Sunday, June 28, 2020

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jun 28, 2020): Five-letter animals

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jun 28, 2020): Five-letter animals
Q: Think of a five-letter animal. Remove the middle letter, and two opposites remain. What animal is it?
I have two answers. One would be familiar to crossword solvers, the other (intended) answer is probably simple enough for an elementary school student.

Edit: Crosswords have made me familiar with quite a few 5-letter african animals (OKAPI, ELAND, NYALA...) and it was the last one that results in two cities (New York and Los Angeles) on opposite coasts. Not the intended answer, but I liked it nonetheless.
A: SWINE --> SW (southwest) and NE (northeast)

162 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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    Replies
    1. I have both answers. Good one.

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    2. I have one answer but I'm not sure which category it falls into! It came very easily, but my own elementary-aged daughter can't get it (at least so far!)

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    3. I spent too much time looking for Blaine's (and ron's) other answer before concluding that I was probably overthinking it. I think I've found it, but it's not very satisfying.

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

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  2. I hope there's a moral to this one.

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  3. Those who have dined at Puzzleria! in the recent past will have an advantage in solving this NPR puzzle.
    Speaking of Puzzleria!, we feature four fine conundrums created by Mathew Huffman in our June 26th edition.
    Also on the menu are three puzzles dealing with:
    1. bookstore sections and body parts,
    2. Pavlov and three other men with whom he has a commonality, and
    3. a raven in a Poe tree(?).
    Oh yes, there are also eight riff-off puzzles of Will Shortz's Lulu of a puzzle from last Sunday.

    LegoLambda(WhoLivesOnLakeLola)

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  4. Good job by Ellen B. on-air this morning.

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

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    2. Okay, how about past, present, and future?

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  6. As is so often the case, there’s an angle to this puzzle. I just had to drill down far enough to find it.

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  7. Jan , no hint there from me , if you're referring to my comment.

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  8. It's always a red-letter day when I can solve the puzzle in decent time. Just took a while to comment here, because I'm unable to on my phone and needed to access my computer.

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  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  10. Got it while attending Sunday services, social distancing. Previous entry a typo.

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  11. What does this have to do with the White House?

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  12. Like Mr. Eding, I could not post on my phone. What is with that?

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  13. Musical clue: well, I know which boy band I wouldn't pick!

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  14. I herd this puzzle this morning

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  15. Replies
    1. I'd rather pad it than ribbit up.

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    2. Well, with this pandemic I think most of us are staying at home on the range so as not to croak.

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    3. I have to stay at home. My car got toad.

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    4. I'm sorry to hear that. I suppose Newt Gingrich is on the loose again.

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    5. I saw him by the pond. He was being coy.

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  16. Geographic clue: South Dakota.

    Still, I found this puzzle maddening.

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  17. Suffering cabin fever. Think I’ll head out and do some shopping with my friends Harry, Ron, and Hermione.

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  18. I thought of a clue in the form of a certain biblical question, but I'm sure that if I were to post it, Blaine would not only delete it, but he'd ask me to leave this group!

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  19. Does this have anything to do with the Republican caucus in the Senate?

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    Replies
    1. Well, it's true that I would never throw anything valuable at any of them!

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  20. I'm sure I know the intended answer, but (as is common for me!) I only get about half the clues here.

    Musical Clue: Austin.

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  21. I spent half of today trying to solve this puzzle.

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    Replies
    1. This puzzle was on Tau Day (June 28), a mathematical holiday in honor of the constant tau=6.2831853071... Half of tau is pi=3.1415926535... SW and NE are pi radians apart on a circle.

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  22. Musical Clue: Bernard Herrmann

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  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  24. After a day of unpacking boxes, with many more to come, I got it. No clue here.

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  25. 600 answers last week - more than I was expecting.

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  26. I wonder how many here are old enough to remember Students for a Democratic Society? I learned that there is a new SDS formed in 2006, but the old one is the one I mean.

