Sunday, June 14, 2020

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jun 14, 2020): Five Letter Words

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jun 14, 2020): Five Letter Words:
Q: Think of a five-letter word. Change the first letter to the next letter of the alphabet, and you'll get a new word that doesn't share any sounds with the first one. Then change its first letter to the next letter of the alphabet, and you'll get a third word that doesn't share any sounds with either of the first two. What words are these?
I'm reminded of something from 2006. That won't help anyone, but I'll explain on Thursday.

Edit: For our family Christmas "Close But No Rhyme" Puzzle from 2006, the first clue was "A Christmas tree limb that is not smooth to the touch." The answer is a pair of words that might appear to rhyme (same ending letters) but don't. The answer was ROUGH BOUGH.
A: BOUGH, COUGH, DOUGH

116 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. Just under 500 correct responses last week.

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  3. Add three letters at the beginning of the middle word and you get another word that sounds not a bit like the others.

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    1. Don't you mean change the first letter?

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    2. That may be how they do it in the UK, but here in America we change the spelling of the rest of the word.

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    3. Oh. Gosh - I went to an English school for a couple of years, and often fail to make these distinctions.

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    4. I like that old English spelling. I once came up with the most ridiculous spelling for a popular food ingredient using the different phonetic sounds of the letters in question.

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  4. It was easy to solve, but I am surprised Will Shortz used it because it is not original.

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    1. Definitely.. it's been around for quite a while ... together with the other non-consecutive alphabet answers.

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  5. Well, as Mark Twain might never have said, "History does not repeat itself, but it rhymes." I agree with ron, and this time I get it.

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

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

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    2. Let’s see how long this giveaway lasts. 😃

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  7. This one's painfully simple to solve.

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  8. Yes,congrats to Matt for a very fine on-air challenge performance.
    And congrats to ecoarchitect on having his puzzle being chosen by Will Shortz.

    LegoNoIntentionalHintsHere

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    Replies
    1. Double congrats to ecoarchitect from Berkeley and to Matt from Bethpage.

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    2. "Come back, Shane, I mean 'ECO'!"

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  9. Wow I’ve solved it fast so I won’t be as snippy this week. Seems like this puzzle could be an encore performance, or similar to another oldie.

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    1. I'm much more content now that I've solved it.

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  10. We have solved it in a snap. I'm truly proud of us.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, I didn’t need much time to break this baby.

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  11. ‘Tis the wrong season for this puzzle – Christmas would be a better choice.

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    Replies
    1. I dunno, one of the words is common in quarantine.

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    2. I would say two of the words are common in the current quarantine. --Margaret G.

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  12. Yes, my heartiest congrats to both Blainesville regulars for their contributions to the NPR puzzle segment this week.

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  13. Outside , inside , inside to outside.
    Not necessarily in that order.

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  14. We did not solve last week's puzzle and I'm glad because the on air challenge would have been hard to articulate. They never call anyways when we do get it.

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  15. If I get picked this week, that would be eerie.

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  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. It shares some sounds with the second word, right?

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    4. This clue is sufficient to solve the puzzle.

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  17. Got it. This is the fastest I've solved any of the NPR puzzles.

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  18. I got the first word thinking about an old "I Love Lucy" episode.

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  19. Congratulations to Eco. Glad to know his name as need a deck.

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  20. Congratulations to Matt and ecoarchitect. NIcely done!

    And courtesy of an assist from my better half, I solved Will's puzzle.

    Here's a clue: Garfield (not what you may think).

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  21. Just putting this out there for all you puzzle nuts: the same challenge can be solved for 3- and 4-letter words.

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    1. Do you mean that you can start with "Think of a 3-letter word" or "Think of a 4-letter word" and leave the rest of the instructions exactly the same, resulting in two new puzzles?

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    2. EAR (îr)

      FAR (fär)

      WAR (wôr)

      HERE (hîr)

      SERE (sɪər)

      WERE (wûr)

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    3. But unknown’s challenge is to provide three 3-letter words and three 4-letter words in both cases having their initial letters consecutive in the alphabet!

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    4. Not to mention "that doesn't share any sounds," e.g., a pronounced "r" at the end. The fact that the 5-letter challenge has a solution is pretty distinctive, methinks.

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  22. My car is getting three months to the gallon these days. (not an original thought).

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  23. I like this puzzle, but...

