Sunday, October 25, 2020

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Oct 25, 2020): Take A Note

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Oct 25, 2020): Take A Note
Q: What common seven-letter verb is made up of three consecutive musical notes in order?
The only question is are the notes going up or down?

Edit: The notes go up, the verb means "to go down"
A: D, E♭, E --> DEFLATE

228 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.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This clue gave it to me right away.

      Delete
    2. It's okay. I probably wouldn't have gotten it anyway. You saved me a morning of futility!

      Delete
  3. I posted on Sun Oct 25, at 05:25:00 AM PDT on last week’s thread:

    Has it been more than 2 seconds and you still haven’t figured it out yet? Oh, you’re gonna be SOOOO angry with yourself!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Agreed -- this is a beautiful one, as if Will had presented us with a sunrise of stunning hues.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice, jan! Did you notice that, despite its simplicity, it works two ways?

      Delete
    2. Thanks. Yes, that was the idea.

      Delete
  6. Cute. I look forward to this week's "musical clues."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was busy mopping up some flooding in the screen porch after last night's heavy rain, so I'm just seeing this week's puzzle. Despite my musical inclinations, at this point I haven't got a clue.

      Delete
    2. I'm not a musician, so the best I could come up with is the theme from "Eyes Wide Shut."

      Delete
    3. Lancek, that is an absolutely phenomenal clue, and I'm ashamed I didn't think of it myself.

      Delete
    4. Three mile island to any player.

      Delete
  7. This puzzle is witty at first, but seems less clever each time you hear it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Reminds me of a certain member of the Brady bunch - no, not you Jan.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  9. Answer still not coming to me -- but I have my earworm for the week: "Do, a deer, a female deer ..."

    ReplyDelete
  10. I never could hit a curveball

    ReplyDelete
  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I actually have a six-letter solution, clearly not a strong answer for Will.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Anagram the opposite of this word. You get two entomological terms.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A different animal is sometimes appended to a different form of that term as a prefix.

      Delete
  16. Even some musically inclined are outta luck on this one by going for the bait.

    ReplyDelete
  17. The high percentage of "removed by a blog administrator" clues reverberates around the land.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not to put too fine a point on it but there appear to be two words that one can not say in the comments this week that will cause Blaine to lose his level-headedness.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
    3. Words one can not say this week. Sharp and Flat.

      Delete
  18. This is a two part challenge.
    The first thing do do is figure out what the clue means.
    I'm not sure I will get that far.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I really enjoyed the on air puzzle today.

    2000+ correct entries last week. Predicting a similar number this week.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Jazz fans who are struggling with this one should lie down for an hour and see if that helps.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I have a 7-letter solution, a simple inflection of my earlier 6-letter solution—both are clever, too, I think—but neither is a verb. Back to the drawing board...

    ReplyDelete
  22. Time for a snack from a large small baker.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Isolate ends in "so, la, te".

    ReplyDelete
  24. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Replies
    1. It was a minor puzzle today.

      Delete
    2. Well as a drummer it will take me a little longer. What do you call a drummer who just broke up with his girlfriend?

      Delete
    3. How many drummers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

      Delete
    4. What's the difference between a drummer and a saving's bond?

      Delete
    5. What do Ginger Baker and black coffee have in common.?

      Delete
    6. What do you call someone who likes to hang out with musicians?

      Delete
    7. It's a lot more fun when you come up with your own jokes instead of doing a cut&paste job.

      Delete
    8. I think i know most of these except from Crito's.

      Lightbulb: Five. One to screw it in and four to tell how Neil Peart would have done it better. I collect these.
      What do you call a beautiful woman on a drummer's arm?

      Delete
    9. What's the answer to the Ginger Baker one?

      Delete
    10. They both suck without Cream.

      Delete
    11. I had always heard How many drummers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? "Oh they have machines to do that now."

      Delete
    12. How do you know it's a drummer at the front door.?
      Neil Peart--R.I.P That one is from Dave Grohl i think.

      Delete
    13. Now give me a bass player joke.

      Delete
    14. What's the difference between a Baritone Sax and a Lawn Mower?
      A: Vibrato.

      Delete
    15. What's the difference between a Violin and a Viola?
      A: The Viola burns longer.

      Delete
    16. What's the difference between a Baritone Sax and a Lawn Mower?
      A: You can tune a Lawn Mower.

      Delete
    17. How do you know when your lead vocalist is at the door?
      A: They come in at the wrong time and they use the wrong key.

