Sunday, December 15, 2019

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 15, 2019): Took a Risk

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 15, 2019): Took a Risk:
Q: Write down eight different letters of the alphabet. Add an apostrophe. Then write the same eight letters in a different order. With proper spacing, you now have a four-word phrase meaning "took a risk." What is it?
If this puzzle has left you flummoxed, you're closer than you think.

Edit: In other words, if you are STUCK...
A: STUCK ONE'S NECK OUT

155 comments:

  1. Here's my standard reminder... don't post the answer or any hints that could lead directly to the answer (e.g. via a chain of thought, or an internet search) before the deadline of Thursday at 3pm ET. If you know the answer, click the link and submit it to NPR, but don't give it away here.

    You may provide indirect hints to the answer to show you know it, but make sure they don't give the answer away. You can openly discuss your hints and the answer after the Thursday deadline. Thank you.

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  2. Not as hard as I thought it would be.

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  4. Blaine's clues often flummox this lummox.

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  5. Got it. Nice mention of Blaine’s Puzzle Blog by this week’s winner during the on-air puzzle. No clue here.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, great play and plug, Liz.

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    2. Belated congratulations Liz, nice job all around. And I have fond memories of Capen Boulevard in your fair city.

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  6. I have an answer that's a little grammatically awkward. Not sure if it's right...

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  8. Rex Parker would probably call for Will Shortz's head over this answer.

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  9. "Monsieur, je vous demande pardon. Je ne l'ai pas fait exprès.”

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  10. No answer here, but I would like to point out I think last week's challenge was unfair to people like me who are not of the Jewish faith. I've never used the word "schmear" in my life. That being said, I think this week's challenge is impossible.

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    1. Hmmm, I'm not Jewish and I got last week's puzzle anyway.

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    2. Cranberry, although this week's challenge is presented unambiguously, it probably is impossible to solve in the stated direction. Instead, just try to think of a 16-letter, 4-word phrase meaning "took a risk", and then check to see that it uses each of 8 different letters twice.

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    3. ... That said, the phrase can be expressed with the same four words in two different orders, only one of which meets the stated criteria.

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    4. 1960–65; apparently < Yiddish shmirn to smear, grease; compare Middle High German smirwen (German schmieren); see smear

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    5. dictionary.com also list schmear as 'slang'

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  11. I have a guess that seems to work. If I'm right, it's not something I would think of in those terms. Shades of schmear. No hint here, but for the second week in a row (maybe) the Puzzle is educational. The grammar works in my guess, Curtis; and I'm not sure it's confirmed by any of the posts, so. . . . . .

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  13. Clever puzzle again. I much prefer the alternate definition (verb) of the phrase’s 3rd word.

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  14. The 8 different letters can be anagrammed into a type of clothing and a type of song.

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  15. Over all these years Willy has been cavalier about apostrophes in many of the useless anagrams he has proposed.
    Apologists here have defended him with "it is the crossword way."
    Even though I have a maybe solution, I say phooey on changing the rules and phooey on anagrams.

    The low number of answers for schmear shows limited usage.

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  16. Replies
    1. Excellent! (Though the apostrophe isn't in the middle, and the first and second halves aren't anagrams.)

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    2. Very nice riff, KenRobert3. And, very deserving subject matter.

      LegoWhoBelievesThatKenRobert3IsDeservingOfIfNotALapelPinThenAtLeastSomeKindOf"AposTrophy!"

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  17. No comments on the new process for submitting an answer? It seems I no longer have the option to forgo notifying my local NPR station.

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  18. .... and in the category of be careful what you wish for...

    My local NPR station ran the impeachment committee hearings live. To me it was boring beyond belief (BTW it was worse on television). I made a joke to my wife that it made me wish for a fund drive, and the next day one started.

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  19. The name of this blog provides a clue.

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    Replies
    1. Rick Blaine, Bogart's character in Casablanca, utters "I stick my neck out for nobody" no fewer than three times.

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  20. Things are getting a little tense now.

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  21. Parse this challenge and you have to wonder if the Puzzle "Master" understands, or even read, it.
    Has he quit trying?

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  22. After I realized that it was a 4-word phrase in 16 letters, not 4 words in 8 letters, I rapidly found the solution.

