Sunday, May 23, 2021

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 23, 2021): In a Quandary

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 23, 2021): In a Quandary
Q: Think of an eight-letter word in which the third and sixth letters are "A." Remove the A's. The remaining six letters start a common series. What is it? And what comes next in that series?
Edit: I was in a quandary because the reminder that I post at the top of the comments each week has the word directly. Do I change the word? Or do I just leave it as is?
A: "standard", remove the A's and you have "st nd rd" which is part of the series of ordinals (1st, 2nd, 3rd, ...) so the next item in the series is "th" (4th)

278 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. My first reaction was being disappointed that neither TOABEAOR, nor DOAREAMI are words.

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    1. Yeah ... DO RE MI was one of my attempts too.

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  3. This weeks puzzle is "series-ly" tough.

    I'll see myself out.

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  4. Well, I have an answer. And mine is the third entry. If you count Enya and Waywordy as the first two

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  5. There is a good, if not tedious list of eight-letter words at:
    www.poslarchive.com.

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  6. Biblical clue: "The first shall be last and the last shall be first."

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  7. How about, "Ruth took the pitcher to the well?"

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  8. Shout out to Rochester, NY for being in the puzzle this morning! Although I expected a “New York or Minnesota works” from the puzzle master!

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    1. My grandfather Sidney F. Pattison - University of Rochester 1898.

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    2. Born there. My father was RIT, class of 1952.

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    3. I was also born there! I'm glad to have something I can post this week.

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    4. And Massachusetts, though its Rochester is not as well-known as the others.

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    5. And Rochester, NH, the Lilac City.

      Rochester getting lots of press this week.

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    6. A frequent complaint of Jack Benny.

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  9. Replies
    1. Except that SM, RT, and SS are the start of what series?

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    2. Do we know that the six letters form three steps of a series?

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  10. Replies
    1. As in 2.7 Andrew Jackson Andrew Jackson right triangle?

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  11. If anagrams are your standard, this puzzle poses both a drawback and a quandary.

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    1. It's hard to evaluate without a flagrant clue.

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  12. Bob Dylan’s birthday is tomorrow in case anybody wants to celebrate with some Jamaican rum

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  13. "And when she did come, I asked her for some."

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  14. This week's puzzle was both an annoying and a satisfying solve.

    A gardening break was required.

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    Replies
    1. Would you recommend pulling weeds or burning weeds?

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    2. I suspect with the reality of global warming Weed, California will not require pulling as it will probably burn itself.

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    3. IAmHobbesAlphaDog, it's up to you.

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  15. WW, I wish I could say the same...it's one of those weeks to let it go.

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    1. Although C a p, I must level with you, the high frustration level correlated with high satisfaction level.

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  16. You may have to wait for a bit; but don't lose hope, they will appear again in the series.

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  17. Well, after a few weeks of people saying it was too easy, it looks like we've hit a tricky one. I just slogged through a list of 8-letter words, finding all those with the A's in the correct positions, and I still don't have the answer! Ugh!

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    1. Indeed, only 32 comments by 2:30 p.m. mountain time is a new low for recent years. And no clue from Blaine as yet either. . .

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  18. Got it. Whew. "Series" indeed.

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  19. The puzzle has a hint. I will explain it on Thursday at 3:00.

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    1. The puzzle contains the word "third". The answer is revealed at 3:00 Eastern Standard Time (my time zone), which is 12:00 Pacific Standard Time (the time zone on this blog). The digits in 12 and 3 are the numbers in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.

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  20. This is a classic Will Shortz offering.

    Is there anything in the instructions that preclude more than two "a's" in the eight letter word?

    Can a mnemonic device be a "series"?

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    Replies
    1. I think a mnemonic device can be a series. I haven’t solved this yet.

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    2. I agree. For example, until the Evil Anti-Plutists had their way, we were taught "My Very Eager Mother Just Served Us Nine Pancakes," which is a series.

      I'm certain it's not the intended answer, but if MVAEMAJSUNP were a word, then I think it would pass muster. Or MVAEMAJSUN if you're nasty.

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    3. From the instructions: 8 letters - (all the A's) = 6 letters... so draw your own conclusions. :)

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    4. I do not see "all" in the puzzle instructions.