      Delete
    18. What's the composition of a String Quartet?
      A: A good violinist, a bad violinist, someone who wishes they were a violinist, and someone who hates violinists.

      Delete
    19. These are great. I was going to ask you if you knew any viola jokes. The drummer at the front door is the same. How do you know there is a drummer at the door. 1. He does not know when to come in and 2. The knocking speeds up.

      So why do bands have bass players?
      I don't get first one--vibrato? I have an electric mower.

      Delete
    20. What is the difference between a baritone sax and a viola? A..A viola floats.

      Delete
    21. Why do bands have bass players?
      A. To keep the drummer in time
      B. To translate for the drummer

      Delete
    22. Oh, well, the difference between a drummer and a savings bond is: eventually the bond matures and makes money.
      (A drummer told me that one.)

      Delete
    23. Thanks. Crito.
      And what do you call a beautiful woman on a drummers arm?
      A. A tatoo. My personal fave.

      Delete
  26. What I'm having a hard time figuring out is are the letters we use from the chromatic scale as shone by Blaine, or do do we use the actual letters, one to a note as written on a music sheet?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wonder about that also.I think I have answer

      Delete
    2. Well, figuring that out is the fun of it!

      It is a clever puzzle.

      Delete
    3. Or is it based on the Pentatonic scale?

      Delete
  27. I wonder how many of the "Blaine Folks" are now wishing that this puzzle was as easy as last week's?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WW,IF it weren't for Covid and the 1400 miles distance between us, I could (with your permission) kiss you!

      Delete
    2. Of course. >>>

      It's okay, it's okay -- my mantra for the next 9 days.

      Delete
    3. ^^^"It'll be okay. It'll be okay."

      Delete
    4. CaP and WW... My understanding (and I’ve been wrong before) is if everyone’s laughing, it’s not harassment.

      Delete
    5. I mean, I didn't get last week's but got this one within a few minutes. I actually hate when that happens because then I don't have a puzzle to think about for the rest of the week!

      Delete
    6. Check out Puzzleria. Ihave three of mine on there.
      Blatant self promotion.

      Delete
  28. To answer Blaine's question: Yes. --Margaret G.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I think I've got an answer. I'm not sure. So I guess I'll send it in. At least I won't be obsessing for the rest of the week!

    ReplyDelete
  30. This puzzle is a bit of a Gordian knot.

    ReplyDelete
  31. They used to think it was, ya know?

    ReplyDelete
  32. I found this puzzle to be difficult, probably because I forgot how to read music decades ago.

    Did anyone else here have a problem with their NPR submission? I don't want to say exactly what it was.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Are we talking about DO RE MI or A B C D E F G? A lot of verbs begin with DEF, you know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, figuring that out is the fun of it!

      See above.

      Delete
    2. cranberry: The instructions are unclear, intentionally and for "fun" or not.
      I think a lot of the faces here with big grins on their faces today may have egg later.

      Delete
    3. I disagree. The instructions are quite clear.

      Delete
    4. Sometimes the puzzle presentation is unclear. This is not one of those times.

      Delete
    5. Well, figuring that out is the bitch of it!

      Delete
    6. And that is why you need dogged determination.

      Delete
    7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
  34. I asked my musically-inclined husband about notes. His information didn’t quite get me there. Then I texted a musically-inclined friend. One of her suggestions seemed correct, so I asked my husband if it made sense. No hint, I am just grateful for people who know music.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I’ll see your Pat Patterson from a few weeks ago and raise you with a Glen Jacobs this week.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Clever puzzle. Musical background helped but not necessary.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I solved it without any music playing in the background. Do you think I might have got the answer sooner if I had?

      Delete
    2. Maybe try it next time.Perhaps will help others.

      Delete
    3. Fortunately I live in a house where I can play my excellent stereo as loud as I want. If I lived in an apartment that would not be possible. There may be a hint in there somewhere.

      Delete
    4. I feel that I'd have a tough time solving this with no musical training at all, though even a novice musician will have a head start.

      Delete
  37. Replies
    1. Also spelled Polovetsian. Guess you would watch video to see dancing. Thus, not just background music.

      Delete
    2. I did not spell it that wrong way. It was a cut & paste. I did not notice.

      No, I listen from my very extensive CD collection. Besides it is just a story about Russian polo players with music. Isn't it?

      Delete
    3. Both spellings acceptable. Your spelling most seen by me today online. The dancing is great to see. I thought you liked to see dancing. I did not know Borodin died before he finished the composition.