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    Replies
    1. I always considered them to be among the heroes of that tiny little war in Indochine along with those who either left the country or went to prison or declared themselves to be conscientious objectors. I, on the other hand, joined at 18 for 3 long years, with the guarantee of serving in Europe. In 1966 upon my return back home from Germany in September I refused to report for mandatory reserve duties and I burned my draft card in protest.

      So, I guess I am old enough to remember.

      I am responding with this because it reminds me of shortly after the 9/11 fiasco. I did everything I could to try and prevent our country from going to war over that incident, but knew I would not succeed. So we went to war and here in Seattle protests did go on, but to no avail.

      On Sunday mornings I would ride my bike down to Green Lake and ride the 3 mile path and then back home again as I did on other days too. On these sundays however there were 4 much younger nearby business owners who would bring anti-war signs down to the park and try to do their part protesting beside the path by the lake in a particular spot near one of the main parking lots.

      I would always stop my ride and talk with one, and sometimes more, of them, along with whoever might stop by to chat and agree or argue. What I remember most is one sunday when a flabby, fat guy in upscale clothes came up to argue with us. He eventually told us he had been a member of SDS back in the day, but he was now all for the war. We argued with him to no avail and both found it hard to understand, but when I walked my bike back to the parking lot with the head protester I was talking with, I suddenly said I figured it out. He had joined with SDS back then because he was a coward, but now he felt threatened by invasion and still being a coward he wanted the youngsters of the day to go and fight for his safety.

      I also saw this as being the reason for Christopher Hitchens changing from a Liberal to a pro-war conservative. He was simply a coward.

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    2. I was a member of the SDS in Seattle when I was in graduate school at UW in 1968-69.
      Do you remember Skip and Molly?
      Interestingly, I also declined to participate in the Army Reserve there. As a result, the unit was not very nice to me in spite of (or perhaps because of) the fact I was the only Vietnam vet in it.

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    3. I don't see the connection to SDS, but maybe to the Youth International Party?

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    4. I was not involved with SDS because I was not a U of W student. I do not recall a Skip or a Molly. I had no contact of any kind with the Army Reserve, unless they sent me something in the mail that I forgot about. I never contacted them. I eventually received my honorable discharge certificate which I put in the bottom of a drawer out of sight. Now on occasion some young guy will thank me for my service and I will have none of it. It seems to really surprise them that I find it offensive, but maybe it will make them think about it. We must stop glorifying war.

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    5. If I'm not mistaken the SDS was conceived at my alma mater the University of Michigan. While the SDS days were before me we did our best to keep up the tradition in the Reagan years. And I got the hint.

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    6. They held their first meeting in 1960 on the University of Michigan campus at Ann Arbor, where Alan Haber was elected president.

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    7. Mendo Jim:
      Since you were at the U of W back in the day, do you remember the University Inn on Roosevelt Way? It is still there and that is where I interviewed with Thomas L. Culhane who came from out of state to offer me a career at a certain government department located in Langley, Washington D.C. It was all so childishly juvenile in the manner in which it was conducted. I still have all the paperwork he gave me to fill out although he said I was already accepted and I would not even have to take a polygraph, due to my very high security clearance, etc. The only thing I remember in it is the question about what the last 5 books I read were. If they only knew.

      You can google his full name and get some confirming information.

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  27. Wow! You sure do remember. And you mention nothing about my hint, so I guess that I was sufficiently obscure this time.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, I sure did, but don't let it go to your head because I am more than well qualified to completely miss the hint in someone's post. I keep admonishing myself to pay more attention to the puzzle, but think it may be too late for optimism on that front.

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  28. Musical clues: The Beatles and Bob Dylan.

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

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    1. That did it for me. Thanks.

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    2. I was surprised it lasted as long as it did.

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    3. jan, while you may be surprised that Jim's post lasted as long as it did, I'm completely puzzled as to why Blaine deleted it. It was "A word for today: ", followed by an obscure word of 11 letters. I looked up that word in Wiktionary, and to me it has nothing to do whatsoever with either of the two answers that I submitted.