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  21. Its nice to know that I'm not the only frustrated one!

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  22. PS Blaine hasn't posted a clue yet...I wonder if he's one of the frustrated ones as well.

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    1. Despite what people may be thinking, I did post a hint. I can't point it out lest it be considered TMI which it definitely is. :)

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    2. I can see what Blaine's hint might be, but it is not getting me to the answer.

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    3. It got me to it. My immediate reaction broke a commandment.

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  23. I am thankful to Ron for posting the link to that list. I have looked it over again and again, but so far I don't have the answer. I did try to read each set of six letters different ways.

    If that "series" should indeed turn out to be a mnemonic device, then no wonder I am out of luck...I've never made too much use of those.

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  24. Does anyone want to bet on this being the puzzle with the fewest entries?

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    1. No. How do you bet against someone with whom you agree?

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    2. Good point. Any guesses on how few correct answers get submitted?

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    3. I think that rather than a random drawing, winner should be selected by guessing correct number of entries. Price Is Right rules. Tie-breaker is earliest submission. Adds another level of intrigue and gives a bit of an edge to long-timers.

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    4. Curtis, I would guess a maximum of 100.

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    5. I'm going to start turning all my clocks upside down...

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    6. Mɥɐʇ ʇooʞ ʎon so louƃ¿

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    7. It'll be hard to beat the week with the clock hands forming Roman numerals, but I'm thinking fewer than 100 entries.

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    8. I’ll guess fewer than 50 entries.

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  25. I'm a U of R class of 1991 grad! I was there in 2019 for a "reunion" of the musical theater alumni from the past years to honor the retirement of our professor who was the head of the program and is the president of the Kurt Weill Foundation. BTW, I still have no idea what the answer to this puzzle is.

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    1. I always wondered whether KW was nasty, brutish and short.

      (Don't take this the wrong way--I am a big fan of Weill. One of my wife's favorite songs is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a141rDkpsYo)

      No clue here, at least not that I know of.

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  26. I considered an obvious series but cannot get it to work.

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    1. If we are thinking of the same "obvious series," I thought some of the other posts contained veiled references to it, but I couldn't get it to work, either.

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  27. Maybe a half-dozen of the usual suspects seem to have solved it, but otherwise mostly silence from the stalwarts.

    Reactions bring to mind a couple of Rolling Stones songs…[no clue here]

    I imagine a certain Puzzle Master is watching….

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  28. I promise. It's legit and worth it.

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    1. But you may have far to go...

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  29. I guess everybody missed seeing my question, didn't know the answer or decided to keep mum.
    So, again:
    Is there anything in the instructions that preclude more than two "a's" in the eight letter word?

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  30. I have...an answer, but I'm not particularly pleased with it. I think I expected something more substantial and satisfying. This had better be a widely-known word and a widely-known series instead of an Ocho Rios situation!

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    Replies
    1. I'm still bitter about Ocho Rios...

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    2. I solved "Ocho Rios" immediately, and this one has me stumped.

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    3. Rejected earlier answer: "smallage," a kind of celery, which yields "sml / lge" (then "x-lge"?).

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  31. I have now come to the opinion that the political leaders of Belarus do not Minsk their words.

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  33. He was a Bedouin,
    There was no better one.
    He could get things done,
    Better than anyone.

    I think he smoked Camels.
    They say he liked tobacco too.
    And when he went to the wells,
    He knew just what to do.

    Please don't ask me why I wrote that crap.
    Its been a long pandemic and I know not what I do.
    Thought I’d better get it out ahead of the PC trap,
    And now it's all done and ready just for you.

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  34. I've persevered this far because of Word Woman's valiant encouragement to keep us all in the game, since nothing is more satisfying than a tough-but-satisfying solve, but I don't know how many more times I can go through my list of possible words. I think I know the trick, and WW might even have hinted at the word, but I can't identify the common series. I hope I'll be kicking myself on Thursday and not my computer screen.

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  35. I'll be on an airplane at 3:00 on Thursday so I've got an excuse for not solving it. But I still want to...