      Delete
    4. Sdb: like the drums in Polovetsian dance. Similar to a section in la bayadere...my favorite section.

      Delete
    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    6. I am not on Facebook so I can't watch it. I want nothing to do with Facebook and Mark Z.

      Delete
    7. It is the drum dance. You have seen it anyway?

      Delete
    8. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OcEUvbE9OBw

      Delete
  38. Replies
    1. Decoded what? And where's my coffee cup?

      Delete
    2. If I have the right answer, its something done to an office besides having decorated it.

      Delete
    3. PS. SDB, What coffee cup? Who do you think I am, NPR?

      Delete
    4. I think you may need another cup of coffee.

      Delete
    5. You'll have another cup of coffee and I'll have another cup of tea! Have a good week.

      Delete
    6. I was suggesting you have another cup of coffee while you continue trying to solve the puzzle.

      Delete
    7. I think I've solved it. But I'm not sure

      Delete
    8. I'm sure you haven't. Have that cup of coffee and get back to it.

      Delete
  39. Now that I have an answer, I can enjoy the fall colors of New England.

    ReplyDelete
  40. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. I don't think that I'm stepping out of line to note that ‘Your Song’ was released 50 years ago this week.

      Delete
    3. DEFLATE - D, E-FLAT, E Your Song is written in E-flat ("between the lines" with D and E only a half step away). Not sure why the other songs were clues as they are written in B-flat and C-minor respectively.

      Delete
  42. going to Blainesville Jail a good sign you're on the right track ...

    ReplyDelete
  43. Anagramming the answer into two words reminds me of a best-selling book on punctuation.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Big Sean might have something to say.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Finally figured it out. Little bit of a letdown

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too, Curtis.
      I'm glad it didn't take any longer.

      Delete
  46. A zebra could figure this one out

    ReplyDelete
  47. No musical hints from me this week

    ReplyDelete
  48. Since it's Wednesday and nobody has mentioned this yet, I am risking Blaine's trigger finger with a clue to 2/3 of the answer: mashed potatoes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Given the current world situation, is that "masked potatoes?"

      Delete
    2. Masks don't work for potatoes; they only cover their eyes.

      Delete
    3. Yes but they have thick skins. Some them are cute and appealing.

      Delete
    4. Especially in those YouTuber videos.

      Delete
    5. And prior to that there were the comics with Starchie.

      Delete
  49. What's the difference between a vacuum cleaner and the oval office?

    You don't have to wait four years to change the dirt bag in your vacuum cleaner.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thinking New York islands ... Rikers has Coney beat all to hell...

      Delete
  50. I found the reassurances that this was a legitimate puzzle the best comments.
    Some of the toughest of the Shortz offerings have been flawed or even impossible and the fear of another one always exists.
    This one assumes knowledge that is not really common and I think "correct" submissions may well be around 100.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd guess closer to 700.

      Delete
    2. I think this is the best NPR puzzle in a very long time. I give it a ten.

      Delete
    3. This is a good puzzle. I won’t hazard a specific numeric guess, but I suspect the volume of correct answers will be softer than average

      Delete
    4. I'll take 1500. Lots of musically trained listen to npr if I had to guess.

      Delete
    5. DEFLATE >>> D, E flat, E

      "Point away" pointed to the point on the needle used to inflate or DEFLATE a football. I wanted to point to DEFLATEGATE and the Patriots but could not find a way to do that without giving away the answer.

      "ie or ei" refers to ivory and ebony, ebony and ivory keys, pointing to the black and white keys on a piano.

      Delete
  51. DEFLATE —> D + E FLAT + E

    I actually had the correct answer early on but failed to see its significance. Instead, I had been considering other 7-letter possibilities that sequenced the letters/notes f + e + e + b (the lower-case “b” signifying a musical “flat”), “feebler,” for instance—unfortunately, an adjective—but ron’s comment that the verb was “made up of EXACTLY three consecutive musical notes in order” confirmed what I had from the beginning suspected the puzzle meant. And Lancek’s “mashed potatoes” comment clinched it. (I must admit I was surprised that Blaine didn’t drop the hammer on Lancek, who had himself expressed some concern in posting the comment.) “Mashed Potatoes” artist Dee Dee Sharp sang in the key of D-sharp (hence, her stage name) or, more commonly, E-flat. There are of course many other songs in E-flat, some of which, like the theme from Eyes Wide Shut, “Your Song,” and “Rolling in the Deep,” were noted in clues. I was somewhat surprised there were no Bill Belichick/Tom Brady/Patriots clues, but—unless oblique—they probably would have been TMI.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I got away with it because I waited until Wednesday to post it. I just thought everyone needed to see the wonderful coincidence that "d e-flat" is equivalent to "d d-sharp" -- who is an actual known celebrity. My thinking was less musically savvy than Dr. K's, as I never knew that she sang in that key. Also, I chose "Eyes Wide Shut" after playing the three notes on an on-line keyboard, and it just reminded me of that eerie theme. Thanks, Dr. K, for the rest of the story!

