Sunday, February 07, 2021

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 7, 2021): In the News

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 7, 2021): In the News
Q: Think of an official who has been in the news this year in a positive way. Say this person's first initial and last name out loud. It will sound like an important person in U.S. history. Who is it?
No clue this week; I choose to close my eyes.

Edit: Close my eyes (quickly) = blink
A: Secretary of State Antony Blinken --> A. BLINKEN --> ABE LINCOLN

192 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. Has there been any positive news this year?

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    Replies
    1. But Will didn't say 'positive'. Only the 'transcript' does. ???

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  3. What kind of mind is required to create a puzzle like this anyway?

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    Replies
    1. One that only pays lip service to the idea of creating good puzzles.

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  4. There's a connection to last week's puzzle.

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    Replies
    1. Oh, nice!

      And my clue: is it common for someone to have two names that are far more often given to the other gender?

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    2. I noted that as well. Nice clue, Crito.

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  5. I gave this one away a few weeks back...

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  6. Talk about getting lucky.
    Started by looking at, “Names in the News,” got nowhere. Reversed direction, and started looking at famous Americans in history. Took a wild guess at a possible last name and Googled it. BINGO!

    Coffee time!

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    Replies
    1. Nicely done. I did the same thing you did, though well after my coffee.

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    2. Same exact method here. Not exactly a household name yet though.

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  7. There is a difference between the website's puzzle wording and Will's on-air version. Blaine's posted the on-air version.

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    1. You must have heard a different version than I did. On air they said “an official in the news this year”...

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    2. ... nothing about being in a positive way

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    3. The website says "in a positive way". On-air he said "official". I included both.

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    4. Yes, that's true. It's the website version that reads "Think of someone who has been in the news this year in a positive way. " When spoken by Will on air, it came out "an official who's been in the news this year." Blaine seems to have combined the two.

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  8. There's a contest not to do this.

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    Replies
    1. I hate the salt and slush this time of year. My truck gets so dirty.

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    2. Staring at "contest" for a few seconds gave me the answer. I was expressing my T. Hanks.

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  9. 9. Basic kind of acid

    If this is a joke, I don't get it. If it is not, seems needlessly confusing.

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    Replies
    1. I will remain neutral on this topic ;-).

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    2. Not a clue, but I have long supported a "litmus test for Supreme Court Justices." But an actual litmus test.

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  10. I solved via the same method as superzee- great minds think alike! If you travel from one’s birth place to the other’s, it involves four states but not with postal codes that can form a common word.

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  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    Replies
    1. I think many will. (I can think of a related clue, but I'm certain it would be removed as TMI.) The number of correct responses will probably reach four figures.

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    2. The important person in US history shares a character trait with another very important person in US History.

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  14. Would have been an OK puzzle, had this "observation" not been making its rounds on social media for over a week now.

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    Replies
    1. I'm Ed Pegg Jr, the "creator" of this puzzle. I sent it to Will weeks ago. I couldn't have sent it to Will a month ago. I have also seen other mentions in social media this week.

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    2. It was mentioned on NPR in November.

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    3. It's a nice little upbeat puzzle.

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    4. Ed, "I couldn't have sent it to Will a month ago." Huh?

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    5. I posted the answer here last November...

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    6. See my post from last November HERE.

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  16. Considering the plethora of possible answers, I was surprised at the small number (400) of submissions last week. This week's answer is surely unique.

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    Replies
    1. By the way, I think (FL)(AG)(RA)(NT). (GA)(LA)(VA)(NT) and (MO)(RA)(LI)(SM) are the only words that only involve anagramming the individual postal codes.

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  17. Why does Will so often choose the week's puzzle from multiple, multiple, multiple times contributors? As I am sure many of you fine citizens of Blainesville have, I have submitted many puzzle ideas to Will (some of them, I dare say, pretty good) all to no avail. Blaine, is there perhaps a way that we can submit our ideas to you and you choose one to run concurrently each week with the NPR Puzzle?

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    Replies
    1. Lego runs a set of puzzles submitted by regular contributors here. I wouldn't want to compete with that.

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  18. The official’s last name reminds me of some old computer warning silliness.

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    Replies
    1. It actually goes back to WWII, predating digital computers.

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  19. Okay, I just got it! Hey SuperZee, I have to hand it to you because you started with the historical names first and then got the popular (current) name. I also got nowhere looking up newsmakers in 2020-2021 etc., until I thought of a particular category of newsmaker, then I sounded it out. Also, I had NOT been following this particular news item as carefully as I should have. Thanks to Ed Pegg, jr., Also. Good puzzle.
    BTW, what is the preferred way to spell okay? O.k.? Okay?