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  36. Replies
    1. Did you not get my hint? :)

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    2. Oh, c'mon Blaine! How could Cap or anyone regard as a clue one of the typical posts you give every week? What's different? Besides the usual quoting of the puzzle and your choice of the illustration, what else could you have done differently than your choice of the title? I can attest that the answer is NOT quandary! So what else could you have done differently to point to the answer? I supposed if I were to say anything more, you'd zap this reply.

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    3. Exactly, you can see my quandary. I guess we'll just have to go back and forth until we settle this on Thursday.

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  37. Does "a common series" mean the same thing as "a well-known sequence?"

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    1. I'm guessing no, but that guess hasn't gotten me very far. I can't even tell if it's TMI or NMI.

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  38. I may have an answer, but it seems far-fetched. I don't think Blaine is on to that same answer at this time. Otherwise, he might have removed something that was posted on Sunday. Again, that's assuming I am even on the right track.

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  39. I have an answer that makes sense in Norwegian.

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    Replies
    1. The website for Public Radio Norway is here, but I can't find the puzzle page:

      https://www.nrk.no/about/

      We can always write to Wæll ShØrtz

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  40. Oh how I long for the days of Ocho Rios... My personal policy is to stop puzzling if I don't get the answer by Tuesday. Not sure why this one feels just out of reach -- as if I could get it if I just thought about it more. But I have other demands on my brain more deserving of attention! Good luck, fellow puzzlers.

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  41. PAP, If at first your don't succeed...

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  42. I am now focusing on George Carlin.

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  43. You all know this English word. You all know the series. Truly. If you recall, it was after taking a break that I solved it. I found it delightful in its simplicity.

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    1. Despite the biblical theme in some hints here, it would have been no sin to quit on this one. But thanks for encouraging us, WW -- ordinarily I would have given up, myself!

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    3. I also give my thanks to you, WW, for persisting with us. I was actually dreaming about this last night. That didn't get me the answer, but it sure put me in a better place this morning for persevering. And I'm glad I did. --Margaret G.

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    4. Congrats, Margaret G! I am glad you enjoyed the solve.

      I think it quite likely your time away from the puzzle was what helped percolate the answer.

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  44. I have had an answer since Sunday, which I have sent in. I don't know that it's right, I sort of had that "Eureka" moment. I suspect eceryone has stumbled across the same answer.
    Anyway, here are a few hints to the answer I came up with. Disregard if you disagree:
    On Sunday, David mentioned Bob Dylan.
    Also, somebody quoted the Bible. Which version?

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    1. It was I that gave the Biblical clue: "The first shall be last and the last shall be first."

      While there are quite a few actual passages, Matt 19:30, Matt 20:16, Mark 9:35, Luke 13:30; the point of my clue was not which particular passage, or which version of the Bible, but rather that actual quote!

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  45. Off the top of my head, I can't name a single Bob Dylan song. My musical clue's are more like 'Round Here', 'Mr. Jones', or maybe 'Einstein on the Beach'. Then again I got Dua Lipa in about 10 seconds.

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  46. I can think of a good one one but it doesn't work either. Someone who got it gave me a list of words and said it was there, and I've been staring at it all day, but nothing.

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  47. I had no idea people here were still so pissed off about OCHO RIOS. I suggest that, when we set our first gathering, we avoid Jamaica.

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  48. Hello friends. This puzzle is ruining my week. If I knew the answer was in Rons list posted above, at least I could focus more. Thank you. (BTW, the upside down clock puzzle had only 11 correct entries).

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    1. Al, you could put together my earlier comments with the list to draw your own conclusion there. I was blog administrated last week for providing too specific direction...

      Definitely not worth ruining your week over.

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    2. Thank you WW. I will relax and maybe it will come to me. It's been years since I have not submitted an answer.

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    3. Al, did you get the upside down clock?

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    4. Yes! I got the upside down digital clock puzzle. The last time I missed the correct answer was the one about tennis scores and the number of points in a row you could loose and still win the match. Im still in the hunt for this weeks answer.