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    4. Mea culpa - in italics and bold - can someone tell me how to do that?

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    5. Left angle bracket, "i", right angle bracket, to start italics. Left angle bracket, "/i", right angle bracket, to stop italics. Replace "i" with "b" for bold.

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    6. like this?

      <"i"> mea culpa <"/i">

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    7. I get an error message - Your HTML cannot be accepted: Tag is not closed

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    8. Leave off the quote marks.

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  30. I thought I might have Blaine's alternate answer so I looked here for a hint that would confirm it but haven't found any, a laborious search notwithstanding. -LT

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    1. If I'm right about the "alternate answer," a laborious search would be a waste of time. I know that I'd be burning if I labored right up until the Thursday reveal, only to discover the unremarkable truth.

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    2. It seemed Leo's comment and the reply might qualify, but I may be reading too much into them, or maybe I just have the wrong "alternate answer."

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  31. This will be 2 weeks in a row that I didn't get the answer

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  32. My notebook page was covered top to bottom with lists of animals and possible opposites. I was about to give up when the answer appeared where I wasn't looking.

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    Replies
    1. The answer appeared in the corner of the page, as SW and NE are corners, not the top or bottom of a typical map.

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  33. Clark, it's only Monday _ so stop your wining!

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    1. I like Cava, Cabernet Sauvignon, a good oaky Chardonnet...I'll wine as often as I want. SO THERE!

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    2. I don't think Chardonnet is the same thing as Chardonnay.

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    3. True, I knew that it didn't look right when I typed it.

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    4. That's okay, I really am not a big fan of Chardonnay, which I call potluck party wine, anyway. I much prefer a Monastrell, which $100 says you cannot pronounce correctly. How is that for a rich, full bodied statement with a long finish?

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    5. How about MonAH'Strell? It depends upon which Syllah'ble you you empha'size

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    6. Not even close. It is properly pronounced Mona-stray. Exactly like those 2 words are pronounced.

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  34. My wife used to work out at our Y in NJ with the owner of a local store (I won't say what kind). His last name sounded like a 4-letter animal, but the name of the store (and its website) made me think he was named for the 5-letter answer animal.

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  35. Once again history repeats itself. I struggled with this until I put myself in the IQ range of someone 2 generations of inbreeding in a rural state might examine this. Got it right away. Rule #1 of the NPR Sunday Puzzle: if you aren't getting it you're overthinking it. I think WS must be writing for his grandchildren in elementary school? I miss the days when these were actually challenging puzzles. I sincerely hope whoever takes over from this tired puzzle maker brings back the challenge. Not everyone needs a trophy every week.

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    1. Ouch, BB. I think you're being a little harsh with your assessment of our Puzzlemaster. It can't be easy to come up with such enjoyable puzzles week after week, yet I always look forward to tuning in. Some of his best puzzles are both easy to solve and delightful to discover. It did not take long to solve Anthony HOPkins, Anthony PERkins, Dennis HOPPER, but the serendipitous connection delighted me then and still brings me a smile today.

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    2. BB - I just think it's his style.

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    3. I feel you bro. It's not fair that you are forced to play every week.

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  36. I was lost on this one for a while but finally got it. One of our fellow bloggers must be feeling special this week.

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  37. It's never to late to have a happy childhood.

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  38. Well, I've submitted my answers, although besides the intended answer, my suggested alternate answer does not strike me as being "familiar to crossword solvers". Instead I suggest that the words "two opposites" might actually mean two pairs of opposites - i.e. two pairs of single letters that are opposites for different reasons.

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  39. So, I have an answer but am not super-satisfied with it. If I change the pronunciation of the animal slightly, it sounds like a place.

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    1. Bonus puzzle.
      Think of a five-letter animal. Remove the middle letter, and two synonyms remain. What animal is it?

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    2. 4 minutes flat -- I'm impressed.

