Sunday, March 21, 2021

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Mar 21, 2021): Zany Box Kept Him

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Mar 21, 2021): Zany Box Kept Him
Q: Take the phrase ZANY BOX KEPT HIM. Write it in capital letters. Something is special about the 14 letters in this sentence that sets them apart from all the other 12 letters of the alphabet. What is it?
Not this week.

Edit: If it had been last week, Pi Day (3/14) might have made the puzzle too obvious. Also, week rhymes with Greek.
A: The 14 uppercase latin letters in that phrase look like uppercase Greek letters Α(alpha), Β(beta), Ε(epsilon), Ζ(zeta), Η(eta), Ι(iota), Κ(kappa), Μ(mu), Ν(nu), Ο(omicron), Ρ(rho), Τ(tau), Υ(upsilon), Χ(chi).

334 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. On-air Challenge well played, Alex Hart.

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  3. MICA! It's MICA! (I don't often yell during the on-air puzzle segment but today I did.)

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    1. Awakened you from your COMA, I guess...

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    2. That was a fun puzzle but he got most of the answers faster than me......A fellow WHYY listener

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    3. Speaking of WHYY, I was pleased that I didn't have to reset my car radio when I moved from NJ to Cambridge.

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    4. And he was super fast on everything else.

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  4. I tried all sorts of possible solutions until I was able to say I got the one that I want.

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    1. Yes. (There's a better in-context reply, but it might be TMI. But thank you.)

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  5. The puzzle unexpectedly newsworthy.

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  6. A refreshingly different kind of puzzle.

    A tough one for hints.

    Oh, well. Life is but a dream.

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    1. We've had a participant here whose handle is 2/3 of your unspoken hint.

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    2. Yes, and then there's you, also.

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  7. I had detention for only using uppercase letters today.
    Stupid capital punishment.

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    1. WELL SINCE IT'S ALL CAPS, WE KNOW THAT IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ASCENDERS AND DESCENDERS.

      (All caps off now)

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  8. They're used in this sentence.

    Gosh, that one was easy.

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    1. It would be funny if that turned out to be the intended answer...

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  9. Nobody who's got the answer will be surprised to learn that this was an easy one for me!

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  10. Replies
    1. I thought of Joni Mitchell as well. I didn't think of R.E.M., despite being a big fan. I still regret not going to Ireland in 2007 to see their Olympia Theatre shows (which they claimed weren't shows).

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  11. VFW CURLS GQ DJ
    It's the letters not in that sentence, obviously.

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  12. The Puzzlemaster needs to work on his pronunciation.

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  13. For once, I think I also understand Blaine's clue. Reminiscing, Blaine?

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  14. I thought Blaine's clue was referring to a future event.

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  15. L uiu tx, tyv Z hbse'h fakv wg.

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  16. So far, I just know what the answer isn't.

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  17. Framing this observation as a "puzzle" may be new, but the observation itself is so not.

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    1. So right. I’ll bet people made this observation as far back as Shakespeare’s time, or even as far back as Julius Ceasar’s.

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  18. This seems like a repeat puzzle?

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  19. Alternate puzzle, same instructions: 3 CAT HEMP BOX.

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  20. No clue in what I'm about to say. I'm going back to sleep, its Sunday morning.

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  22. Alex Hart did, indeed, do very well this morning. On 11/17/13, he did just as well but with much more difficult clues and answers.
    I sent the the words (and more) Will used today to him several years ago.
    Whenever he and Ed Pegg pose a capital letter puzzle, I fasten my seat belt.

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  23. Another hard puzzle for me. Love these! It gives me something to mull over all weekend.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. I didn’t want to rush to judgment, but I also feel like this could be TMI.

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  27. I always look forward to scientific papers that come out on April 1st. I'm reminded of a serious one with an amusing twist that appeared 73 years ago.

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  28. I thought of a neat way to express my submission to make it clear that I know. In the order that the letters appear in that sentence, "ZANY BOX KEPT HIM", Y is the first letter in my submission which requires a set of parentheses. Perhaps the replies to this can be the 2nd and 3rd, etc., letters which also require parentheses?

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  29. Timing would have been better last Sunday.

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  30. Only two of the letters appear in the answer.

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  31. I always enjoy it when I realize the answer is in the puzzle.

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  32. This puzzle makes me feel right at home.

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  33. The answer reminds me of my favorite musician.

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  34. Oh, my, I enjoyed this puzzle today!

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  35. It makes me think of a tiny spot in Acadia.

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  36. Mexico is playing well tonight! I love soccer, every now and then I watch brazil games in 1982 world cup. No team can ever play like them, rest in peace Paolo Rossi, he single handedly destroyed them!!