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    Replies
    1. I often approach these puzzles backwards. I follow the guidance of the Jerry Lewis movie, Don't Raise the Bridge, Lower the River.

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    2. Very good. I like George Carlin's line, "It's not that the glass is half full or half empty, it's that the glass is twice as big as it needs to be."

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  20. Great, now I want an omelette au fromage for breakfast.

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  21. The ironically eponymous answer can be found on a popular music streaming service. That narrows it down to about 3 million. But will make you smile and see another dimension of this official. Kind of like Bill.

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    Replies
    1. He is obviously the front-man.

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    2. Would an alternative title be Acres of Clams?

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    3. Perhaps not. But I'll explain my train of thought on Thursday. Maybe there's a tie-in somewhere to what you intended.

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  23. If you take the letters involved in the first answer (person) and swap out two letters for an adjacent letter in the alphabet, you get the first name of another famous American, and if you swap out those two letters for two other letters, you get that same person’s last name.

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  25. Did anyone else notice the similarity to a famous British former official?

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  26. I've solved the puzzle, now I'm bored. Anybody else getting any snow? So far, I think we've gotten a few inches in Philly-Mt. Airy to be exact-since about 6 or 7 a.m. That's on top of about 4 or 5 inches already. I'm ready for global warming. Anybody have an aerosol can? Maybe I'll try puzzleria. Keep the intellectual juices flowing.

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  27. I just got it as I awoke from my Sunday morning sleep in nap. My mistake about solving puzzles is that I attempt it at a ridiculously early hour after taking care of my 2 Corgis. I can barely stay awake, let alone write it down at 7AM.

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  28. Only 400 correct responses last week despite Will accepting most alternate answers.

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  29. Patience - the answer will appear. --Margaret G.

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  30. The person reminds me of a trio.

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  31. Two comments:
    1. There are still a few posts that Blaine has not deleted that, individually or collectively, lead quickly to the answer. (At least, they did for me!)
    2. The version of the puzzle that includes the phrase “in a positive way” led me astray. I found myself looking for persons who had been particularly courageous, compassionate or inspirational this year.

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    1. I doubt that was a very Greene list.

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    2. Lorenzo, yes, I agree. "In a positive way" was an odd description of this person.

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    3. I don't think it necessarily helps direct you to the person, but it does eliminate people who were in the news for negative reasons.

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  32. At just half a mile, closer to the person's homonym than their boss.

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  33. I can honestly say I've just stumbled upon the answer by accident. Reminds me of a joke in a Mel Brooks film.
    pjbPrettySureTheFamousAmericanWasNotTheFirstBlackSheriff

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    1. ANTONY BLINKEN, A. BLINKEN(ABE LINCOLN)
      I thought for sure my using the word "honestly" would be a giveaway, but Blaine never caught it. As for the Mel Brooks reference, it was in "Robin Hood: Men In Tights". The character of Ahchoo, son of Asneeze(who was a fellow inmate of Robin's while shortly imprisoned in Jerusalem as the movie begins, but that part isn't germane to my reference at all), calls to Robin's blind servant Blinkin, "Hey Blinkin!", and a puzzled Blinkin responds with "Abe Lincoln? Here?". Merely a lame pun I know, but it was the first thing to come to mind when I commented Sunday afternoon. I also just found out this was Dave Chappelle's film debut(playing Ahchoo), so depending on whether you're a Mel Brooks fan or not, or a Chappelle fan or not, that's actually quite impressive.
      pjbI'mCranberryNotRickJamesB###h!

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  34. Considering predecessor, "in a positive way" immensely apt.

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  35. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  36. This comment has been removed by the author.

    (Since that is how half of this week's posts end up, I thought I'd save sone tine and cut to the chase. No hint here, but we all know the answer anyway, which may explain the TMI posts.)

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  37. When I was a kid one Xmas i got an erector set. Not knowing this was a collectible item -my daughter put it out in our yard sale. A dealer bought it for ten dollars and i understand sold it for like 50 times that. Oh well.

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    1. Ouch. That reminds me of a short story by Ronald Dahl called Parson's Pleasure.

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    2. Santa skipped my house, but that was OK. For Chanukah I got a Space Laser. It makes lighting the candles truly cosmic.

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    3. Would you mind sending it over my back yard for a moment? Need to zap a few weeds under the snow ...

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    4. If I were Jewish and named Norah, my autobiography would be called Me, Norah. No space lasers needed, though.