    I think it's flawed. Insofar as "doesn't share any sounds" has a precise enough meaning for a puzzle, I think it has to mean: doesn't share any phonemes.
    But two of the words do share a phoneme.

    Sorry, Eco! I don't mean to be nitpicky! It's still a very good puzzle!

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    1. I'm not sure what you mean. I looked up phonemes. I found a list of 40+ phonemes used in English. None of the three words share a phoneme, at least on the list I used. --Margaret G.

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    2. Hm.
      Well, obviously I can't be specific. But the sound in question has its own IPA symbol, and that symbol occurs in the phonetic representation of both words in their OED entry.

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    3. I agree with Crito here, but I've also never agreed with the results of a pronunciation-based puzzle by Will before.

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  24. Sat down with a book I have owned for decades but have never read. Got to p. 14 and there was the first of the three words. Voila! I don't remember ever coming up with an answer that way. No hints here, just sharing the fun of puzzling.

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  25. Solved it easily! I love puzzles like that!

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  26. Here's a clue for 2 of the three words: Hickory, dickory, Doc.

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  27. Reminds me of the Father, Gather, Bather puzzle from 11-29-2009! Well done Eco!

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  28. I'll give Eco and Willy the benefit of the doubt and hope they didn't together give us the easiest Sunday Puzzle in years.
    Gee, that will require alternate answers, wont't it?

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  29. This week was hardly an Epic for the mind. Easy solve.

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  30. This puzzle elicited an annoyed grunt from me.

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  31. Phee, phi, pho, phum, I smell the blood of an Englishman.

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  32. One of the words and what can be made from it are both used as slang for something else.

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    1. Let’s call the word you’re thinking of X. One of the other words, Y, together with a certain preposition, is often used metaphorically to describe what one needs to do with X in some situations.

      And word Z might be considered a metonym for a place where, according to an idiom, X is not to be found.

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  33. I wrote a computer script to get the answer. Here are some six letter words that exhibit the initial letter property, but not the unique phoneme property: baring, bashed, bashes, brawls, browns, buster, fanged, lapped, latter, lotion, racked, ragged, railed, rapped, rapper, reared, render, riding, rights, ringed, ripped.

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    1. Good job!
      I too, wrote a computer program early Sunday morning to solve this puzzle, and just a little while ago obtained the correct results.
      An extra lever had to be pulled at the local power plant, though.

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  34. I had the answer to this one before Mr Shortz finished announcing it. I've bitten into tougher things than this puzzle at Appleby's...

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    1. Do they also offer old chestnuts?

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    2. The King’s English
      Anonymous

      I take it you already know
      Of tough and bough and cough and dough?

      Others may stumble, but not you,
      On hiccough, thorough, slough and through.

      Beware of heard, a dreadful word,
      That looks like beard but sounds like bird.

      And dead: It’s said like bed, not bead --
      For goodness’ sake, don’t call it deed!

      Watch out for meat and great and threat…
      They rhyme with suite and straight and debt.

      A moth is not the moth in mother,
      Nor both in bother, nor broth in brother.

      And here is not a match for there,
      Nor dear and fear for bear and pear,

      And then there’s dose and rose and lose --
      Just look them up -- and goose and choose.

      And cork and work and card and ward,
      And font and front and word and sword.

      And do and go, then thwart and cart,
      Come, come, I’ve hardly made a start!

      A dreadful language? Why, sakes alive!
      I’d learned to speak it when I was five.

      And yet, to write it, the more I tried,
      I hadn’t learned it at fifty-five.

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  35. R.I.P. DAME VERA LYNN 103 great years!

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  36. With less than 10 minutes left til the deadline, one last clue:

    A well-known lullaby and a certain Christmas carol.

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    Replies
    1. "...When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall..." and "Deck the halls with boughs of holly..."

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  37. bough, cough, dough

    Last Sunday I wrote, “‘Tis the wrong season for this puzzle – Christmas would be a better choice.” Around Christmas, there are lots of Christmas tree boughs, coughs and cookie dough.

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  38. BOUGH, COUGH, DOUGH

    > Improvised masks aren't expensive.

    COUGHy filter masks don't cost as much DOUGH as the kind I BOUGHt.

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  39. BOUGH (bou)

    COUGH (kôf, kŏf)

    DOUGH
    (dō)

    There are also THREE other pronunciations of “OUGH”

    ROUGH (rŭf)

    THROUGH (thro͞o) (θru)

    HICCOUGH (hĭk′əp)

    My hint: “This one is easy (six dots) ENOUGH!”