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  37. I hasten to think I might not be able to clue this?

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    1. Hey, if you page up a couple of times you might notice a clue that I left. It might be perhaps the most ideal clue I've ever left on this blog. I'm highly satisfied that no one who has not figured out the puzzle can make heads or tails of my clue, while those who have figured it out have a very reasonable chance of also figuring out my somewhat clever way of submitting the answer as well as why a few of the letters would require parentheses and in what order they would appear. So if you wish to submit a clue yourself, then with me having revealed the first letter, in the order in which the letters appear in the given sentence, to require parentheses, why don't you post a reply in which you name the second, and let others who subsequently figure out the puzzle submit the third and subsequent letters which also require parentheses?

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  38. The Donald might arise to raise an issue with the way this puzzle is posed. And Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary 11th Edition won't get you what I think is the intended answer.

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  39. Just checking in everybody. Glad to see the energy surrounding the puzzle. Unfortunately, I got hit with a bad migraine yesterday and may have to take this puzzle week off. Best to all. Keep puzzling!

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Dr. K, hope you are feeling better. Take the week off? That explains the puzzled look on your face ;-).

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    3. Word Woman, thank you so much for the kind words. I very much appreciate them.

      It took more than a day, but I finally defeated my migraine, more or less anyway. (These two-day affairs are not fun.) I do firmly believe, however, that half a mind is a terrible thing to waste, and my migraine was kind enough to lead me to the puzzle's solution (apologies to ED).

      And as the owner of the successful industrial event planner company once said to his staff for their collective good fortune, “THANK MY EXPO BIZ.”

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  40. A phrase one might use when unable to solve would lead one to the solution.

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    1. That's the way it seems to me.

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. ...But I think I know your phrase now.

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    4. (Previous rant deleted) ... I have the solution, & if I guess your phrase right, it's very relevant!

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  41. Kudos to Blaine for another clever clue. With this week’s mystery solved, it’s back to figuring out where this pandemic actually came from and when it will be over.

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  42. It's clear that a lot of people were able to solve this one quickly, but I have not been this clueless since the time the clock hands supposedly formed Roman numerals. From deep down the rabbit hole of massive overthinking, I'm signaling my surrender to preserve my sanity. You got me, Ed.

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    1. Don't give up now; you're so close!

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    2. As Kate Bush / Peter Gabriel once sang: "don't give up; you still have friends"

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    4. "He ain't heavy ----he's enormous."

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  43. this one is stumping me so far as well....but that's not a high bar i admit...

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  44. Replies
    1. I heard ya the first time, WW, but it didn't help. Or kelp.

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    2. Lancek, let it marinade a bit.

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    3. You in Boulder WW? On the news.

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    4. "I can't kelp from lovin you"

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    5. No. Terrible news. I think at least a couple of other folks here on the blog are in Boulder, though. Hope everyone is ok.

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    6. Acc.to the latest, several fatalities and person of interest in custody. Horrible. WW, I didn’t know that some of the other bloggers are also from Boulder. All we can do is hope.

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    7. Meanwhile here in Atlanta..Sigh..

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    8. Plantsmith, this morning I heard Dana Bash on CNN interview a survivor from last night's incident in Colorado. Given the circumstances he had experienced, he was astoundingly thoughtful and measured, and it was much more than just a riveting account. And so, add now to the annals Atlanta and Boulder....How do you speak of the unspeakable, of violence and madness?

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    9. Good question..Maybe on u tube Dana Bash?

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    10. I haven't been able to locate Bash's interview on the CNN site or elesewhere on the web, yet. It should turn up, eventually. It might be repeated on CNN, maybe on the hour. The interviewee's name is Ryan Borowski. Other CNN folks have interviewed him, but the Bash interview was the most in-depth.

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  45. Still struggling. Appreciate any and all tips

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  46. I must admit that this is tough.
    Why the caps? Oh well...

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  47. wait a minute i think i just go it.....

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  48. How did U get it? I’m desperate

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  49. I am wondering whether the ZANY BOX KEPT HIM or CHIM.

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    1. Oh, it's HIM, all right! The letter C most definitely does NOT BELONG!!

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    2. Maybe the BOX used to keep CHIM

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  50. Their are those weeks when a puzzle is easy. There are those that are tough, but that I still get after spending too much time on it and in the process come close to my ruining my week. Then there are those puzzles that I tell myself that it only a puzzle and get on with my week. Guess which type this one is.

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    1. Hey, Pseudoclark, I agree. This has me by the barnacles.

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    2. Yes, but you're "Unknown." If you knew the puzzle answer, then you would be one of what Donald Rumsfeld calls the "Known Unknowns." Instead, you are that most dangerous of traits, the "Unknown Unknowns." And with barnacles to boot.

