Sunday, May 02, 2021

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 2, 2021): Singing the Blues

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 2, 2021): Singing the Blues
Q: Name a famous blues singer — first and last name as this person is generally known. Change the first letter to a "B," and phonetically you'll get a nationality. Who's the singer, and what's the nationality?
Today I learned two things

Edit: Ma Rainey is a real person and someone from Bahrain is Bahraini.
A: MA RAINEY --> BAHRAINI

188 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. The capital of the country includes and displays the first name of the singer.

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    Replies
    1. It actually does, if I have the right answer.

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    2. I think I get what Ben is saying.

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    3. Oh I see what Ben is saying now!

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    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    5. Rob: “Eight more” was a reference to eight more world capitals beginning in Ma… (like Manama, Bahrain):

      Madrid, Majuro, Malabo, Malé, Managua, Manila, Maputo, and Maseru.

      Ben: Of course, you are right—in the case of Manama, that would be in Arabic characters…and from right to left! 😉

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    6. I was more making the point that her name was Gertrude. And there are no National capitals named Gertrude.

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    7. Ben, you are so right. Gertrudes are just not all that popular.

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  3. More than 1500 correct responses this week.

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  4. Anagram the name, and get a dictator and a measurement of time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I only needed a fraction of that measurement to solve this one, so I am in for another.

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    2. Meaning, I didn't need a YEAR to identify AMIN.
      ("I am in for another.") 😉

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  5. Going to listen to some Del Easian records today.

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  6. Related puzzle:

    Name a famous Blue Musician. Change absolutely nothing.

    You now have a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    Who is it?

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    Replies
    1. You mean https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Old_Guitarist? (I like this clue better, even though it leads nowhere.)

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  7. Oops. Sorry.

    Name a famous BLUES Musician. Change absolutely nothing.

    You now have a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    Who is it?

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    Replies
    1. This musician's 1972 live version of a blues standard first recorded in the '20s is my favorite.

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  8. Had never heard what the citizens of this country were called but when I found the singer, the answer was obvious.

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    Replies
    1. Merriam-Webster completely agrees.

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    2. That was a reference to the audio in the M-W entry of Bahraini. Except for the initial “b” sound, it sounds exactly like “Ma Rainey.”

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  9. The barrel is getting empty quickly.

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  10. This was a good puzzle. I solved it in about a minute. There are lots of Blues singers I could name, but only a limited number of nationalities that begin with B. It has a vague tie in with last week's puzzle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes, I thought of the same vague tie-in!

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    2. I thought of that connection as well. Perhaps that means it's not so vague?

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    3. I do prefer puzzles that require you to figure something out rather than look things up...

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  11. Easy, but nice. Conversely, you can name a race (not exactly a nationality), change the first TWO letters to "B" and get a blues singer!

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    Replies
    1. Is one from Mississippi and the other from Norway?

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    2. Not exactly, but Archie Manning would check both boxes.

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    3. VIKING --> B B KING. Vikings came from Scandinavia, but not necessarily one country. Archie Manning checks both of Wordsmythe's boxes, hailing from Mississippi and eventually closing out his NFL career as a Viking.

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  12. All jazzed up and no place to go.

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  13. Literary clue: Charles Dickens

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    Replies
    1. And continuing the poetry theme from a couple of weeks ago, a poet clue is: Emily Dickinson.

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  14. Felt pretty easy this week, should easily have more than 1500 answers I think.

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  15. Replies
    1. Good one! I know the record, the song and the verse to which you refer!

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  16. This would be much more challenging if it was phrased as "change the first letter to another letter of the alphabet." That makes me wonder, are there other answers if we open it up to the whole alphabet?

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    Replies
    1. Once again Will Shortz takes what could have been a slightly challenging puzzle and dumbed it down to ridiculously obvious.

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  17. This week, I got the answer....Yay! And outside its still sleeping weather, so back to bed I go.

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    Replies
    1. Congratulations. So glad for you.

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    2. Natasha, were you really happy for me or was that sarcasm?

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    3. SKB and CAP: SDB is correct. I do not do sarcasm. I was feeling sad for you last week that you could not solve the puzzle. I was truly happy for you today, CAP. I am not of the SDB sarcasm school/training.