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    5. Al is an AMAZING solver of puzzles.
      His solving of the upside-down digital clock puzzle was memorable, yes. But so too was his solving of the very tough "Two W's" puzzle a few months later.
      A comment I posted after that second "trumphAl feat read:
      legolambdaThu Apr 03, 10:41:00 PM PDT
      I’ve done some historical research. Remember that Feb. 2 upside-down digital clock/SHErry wHIS-KEY liquor cabinet puzzle. Guess who solved that one correctly. It was Al, this week’s “TWO WS” puzzle-solver.
      Both puzzles, IMO, are excellent, challenging and fair. ... It’s an annoying cliché, but both puzzles required “thinking outside the box,” which is precisely what Al and who knows who else did. Al did not get “the call” from NPR on Thursday, Feb. 6. Sadly, he posted above that he didn’t get today either. What‘s a guy gotta do? The gods of randomness must have something against him!
      Even with about 75% of 2014 remaining, I nominate Al for “Blaine’s Puzzle Blog Solver of the Year.”
      This puzzle is not “April Fools trickery.” It’s “what-a-puzzle-should-be trickery.” I don’t feel at all April Fooled; I feel April Stumped!


      Lego(WhoHasEnoughTroubleThinkingInsideTheBox)AndWhoHopesWordWomanOrSomeOtherDeservingBlainesvillianGetsThisWeek's"Call"FromNPR!

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    6. Thank you Mr Young for your encouraging words.

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  49. This is a classic puzzle, both modest and arduous at the same time!

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    1. Hm, modest yes. But I would not have said arduous. I would say: modest, easy to misunderstand, and hard.

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    2. Crito, you're right, that's better.

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  50. Well, all the hints and a Google search finally led me to what appears to be the prevailing answer here, but I have three reservations about it:
    (1) I've never heard of it;
    (2) I can't imagine what comes next in the series; and
    (3) You really think Will would allow it?

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  51. Lancek, I guarantee:

    (1) you have heard of it;

    (2) you know the next in the series and have known it for a very long time;

    (3) Will is allowing it because it is a new measure of puzzle elegance.

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    1. Hmmm. In that case, I withdraw my reservations, since what I found in my Google search was neither elegant nor extant for a "very long time." I'm actually glad that I'm wrong, as I want it to be as good as you have described. I've had those 6 letters swimming around in my head for two days, and I still don't have the series!

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    2. Postscript: I finally have it, and WW is right on all counts. Now I even get Blaine's clue.

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    3. Postpostscript: Word Woman, in retrospect I can only imagine how the irony of my sincerely clueless post must have elicited a chuckle.

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    4. Lancek, congrats! And oh yes that chuckle was a good one. Thanks for that.

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  52. I'm not sure if I want Word Woman to be right or not.
    I found two nice lists of 8 letter words one with 3rd letter a's and the other 6th letter a's.
    They are both about 4000 words.
    Sorry, not me.
    Combine that with the unlikelihood of Will's idea of series being the same as mine and I'll see you Thursday.

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    3. OK, I've removed my reply above, suffice to say that anyone can easily see the answer amidst a list such as what ron posted, and still have no idea that it's the answer.

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  53. I'm hung up on "common series." WW says we have heard of it. No one says it is well-known. I'm convinced that Will chose his words carefully. What makes a series "common"? Hrmph.

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    1. Brisco, it is quite well-known.

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    2. I guess in my literal view, a common series is oft-experienced. Like, breakfast, lunch, dinner. That so also well-known. But I wouldn't consider the elements of the periodic table to be a common series. Besides, I don't think HHAELAIB is a word. Time to go exercise. Maybe that'll bump the right neurons together.

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    3. Brisco, everything that WW has said about this being a common series is correct. You have likely experienced it many times just this week. But you may want to perform some somersaults during your exercise regime to shake those neurons together!
      --Margaret G.

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    4. Yes! My answer too. Watch out for Blaine.

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    5. Wonder what would happen if we all sent that answer in.

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    6. A search in Wiktionary for seariaes gives "Showing results for searches. No results found for seariaes."

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  55. Amazon bought MGM, perhaps they don't want oscar anymore...

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  56. Still working on it.... Just hope is isn't CLAMBAKE (LAMB, CAKE) yet again.

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    1. Don't worry. It can't be CLAMBAKE, because you must remember that the two As must be REMOVED!!

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  57. Did anyone have a clear view of the blood flower lunar eclipse early this morning? A cloud bank covered our view here at full eclipse.

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    1. I watch online Chabot Space center in oakland. You can watch the video. I fell asleep though near the end.