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    5. Since I am Jewish, had I invented a space laser, it would be aimed at Mara-Lago not a California forest.

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    6. WW, If I truly had the powers ascribed to me by antisemites,I'd get dizzy with the power!!!

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    7. JeremyC-Sorry, but like The Force, space lasers can’t be leant or borrowed. They must be earned.

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    8. CaP-I like to think that if, as the antisemites claim, we controlled the world, we’d be doing a better job of running things.

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    9. This is a conversation worth having, but also may be a bit dangerous as some comments might be misunderstood. With that in mind I am reminded of attending a pot luck dinner in 1973 at our local Transcendental Meditation Center that was for local TM teachers. I happened to be seated beside a young woman I had not seen before, or since, who I attempted to have a conversation with. She had a thick accent that prompted me to ask her if she was from the Soviet Union. She said she was and right away I could tell she was not a happy camper. She radiated anger and disgust with the world. I don't know what it was I asked her that caused her to inform me curtly that she was Jewish and something about Jews being more intelligent than others. I did not reply, but thought she was going to have a very difficult life with that attitude.

      I am mentioning this incident because on rare occasions I have given some thought to the sometimes expressed assertion that Jewish people are the smartest people on earth. I did not buy into that theory, but did wonder where this idea comes from. I always have thought it may have its roots in many Jews being doctors, lawyers, and other professionals, such as performance artists, but I always am reminded of that long ago conversation and hope she was an anomaly, but not a symptom.

      I probably should add that I personally consider Jews to be right up there with skydivers in the I.Q. department.

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    10. Please don’t confuse my attempts at humor aimed at antisemites, racists, misogynists, or any other haters, as being anything other than using humor to point out the error of their ways.

      Claims that one group is inherently superior are just as invalid as claims that another is inherently inferior. And claims of this type have lead to untold misery.

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    11. Space lasers should always be stored in a locked cabinet when not in use, never just leant against the wall. They could fall and accidentally discharge, leeding to serious injury or death. Anyone handling weapons so carelessly is plumb loco.

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    12. At least when a person is plum loco he is on the level. I think, anyway.

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    13. I was always jealous of my Conservative schoolmates who got the working lasers. Yea i think one of them had an unfortunate accident and lost two fingers. Maybe three.

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    14. If one would leave those lasers alone, would that be laser-faire?

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    15. Reminiscent of The Laser's Edge.

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  38. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  39. What is it about this week's conversation that seems to call out for hints?

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  40. I’m totally clueless this week. Any hints?

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  41. "Think of someone who has been in the news this year in a positive way"

    Coming from NPR, I guess that means the person has to be a democrat, right?

    Anyway Think of a person important in US history. Say the person's first initial and last name. It will sound like the name of a contemporary famous person.

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    Replies
    1. Pretty sure I thought of the same puzzle.

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    2. A(ntony) Blinken >>> Abe Lincoln

      "Nave and WP" Nave refers to the reverse spelling of Blinken's wife, Evan (Ryan). WP refers to Washington Park here in Denver; there's a delightful statue there of Wynken, Blynken, and Nod. My kids loved going to see that statue on our treks around Smith Lake to the playground.

      "Bird Area" >>> Martindale >>> Wink >>> Winken >>> Blinken

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  42. I hinted ``e.''

    e is the base of natural logarithms, aka logs.

    Abe Lincoln lived in a log cabin.

    Also, there is, or used to be, a toy called Lincoln Logs.

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    Replies
    1. Wow. I am terrible at math, but I remember my Lincoln logs well. They came in a tubular container a lot like a log. They also included accessories like wide v-shaped plastic pieces with indentations that held thin green wooden planks for the roof. In addition to little logs for the corners and longer logs for the sides of the cabin. Happier, simpler times!

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    2. As I recall, there were two similar products. Lincoln Logs and American Logs. In one set, the wooden logs were round cross section, in the other, they were square cross section.

      I had the square ones, and I think they were the American Logs variant... but like all 60+ year old memories... it’s a little vague.

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    3. This puzzle was on e Day (February 7), which is near Abe Lincoln's birthday (February 12).

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    4. Thanks Bobby. I hadn't noticed that.

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  43. A(NTONY) BLINKEN —> ABE LINCOLN

    The “connection to last week’s puzzle” was that last week’s puzzle was about “states,” and Blinken is the Secretary of State.

    All those TMI clues to Eugene Field’s children’s poem “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod”!

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    Replies
    1. That was good – when I realized what connection you meant, I thought, “Oh yeah!”
      And my clue: “is it common for someone to have two names that are far more often given to the other gender?” was to Blinken’s wife, Evan Ryan
      I see Word Woman also used a clue to Evan!