    Just bought some cream of crab soup and a fried crabcake. Go Terrapins!

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    Replies
    1. geofan: Wow! Thanks for pointing that out!

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    2. geofan: Got it right away! Thanks again for clarifying the puzzle. I had given up. Noticed the procedure is now more complicated to submit the anser online.

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    3. Glad I wasn't the only one who misread, thanks to Jan above for pointing that out.

      To those few who join in opposing anagram puzzles I can only say "Alt proves STRAP love!" Sorry, no apostrophe.

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    4. This is a very fine puzzle by Andrew Chaikin, but I can see how wording it in a way to eliminate all confusion would be a challenge.
      Here is how I would presume to tweak its wording:
      Write down eight different letters of the alphabet. Add an apostrophe. Then, next to this result, write the same eight letters in a different order. With proper spacing, you now have a four-word phrase meaning “took a risk.” What is it?

      LegoPresumptuous

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    5. I would recommend to add "in 16 letters" after "four-word phrase" in Lego's wording, to avoid all ambiguity.

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    6. I thought amberguity is when the traffic light is about to change from green to red and you're unsure if you should stop or not.

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    7. I would say, "append an apostrophe", to avoid wondering whether it should go in the middle of the initial 8-letter string.

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    8. Geofan: I agree with your suggestion. Somehow I think it was written to be confusing. Common method used for lots of puzzles on NPR,I believe. I find it frustrating and yet take the risk to my ego each Sunday.

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    9. I thought that the ambiguity of where to put the apostrophe was part of the puzzle...

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  23. It has been close to 200 years now since we basically eradicated the North American Buffalo from our land. When we get to that date will we celebrate a Bisontennial?

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    1. Why don't you go help your aunt elope?

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    2. TomR:
      You don't know how funny your post is. I received an email from my cousin Saturday informing me my aunt, his mother, had passed away Friday morning. She was 94. So, that may have something to do with it.

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    3. I'm tired of y'all. Yak yak yak. It's all that happens here.

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    4. Oh deer; and where never is herd a discouraging word.

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    5. Is the contrast between bullshit and cow pies in our language akin to the difference between sweating and glowing? What's "they" when speaking of bovine feces?

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    6. In this vein, an alternate solution:
      AIDS BLOG'S BIG LOAD

      Conforms to all the criteria except past tense.

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    7. Would you mind dropping that?

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    8. Sorry to hear about your aunt.

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    9. Ssb: sorry about your aunt. Take care.

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    10. There is no reason to feel sorry that my aunt moved on at the end of a long life. I am very happy for her. There is no death, except for the physical body, and that is just a vehicle we use in order to function while here. We need to stop believing we are our body.

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    11. Scientology is a criminal enterprise and is based on lies.

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    12. C'mon SDB, you can't possibly believe that, any time I miss a puzzle entry, it's my own fault and not due to the the Evil Lord Xenu flying me to Teegeack to be detonated with Hydrogen Bombs. Seriously?

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    14. SDB - If you Google Teegeack all will be revealed.

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    15. SZ - Thanks, and I just did, but the 2 minutes of my time left is more than I should have taken looking there. I already know far more than I need to know what a scam it is.

      BTW, some of the many people who have experienced NDEs and come back to their body from the "other side" report being told by godlike being(s) that all religions are man made and are not the word of god. Some, who are very religious, are told that when they return they will no longer be a part of their, or any, religion. This is not to say there is nothing worthwhile in any religion, but that they are not the word of god.

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    16. Now, if only we could convince the Republicans that Trump is not god. Good luck on that front.

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  24. Is crab soup the same as crab bisque? Does it pair with a schmear?

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  25. There are two kinds of crab soup: tomato-based and cream-based. A bit like Manhattan vs. New England clam chowder.
    Don't think either is kosher (owing to shellfish), so would not pair with cream cheese.

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  26. I think this puzzle deserves an award.

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    1. It's not the best of puzzles, but not the worst of puzzles, either.

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    2. I see where you're headed with that.

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    3. Good puzzles are all alike; every bad puzzle is bad in its own way”

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    4. "To live at risk is to jump off the cliff and build wings on the way down." Ray Bradbury.
      No apostrophes noted.

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    5. Only for a very short time.

