Sunday, August 15, 2021

Interim Puzzle (Aug 15, 2021): A Pair of Islands Puzzle

Q: Take the name of an island. Shift the first letter two later in the alphabet (e.g. A would become C). Read the result backwards and you'll have the name of another island. What are the two islands?
While waiting to see if we'll have an NPR Puzzle this week, I thought I'd post a fill-in puzzle. Please don't post the answer until after the standard Thursday 3PM ET deadline. But feel free to hint at the answer.

Edit: My alternate idea was to write the island in uppercase, change the first letter to two later and read the resulting letters in a mirror.
A: GUAM --> MAUI
Interestingly, the Northern Mariana Islands have the Maug Islands to the north and Guam to the south.

157 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.

    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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    1. Any limits on island size, Blaine? I've got some with common names that work, but I'd never heard of them.

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    2. The intended answer has islands that should be familiar.

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    3. Maybe if you go through the Panama Canal to get from one to the other it’s that far?

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  2. Thank you for giving us all something to have on our minds.

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  3. Hopefully all is well with Will. Cant ever remember missing unless it was a two week challenge.

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    1. KCFR reported it's due to the Afghanistan coverage.

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  4. Good alternative - thanks Blaine- we’ll see if the real puzzle is as much of a layup as this one.

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  5. Me too. But what can I do with them?

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  6. I can't believe it's not Mazdagascar!

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    Replies
    1. Neal Conan of NPR fame, Liane Hansen's ex, died this week in Hawaii of glioblastoma. I enjoyed his baseball musings.

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    2. I always thought that Conan's "Talk of the Nation" was a much better program than the programs that have replaced it over the years. Conan did an excellent job of recruiting RESPONSIBLE advocates of a wide range of opinions on a given topic.

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  7. If I have the right pair they are approximately 10,200 miles apart.

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    1. I'll be interested to learn your pair. The islands in my answer are closer than that.

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    2. Maybe if you go through the Panama Canal to get from one to the other it’s that far?

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    3. Charles, I suggest you go to Distance Between 2 Addresses, Cities or Zipcodes.

      Blaine and I would both appreciate it if you go there, enter the Island names in the "From:" and "To:" fields, and then posted back the answer.

      I think you might need to think outside the box (or the ocean) for this one.

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    4. Ah, forget my "think outside the box (or the ocean) comment. The website I gave in the above does NOT draw its red "great circle route" line well. I now recommend either
      Distance Between Cities Places On Map Distance Calculator,
      or
      How Far Is It Between,
      although that one asks you to turn off your ad-blocker.

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    5. "Distance Between Cities .." gave 10,482 miles (heading east), Bing search gave 10,245 miles (heading west) and the NOAA great circle calculator gave 10,230 miles.

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    6. I'll accept there might be an alternate answer. My intended islands are a few thousand miles closer together.

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    7. BTW, my first island is 9560 miles from Blaine's.

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    8. My pair were Saba and Abau Island, Papua New Guinea.

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  9. There's a connection between the first island and the alternate solution proposed by Rob and me two weeks ago.

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    Replies
    1. (As Blaine noted, Guam is in the Marianas. Maid Marian is the companion of Robin Hood, our proposed alternate solution to the upside-down hero puzzle two weeks ago.)

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  10. Brings to mind the opening line of that famous limerick...


    There once was a man from Tekcutnap

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    Replies
    1. One of the big numbers in the Disney musical Moana is "You're Welcome" as sung by the character Maui, voiced by Dwayne Johnson.

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  11. The islands remind me of a mnemonic aid used to distinguish a couple of nautical terms.

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  12. I think the first island may need an upgrade….

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  13. I have a pair that are 103 miles apart, in the same U.S. state.

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    Replies
    1. The two that you have in mind both remind me of that SAME MNEMONIC AID!

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    2. jan, I just tried the pair of islands which I thought you had, in both
      Distance Between 2 Addresses, Cities or Zipcodes
      and
      How Far Is It Between,
      and I get distances of 20.04 miles and 20.058 miles, respectively.


      Distance Between Cities Places On Map Distance Calculator
      can't find them! Despite the fact that I included "Island" after each of their names, it located two places on a SINGLE, much larger island nearby!

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    3. So apparently there are at least 3 pairs of islands. I'll have to try again to find the pair that you found.

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    4. Wait! Counting the pair that Charles found, there must be at least 4 pairs of islands.

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  14. Hi, this is Dr K’s wife. At the moment he’s driving us to the beach, but he’s got the answer. His hint—advance the first letter of the first island 5 letters in the alphabet, read the result backward and get a word that is a homonym of a famous political site. Thank you, Blaine, for the interim puzzle.

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  15. Thought I had it, but then I realized that with my pair of islands you move the first letter BACK two places in the alphabet. Clearly not Blaine's intended pair.

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  16. Replace the last letter of the first island with two new letters: one advanced one place from the original, and one advanced two places from the original. The result is...rather unpleasant.