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    4. C a p, I'm happy for you, too. Sometimes I do sarcasm and sometimes I don't. Today is the latter. You needed a swift solve.

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    5. Czar Chasm is more what you might expect from Natasha. It means the distance between the ruler and the people. Or someone who is Putin on a show.

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    6. Hurry up, don't be Stalin. And don't gimme any of your usual Gorbachev.

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    7. I can't Trump SDB, that is for sure!

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    8. How come you spelled it with a capital T?

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    9. Stop beating around the Bush. I can't a Ford to waste my time Yeltsin with you guys.

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    10. But are you being Trudeau Orbán Löfven at us?

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    11. Just Biden my time until Thursday.

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  18. As opposed to last week, it seems like the wrong weekend for this one.

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  19. This one is easier than it seems.

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  20. Love it when I learn something new along the way, and solving a puzzle.

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  21. Even if made this puzzle more of a challenge, it would still be a give away.

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  22. Place of refuge for another singer.

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  23. Reflection on last week's answer: I watched Nomadland last night. The landscape, especially in the early morning, the bicycles, and the burning of art reminded me of being at Burning Man in 2014. I was there during cleanup when there were far less people around. Different communities, but communities nevertheless. See you down the road. . .

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    Replies
    1. I hope you didn't have to go in a bucket.

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    2. I have done that! It's on my bucket list.

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  24. There's a connection between the etymology of this country's name and one of the best-known songs written by this musician.

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    Replies
    1. (For the curious: "Bahrain" means "the two seas," and Ma Rainey wrote "See See Rider.")

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    2. I considered a clue based on “See See Rider” (see my Thursday post) but, after also learning that “Bahrain” meant “two seas,” I realized that any clue additionally linking the song title and the meaning of the country’s name, however oblique, would likely be TMI.

      Rainey didn’t actually write “See See Rider” (her version was titled “See See Rider Blues”; other versions were titled “C. C. Rider”); the song is traditional and has many versions, but in 1924 Rainey was the first to record it.

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    3. Dr K: Thanks for the reminder re Rainey's title—always good to get these details right! Sincerely, Dr V, who is currently trying to get some details right in an article draft due next week...

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    4. Veronica/Dr. V, good to see you are "CC"ing us on your article's progress.

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    5. Veronica/Dr. V--Happy to oblige. All the best in writing and editing the article. I remember those days well. May you be blessed with a good editor.

      I've recently discovered that the definitive version of "See See Rider" (if such a traditional song can be said to have one) is 1943's "See See Rider Blues" by Bea Booze (yes, that is indeed her name; she was born Beatrice Booze). It was #1 on the R&B chart of the day (called the Harlem Hit Parade), and Booze, a guitarist as well as singer, became known as "The See See Rider Blues Girl." If you're interested, here's a link to Booze's song:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qdhW72U2aQ

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    6. Thank you for this! My editor (in this case, for a special issue of a journal) is excellent, so I'll be very happy when the ball's safely in her court. And once I finish, time for a date with Booze and booze. ~Dr. V.

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  25. A sign the pandemic is still with us: On a walking tour two days ago of Asheville, NC, with son and daughter-in-law, we discovered that the city's main bookstore, Malaprop, was open for browsing but only by appointment and only for NC residents. (None of us qualified.) Despite that, Asheville, for those who've not been, is a funky place, populated by buskers galore. And this morning, once I heard the puzzle, recalled some of the music I had heard on the streets of Asheville two days earlier, and alighted on an answer, I knew in my gut that I had not erred.

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  26. You are onto something, WW. Jessica Bruder, author of Nomadland the novel, loved Burning Man and wrote the book "Burning Book: A Visual History of Nomadland."

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    Replies
    1. Betsy, thanks! The influence of Burning Man on Bruder shines through, especially in the quiet moments of dawn and dusk in the film. I now know that Empire, NV, is relatively close to Gerlach, near the Burning Man playa. I wonder where they actually filmed the movie. . .