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    2. WW-I had the same view as you, I would guess. At 4:30 am the view of the partial eclipse was good. And Jupiter and Saturn were up. By 5:00 am it was getting overcast. By the time of full eclipse (5:11 am), I couldn't find the moon at all! And it was getting light. There I am in my PJs looking at the sky with binoculars, while the go-getters are starting to walk their dogs. I went back to bed, thank you very much!

      Natasha--Thank you for the mention of Chabot. In the 1980s, I went to several public events at the Chabot Observatory. Kingsley Wightman led very entertaining and educational sessions. He was quite a character!

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    3. FG, yeah the partial eclipse was cool, especially the red color. Bad cloud timing for the full eclipse, though.

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    4. Fliridaguy: glad to know you were at chabot. They have new place about 20⁰0 something. There was an astronaut who was director. He let my students volunteer there. He passes away a few years ago. Inspiring person. He was alternate for the spaceship that blew up with teacher on it.

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  58. Sad to read of Eric Carle's passing on Sunday.

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    1. Yes, but after everything I heard he ate on Saturday, it's no surprise....

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    2. Yes...I was hoping he left during the blood flower lunar eclipse early today. Seems like a poetic and sweet time to move between worlds.

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  59. I was a bit late to this puzzle, only started this morning. I don't think I'll solve it in time, it sure is tough

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  60. The answer came to me, as the difficult ones often do, while performing a routine, mechanical task. In this case, I thought of it while getting dressed. (It often happens while showering or brushing my teeth. I think having the body engaged in something that doesn't require thought frees up the mind.) I knew immediately that it was the intended answer. As others have said, this puzzle was elegant, challenging, and (if you get it) immensely satisfying. I suspect that there will be a lot of palms smacking foreheads this afternoon, or Sunday morning. And probably a lot of complaining in this forum.

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    1. And, as others have said, I don't think looking at 8-letter words will be of any help. For me, my "aha" moment came when I lit on the correct series; the word and next series element were obvious from there. And, everyone writing here or reading this not only KNOWS this series, but encounters it regularly.

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  61. Thank you, Uncle Fishbag, for your post(s). Your two cents allowed me to take a fresh look at the list shared by Ron. That list did help me after all.

    I just submitted an answer…not 100% sure it is the intended answer, but it seems to meet the puzzle requirements, and it seems compatible with the hints posted by you and others.

    Now I wonder—since there are not going to be that many submissions…that means there is a greater chance for everyone with the correct answer to get "the call"! 😎

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  62. I'm going to ask a favor of everyone. Starting at 3pm EDT today, please just post the 8 letter word. Then wait until about 5pm EDT to explain the common series, all of your hints, etc. I'm just asking for a two hour window for those of us that have stared at the correct word to see if we can beat the series out of it.

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    1. I don't think so, JAWS. Most of us just want the pain to go away. Ask someone to take a look and tell you the word so you don't learn the intended answer.

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  63. I feel I have it, and it's really elegant, but don't know what to do with the last letter. Anyone else have that trouble?

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    1. The question is: What comes next in the series?
      I am not reading that as necessarily just one "last letter."

      What gave me more assurance was that in my mind I prefaced the answer with "a series of…."

      (I am not sure I would call my answer "elegant." Even so: Sometimes WS accepts answers other than the intended one as as an alternate solution.)

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  64. OMG with mere hours to spare I am now confident that I've found it. A satisfying conclusion to the week, since this would've been my first faceplant since I started solving a year ago! (I even got Ocho freaking Rios via brute-force Googling, despite never having heard of it.) Thanks to all for the hints & encouragement; I concede that the puzzle is tough but fair.

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    1. My hint is in the phrase "satisfying conclusion," which points toward the ends of the words "first, second, third." ("First" also makes a cameo here, of course.)

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  65. Ocho Rios is lovely. I was a student in Jamaica, actually ran track & field there with some success, no Usain Bolt, not always the fastest but I often got some award. Was it worth the extra effort? Yes.

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  67. Here's a last minute hint for anyone in a position of still struggling. Take any of the lists you've found online and be sure to remove ALL non-standard words. The answer will be found in what remains.

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    1. I didn't dare post it any earlier, so I left it for the eleventh hour.