      Delete
    2. Lancek, I interpreted your "Eyes Wide Shut" clue in a more musically savvy way, too. I thought you were alluding to the composer, Dmitri Shostakovich, who included the eponymous motif DSCH (D-E flat-C-B flat in German musical notation) in many of his works -- though not in that waltz.

      Delete
  52. DEFLATED + E-flat (E♭) + E
    Using as “consecutive notes” the twelve-tone Chromatic Scale: (the 7 Major notes + 5 semitone notes, as found on the piano keyboard).


    Using as “consecutive musical notes” A B C D E F G, the 7 note Major Scale, I have six, 7-letter verbs: default, deflate, deflect, defraud, defrock, defrost.

    ReplyDelete
  53. DE♭E —> DEFLATE

    My Hint:
    “Fortunately I live in a house where I can play my excellent stereo as loud as I want. If I lived in an apartment that would not be possible. There may be a hint in there somewhere.” An apartment may also be called a flat. chiefly British: an apartment on one floor.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Notes - D, EFlat , E; Verb - DEFLATE.

    Having solved quickly, I was tempted to post that this puzzle reminded me of the old riddle, “How is walking on an icy sidewalk like playing the piano?” (With the answer, if you don’t see sharp, you’ll be flat.”) But I was afraid that would earn a, “Deleted by Administrator,” award. Wanting to avoid such ignominy, I commented on people who fail to solve having their ego’s bruised. This comment was judged TMI and deleted by Blaine. Oops!

    Happy Halloween!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anything mentioning "sharp" or "flat" was doomed ... I said I was trying to send in the answer but the shar pei kept getting in the way ... gone.

      Delete
  55. Sunday, after I submitted my answer, I posted this:

    "Did anyone else here have a problem with their NPR submission? I don't want to say exactly what it was."

    DE?E —> DEFLATE is not what I submitted, but is what NPR said I did in their auto response email. Because of this I submitted again, but received the same response with ? instead of ♭.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I used to submit my answers with lines made from “box characters”. Like this:
      ────────────────────────────────────────────
      But a long time ago, they made the change that you’ve just now noticed, no longer recognizing the advanced characters of the UTF-8 encoding, and I had to change my lines into regular dashes, like this:
      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Delete
    2. Were you worried your hopes of being chosen would be dashed?

      Delete
    3. No, but just like you, I wish their system would accept and display the advanced UTF-8 characters again. You just now noticed their non-acceptance of such characters today. I had noticed it many months ago!

      Delete
    4. Did you miss the intended joke?

      Delete
    5. Sorry about that. I actually did catch the pun and I was even gonna post again acknowledging it, but as I was intending to say that post, my feelings about their non-acceptance of those advanced UTF-8 characters are just too intense for me to take part in comedy right now.

      Delete
  56. DEFLATE (D - E FLAT - E)

    > Went down a blind alley looking for words made up of the names of musical notes, i.e., "do", "re", "mi", etc. Thought I'd have to retire without a fanfare. [Deleted]

    Blaine, would you explain how this could lead someone to the answer? You don't usually delete postings of the form "The answer isn't X."

    > I've got an advantage here this week.

    People in the Boston area are still bitter about DEFLATE-gate.

    > Reminds me of a comment I made last year while watching a training video at my ambulance squad. It used a pig's lungs to demonstrate how a positive end-expiratory pressure ventilation device works. [Deleted]

    Watching those lungs breathe in and out, I asked if it was Tom Brady deflating that pigskin. This was back in New Jersey, of course; I'd never say anything like that here in New England.

    > Ψ

    Both a comment ("sigh") on Blaine's deletion of my clue, and a clue itself, as we measure inflation or deflation in PSI.

    > Time for a snack from a large small baker.

    Little De♭-e

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A big part of this puzzle was to realize that the notes were not "Do Re Mi"... so to explicitly state that was a spoiler.

      Delete
    2. When I noted that your psi symbol was a twofer, jan, I wasn't thinking of a sigh. I caught the pounds-per-square-inch measurement allusion right away, but I later noticed that the symbol was a perfect pictogram for a flat tire caused by a puncture. So I guess it was a threefer!