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    2. ^^^ I wonder mostly about the Nevada scenes. I'm less curious about the Arizona, South Dakota, Nebraska, and California scenes, though they are also striking.

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  27. As others have noted, this one is not hard enough to require a lot of luck to solve, ironically enough.

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    Replies
    1. (Ironic because early in her career, Rainey performed with the Rabbit's Foot Company.)

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  28. I believe that's the fastest I've solved one of these things so far. And despite all the talk about how easy it was, I'm pretty pleased with myself. There'll be no raining on THIS parade.

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    Replies
    1. No raining on your parade through 19 "B" countries. . .

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    2. I came up with 20 from the UK government list. Burkinan?

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  29. I don't know. 60,000 to 70,000 white people (let's face it) of a like mind, hell-bent on individualism, gathered in a ceremony to watch something burn?
    It sounds uncomfortably reminiscent of...well,you know.
    I don't think our Blues singer would have much use for it.

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    Replies
    1. Whether or not to have it again this year is one of the burning issues of our time. If they do, it should be quite a match.

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  30. And then cleaning up the evidence afterwards.

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  31. Thanks to a friend goading me on, I finally came up with the intended answer. (But I really liked my initial, creative approach, which I will share on Thursday.)

    In the meantime, Spring is sprung here in Northern Virginia. The six of us (me, my wife, and our four cats) are enjoying the screened porch. No one here is singing the blues.

    Hope it’s the same for all of you.

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    Replies
    1. Isn't Northern Virginia kind of an oxymoron?

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    2. SDB-Northern Virginia, with the N being capitalized is a USGS recognized region within the Commonwealth of Virginia. Home to a population of over 3 million it includes Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Stafford counties, Alexandria, Falls Church, Manassas, and Manassas Park. It is the most populous region of Virginia, with over 37% of the state's population.

      It houses The Pentagon, CIA Headquarters, Arlington National Cemetery, and two major airports serving the D. C. region (Dulles and Reagan).

      Geographically, it includes the land between the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers. It is distinct and separate from other Virginia regions, such as Hampton Roads, Piedmont, or The (Shenandoah) Valley.

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  32. Well, I certainly don't have the blues this time out. I solved it right away. Hope it's not TMI by my saying I did it simply by consulting a list of blues singers, of course, until I found my answer. Not TMI, just obvious. I just won't say which list.
    pjb'sFavoriteBluesSingersAreMoLivianAndDotSwanan

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    Replies
    1. I think it was solved another way by most bloggers on here.

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    2. I think you are right about that, Natasha. I solved it while still in bed. I am not familiar with blues singers, so I began by thinking of countries beginning with a B. When I tried the right one I got the name right away, but did not know if this person is/was a blues singer. I only was familiar with the name. I only had to Google the name to confirm my answer was correct. Back to sleep. The puzzle would have been a good one had the initial letter been revealed in the presentation, but this happens over and over again. It insults the listeners.

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    3. I meant had the initial letter NOT been revealed in the presentation. Why oh why can't we be presented with challenging puzzles?

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    4. Just tried approaching this your way, SDB. Hmm … is there a blues singer by the name of Mel Gin? 🤔

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    5. SDB: There is another way this puzzle could be solved. I did not use it because of a certain reason I cannot reveal...TMI. Will share on Thursday. I still solved quickly though.

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    6. Wolfgang, I suspect you may be confusing things a bit. One may expect to hear someone sing the blues in a gin mill.

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    7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    8. SDB, I just found a singer by the name of Mel Gin on LinkedIn, at a company by the name of Base FX. I don't think that counts a blues, though; if it did, this would be a great alternate answer to the puzzle. 😏

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    9. I meant "…counts as blues…."

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  33. I know it because I know that blues singer by heart. Once I wrote down the name, Whatley came up with the nationality.

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  34. This is a smart puzzle. If you replace the last letter of the singer's last name with an N, then you can rearrange the letters into a nationality.

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    Replies
    1. The puzzle is brainy, which sounds like "Bahraini". Ma Rainen->Armenian, which is like the recent Armenia->a marine puzzle.

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  35. This puzzle would have been more appropriate and timely last week.