      Delete
  44. Our new Secretary of State, A. (Antony) BLINKEN, → ABE LINCOLN.

    “I posted the answer here last November...” See: Tue Nov. 24.

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  45. Antony (Tony) Blinken, our new Secretary of State a.k.a. Abe Lincoln

    My Hint:
    "Did anyone else notice the similarity to a famous British former official?" Anthony (Tony) Blair

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  46. Antony Blinken (our new Secretary of State) ==> A. Blinken ==> Abe Lincoln

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  47. I wrote, “The official’s last name reminds me of some old computer warning silliness.” This refers to the “blinkenlights,” a faux-German word for the lights blinking on computers of the old days. Signs might read, “Keepen das hander in das pockets und watschen der blinkenlights.”

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  48. ANTONY BLINKEN -> A. BLINKEN -> "ABE LINCOLN"

    >> What kind of mind is required to create a puzzle like this anyway?
    > One that only pays lip service to the idea of creating good puzzles.

    > I'm Ed Pegg Jr, the "creator" of this puzzle. I sent it to Will weeks ago. I couldn't have sent it to Will a month ago.

    Maybe Will and Ed should listen to NPR more.

    > At just half a mile, closer to the person's homonym than their boss.

    The State Department, in Foggy Bottom (insert Paul Hollywood joke here), is nearer to the Lincoln Memorial than to the White House.

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    1. For me "half a mile a way" immediately put to mind the Billy Joel song with that title from his album 52nd Street, which also has the track "Honesty".
      Honest Abe, A. Blinken.

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    2. The "honest Abe" nickname, from the reading I have done, is every bit as honest as Lincoln was. He apparently was honest to the extreme. However the myth of him being a "rail splitter" was untrue. He did not split rails for a living, or any other reason than to help his father in putting up a fence around their home. Somehow that led to his becaming called a rail splitter. He did nothing to create or continue this silliness, but when he was running for office did realize that it seemed to work in his favor. He therefor did not actively attempt to correct the myth, but when asked was forthcoming with the truth of the matter. So, you might accuse him of a sin of omission, but I doubt even the unscrupulous lawyers defending Trump would go that far. I equate it with my helping my father re-roof our house when I was 9 years old. I did learn how it is done, but I do not consider myself a roofer.

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    3. Of course society would not allow Mr. Lincoln to be as honest as he desired to be. They demanded he marry and pretend to be heterosexual so that he could then prosper and succeed in his life. Therefor Lincoln and his life long lover, Joshua Fry Speed, both realized they must split up and marry in order for their futures to become fruitful. Lincoln's did despite his fear that he would be incapable of consummating his marriage. Mr. Speed was not so fortunate in his marriage. While Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln never shared the same bedroom, let alone bed, he did manage to father children of which he was devoted. The Lincoln's had separate bedrooms while in the White House, and while Mrs. Lincoln was away President Lincoln would share his bed with his bodyguard, a young Captain in the army. This is all documented, but hidden from public view. So, which was the greater tragedy, his assassination or his impossible choice in how to live his life? And yet many revere him as our greatest hero.

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  49. Antony Blinken (A. Blinken), Abe Lincoln

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  50. My second post was -

    If you take the letters involved in the first answer (person) and swap out two letters for an adjacent letter in the alphabet, you get the first name of another famous American, and if you swap out those two letters for two other letters, you get that same person’s last name.

    If you perform the above operation, you get from blinken to Benjamin, then to Franklin.

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  51. We feature four fantastic posers by our friend geofan on Puzzleria! this week in His "Worldplay" puzzle package. You can see them at Midnight tonight Pacific Standard Time. Two are geographical, two are of general interest.
    Also on this week's menu:
    * a "Mashie, niblick, cleek & spoon(erism)" Schpuzzle of the Week,
    * a Slice of “Just like Romeo and Juliet,”
    * a Muddlers And Shakers Dessert: "Not the Miller’s... the Mixologist’s Tale," and
    * seven riff-offs of this week's NPR puzzle that will be solvable if only you rely on your "initial instinct."
    Speaking of the NPR puzzle, here is my 2016 Puzzleria! version of this past Sunday's NPR puzzle; it is titled:
    "Seeking The Oval Office Dessert:
    Getting your flickers all in a bunch"
    (I created it before Antony Blinken was on my political radar, even though he has been making some blips for a few decades.)

    LegoGettingHisDiabolicalPuzzleDucksAllInARow

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  52. Antony Blinken, Abe Lincoln.