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    3. Nice SDB! I didn't notice Blaine used a panda image.

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    4. I remember the 1988 Da movie, starring Martin Sheen.


      Da movie review & film summary (1988) | Roger Ebert
      www.rogerebert.com › reviews › da-1988
      Jul 1, 1988 - “Da” is a movie about that day, about the day a playwright flies home to Ireland to bury his father and discovers it is not going to be as simple as ...

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  40. I have a second answer. I reverse engineered this one - started with the opposites and arrived at the animal. I am feeling much better about this answers.

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

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  42. I think I may have the intended answer. The word jumped out at me when I was going through headlines in the New York Times. But, I may be way off.

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  43. EaWAf

    I think you hit the answer on the nose. From what I can tell it's the same answer I got after about a minute and a half. The only problem is that my answer could be but not necessarily, a collective. D.E.,,

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  44. As I went back to bed and was almost asleep, the answer came and with it the understanding of Blaine's clue. Basil Rathbone couldn't have said it better.

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  45. I plan to table any further discussion until Thursday

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  46. Well, yesterday I submitted what I’m sure is the intended answer, as well as an alternate answer.
    Now earlier today, I gave a second submission, as I since thought of a third answer, or rather a second alternate answer.
    In my earlier post, I suggested that the words "two opposites" might actually mean two pairs of opposites - i.e. two pairs of single letters that are opposites for different reasons.
    Well in my 2nd alternate answer, I have two pairs of single letters that are opposites for the same reason!

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  47. I have three possibilities. I'm not crazy about any of them, even though they all work in some way. I'm overlooking something this week. It may not be the intended solution, but I submitted a straight forward one.

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  48. SWINE >>> SW & NE compass directions that are opposing.

    My Hint: “I hope there's a moral to this one.” Referring to a moral compass. If you were lost in the forest you would not want to have to depend on an immoral compass. A person without a moral compass might be consider to be a swine.

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  49. SWINE—>SW, NE (SOUTHWEST, NORTHEAST)

    Musical clues:

    The Beatles—>”Piggies”

    Bob Dylan—>No Direction Home: title of the 2005 documentary about the mercurial “jester” and lyric from Dylan’s 1965 song “Like a Rolling Stone”

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  50. swine

    As I said Sunday morning, “As is so often the case, there’s an angle to this puzzle. I just had to drill down far enough to find it.” If you draw a line from southwest to northeast on a map, it’s neither perpendicular nor vertical – it’s at a 45 degree angle. And drill is another word for bore – hence boar – hence swine.

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  51. SWINE, SW and NE

    "PBS" = Pearls Before SWINE

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  52. SWINE -> SW, NE

    > Fliers, past and present.

    > Now that I think of it, fly, flew and flu. [Posted without the hyperlinks, and deleted by Blaine]

    > Okay, how about past, present, and future?

    > Musical clue: well, I know which boy band I wouldn't pick!

    More than One Direction involved.

    > y = x

    Defines a line running from SW to NE. And, since an "I" looks like a line, maybe a cryptic crossword-type clue for SWINE itself?

    > I don't see the connection to SDS, but maybe to the Youth International Party?

    The Yippies ran Pigasus for President in 1968.

    > My wife used to work out at our Y in NJ with the owner of a local store (I won't say what kind). His last name sounded like a 4-letter animal, but the name of the store (and its website) made me think he was named for the 5-letter answer animal.

    Gary Fisch owns Gary Swine, uh, Gary's Wine.

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    Replies
    1. On Sunday afternoon, I tried to tell one of our resident hall monitors, jan, that y=x was TMI.
      Trying not to give too much importance to my objection, thus adding to the problem, I left out the term "dead giveaway."
      The "challenge" was too easy to make a difference.

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    2. I knew that clue was about a wine shop.

      Delete
  53. 1. SWINESWNE (opposite directions). Will did NOT say “two opposite WORDS remain.”