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  36. Replies
    1. Anagram of FRAILTY.
      Actually, Hamlet's MA's name was GERTRUDE.

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  37. I apparently am the only interested in how much NPR pays Will Shortz for his weekly shows.
    I would propose he refunds all but a dollar for last week and pays us a dollar for this week.

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    Replies
    1. You may be. There are much more pressing matters for me.

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    2. WW: Unlike you to miss my meaning.

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  38. Sorry, the "only one interested" of course.

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  39. Not part of this artist's repertoire, but maybe it should be: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PYt2HlBuyI&t=204s.

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    Replies
    1. Bravo! Nice way to begin my day.

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    2. Not sure I saw the proper place. A duet?

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    3. Yes. Opera. The Pearl Fishers.

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    4. Yes. tks. Are you celebrating Star Wars today?

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    5. I saw the first Star Wars movie when it first came out. I hated it. I am restoring a Coleman Stove and Lantern I got yesterday. Now, that is fun! Later I will go out to eat. May the forks be with you.

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    6. SDB: I felt the same way. I like the music by John Williams. Most of the movies he composes for are movies I do not like though.

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    7. While I do enjoy some of the music written for movies, I dislike most of it and find it distracting to my enjoyment of the story. The ending to the movie, Das Boot ist Voll, is wonderful to watch where they walk across a bridge where only the sounds of the rain are heard. Music would have ruined this great movie.

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    8. Being a musician, I tend to judge a movie by the music, i think.

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    9. As that rhetorician was heard to say, "Metaphors be with you."

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    10. As that rhetorician was heard to say, "Metaphors be with you."

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    11. My link to that performance from "The Pearl Fishers" referred to the natural resource that made Bahrain rich before oil was discovered, namely pearls.

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  40. WW, the college students here at the U of O are partying on. "There's no fear here" a sign on one of the restaurants. Are students at CU being as stupid?

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    Replies
    1. I imagine some of them are...but some are not.

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  41. (Still looking for alternate answers…)
    – Jennie Neez? 🤔
    – Kenny Neez? 🤔

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    Replies
    1. Replace the first letter of either first name with a b, and phonetically you get Beninese.

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  42. I guess all good things come in threez.>

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  43. MA RAINEY, BAHRAINI

    "Because. . ." A CAUSEway connects Bahrain to Saudi Arabia.

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  44. Gertrude "Ma" Rainey & Bahrain = Bahraini

    My Hint:

    "The barrel is getting empty quickly."

    This is another way of saying "the bottom of the barrel." August Wilson's hit play, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, 1982, has now been made into a movie.

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    Replies
    1. And I thought it was a reference to Bahrain's role in oil production. Oil is typically quantified in barrels. Bahrain's refinery capacity exceeds its crude-oil production capacity. In that sense, the crude-oil barrel would get "empty quickly."

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    2. <<< I did as well. So, too, did this map maker.

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  45. MA RAINEY —> BAHRAYNI

    The “dictator” and “measurement of time” anagrams of “Ma Rainey” are “Amin” and “year.”

    “…I knew in my gut that I had not erred.” —> “Gut” and “erred” anagram to “Gertrude,” Rainey’s given name.

    I considered a clue involving “See See Rider,” which Rainey was the first to record in 1924, but no matter how I phrased it, the clue seemed TMI.

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  46. MA RAINEY (the “Mother of the Blues”) → BAHRAINI (a citizen of Bahrain)

    ReplyDelete
  47. Our friend Ecoarchitect, last November and December, presented Puzzleria! with two packages of wondrous rebus puzzles — one in the wake of our national election, and the other this past Christmas Eve.
    Well, here's some great news. Eco is back this week with even more rebuses — rebuses that honor Mom on Mother's Day — featuring a culinary menu fit for the queen that Mom is.
    You can sample these mouth-watering, brain-altering rebuses beginning at Midnight tonight, Pacific Daylight Time. (You need not be a mother to enjoy them.)
    Our menus this week also feature:
    * a Schpuzzle of the Week that goes vroom!,
    * a poser linking world capitals and the Book of Genesis,
    * a French Dessert to chew on, and
    * seven riff-offs of this week's NPR Rainey-day puzzle.