      Delete
    3. I would never jinx my bike ride by posting a flat tire pictogram. My finger is still healing from the burst blood blister I pinched trying to pry a damned flat tire off the wheel two weeks ago.

      Delete
  57. I wrote, "Anagramming the answer into two words reminds me of a best-selling book on punctuation."

    "Deflate" anagrams to "ate" (or "eat") and "fled." This reminds me of the popular book, "Eats, Shoots & Leaves," about which the Amazon blurb says, "boldly defends proper punctuation."

    ReplyDelete
  58. I wrote, “Anagram the opposite of this word. You get two entomological terms.” That’s INFLATE, FLEA, NIT.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Curiously, you can also get the two-word entomological term ANT LIFE. In a week without anagrams, we have to make do on our own...

      Delete
  59. DEFLATE

    D, EFLAT, E


    I said I got it in a second, since D up to E is a Major Second in "music talk."

    ReplyDelete
  60. deflate – D, E flat, E

    Last Sunday I said, “They used to think it was, ya know?” Think the Earth was flat, like E flat.

    ReplyDelete
  61. Sorry to burst everyone's bliss bubble, but there is a flaw to this week's puzzle. Sharps go up, flats go down. D, E-flat, E, is not harmonically correct. It should be: D, D-sharp, E.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wordsmythe: Great and extremely important point! I winder uf the author's ego is deflated now.

      Delete
    2. I don’t know if there’s a rule that governs sharps or flats for a few consecutive notes, i.e., half-tones, that are not part of a particular key, but whether or not notes are sharp or flat within keys depends not on “up or down,” but rather on the key itself. For instance, in the key of F the 4th is Bb, not A#, regardless of whether you’re listing notes “up or down” so that the scale is represented by all 7 letters. In the case of certain other keys, however, there’s a choice of whether to name those keys as the sharp or equivalent flat, e.g., F# or Gb. The former has 6 sharps while the latter has 6 corresponding flats, but they are the same pitches, just different names. It depends on the key “name” chosen.

      Delete
    3. If one is playing the notes on piano or any instrument. The notes would be called D, D sharp, E. I would never say D, E flat, E when progressing up the scale.

      Delete
    4. No disagreement there. If I were "scaling up" on the guitar, I would also usually identify the notes as D, D#, and E and use the corresponding flat in reverse: E, Eb, and D. (But depending on the moment, I might equally say the reverse.) As I said, unlike the question of keys, I wasn't sure if there was a "rule," or if it's just a matter of common practice.

      Delete
    5. I do not agree with saying the reverse if playing upscale.

      Delete
    6. I don't really understand this point.

      On a well-tempered instrument, as I'm sure you know, D# an Eb are the same note. There cannot possibly be any question of one being 'harmonically correct' if the other isn't, in any context. What people tend to say when describing an upward or downward motion is a matter of sociology, not a matter of harmonics.

      In Pythagorean tuning, the notes are actually a tiny bit different, because of the 'Pythagorean comma' -- basically because you can't ever get to a 2:1 ratio or multiple thereof (octaves) by stacking (multiplying) 3:2 ratios (perfect fifths). So when you go allllllll the way around the circle of fifths, starting (say) from C and returning to B#... it's not a perfect octave from where you began. This is a Very Cool Fact, imho.

      Delete
  62. I gave two clues:

    "This puzzle is witty at first, but seems less clever each time you hear it." This is a paraphrase of a line from the Simpsons episode where Homer et al. form a barbershop quartet called The Be Sharps. Intended to get people thinking in terms of sharps and flats rather than solfa.

    "Jazz fans who are struggling with this one should lie down for an hour and see if that helps." Charles Mingus has a great tune called "Hora Decubitus" - "bedtime" or, more literally, "the hour for lying down." The same tune appeared on an earlier Mingus album under the title "E's Flat, Ah's Flat, Too."

    ReplyDelete
  63. Jyqm: love the Mingus clue. The Latin phrase almost certainly referred to the medication (anti-depressants? sleeping pills?) he was taking then.

    On behalf of all ignoramuses, I predict that Will has received fewer than 350 correct answers to this puzzle. We just don't have the New Now Know How it takes.

    ReplyDelete
  64. My clue - Reminds me of a certain member of the Brady bunch - no, not you Jan.

    This was referring to Tom Brady and “deflate-gate” when his cheating patriots used deflated footballs.

    ReplyDelete