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    1. And as I replied Sunday, here in America we spell HICCOUGH as HICCUP.

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  40. BOUGH, COUGH, DOUGH

    My better half’s “assist” was to suggest the word “rough,” which sent me in the right direction.

    My clue: “Garfield (not what you think)”—>not the feline comic strip character or the 20th U. S. President or any of the cities and towns named after him, but rather a little-known but influential Delta blues guitarist named Garfield Akers, who in 1929 and 1930 recorded his entire output of 4 songs, one of which was “Dough Roller Blues,” the earliest version of “Rollin’ and Tumblin’.”

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  41. BOUGH, COUGH, & DOUGH (rhyming with COW, OFF, and TOE respectively)

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  42. BOUGH, COUGH, & DOUGH. I clued "that was painfully easy" because I was thinking about "ow"

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  43. "I'm much more content now that I've solved it."
    In other words, I'm "less miserable" (alluding to Victor OUGH).

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  44. I am holding out hope that the Eco/Shortz team had some reason to give the Puzzle's millions of listeners this insultingly easy "challenge."
    And, of course, that we will be told what that reason was.

    It would not have made it much tougher, but the clues could have further read "then change that letter to the next one in the alphabet, add a letter, and get a fourth pronunciation."
    The solution would have been bough, cough, dough and enough.

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  45. Helpful to remember the book title (by Dr. Seuss): "The Tough Coughs As He Ploughs the Dough" ... we don't use "plough" much in US but a tree branch is still "bough".

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  46. Four skydiversions (created by skydiveboy) will be featured on tomorrow's Puzzleria! (see Blaine's PUZZLE LINKS).
    Also, ecoarchitect will riff-off his own NPR puzzle six times!

    LegoSaysThereAreFifteenPuzzlesTotal(Count'Em)OnFriday'sPuzzleria!

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  47. BOUGH, COUGH, DOUGH
    OUGH strikes again.

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  48. I thought through thoroughly,though tough troughs were in my way.

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  49. I think the most elegant example of the "ough" phenomenon is to start with a 7-letter word and remove either the second letter, the third letter, or both the second and third letter, resulting in four words, no two of which rhyme. I think Will may have used this one before.

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  50. My clues:
    “Wow “ was reference to Bow-Wow (or homophonically bough wow).
    “Encore performance “ was reference to taking a bow (homophone of bough).as well as the fact that we’ve had “ough” puzzle before.

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  51. “This puzzle elicited an annoyed grunt from me.”

    Scripts for “The Simpsons” somewhat famously call for Homer to deliver an “annoyed grunt” rather than spelling out his trademark “D’OH!”

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  52. I wonder if Betty Crocker is nervous now.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. They are coming for pop and fresh. Doughboy's days are numbered.

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    3. Now how do we get rid of that annoying gecko?

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  53. I said I would be typecast, because I went on the air for the THOUGH, TOUGH, THROUGH puzzle.

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  54. For especially SDB. Chris Hedges discusses the criticism and censorship surrounding Michael Moore’s film “Planet of the Humans,” with director, Jeff Gibbs.

    The corporate takeover of the environmental movement selling false hope. CLICK HERE.

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    1. Thanks, ron. I will check it out, especially because he is listed on the credits.

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  55. Hmm...looks like a half-full arena in Tulsa, tonight.

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    1. If you want to bask in the glory of tonight’s mega-flop: CLICK HERE.

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    2. Amen!
      November 3, can't get here soon enough!
      Actually, January 20th can't!!

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  56. It has been a long and grueling day. I just now returned from my road trip to Trump's Rally in Oklahomygod. Well actually I only got as far as the I-5 freeway entrance about six blocks from my house. I decided to return back home due to an extreme lack of interest on my part. I know. I am such a shitty American not to follow through on my dedication to our fascist in chief, but I was just too bored. What can I say? But I expect better from all of you MAGA devotees.

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  57. Your third diversion answer is also name for a district not far from where you live in -north Seattle right? There are lots of these outside my patio now and some in bloom.

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  58. This week's challenge: Think of a famous person whose name consists of three names. The first and last letters of the first name plus the first and last letters of the second name plus the first and last letters of the third name, in order, name a city and lake in Europe. Who is it?

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