Sunday, May 03, 2020

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 3, 2020): Four Blanks

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 3, 2020): Four Blanks:
Q: Think of two common phrases in the form "___ and ___," in which the blanks stand for four-letter words. All four words in those two phrases have different first letters, but the last three letters in the words are the same. What are the phrases?
Kuantan Port Malaysia or Macomb, Illinois

Edit: Kuantan Port is home to NDWT (New Deep Water Terminal) and Macomb, IL is home to WTND 106.3 FM
A: NEAR and DEAR, WEAR and TEAR

100 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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  3. Blaine, I almost posted "Kuantan", but I thought you'd delete it. Then I was going to post a certain number, but your addition of Macomb, IL, made that a giveaway. So, now I'll just go with 292.

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    1. We both had the same thought. Sorry to step on your toes. I don't think either give it away though, do you?

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    2. I guess not. But what if I'd posted that number after you mentioned Macomb?

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    3. Yeah, people could have put the two together.

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    4. I will note up here, as I did down below, that Macomb is the "perfect clue." It didn't give anything away. And yet, once I got the correct answer, and looked back at the clue, it confirmed I had the right answer. That's precisely what a clue should do. And I once again salute our host, Blaine. (And I can't believe Blaine's never played on the air. No justice, no peace.)

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  4. One of the pairs has a set of homonyms, whose plurals are familiar to those in retail.

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  5. You can lengthen each phrase to end with a five letter word that also shares the three consecutive letters.

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  6. A rancher might ____ and ____.

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    1. Before I got the intended answer,I was tempted by "town and gown" and "sown and mown."

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    2. Weed and Feed is an actual product name. Unfortunately, I can't think of anything that pairs well with "seed".

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    3. How about Weed & Seed and Need & Feed?

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  7. Replies
    1. I am afraid i have to pass on that one. But if you want to wine and dine me, let me know.

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    2. Is that an example of hire and fire?

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    3. If it's not meat and beat, it must be beet and meet.

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    4. Afraid was an allusion to fear which has that important "Ear" hint.
      near-dear- wear and tear.
      I was trying to get Paid and laid to work. Alas.
      Sorry.

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  8. There's another pleasant surprise that awaits the solver; I'm glad that Will didn't mention it up front.

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  9. When a friend asked where he could get some drugs, I told him that the pill mill will fill the bill.

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  10. One pair is desirable, the other not.

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  11. Good puzzle this week. But I actually enjoyed Paul’s post and SuperZee’s response (on last week’s thread) even better, along w Jan’s noted connection to a recent puzzle!

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    1. Snipper - thanks for the kind words.

      For the record, Paul had commented, ”Add two letters to the four initial letters and arrange to get a word that might be associated with the previous week's puzzle.”

      To which, I replied, “Great observation. I nominate you for the coveted, “Poster of the Week,” award.

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  12. Replies
    1. This comment needs to be remove because it states the absolute opposite.

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  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

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

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  15. Having played the on-air puzzle since back in the postcard days, and having appeared on-air once, I feel very close to the Sunday morning NPR puzzle segment.

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  16. I've been to Macomb, Ill. But just to stop in at the Post Office.

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    1. Ben...did that hint help you solve this puzzle?

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    2. I think a Post Office stop is tops, really hits the spot. But I'm OK with anagrams.

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    3. I still don’t get the Macomb hint. I might have chosen another Illinois city that also starts with an M.

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    4. The Macomb hint did not help me to solve the puzzle. But as soon as I did solve the puzzle, and tried to come up with a clever hint, the Macomb hint proved to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that I had the same answer as Blaine and Jan.

      So I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.

      All of which also helped me to come up with the Post Office hint.

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  17. Replies
    1. I've read "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish" too many times to my granddaughters the past few months, during what the 3-year old calls "home vacation".

      (Babies seem to agree with dogs, who, according to a recent meme, think we all quit our jobs to spend more time at home with them. Unlike cats, who think we've been fired for being the losers they always knew we were.)

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  18. Notwithstanding what others have said. Don't worry; it will come to you.

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  19. I had my first Zoom meeting this past week. It was with a group of High School pals from long ago. We're pretty spread out now, but we regressed quickly. Not a perfect way to meet, but it does eliminate the hassle of preparation and travel.

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    1. I do too; I think it's the correct answer...

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    2. Check a dictionary. There's a subtle difference between my two pairs.

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    3. I finally got it. I had huff & puff and ruff & tuff, but those really involve fractured spelling.

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  21. Take one of the phases, add a seven-week lockdown, and it transforms into the other.

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  22. The answer is like the answer to a recent puzzle.