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    1. I thought it was cute, but I'll remove it out of caution.

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    2. After finding my obscure island pair, I wasn't going to bother looking further for the intended answer, but this clue brought me right to it.

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  18. I have an answer that fits the clues, but it does not seem to be Blaine's intended answer. Mine are roughly 14,000km apart.

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    1. I have a pair of well-known islands that are about 6,300 km apart.

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    2. Never mind, I just realized I transposed two letters, my pair does not meet the criteria.

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  19. That was not as hard as I thought it would be. Good one Blaine. Much more satisfying than most NPR puzzles.

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  20. One of the islands reminds me of a pet.

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    Replies
    1. Maui sounds like "meowy", which is like a cat.

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  21. Blaine, satisfying puzzle! My clue: 8 1/6.

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  22. In case anyone is wondering what happened to Clark a pseudonym, his computer gave up the ghost and he is trying to decide how to replace it. So he was unaware of our not having a puzzle. He now knows what we are working on thanks to Blaine and probably won't have a new computer for a while yet.

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  23. Is the first island, Qnagillig? Hey, someone had to do it...

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  25. What is the distance between Lemuria and Atlantis?

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  26. Will Shortz isn't having a good weekend, apparently. Not only did the NPR Sunday Puzzle get bumped, but the Sunday New York Times variety puzzles (including a Cox/Rathvon acrostic an three small puzzles) didn't appear on their crossword website.

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    Replies
    1. Update: those Sunday puzzles showed up on the NYT crosswords website today.

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  27. I have two answers. In each the first island is pretty well-known, but the second is obscure.

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    1. I had Iona and Anok (Uganda) as well as Java and Aval (Brittany, France). Guam and Maui is much more elegant.

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  28. Replies
    1. Make GUAM from: gold (AU) + magnesium (MG). Make MAUI from: americium (AM) + uranium (U) + iodine (I).

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  29. Replies
    1. The Southpark can only improve Casa Bonita. Even if they make it cartoonish, that’s an improvement over the previous incarnation

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    2. True. My kids did love it though. The food was awful.

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    3. I had not heard of Casa Bonita before watching that video link yesterday. My first thought as I watched it was that all the attention was paid to the visual experience and the "food" must be "pretty" awful and taste like shit.

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    4. Yeah, I can’t speak to how well-known Casa Bonita is outside of Colorado. It’s both famous and notorious here. The fact that I live within 15 minutes of the place and haven’t eaten there since the Reagan administration should tell you what I think of their food

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  30. Feeling rather peaceful about the answer.

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  31. Think of an island country that has a repeated consonant. Remove one of the repeated consonant letters (just one of them). Rearrange to get another island country far away. What are these two well known island countries?

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    1. Nice one, sdb. If I’ve got the right answer, I am currently on an island about 9,000 miles from each, and the islands themselves are about 1,100 miles apart.

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    2. Thanks Dr.K, but it looks like you have an alternate answer and like Blaine said yesterday I am waiting for Thursday to find out what you came up with. My answer involves 2 oceans.

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    3. Sorry, sdb, I was mistaken. I misread the directions. I've probably been spending too much time in the sun. Back to the drawing board.

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    4. Ellis Island, drop an L, yields Isle (of Man).

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    5. ron,
      Nope. Much more straightforward than that, and as I said, it involves 2 oceans.

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    6. ...and Ellis Island is not an island country.

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    7. I actually had the answer. I hope it's OK to give it now: TAHITI minus a T yields HAITI...

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    8. ron,
      Congrats. I was hoping for people to wait until Thursday though.

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    9. Here's an easy one (if my understanding of the terms "adjacent" and "island country" is correct):
      Take the name of an island. Remove two adjacent letters and rearrange what's left to get the name of an island country.
      No need to hesitate; just blurt it out if you know it.

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    10. skydiveboy, since ron gave away the answer to your puzzle and you acknowledged it, I can at least quibble about it. Tahiti and Haiti both fail as island nations because Tahiti is not a nation (It's part of French Polynesia) and Haiti is not an island (It's part of the island of Hispaniola).

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    11. I did not use the word nation; you did. See references below:


      Is Tahiti its own country?
      The islands were first settled by migrating Polynesians as early as 500BC. They were later discovered by European explorers during the 16th century and eventually colonized by France. Now officially known as French Polynesia, Tahiti is an autonomous overseas country of the French Republic.

      Is Tahiti a sovereign nation?
      Image result for is tahiti a nation
      Tahiti, in the Society islands, became a French colony in 1880. France later annexed other islands to form the French Colony of Oceania. In 1946 the islands became an overseas territory and in 2004 gained "overseas country" status.May 22, 2018

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    12. Paul: Are the two adjacent letters the same letter or any two letters?

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    13. ron: they're different letters

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    14. I too looked at Brunei, but it is not an island. It is a tiny country in an island.