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  27. Schmear. If you don't know it culturally, you will have learned from the crosswords. Besides, it is just a fun word to say.

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  28. To hell with this. I've thrown in my chips. Will wins again!

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    1. At least you don't have chips in your throne.

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    2. Also feeling some nostalgia this week. Also ran across a different Xmas tune" What do the lonely do at Xmas." the Emotions.
      On my list for worst ten Xmas tunes. Tune is a kind of song. Really??

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  31. This one I was initially too quick to solve, but coming up a three-word instead of a four felt good. Guess you could call it “Rash Type’s Therapy.”

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  32. Brace yourselves, this might be tough!

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  33. According to this evening's news, Donnie Trump sent House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a six page letter complaining about his upcoming impeachment vote tomorrow. I had no idea Trump could go beyond 280 characters at a time, although there must be more than 280 characters in his administration.

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  34. Golly, that took me a long time. If you take the second letter of each word in the answer and rearrange, you get a sort of music.

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  35. Went out for a walk last night. Saw a mob outside the local ice cream shop. I went in to see what was going on. People were lining up for the newest flavor sensation, Mango n’Peach, Mint.

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    1. Sounds delicious! Were most getting 2 scoops?

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    2. So, Nancy Pelosi is considering delaying sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate, while she negotiates with McConnell for better trial rules.

      What if she delays indefinitely, say, past the November election, denying Trump an acquittal? And what if he's re-elected, but the Democrats flip the Senate? Can she send the articles of impeachment then, or does the new Congress have to vote on new ones?

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    3. Those are good questions. Before we discuss them I suggest we finish enjoying our 2 scoops first.

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    4. As intriguing as Jan’s scenario is, I find it hard to imagine an electoral scenario where the Democrats gain a majority in the Senate and tRump wins re-election. And it still would take 67 votes in the Senate for removal.

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    5. I suspect the delay in sending the articles over is a political move to:
      1) drive him (more) nuts, and maybe tweet more self-incriminations;
      2) see if they can force testimony from some of the top dogs, like Bolton and Mulvaney, through negotiations with the Senate or through the courts;
      3) dig up more dirt, though there's plenty out there.

      Either Politico or Slate had an interesting suggestion: the Senate can make whatever rules it wants for the trial. Including that the vote to convict can be by secret ballot rather than in the public. Without the threat of TrumpNation, would 20 scalawags vote differently? And the rules for impeachment are by majority, so if 3 senators (Murkowsky, Collins, Romney) join the dems they could control the vote - Pence doesn't get to cast a tie-breaker.

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    6. He's already putin his cash contributions.

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  36. Finally got it. Took a while this week, but I guess I had my head in the sand, busy watching Washington follies.

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  37. I take umbrage with the White House's doublespeak-rationalization that President Trump was "just riffing" when he suggested last evening in Battle Creek that Rep. John Dingell, was in hell, “looking up.”
    I have been featuring "Riffing-Off-Shortz" puzzles on Puzzleria! for about five years now (after initially titling them "Ripping-Off-Shortz" puzzles, which was kind of disrespectful and admittedly Trump-like behavior on my part. Mea Culpa).
    Riff is an excellent verb, rooted in jazz. Saying that President Trump is also a "riffer" reflects badly on me and my blog! I'm considering legal action.

    LegoWhoSuggestsThatTrumpWasNotRiffingButRatherRippingTheRepOfTheLateRepresentativeDingell

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    1. I find it amazing that just as I think he can't sink lower, I find my imagination is truly limited.

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    2. I guess it is just a New York thing.

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  38. My STUCK ONE'S NECK OUT

    My Hint:

    "I think this puzzle deserves an award." That would be the Giraffe Award which honors Giraffe Heroes—compassionate risk-takers who are largely unknown, people who have the courage to stick their necks out for the common good, in the US and around the world.

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    1. I don't know how the My got there. It was not intentional.

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  39. STUCK ONE'S NECK OUT

    > McConnell won't.

    Googling the phrase leads to many sites that say a turtle only makes progress when it sticks its neck out. Don't expect much from this zero in a half shell.

    > C

    ... is for Cervical, i.e., NECK, as in C-spine or C-collar.

    > Or two snack items.

    Coke, nuts

    > It's not the best of puzzles, but not the worst of puzzles, either.