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    Replies
    1. Near, dear, wear, and tear all end in "ear", like the earlobe puzzle. Interestingly, the on-air contestant mentioned "Arlo", which is in "earlobe", and "bear", which ends in "ear".

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  23. I'm willing to go along with this puzzle even though I do think it could be a bit of a stretch.

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  24. Now that I think I have figured out why I haven't figured this out, I think I'll be able to figure it out.

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  25. True story: Having been up late the night before attending to my ailing better half (no, not the dreaded you-know-what but just one of “the thousand natural shocks / That flesh is heir to”), I was too tired and headachy all day Sunday to solve the puzzle. This morning, with her having recovered, I looked at her and the answer came to me in a flash.

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  26. Would appreciation and depreciation work?

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  27. Today, the first mosquito I have seen this season landed on my arm. I guess as a sign of the Covid times we are in, before I could swat him away, I noticed he had pulled out a small alcohol-wipe and was wiping down a little spot on my arm. Guess he was taking my no chances.

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  28. Reading through the comments this week, I am beginning to suspect that there are other answers than mine, although I have yet to discover them. The two phrases I found are both very common, but I can't make them fit some of the posts (including Blaine's).

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    1. The inscrutability of Blaine's clues may be part of what makes him precious to us.

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    2. I can't say that I have the right answer, only Mr. Shortz can. But if you have my answer, Macomb Ill. will tell you that you do. Also, I'm not a religious man, but JC's note will also make sense.

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

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    4. jan,
      Another part of what makes Blaine precious to us is his cleverness. For instance, his "AlcatraZ/Alphabet" hybrid puzzle-hint last week. Just ingenious!

      LegoWhoWagersThatHadBlaineSentThatPuzzleToWillShortzItLikelyWouldHaveBeenBroadcastOn"ThePuzzle"Segment

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  29. Hey Everyone!
    Are we all still meeting for dinner this evening to celebrate Cinco de Mayo at El Pancho's Mexican Cafe and to pop open some Coronas?

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    1. What does El Gaucho have to do with Mexico?

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    2. It closed permanently Dec. 23, 2013.

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    3. Why would I drive for half an hour outside Seattle to eat disgusting food at this awful chain when I can easily walk to one of their myriad locations from my house, but would not do even if you paid me? I have never been able to understand how they manage to stay in business. Sadly, Seattle no longer has any real Mexican restaurants any more. We used to. Decades ago there was one a short drive North of the city that I used to frequent. It had the best Mexican food I have ever found anywhere, including Mexico. It was a dump, run by a Mexican family. They were all extremely fat. The mother must have weighed somewhere between 500 and 600 pounds. I am not exaggerating. I remember always seeing her sitting at one of their tables. It had to have been the most unhealthful food in the Pacific Northwest, but I would pay dearly for just one more meal there. I have tried for decades to find somewhere with such good Mexican food, but have not even come close.

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    4. Sad but true. Actually Torreros in REnton was not that bad. Now at the Landing. May be closed.

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  30. I don't yet see the connection to Blaine's clues, but I've got a clue that should let anyone definitely know if they've got MY answer. I listed the phrases alphabetically by their first words. The 2nd phrase works really nice. In Wiktionary's search engine, you can start typing the 2nd phrase and that complete phrase shows up at the top of a pull-down list as soon as you type the "a" in "and".
    The 1st phrase is another story, though. You can go to Wikipedia and enter the entire 1st phrase into it's search box, and it asks you "Did you mean: " followed by that 1st phrase with the last word's last letter replaced with a repeat of the 1st word's 1st letter!

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    1. So close!

      I get the exact behavior you described for phrase 2 but not for phrase 1. For phrase 1, Wiki's search box does nothing.

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    2. I obviously have the answer just referenced above. Google had the first phrase #1 in its pull-down list and the second phrase #2, although I suspect that this reflects the searches inspired by the puzzle. I'm still stumped by the geographical hints; looking forward to tomorrow for Blaine's reveal!

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    3. WayWordy, notice that for my phrase 1, it was NOT WIKTIONARY, but WIKIPEDIA that does that weird replacement that I was describing.

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    4. E&WAF, I tried both wiktionary and wikipedia. No dice on phrase 1.

      Lancek, on the google search box, phrase 1 was the second in the auto suggest pull-down and phrase 2 was listed first.

      This is on typing the first word and the "a" in "and". I am going with phrase 1 and 2 in alphabetical order.

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    5. This particular Wikipedia link should show you what I meant. Do you see how right above 'The page "Near and dear" does not exist.', it says "Did you mean: neal and dean"? It USED TO SAY "Did you mean: near and dean".

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  31. Oh, I now finally get Kuantan Port Malaysia!

    Nice work, Blaine.

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  32. It has bothered me all week that the instructions specify that "the last three letters are the same," but not that they are in the same order.

