does anyone know about this. This should be a high priority for the phone companies and the governor and our WH leader and the RED Cross that I volunteered for many years.

6. An inverter is an sold-state electronic device that converts 12 V DC (i.e., car battery) power to 120 V AC (i.e., house current). I bought a 3000 W model from Amazon for about \$400 eight years ago. Not enough to power your whole house, but you can run your fridge, some lights, cell phone charger, etc.

7. Jan's option is expensive, and requires either a Prius with a very large battery, or you to run your car to keep the battery charged. But it keeps the refrigerator running.

If you just want enough electricity for a light, a radio and charging your, there are a lot of cheaper options such as this. Requires just a little muscle power, but we are a well-armed nation.

9. ECO: I have three of those red radios. Did not charge unless I kept winding them up. I thought they were solar powered too. I have radio earphones that worked, at least. I was very disappointed in those radios.

10. Jan: thanks. I looked it up too.

11. Actually, eco, I can't use the inverter with my Prius, which doesn't have an accessible 12 V battery. Works fine with a normal car, which you can keep idling to power the inverter. A tank of gas lasted several days.

36. Eco: I will check now. I was checking that site before. Berkeleyside said Berkeley has been given a reprieve. am teaching in contra costa today. Heard air quality bad. Glad you have weathered the firestorm without power loss in your ivory ecotower. The neighbors across the street made be jealous as had a power source hooked up. Forgot the name of that.

1. Generator.

2. Californians, we have more new snow to send you today. Please advise.

3. Smother The Getty Center, If you would be so kind...

4. WW: I don't think we get your drift, so I wouldn't bank on it. Thanks, there is a flurry of activity here.

5. Before Enron went spectacularly bankrupt they were dabbling in weather futures--one of the hundreds of things you could bet on legally back then. I always thought that this was how Buffalo would regain its former title as the City of Millionaires by swapping its snow for whatever weather-starved Southern California could offer in exchange.

6. eighdreeuhn, eco, and ZC. Happy to send it anywhere. We have more than enough in the city. Still snowing.

eco and CAians, hoping the flurry of activity calms down soon.

7. Clear blue skies and sunshine here in Seattle, but also colder than normal for this time of year here.

37. PG&E's announced plan was to re-energize this area yesterday to allow customers a chance to charge batteries, especially for medical devices.
It would have been nice for flashlights and communication as well, but it never happened and they simply continued the outage that started Saturday without a break.
We are in a period of sub-30 degree mornings, which raises the specter of hypothermia.
It is time for California to take over the big three power companies.

1. Mendo: That is horrific. Where is the Red Cross to help out. Call in the national guard and the military. People need to be warm. I wish there were battery operated blankets. There is one that I read about that I almost bought. But think it was difficult to get. Need batter operated stoves. I know there are camping stoves. Wish I had my old fondue pots that used candle like substance. Best to all.

2. Terrible. Third world.

1. And for the reveal, "I don't wanna hide the way I feel about you" is a lyric from "The Way", off of Ariana Grande's album "Yours Truly" :)

39. I don't think Donald Trump comprehends that impeachment does not refer to a provocatively controversial scene in the movie, Call Me By Your Name.

40. First there was Betsy Ross,
Then we got Betsy DeVoss.
One a patriot,
The other an idiot.
And we are left with the albatross.

41. Californians, how are things where you are today? Hope you have power but don't have fires close to you.

Third day in a row shipment of new snow available here. May be tough to melt, though, as 2 degrees is the predicted high.

1. Northern California has calmed down quite a bit, the windstorms expected last night did not blow, so I don't think Natasha and others in the immediate Bay Area were delighted.

This map shows huge swaths of purple circles, those are areas that have had their power cut. Random sampling shows some will get power restored tonight or tomorrow, some (like Mendo Jim's area) don't list any restoration date.

Tough conditions in Southern California, they've had several fires blow up with the strong (70 mph+) Santa Ana winds. Reagan library evacuated, fortunately the prized collection of Reader's Digest has been saved.

2. eco: Am delighted to not have been delighted yesterday. One of my friends at work lost her power and her fish were suffocating. I wonder if there are battery powered aerators. She was frantic. Any ideas how to keep fish oxygenated?

3. How about a can of aerosol?

4. Were they able to save Bedtime For Bonzo?

5. Natasha, there are battery powered aerators. Bicycle pumps and blankets may also be used. Also, don't feed the fish for a few days. See this article:

https://www.ratemyfishtank.com/blog/how-to-keep-your-tank-safe-during-a-power-outage

6. WW: Thanks WW. I thought you might know. I will tell my friend.

42. SNL cast member's ex gf's debut album.

(Yams aside).

43. YOURS TRULY

> The first answer that occurred to me was correct.

Yours truly.

> Scrumptious

TRULY Scrumptious, from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, based on the book by Ian Fleming (and produced by Bond film producer Cubby Broccoli).