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    3. And speaking of Barnacles to Boot.

      (Barnacles is another clue)

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    4. And thereby avoiding a Barnacle Bill.

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  51. You can get the same answer if you write out "X-VP LOUD YAWN" in lowercase letters

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  52. This puzzle is related to a previous NPR Sunday puzzle earlier this year...

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  53. I warned you to buckle up. And this is only Monday.

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  54. I give up- have spent so much time on this. I think I must be really dumb

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    1. I had to think back to my college years to figure this out.

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  55. There's an obvious tautological answer, but I have too much respect for Ed Pegg, Jr. and the Puzzlemaster to believe that it's correct. Unfortunately, it's the only gimmick I have found that's obvious enough to enable such quick solutions.

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  56. *SIGH* Twice now I've posted a clue regarding what I thought was a clever way of expressing the answer.

    I have hoped that as more people figure out the answer, that they might also figure out my clever means of expressing it, and in the order that they appear in the given sentence, "ZANY BOX KEPT HIM", folks would realize why, in my clever way of expressing the letters,...

    why Z would NOT require any parentheses,...

    why A would NOT require any parentheses,...

    why N would NOT require any parentheses,...

    but why Y WOULD require a set of parentheses,...

    And by now I was SOOOOO HOPING that someone besides myself would have posted that...

    ...the X in BOX is the SECOND letter in the given sentence which would ALSO REQUIRE a set of parentheses.

    Hey, folks! There are NOT very many more such letters LEFT!

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    1. All right, then: (y) (X). So far, so good. Right?

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    2. There IS a valid reason why we were asked to write the sentence "ZANY BOX KEPT HIM" all in capital letters. Also, you're not using the parentheses in the same way that I would use them.
      Ask yourself why Z, A, N, B and O all DO NOT NEED any parentheses? What is different about the Y in ZANY and the X in BOX which would explain why those two letters DO NEED to employ parentheses?
      And when you finally figure it out, can you then predict the THIRD of those letters which WILL ALSO require parentheses?

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    3. I'm looking at XYPH, which could've sworn was a character name from Lord of the Rings. (Or from Dune, if you throw in a random apostrophe or two)

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    5. I can't. It says I don't to view this page. Blaine! Sorry.

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    6. O.k. There. Sorry. Really,I mean it. I was only guessing.

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  57. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  58. (YXT)? Where do the barnacles come in?

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

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    1. Plantsmith, PLEASE DELETE this last post of yours. Blaine can't monitor this blog 24/7!

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    2. So many idiots; so few comets.

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  60. Replies
    1. Sorry, didn't catch it right away.

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    2. Like I said to Plantsmith above, NOBODY can be expected to be able to monitor their blog 24/7.

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  61. If you can't make head or tail of this puzzle... there's a clue there too.

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  62. Ah, what a delightful week. And I DON'T have the answer!

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  63. Beats me. But something different is special about *these* 14 letters that sets them apart from all the other 12 letters of the alphabet: BCFHIKNOPSUVWY . What is it?

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    1. Bordering on Three Mile Island.

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    2. If something is bordering on Three Mile Island, you call it "Goldsboro."

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    3. This one may be a Goldsboro..

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  64. I have seen the clues before deleted and still no clue.

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  65. I wasn't too excited by Katie Couric's hosting Jeopardy the last two weeks.
    After last night I say bring her back.

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    1. Mendo: why? I missed it. Was not impressed with anyone so far.

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    2. I think they should try having ten or twenty of us hosting Jeopardy, all at once. With Blaine announcing in the Johnny Gilbert role.

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    3. Ben: Maybe WS would be good host.

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    4. I thought Mike Richards, the Executive Producer of Jeopardy, did a pretty good job of hosting the show.

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    5. I am boycotting it for the next two weeks. Putting that snake oil salesman in as guest host is an insult to the late Alex Trebek, to the show, its viewers, its past contestants, science, my sainted grandmother and all that is sacred. (Did I leave anything out?)

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    6. Yes, you left me out. I have never watched the show, but I still have feelings and despise Dr. Oz just on principle. Please consider adding me to your list, and may I please bring along my sainted grandmother too?

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    7. I'm surprised they decided to go with "celebrity" hosts. In this day and time, rightfully or wrongfully, it's a good chance a significant segment of the audience will be turned off - and turn off. Ken did a good job, so did Richards. Oz hosted okay, but they had to know he is a lightning rod. Same with some of the others supposedly coming up.

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    8. I agree entirely, GB. But now phrase that in the form of a question.

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    9. A radio voice does not always have a TV face. However, NPR's Ari Shapiro might do just fine.