    Thought I'd stick my neck out with a guillotine reference.

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  40. Stuck one's neck out Not much to say this week.

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  41. STUCK ONE'S NECK OUT. (sock/tune or coke/nuts)

    If “I'm a turtle,” I definitely “took a risk” when I “stuck my neck out” and raced the bunny... "Behold the turtle. He only makes progress when he sticks his neck out."

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  43. I submitted STUCK ONE'S NECK OUT.

    And my clue had to do with having buried my head in the sand.

    Ben

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  44. STUCK ONE'S NECK OUT

    Terrapins stick their necks out and can also be rather aggressive.

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  45. STUCK ONE'S NECK OUT

    "7-11" refers to the last time this year the Wall Street Journal crossword puzzle used "STUCK ONE'S NECK OUT" as a clue.

    "This puzzle will test you." >>> Turtles are reptiles of the order Testudines (Test u dines).

    Things are getting a little tense now. >>> One best get the tense of the verb correct; STUCK works, stick does not.

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    1. 7-11 how could I have missed that one? I think they also sell socks there. Last week 148 answers. What was the score for the mouth puzzle- like 26? Lowest ever? Thanks.

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    2. "The obscurer the better" is my motto.

      I've never checked 7-11 for socks but I'll take your word for it.

      I think there was at least one puzzle with just 1 correct entry. Let me check my camera obscura. . .

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    3. You could also write them in Chinese? No please no. It is always nice when a wordwoman takes my word on something. But I think they really do sell socks.

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    4. Thanks for the idea, Paltsmith. I will ask my Chinese students for help in writing clues in 2020.

      My hosiery-buying needs have not taken me to 7-11. Not yet, anyway.

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    5. Sorry, Plantsmith, autocorrect changed your name without my knowledge and consent.

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    6. The record for low response is zero, since Will admitted there was no correct answer.
      There have been others like it, but with answers accepted.
      There have been others under ten.
      This one, IMHO, will be well under 100, but be sure to listen for Lulu to say "correct responses."

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    7. MJ - Did you finish reading the book?

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    8. I did. If you want to discuss it, you will need to decide where.

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    9. ww. Testudine. I suppose Gladiator film would be too obvious? Also elegant clue. I forgot that you teach Chinese. Since i don't do cross word puzzles i imagine there are sites to help with clues. Hmmm? My grandma did Cross word puzzles into her 80's. She was also a word lady.

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    10. And if you can't figure that one out I suggest trying a Google search.

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  46. My clue was "I'm", which in Italian is "sono" and is formed from the initial letter of each word of the puzzle answer.

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    1. Lost again, which is an anagram of NOSTALGIA, coincidentally. Makes me long for the days of the last Sunday Puzzle I solved recently.

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    2. I had thought to offer a "column" about SONOTUBES, but I succumbed to pier pressure.

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    3. Also feeling some nostalgia this week. "Do you remember the time."

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  47. Like the add "sono bello" for liposuction?

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  48. My clue was "brace yourselves", in reference to a neck brace.

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  49. My clue -

    “I much prefer the alternate definition (verb) of the phrase’s 3rd word.“ was a reference to “neck” as in “to kiss.”

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  50. This week's challenge: This week's challenge comes from Eric Chaikin, of Thousand Oaks, Calif. His brother is Andrew Chaikin, who created last week's challenge. Name a noted TV journalist — five letters in the first name, six letters in the last. Change an I in this name to a W and rearrange the result. You'll get a two-word phrase for where you might see this journalist. Who is it?

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  51. Not the name the journalist was born with.

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  52. Got it.

    I wonder if the brothers Chaikin are related to the producer, director, and writer, Ilene Chaikin?

    Happy Day After Solstice Blainesvilleans. The light is returning!

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  53. Only 156 correct responses last week.

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  54. I thought the puzzle called for a word containing 8 different letters and an apostrophe, from which you could remove the apostrophe and re-space to form three more words. There is such a word, although perhaps there shouldn't be. Needless to say, it does not lead to an answer, so I wasted some time looking for another before surrendering. Should've checked the blog first.

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  55. I thought the puzzle was meant to be ONLY 8 different letters plus apostrophe. I did not know you could repeat any of the letters in the answer. Perhaps not well worded.

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