    2. ADDAX (North African Antelope) → ADD (homophone of “AD”) ≠ AXE (Remove). Name a five-letter animal that divides into “two opposites.”


    3. DINGODIE ≠ get up and GO.

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  54. The animal is a SWINE; the opposites are SW (South West) and NE (North East).

    My, “magical,” comment was based on performance magic relying on misdirection. However, I felt any comment about misdirection would have been TMI, so I obfuscated.

    My trip with Harry, Ron, and Hermione was to go shopping for wizarding gear on Diagon Alley, one of the best bits of wordplay in the Potterverse.

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  55. What follows is my second submission to the NPR website, which includes my first answers:

    Second submission: Please excuse this second submission from me. My first submission was early Tuesday morning.
    Since then, I realized a THIRD ANSWER, or rather, a SECOND ALTERNATE ANSWER!

    This week's challenge: This week's challenge comes from listener Ed Pegg Jr., who runs the website MathPuzzle.com. Think of a five-letter animal. Remove the middle letter, and two opposites remain. What animal is it?
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The answers of my 1st submission:

    SWINE ==> SW & NE

    ...and if "two opposites" can mean two PAIRS of opposites, then...

    ZEBRA ==> After you remove the B in the middle, you have...
    E,R ==> A pair of ROT13 opposites, and...
    Z , A ==> Opposite ends of the alphabet.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    And now, my recently realized 2nd alternate answer, this one even more consistent.

    VIPER ==> After you remove the P in the middle, you have...
    V & I, AND E & R ==> BOTH are pairs of ROT13 opposites!
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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  56. SWINE ==> SW & NE

    My musical clue of Bernard Herrmann was in honor of his 109th birthday (the day I posted it) and his AMAZING and memorable score to Hitchcock's North by Northwest.

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  57. ON Monday I said "A word for the day: enucleation." The word describes the surgical removal of the eye.

    The post lasted nearly a day before it was appropriately taken don by Blaine. I guess I was simply testing the limits. And I apologize if I gave it away.

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  58. I had written, ” I consulted lists of five-letter animals without direction until I found the answer,” which I thought was subtle and obscure enough, but SDB thought not, and I took it down. (I offer my apologies.) Then I wrote, “I wonder how many here are old enough to remember Students for a Democratic Society? I learned that there is a new SDS formed in 2006, but the old one is the one I mean.”



    I enjoyed the subsequent discussion of SDS, but my message did contain a hint. This was a reference to “Li’l Abner,” a comic strip drawn by Al Capp from 1934 to 1977. Capp turned sourly conservative in those last years, and parodied the SDS, mostly seen as an anti-Vietnam War movement, as Students Wildly Indignant about Nearly Everything, with the motto, “We will make the world fit for S.W.I.N.E.” Capp’s switch from liberal to conservative, and from hilarious to cranky, and the revelations that he was a sexual predator ended the strip not long after S.W.I.N.E. was part of it.

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  59. I submitted "SWINE" as the intended answer and "NYALA" (a kind of antelope) as an alternative answer -- NY and LA, opposite coasts. -LT

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    Replies
    1. That was the alternate answer I had in mind.

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    2. I thought it might be; thanks for confirming. My hint stated I had looked here for hints to the alternate answer but had not found "any, a laborious" search notwithstanding. -LT

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  60. I posted Sunday morning:
    "Those who have dined at Puzzleria! in the recent past will have an advantage in solving this NPR puzzle."
    I was aluding to the "Southern Creature Comfort Slice: What did Noah drink on the Ark?" puzzle in the June 12th edition of Puzzleria!.
    Speaking of Puzzleria!, tomorrow's edition features five "house party" puzzles created by ecoarchitect. They appear in his "Econfusions" puzzle package.
    Also on the menu are six riff-offs of Sunday's porcine NPR puzzle, a "pilgrimward progress" puzzle, a puzzle that uses the zodiac signs, and a pair of patriotic Independence Day puzzles.