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    10. My personal pick is Terry Crews. He did a great job on the daytime Millionaire. Kept the show moving - a Jeopardy requirement. Seemed to be up upbeat and genuinely enjoy people. Had a good presence. Don't know about his acting, but his hosting that I saw was first rate.

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    11. What is the matter with you people? Donald Trump is now unemployed and would most likely love to emcee that show. Covfefe, you dotards?

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  66. Not only was there a mass shooting in Boulder, but these shooters are becoming bolder. Evening before last I, along with others in my neighborhood, heard 2 rapid fire gunshots down the street from a fairly high caliber handgun. A little over a week ago there were 3 gunshots that sounded like they were coming from just outside my house, but actually were a block or so farther on in a different directed from the most recent shots. Two years ago I was in a store 3 blocks away during an armed robbery. And those are just the ones I readily recall.

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  67. Just on news that yesterday's shooter had mental issues. His sister saw his guns and took no action previous to shooting. So sad.

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  68. MENDO: Was Dr. Oz on yesterday?

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    1. I also watch Jeopardy and I can affirm that yes, for the next two weeks, the guest host is indeed Dr. Oz.

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    2. Enya: tks. I heard people were objecting to Oz.

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    3. Yes Dr. Oz played host.
      I have only seen his "shows" a few times and never been able to watch for long.
      He made several mistakes last night (which, of course, were actually made weeks or months ago).
      I have missed very few Jeopardies over the years, but might take a vacation from them if Oz doesn't get a grip.

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    4. I'm surprised that Jeopardy would want to be associated with that fraudster.

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    5. Jan: i agree. I will not watch it

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    6. Like I said: So many idiots; so few Comets.

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    7. Dr. HydroZychloroquine is not only a slippery snake oil salesman but a harmful human promoting things like conversion "therapy." Boycotting here.

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    8. I think someone associated with the show like Mike Richards, Ken Jennings, or my favorite contestant, Austin Rogers, would be best. IMHO, Mike Richards is likely to be the J! host choice long-term.

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  69. Clever puzzle. Got it I think. I could say something but I won't. Later.

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  70. THIS PUZZLE SUCKS AND SO DOES ED PEGG, JR. There's my input, in ALL CAPS.
    pjbWasNeverAFanOfPegg'sWorkBefore,AndIsNotNowEither

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    1. It's a puzzle guaranteed to frustrate many, but it's legit. Although I now have the answer, I can't say that I solved it. There was a meltdown on Three Mile Island yesterday when I happened to be drifting by. At least the distinguishing feature of the fourteen letters was NOT that they happened to be the only ones that appeared in the sentence ZANY BOX KEPT HIM. I was also relieved to know that capitalization was not a red herring. And, speaking of seafood, I now understand kelp.

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    2. Understanding kelp is one of my life's missions. ;-)

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    3. I like Ed Pegg Jr.'s puzzles. They are challenging for me, and usually take hours, not minutes for me to solve. Thanks for keeping my brain ticking Mr. Pegg!

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    4. I am sure this is some kind of clue.?

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  71. Trying to decide on breakfast: Lucky Charms with Pepsi, in memory of George Segal, or Cinnamon Toast Crunch with shrimp tails?

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    1. BTW have you tried to make Saganaki? It looks a little dangerous but also delicious. Probably not for breakfast Dr. K i did see one of Alan's interviews. Yes "No one is safe."

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  72. Hey Jan, thanks for the news about George Segal. Too bad, one of my faves.
    There is a toe-in however!
    In the movie The Hot Rock (1972) a zany heist caper, with an ensemble cast: Redford,Segal, Rob Liebman and Paul Sand, among others, George Segal was Kelp,a locksmith, and his business was Kelp's Keys.

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    1. I didn't know about Segal's Kelp role. Thanks for that tie-in!

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    2. WordSmythe-
      Several national chains have specials on wheel alignment this week.

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  73. When this one finally hit me, I realized I had toyed with the solution earlier but had discarded it due to faulty memory of one aspect. No clue here, just a statement of fact. Any hint I think of is TMI. I wonder what the number will be this week.

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  74. In my own defense, I think I have a clue up top that isn't TMI, not even a Goldsboro. Neither Blaine nor his Minions have complained. But Thursday will be the judge.

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  76. Thinking of moving to Colorado. Do they have super market home delivery available there?

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  77. I love classical music and am especially fond of string quartets. How do I protect myself from violin extremism?

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  78. Sdb: Glad to know that you like music. I am musician

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    1. Lately I have been playing Leoš Janáček piano Sonatas over and over. Marvelous!

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  79. You need a good guy with a bow.

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