    LegoWhoIsJustAnotherOneOfTheBozosOnThisRebus

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  48. MA RAINEY -> BAHRAINI

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

    Ma Rainey's Black Bottom won two awards at the same Oscars show on April 25 as Chloe Zhao.

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  49. I wrote, “The capital of the country includes and displays the first name of the singer.” I said “includes and displays” because it does it twice: Manama.

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  50. MA RAINEY => BAHRAINI.

    My clue: “Not this month.
    Ma Rainey was African American. Black History Month is February.
    By some accounts, she also was LGBTQ. Pride Month is June.
    Neither of those is this month.

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    Replies
    1. That's a two dimensional analysis.

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    2. Oh, you mean, she was a woman. Women's History Month is March. (Still not this month.)

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    3. Come to think of it, what I had in mind when I posted the clue really was just one "dimension"—minorities.

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

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    5. Huh?? 🧐 Where did that one come from?? 😕 I am confused, but anyway, that comment made me Google "White Supremacy Month." Still nothing that would point to this month.

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    6. And here I am without a white sheet in the house.

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    7. Dear "Unknown," not here, I think.

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  51. Ma Rainey --> Bahraini

    Last Sunday I said, “Bob Dylan comes to mind.” Ma Rainey is generally considered to be an important influence on Dylan. In addition, Rainey was specifically mentioned in his “Tombstone Blues.”

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    Replies
    1. As in, "Ma Rainey and Beethoven once unwrapped a bedroll
      Two of the players now reherse around the flagpole.
      The national bank at a profit sells roadmaps to the soul
      At the old folks home in the college?"

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  52. What are the two things Blaine learned this

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  53. That Ma Rainey was the mother of jazz and that Bahraini was the nationality for Bahrain not Bahrainian....I think.

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    Replies
    1. Cap,
      Do you find your life is more challenging now that phone booths are few and far between? Also, I have long wondered how you were able to safeguard your grey business suits and fedora and shoes when you left them in one of those said booths.

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    2. I still have my fedoras. Since I've gotten bald in my old age, Superman or no, they're the only way to stay warm. Back when I looked like Christopher Reeve, The change to uniform was done in elevators. Don't you remember?

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    3. My favorite fedora is a Stetson Royal De Luxe with the Cavanagh Edge. It is light grey with a black band and is in brand new condition. It was made in the 1940's. You can't pin down the exact year, but I suspect it was purchased around the end of WWII. So it is about my age, but doing even better. I suspect it was almost never worn by the original owner, but well kept. I found it at a local Goodwill store before it was put on the rack. It cost me a small fortune. $4.99 + tax to be exact. I did say small fortune. I would not sell it for a thousand.

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    4. My favorite is a black fur felt Stetson that is my most expensive hat. If I hadn't still been in practice, I never could have afforded it. when on my head, it brings a lot of complements. During the winter is when its worn.

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    5. I have a 100% beaver cowboy hat I also found at Goodwill for $1.79 + tax. This had was around $1,000 originally and is in like new condition. I also have a 50% beaver Resistol Homburg that is jet black and like new that I found at an estate sale for $5. I wear it with my tuxedo. I have lots of hats and get compliments frequently.

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    6. I'll have to try Goodwill or St, Vinnie's here.

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    7. It is too bad that sdb doesn't believe in coincidences.
      Think how special he would feel about how all those discarded hats were in his size.

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  54. My clue -

    As opposed to last week, it seems like the wrong weekend for this one.

    Was referring to Mother’s Day, for MA Rainey.

    Happy Mother’s Day weekend to all who celebrate.

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  55. My Poet clue was: Emily Dickinson.
    The B(ah)rain!
    I love so many of Emily's poems, but this one is sublime...

    The Brain—is wider than the Sky—
    For—put them side by side—
    The one the other will contain
    With ease—and you—beside—

    The Brain is deeper than the sea—
    For—hold them—Blue to Blue—
    The one the other will absorb—
    As sponges—Buckets—do—

    The Brain is just the weight of God—
    For—Heft them—Pound for Pound—
    And they will differ—if they do—
    As Syllable from Sound—

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  56. The only real clue I could think of, which in the words of Patrick McGoohan "would be telling," is that there aren't actually any famous Blues Singers.