    LegoWhoCautions"LetHeWhoIsWithoutSinCastTheFirstPearl!"

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  61. swine

    SW=southwest
    NE=northeast

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  62. My clues:

    I was lost on this one for a while but finally got it. One of our fellow bloggers must be feeling special this week.

    “Lost” as in needing directions
    “One of our fellow bloggers” was referring to the aptly named blogger “Northeast”!

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  63. I posted on Sun Jun 28, at 03:07:00 PM PDT:

    I thought of a clue in the form of a certain biblical question, but I'm sure that if I were to post it, Blaine would not only delete it, but he'd ask me to leave this group!

    The question I had thought of asking was "Why did some villagers beg Jesus to leave their neighborhood?"

    As anyone who knows the bible well enough would know, those villagers, unimpressed that a certain well-known madman was now "clothed and in his right mind", were horrified by the fact that a whole herd of swine had all rushed head-long over a cliff to drown in the waters below.

    And when...

    Uncle Fishbag posted shortly thereafter at 03:14:00 PM PDT:

    Does this have anything to do with the Republican caucus in the Senate?

    I replied (at 03:37:00 PM PDT):

    Well, it's true that I would never throw anything valuable at any of them!

    In other words, I'd follow Christ's teaching to "cast not your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot and then turn to attack you."

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  64. I also had swine, with SW and NE being opposites.

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  65. Although only he knows, I am assuming that Blaine's alternate solution "familiar to crossword solvers" was SWYNE, sort of an auld William Blake version of SWINE that is still mentioned as an alternate spelling. Since ron had "both answers" so quickly, I am assuming that it was his second answer as well. (I may be wrong there, as nobody finds more alternate answers than ron.) In any event, since the same SW-NE template is used, I tried to warn folks not to waste too much time scrolling through 5-letter animals.

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    Replies
    1. His alternate solution was NYALA; see his reply to my post above. -LT

      Delete
    2. Much better than SWYNE! But I'm still glad I didn't spend more time looking for it.

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  66. For the record, my guess was AHA HA - an Australian wasp. Take out the middle A and you have two straight up, or straight out, opposites. Panda was not out of the question - rotate the lower case p and d. Then there's koala - inside out and you get "ok" for yes & "la", Arabic for no.

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  67. The answer I submitted was SWINE, SW NE.

    My initial answer was MACAW. W is an upside down M and A is the mirror image of itself. No wonder I wasn't happy with it.

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  68. I submitted skunk or skink
    Sk = South Korea
    Nk = North Korea

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  69. I submitted COBRA...Co: the symbol for cobalt (Nonradioactive)
    Ra: the symbol for radium (radioactive)

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    Replies
    1. Close to my alternate, but I like my VIPER better! After all, V & I, and E & R are ROT13 opposites.

      Delete
  70. I still like Hyena. Phonetically "Hy" and "Na" are opposites in Japanese.

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    1. If you are talking about yes and no, I thought the words were はい (hai) and いいえ (iie). Even in an informal context, I've heard いや (iya).

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    2. Blaine,
      That is indeed interesting. I have long been under the impression that the Japanese hai was nothing more than their excitement at meeting each other, yet with the intonation that also was a reminder to keep a six foot distance.

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  71. SWINE is the intended answer. But an alternative is ZERDA, a small fox. Remove the R and you get Zed and A, opposite ends of the alphabet.

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  72. Wow...how did I miss this.
    My user-name being part of the answer.

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  73. Donald Trump got a shock today when he arrived at Mount Rushmore. His staff had to inform him that he was only there to give his speech and not to pose for the addition.

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    1. https://static-26.sinclairstoryline.com/resources/media/6166ff53-76b3-411f-bec5-cba53271484b-smallScale_Mt.RushmorecoronavirusbyScottTaylor.jpg?1584045419823

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  74. My reference to a red-letter day indicated The Scarlet Letter, where Hester Prynne's daughter is named Pearl, in order to very obliquely hint at the "pearls before swine" phrase.

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