44. YOURS TRULY = “truth be told” by me.

1st & last letter: Y
3rd & 8th letter: U
4th& 7th letter: R
Middle letters consecutive: S T

Blaine's puzzle:
YOURS
↓ ↓↓ ↓↓
YLURT ↔ TRULY

1. YOURS
↓↓↓↓↓
YLURT ↔ TRULY

45. I wrote, “Change one letter in the first word and get an archaic form of it. Change one letter in the second and get a girl's name.” That’s YOURN and TRUDY.

1. I figured that the archaic form of YOURS was THINE, also five letters but not a single letter in common with it!

2. Hey, we STILL say "For thine is the Kingdom and the power, and the glory..."

3. "We? What you mean, We, Chemo Therapy?"

46. Yours Truly

From the end of last week's thread: "Take the name of a famous musician. Change some of the letters and rearrange and ahh, the heck with it!" Combined with "isn't life more than grand": Ariana Grande's first album was titled "Yours Truly." Change the A to a G, change the ....

"It takes a village" Or a Hamlet, who said "To thine own self be true." Though the Skipper sang it.

Bonus Puzzle 1 9 letters that you might see in a church, move 3rd and 4th letters 3 places later for something else you might see in a church: SCRIPTURE → SCULPTURE

Bonus Puzzle 2: Something in your house, etymology is something that is no longer to be found in that thing: PLUMBING, from PLUMBUM, the Latin word for lead (the metal), which is why lead is listed as Pb on the Periodic Table of Elements.

Bonus Puzzle 3: what DJT was last night, spoonerize what most people would like to say to him.: BOOED GUY → GOODBYE

1. I was thinking of tin cans, or tin foil, for Puzzle 2.

(1) icebox (for refrigerator)
(2) tinfoil (for aluminum foil)

Note: many "tin cans" still re made from tin plate. They never were made from solid tin; always tin-plated steel.

3. "I think it was a mistake to start following this thread."
And I wouldn't have, if I had known where it was going to lead.

4. Friends,
Reading too quickly, I merged Bonus Puzzle 1 and Bonus Puzzle 2 and was looking for a 9 letter thing in the house that doesn't contain... and came up with HAMBURGER, because my burgers are all beef. (And yes, Hamburgers are named for the city in Germany so it fails the etymology test, but it was still a fun diversion.)
Yours truly,
SuperZee

5. For #2, I had ketchup, which no longer contains any fish-bone brine.

47. YOURS TRULY

"I wonder if 45 would get the AG involved in this situation." >>> AG = Ariana Grande who created the album Yours Truly.

"You can tell who the GPs are around here." >>> as in GrandParents like jan who watch Chitty Chitty Bang Bang featuring the character Truly Scrumptious.

*"And an apt spoonerism comes to mind as well." >>> Screwly Trumptious

YouTuber, eh? points to Unknown's referral to Ariana Grande's album, Yours Truly noted above.

1. very clever.

2. I was a 16-year old, not a grandparent, when I saw that film. Hard to believe it was a date movie! My grandkids are not yet ready for it.

3. jan, I don't think I've ever seen it. Is it worth a look?

Plantsmith, I'm curious as to what part of my post you enjoyed?

4. Not great, but not bad. The book was okay, too. I prefer LeCarre, but Fleming could write, too.

5. I don't remember this fail at all, and not sure I ever saw it. "Not sure my grandkids are ready."?
Mine are girls seven and five and more into the Descendants, Malibu Rescue and Spirit. I remember very few kids movies besides Black Beauty. And Ian Fleminsg wrote "Chitty?"

48. Yours truly

49. This week's challenge: The letters C + D together sound like the word "seedy." And the letters I + V together sound like "ivy." Take the 18 letters in the phrase END BACKSTAGE TV QUIZ. Rearrange them into pairs, using each letter exactly once, to make nine common, uncapitalized words phonetically. Can you do it?

50. This week's challenge: The letters C + D together sound like the word "seedy." And the letters I + V together sound like "ivy." Take the 18 letters in the phrase END BACKSTAGE TV QUIZ. Rearrange them into pairs, using each letter exactly once, to make nine common, uncapitalized words phonetically. Can you do it?

1. Our friend, Ruth, gave our son, Alexander, a copy as a baby present. I sent her a note on his behalf that began, "D-R √, N-Q 4 'C D B!'", and was signed "L-X-&-R".

51. 1802 correct responses last week.

52. Just listened to the on-air puzzles. I may have heard ENCOMIUM a time or two, but I chose ACCOLADE instead. Is that OK?

1. Paul, I like ACCOLADE. ENCOMIUM makes me think of MECONIUM.

Letters in the puzzle are now rearranged. Only one pair was slightly challenging.

2. So long as you don't do a low commotion.

3. Eco excellent!

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