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  57. MA RAINEY, BAHRAINI
    Just participated in a trivia night a few hours ago at the Tallulah Brewing Company here in Jasper. The theme was "Classic Rock", and our team won(due in no small part to yours truly)! And we would've made it a clean sweep except I didn't recognize "Cherry Bomb" by the Runaways or "Mademoiselle" by STYX. Otherwise I was able to correctly identify all the others by artist and title.
    pjbShould'veGoneOn"NameThatTune"WhenHeHadTheChance!

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  58. I never got to post yesterday. I was out of town, picking up a new motorcycle (a 2021 CanAm Spyder-RT Limited, for the record.)

    While I agree that Ma Rainey>>Bahraini is the intended answer, I still chuckle over my initial thought-Della Reese>>Belarese. I checked, and found that nationals of Belarus are called Belarusian, but that only made me think about the near random way nationalities are named.

    If people from China are Chinese, and people from Japan are Japanese, why can’t people from Belarus be Belarese?

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  59. Will Shortz was mentioned on Science Friday yesterday and some comments he emailed to the show were read. The segment is about a computer that solves crossword puzzles. The title of the segment is "This Computer Won The 2021 American Crossword Puzzle Tournament." A URL for the segment is:

    http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/traffic.libsyn.com/sciencefriday/scifri202105073.mp3

    The segment is about 10 minutes long. For other segments change the "3" that is just before the ".mp3" to any digit 1 to 7. Or the full first hour (51 minutes) is at

    https://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/audio.wnyc.org/science-friday/science-friday050721a.mp3

    For the second hour (50 minutes) change the "a" just before the ".mp3" to "b."

    Or, go to https://www.sciencefriday.com/ for more ways to listen.

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  60. I would like to do something unusual, and direct two questions to our esteemed and gracious host, Blaine:

    Usually, your wonderfully cryptic introductory post follows the rubric you prescribe in your Standard Reminder, i.e., you provide indirect hints to the answer to show you know it. Not this week. Any particular reason?

    Also, more generally, is there any reason why you participate in discussions on your own blog so infrequently? We often don't hear from you from one week to the next, except for removing inappropriate posts.

    None of this is a complaint; just curious.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes I'm just busy and don't have time to do more than post the puzzle. My comment was still intended to show I knew the answer without being a giveaway. Plus sometimes I like to let others come up with better clues than my own since we have some many capable brains here.

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  61. This week's challenge comes from listener Jim Dale, of Plano, Texas. Think of a word with six syllables that's spelled with only 11 letters — and the four middle syllables have the same vowel. What word is it?

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

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    2. Thought of one with 12 letters that satisfies the other 2 conditions. Back to the drawing board...

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    3. In Plano, TX, the words "well" and "bad" each have two syllables, as does "Dale.".

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    4. Blaine, anyone can get that list of 3300+ words using the obvious search terms. My "knock yourself out" comment indicated that brute force might not be the easiest approach.

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  62. Our friend geofan has created four more excellent puzzles exclusively for this weeks's Puzzleria! They deal with 1. global neighbors, 2. a woman from history with a connection to Canada, and 3. a baroque musical instrument. geofan's fourth puzzle tests your knowledge of French, meat dishes, pirates,and ophthalmology!
    You can see these posers early Friday morning beginning at at Midnight PDT, 1AM MDT, 2AM CDT and 3AM EDT. geofan's "quizzical quartet" appears in his "Worldplay" feature that we have been featuring on P! during the past two years.
    Also on our menus this week are:
    * a Schpuzzle of the Week in which proverbial wisdom meets fashion sense,
    * a bookish "puzzle slice" topped with celebrations, siblings & other sibilance,
    * a Dessert Puzzle that involves just four out o fifty-two playing cards.
    Come help us celebrate our weekly wordplayful feast!

    LegoWhoIsAgeofanFan

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    1. ...And, of course, nine very eligible-for-solving riff-offs of this week's NPR puzzle.

      LegoAnIneligibleBachelor

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