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  68. *** For you who still want to try solving, I'll leave a large space after the word:
    STANDARD ***




















    STANDARD >>> -ST, -ND, -RD are the suffixes for ordinal numbers first, second, and third, so the next suffix in order is in FOURTH or -TH

    "This week's puzzle was both an annoying and a satisfying solve."


    AND

    "Although C a p, I must level with you, the high frustration level correlated with high satisfaction level." >>>

    In other words, I spent an inordinate amount of time to get an ordinal answer.

    A gardening break was required." In order to see what would come fo(u)rth from my plantings; I thought of the beginning and the end of the gardening season which prompted me to look at the ends of words and voila! I also dreamt I saw a cardinal (vs. an ordinal ;-)).

    "But you may have far to go..." was a nod to Fargo, ND and the ND in the ordinal number "secoND."



    Hamid's perfectly placed "This is a classic puzzle, both modeST AND ARDuous at the same time!" was pure joy! Thanks.

    And I also thoroughly loved Crito's nicely buried "ordinarily" to signal he had solved it referring to ordinal numbers! Really sweet.

    And then Crito followed it up with "modeST, easy to misunderstaND, and haRD." Even sweeter! And in a series. Thanks for that clue in plain sight. This trio of clues made my mid-week so much fun!


    "I think it quite likely your time away from the puzzle was what helped percolate the answer." >>> Coffee drinkers tend to drink coffee FIRST thing in the morning.

    "...new measure of puzzle elegance." >>> measuring first, second, third, fourth >>> as well as (1) (2) (3) leading up to the fourth point. I considered adding (4), but thought it was too big a hint. And, as I mentioned earlier to Lancek, his comment gave me quite a chuckle.

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  69. SMARTASS >>> SMRTSS >>> SUNDAY MORNING RADIOS TUNED to SHORTS' SUNDAY PUZZLE

    I hope this is not the intended answer, but it is all I have unless the answer is:

    ANAGRAMS >>> ANGRMS >>> Australian Narrow Gauge Railway Museum Society (ANGRMS).

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  70. Congrats to all who solved it. I hope one of you gets the call.

    As a marker of this puzzle’s difficulty, I saw Enya’s Wednesday post that the word had been unwittingly mentioned Sunday on the blog (before Enya removed his post at Word Woman’s suggestion). Even though I was able as a result to whittle the number of possible eight-letter answers down to six (including three from my own Sunday post), I was still unable to arrive at the series. Like others, I had known from the start that the “common series” was the crux of the solution but even so—and even with the number of possible answers reduced to six—remained unable to solve it.

    Again, a challenging puzzle, and kudos to those who solved it.

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  71. Standard, th, as in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th...

    Sorry that many did not find my musical reference to the Counting Crows to be of any use. The only other hint I could think of was the photo finish in 'Ford vs. Ferrari' which I later retracted as probably TMI.

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  72. My clue (I gave another one but this one’s better):

    When Hamid said

    “This is a classic puzzle, both modest and arduous at the same time!”

    I replied,

    “Hm, modest yes. But I would not have said arduous. I would say: modest, easy to misunderstand, and hard.”

    modeST, easy to misunderstaND, haRD.

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    1. Ooooh, now I see that Word Woman caught both of my clues! Okay now I feel better about my 'ordinarily' -- and of course, the sin I mentioned could have been... cardinal. :)

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  73. My 8-letter word was: seatrain.
    Thus, my "series" was: setrin.
    Next in this "series," I put: gs.

    My answer, in a phrase: a series of set rings.

    As in: the number of rings (and the ringtone) you set before the call goes to voicemail.

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  74. I posted on Sun May 23, 07:14:00 AM PDT:

    Biblical clue: "The first shall be last and the last shall be first."

    It is the LAST TWO letters of FIRST, SECOND, and THIRD, which are the chuncks left behind when the A's of STANDARD are removed.

    Now as for Blaine's clue...

    Every week He posts: "Here's my standard reminder... ", and I don't need to quote the rest. In my "back and forth" with Blaine I posted: "...what else could you have done differently than your choice of the title? I can attest that the answer is NOT quandary! So what else could you have done differently to point to the answer?"

    My quote of the beginning of each of his weekly "standard reminder"s was litterally correct, and Blaine's title for this week, "In a Quandary", contains three words. The third word of his "standard reminder" is STANDARD itself!!