    This puzzle took me approximately zero seconds to solve, as I've been making the "A Blinken" pun since the day Biden announced his nomination.

    My clue was "what kind of mind is required....", hinting at State of Mind.

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  53. My comment about getting an erector set one Xmas was also referencing the other building toy i got-"lincoln logs."
    A.Blinken.

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  54. Forgot it was Thursday. Same answer as the rest if you. Learned Mr.Blinken speaks fluent french. Made me think of breakfast omelette with cheese. But, french!

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  55. Abe Lincoln was my first thought and Anthony Blinken didn’t even enter my mind. I kept coming back to Lincoln and never made the connection. I suck.

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    Replies
    1. Don't be too hard on yourself, Dave. At least you didnt clue wynken and nod. Or that you gnawed on anything.

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  56. Google this for more damning info re: the impeachment:

    Smoking Gun for Impeachment:
    Proof Trump’s Call to March on Capitol
    Was a Crime
    by Greg Palast

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    Replies
    1. Dave,

      I routinely have to remind myself that its only a puzzle when I can't solve it. So stop being so tough on your self. If someone else had told you that you suck, you probably would have punched them in the nose!

      Delete
    2. Abe Lincova → A. (Anna) Blinkova. Tennis player

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  57. Shame on those cowards. Trump got a pass 43 to 57. I'm not going to continue with my post, I don't like to curse anonymously.

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    1. And now wth is MM carrying on about? Saying 45 did not do his job? And yet acquitting him. Such a coward.

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    2. No 57 said he was guilty, but a simple majority wasn't enough.

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    3. Makes my future voting decisions easier. I will NEVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, vote for a Republicscum.

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    4. "Narrow tool." "Limited tool" >>> that's about right, MM!

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    5. Let's not mince words: The Republican Party should be renamed the Fascist Party.

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    6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    7. What must the world be thinking now about this failed country?

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    8. How can a nation where the minority usually manages to get its way be considered a democracy?

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    9. Geez, C a p, we all know that. MM is just being a tool about this after the voting where it literally counted.

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    10. The U.S. is not a full democracy. It's a flawed democracy, heading down.

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    11. WW Didn't mean to offend. Speaking of offending, the whole country should feel offended by this outcome. Blaine's clue this week of shutting his eyes unfortunately, seems some what prophetic.

      My wife and I figured this would be the outcome, but that doesn't make it any easier to accept.

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    12. jan:
      Interesting lists, but I was unable to locate Mexico on any of them.

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    13. Mexico is #72, another flawed democracy.

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    14. jan, I looked again and found Mexico listed in the wrong categories. Mexico is part of North America.

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    15. C a p, thanks for your words. jan, thanks for the link detailing types of government. Though today our country feels like a flawed deMOCKracy.

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    16. Some final thoughts: See Heather Cox Richardson, "Letters from an American," February 13. And let's never forget: the big lie (including attacks on the press), the cult of the leader, ultranationalism, inducements to and encouragements of violence, opposition to democracy (e.g., voter suppression), etc. I could go on, but if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, etc.

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  58. https://www.rt.com/usa/512749-greenwald-biden-elections-prediction/

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    1. Glenn Greenwald has done some creditable journalism, but Russia Today is predictable propaganda. I'm sure Putin is thrilled with Trump's acquittal.

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  59. "After all," said the Republicans to the world, "we are scorpions and this is what we do."

    In spite of the fact we all had hope that this would come out right, we all knew it wouldn't.

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  60. Remember the good old days when MM meant Marilyn Monroe?

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  61. Pelosi fell for McConnell's trap. Was obvious from beginning.

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  62. Did anyone besides Scott Simon and me catch the wonderful word play by Ron Elving this morning on Weekend Edition Saturday? It is right at the beginning of this short segment:

    Politics
    The Week In Politics: Impeachment Trial May Last Much Longer Than Expected

    by Ron Elving

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  63. Replies
    1. No. It is at the very beginning where Ron Elving says, "just as" as a pun for justice followed by a pause. It is extremely clever.

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  64. I would never have caught that.

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  65. This week's challenge comes from listener Samuel Mace of Smyrna, Del. Name a famous actor whose first name is a book of the Bible and whose last name is an anagram of another book of the Bible. Who is it?

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  66. You know, there's a famous actor whose first and last names are both books of the Bible - no rearranging of either name neccessary!

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    Replies
    1. I was just about to post that! (But I’m still looking for the other one.)

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    2. Whoa! Make that two famous actors whose first and last names are both books of the Bible - no anagramming of either name neccessary!

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  67. Over 1400 correct responses this week.

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