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    1. In my solution the last three letters are the same, and in the same order.
      I would also describe how the words rhyme, or rather, whether or not they rhyme, but it seems that Unknown tried to do that and that Blaine nixed his post for that.

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    2. I thought that was what Jan's clue was about -as to tops to spot. Alas, the Macomb clue is still a little fuliginous. Speaking of birds.

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  33. NEAR and DEAR + WEAR and TEAR

    Alternate:

    JAIL & BAIL + SAIL & RAIL

    Honorable Mention:

    HIRE & FIRE + SIRE & TIRE

    WOMB & TOMB + COMB & BOMB

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  34. WEAR and TEAR, NEAR and DEAR

    The plural homonyms, familiar to retailers, are WARES and TARES.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the follow-on wordplay this puzzle engendered. Paul’s comment, “Add two letters to the four initial letters and arrange to get a word that might be associated with the previous week’s puzzle,” leads to WANTED. Thinking of WANTED POSTERS, I nominated Paul for the, “Poster of the Week,” award.

    But I remain baffled by the Kuantan and Macomb references.

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    1. In fact, SuperZee, you described the award as coveted, which is, of course, a synonym of "wanted". There were many excellent comments this week; it was an honor just to be nominated.

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    2. NDWT at Kuantan Port and WTND in Macomb. More detail and links above.

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    3. Paul - Not all of my wordplay is intentional. I must admit that the coveted/wanted duality was in that category. The brothers of Serendip, must have been visiting.

      Until Sunday!

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    4. Blaine - Thanks again for hosting this site. You provide much joy to this merry band of misfits.

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  35. WEAR AND TEAR.
    NEAR AND DEAR.

    She LAGS AND SAGS so he TAGS AND BAGS those slow running HAGS...

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  36. I submitted NEAR and DEAR, WEAR and TEAR.

    I noted the beauty of Blaine's clues because as soon as I sought to offer a hint, I thought that I could NOT post anything about EARs because it is a giveaway. Yet as soon as I looked at the first letters, I saw that:

    WTND is the local radio station of Macomb Illinois.

    And the NDWT is the "New Deep Water Terminal" in Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia, affirming I had the same answer as Blaine and Jan.

    And all of my talk of the POST OFFICE was because -- the first thing you see when you enter the post office is the WaNTeD poster.

    Ben

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  37. NEAR AND DEAR, WEAR AND TEAR

    My “[t]rue story” was true, mostly; as Huck said of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’s author, “[H]e told the truth mainly. There was things which he stretched, but mainly he told the truth.” Unintended bonus: The word “heir” from the Hamlet quote rhymes with a pair of the puzzle’s answers.

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  38. WEAR and TEAR, NEAR and DEAR

    > There's a strong connection to a very recent puzzle.

    EARlobe gave us EARL and ARLO a couple of weeks ago.

    > Blaine, I almost posted "Kuantan", but I thought you'd delete it. Then I was going to post a certain number, but your addition of Macomb, IL, made that a giveaway. So, now I'll just go with 292.

    Radio station WTND, in Macomb, IL, broadcasts on 106.3 MHz, FM channel 292.

    > Neither here nor there...
    >> I've read "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish" too many times to my granddaughters the past few months, during what the 3-year old calls "home vacation".

    I once removed a plug of wax from a patient's ear and found a dead bug behind it. But never a live bird. Every day, from here to there, funny things are everywhere.

    > The inscrutability of Blaine's clues may be part of what makes him precious to us.

    Near and dear.

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  39. Instead of Macomb Il., I would have gone with Moline Il.--the world headquarters of John DEERE

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  40. near and dear, wear and tear

    Last Sunday I said, “Having played the on-air puzzle since back in the postcard days, and having appeared on-air once, I feel very close to the NPR Sunday morning puzzle segment.” It’s near and dear to my heart.

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  41. Lots of great wordplay and clever hints this week, my Blainsville friends. What a creative and bright group!
    Tomorrow's Puzzleria! (see Blaine's PUZZLE LINKS) features a really nifty offering from Chuck (see his comment, above) that involves a recording artist and state postal abbreviations. Stop by and give it a solve, if you can.

    LegoAddsThatTomorrow'sPuzzleria!WillAlsoOfferAPuzzleAboutWhatToGiveMomOnMother'sDay(AlongWithSevenOtherDeliciousPuzzles)

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  42. This week's challenge comes from listener Jerry Heckler of Chardon, Ohio. Name the make and model of a popular car. Change the first and last letters of the make to name an animal. Change the first and fourth letters of the model to name another animal. What car is this?

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    1. I can't believe how easy that was. I read it, returned to bed and the answer came immediately.

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