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    1. My answer is compatible with your biblical clue:
      Set ringS…the first and last letters are the same! 🙂

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    2. And I included the phrase "back and fo(u)rth" to hint at the next item in the series.

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  75. How in the world can suffixes be considered the start of a series?

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    1. I agree, Bobby G. I consider the wording of the puzzle to be off-putting

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    2. I never would have solved this puzzle. I suspected this would be another where "common" is not at all common. I have not heard the word ordinal in decades and am not proficient at math beyond what I need to know. I knew STANDARD was likely the answer word, and I considered ST, ND & RD, but they did not trigger a light bulb going off in my head. Even if I had somehow solved it I would not have thought it elegant or satisfying. I guess it is a good puzzle for math aficionados.

      As for Blaine's hint. I only saw that the yellow cartoon character was looking outside the box, but that did not seem like much of a hint to me, and it apparently is not the hint.

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    3. I wasn't swept away by the "elegance' of it, either. I am actually more pleased with my answer (see my post above).

      I had tried a couple of different things earlier:
      – Patterns of scrabble points … nothing.
      – The names of Snow White's seven dwarfs (6 initials plus
      whosever initial I'd find missing) … nothing.
      – Seacoast > secost > secosteroid? Ugh! Not a "series"!

      Then I tried following up on Word Woman's reference to Rochester, NH ("a lot of press this week"). The Wikipedia article talks about the Rochester Common (!), about the connection to the seacoast (!), and about Norway pines (some scattered "Norwegian" references posted here). Alas, ultimately, again … nothing.

      WS had better accept my answer as a valid alternative! 😎

      Delete
  76. I stand in ardent admiration to the nth degree of all of you who solved this. Congratulations ��

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  77. so nice that Crito and Word Woman caught my second clue. I also posted another clue on Sunday: You may have to wait for a bit; but don't lose hope, they will appear again in the series. Obviously the series will continue with th,th,th,...; you have to wait until 21st,22nd,23rd to get st,nd,rd again.

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  78. Plantsmith has created and contributed a trio of wonderful puzzles to this week's Puzzleria! They appear in his "Garden of Puzzley Delights" package.
    Plantsmith's gems involve:
    1st. a sea creature's relationship to a “fungus among us,”
    2nd. the transformation of a rock singer into a botanical beauty, and
    3rd. a flowery blossom emanating from a smoke-filled room at the Capitol.
    And, 4th, we also will feature the usual Schpuzzle of the Week, Slice, and Dessert...
    ...And, of course, our standard complement of complimentary NPR Riff-Offs.
    We upload just past Midnight PDT, early Friday morning.
    Join us!

    LegoWhoIsAimingWithTheAssistanceOfPlantsmithAndOtherGreatGuestContributorsIsAimingToSetTheStandardForPuzzlingExcellence!

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  79. I had "standard" on my radar as well, but for a different reason:
    I was looking at possible patterns of scrabble points (such as 121314). With 111212, "standard" came kinda close…(but no cigar).

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  80. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  81. standard

    Remove the A's to get st, nd, rd, the ends of 1st, 2nd, 3rd.

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  82. To Enya and everyone else. I said version of the Bible not to impugn the verse itself but to get everyone thinking about versions of the Bible: King James, Revised STANDARD, New Revised STANDARD.
    Get it?
    The Bob Dylan reference was to Fourth Time Around, Dylan's answer to Norwegian Wood.

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  83. I didn't get this and my feelings about it haven't changed since my post yesterday morning.
    I haven't noticed any solvers here answering Lulu's standard question: "How did you get it?"

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    Replies
    1. I found a list online of eight-letter words. I refined it to eight-letter words with A as the third letter, again as the sixth letter. It took about five minutes.

      Delete
  84. Nice! Definitely not Ocho Rios! :) Wish I'd gotten this puzzle.

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  85. Congratulations to those who solved. Well done!

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  86. Well, Will beat me this week. Kudos to all who prevailed!

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  87. I enjoyed this a great deal (in case you couldn't tell). I enjoy a puzzle that makes one look at things differently, especially simple things.

    Thanks, Roger Barkan and Will Shortz!

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