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    15. Do you mean, just like Haiti is not an island, but a country that actually takes up less than 4/11 of Hispaniola?

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    16. Yes, and that is why I wrote my puzzle saying island country rather than just island. That is why my puzzle works perfectly as I wrote it.

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    17. Just so we don't run out of things to argue about, was Russia a country from 1922 to 1991?

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    18. There was no Russia during that period. At least that is what some would say, although of course Russia did not cease to exist. But I suppose it was incorrect to call it a country when it was called the Soviet Union. But why let it stop here when we can drag it out at least until Thursday?

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    19. I don't think Russia ever WAS the Soviet Union, as in Russia = Soviet Union. I thought Russia was one of several entities within the Soviet Union.

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    20. That has been my understanding too.

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  32. I've often wondered:
    are "repeated consonanants" neccessisarily adjacent
    ?

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  33. Thanks so much for giving us a new puzzle to think about, Blaine. I'm going to go up a mountain to reflect on it, and hope to come down soon with an answer. --Margaret G.

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  34. They didn't even release the puzzle on the NPR web site. I suppose they can re-use it for next week's show.

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    1. Well, they likely have a recorded session with the winning contestant from last week all ready to go.

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  35. To all those that listen to the CBC Radio and its daily news program, As It Happens, Will Shortz was interviewed about the death of a puzzle master who was delighted with Soduko. (PS - I didn't realize he was in Houston, Texas I thought he was up at my old stompin' ground in Toronto.) https://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as-it-happens-tuesday-edition-1.3061865

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    1. Surprising that Will didn't know anything about C++.

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    2. Will Shortz does not live in Houston, Texas or Toronto. He resides in Pleasantville, New York, where he works from home.

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  36. Here is the write-up of the piece
    Sudoku-solving program
    The Prime Minister of Singapore is a real puzzler. But what's clear -- as crossword guru Will Shortz will explain -- is that the Singaporean PM has somehow created a program to save you time by solving your Sudoku puzzle.

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  37. Can anyone here remember who said....Let Saigon's be Saigon's all this talk of Vietnam Hanoi's me

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    1. Not sure as that was Hue too long ago.

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    2. Not quite the same quote but I think you are remembering Kinky Friedman from "We Reserve The Right To Refuse Service To You."

      " Let Saigons be bygones,
      Don't you blow this world in two.
      We reserve the right to refuse service to you."

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHI943GcX5s

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  38. It's almost Thursday, which means NOTHING this week!

    Which reminds me that one of our Blainesvillians blurted out, on Sunday, that the "Taliban had ruined their Sunday Puzzle," or something to that effect.

    I'll chime in that the Taliban ACTUALLY DID ruin a Sunday Puzzle idea that I had, though Puzzlemaster Shortz dinged it. He didn't like it.

    Anyway, I tried setting it up a few ways, yet it never passed muster. Here it is, for no reason:

    Name a country for which the descriptor of a national of that country is hidden, reading left to right, within the full name of the ruler of that country.

    The Answer (but only until this past Sunday): mohammad ashrAF GHANI ahmadzai

    Oh well, religious militants are once again stepping on my dreams.

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    Replies
    1. Great puzzle, Ben!
      Speaking of great puzzles...
      Here is an earlier-than-usual preview of our next Puzzleria! on August 20.
      We offer six splended puzzles this week formed from the fertile mind of our friend geofan, aka Ken Pratt. They appear in his always-entertaining-and-educational "Worldplay" series.
      (One of Ken's six this week is a "demonymic Euro-Auto shop Service Pledge" in which you are asked to fill in a series of blanks with Europe-related demonyms. Very creative!)
      Also on our menus this week:
      * a Schpuzzle of the Week that asks you to "Say it with a song and a spray,"
      * an Anatomic Bombast Puzzle Slice that hits you above (and below) the belt,
      * a Spoonerific Dessert that flings "Winged and wingless things" your way, and
      * eight riff-offs of Blaine's excellent "Pair-of-Island-Paradise" puzzle – one composed by geofan and another composed by our friend Plantsmith, both who are valued Puzzleria! contributors.
      We upload Puzzleria! very early on Friday, at Midnight PDT.
      All are welcome!

      LegoWhoSaysToTakeTheNameOfAnIslandInTheUnitedStatesAndShiftTheFirstLetterTwentyPlacesLaterInTheAlphabetSo"A"WouldBecome"U"ForExampleAndThenReadTheResultBackwardToGetAWordToDescribeThePre-emptionOfWillShortz'sNPRPuzzleThisPastSunday!

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  39. If I have the answer right, I just returned from very close to one of these islands today!

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  40. If "Ask Me Another" is ending soon(and it is), then this week's Sunday Puzzle "preemption" doesn't bode well for the segment's future, either.
    pjbSaysSolve'EmWhileYouGot'Em,Folks!

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  41. GUAM (G→I) = IUAM, reverse → MAUI.

    I did not look for any alternate answers...

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  42. GUAM, MAUI

    About 6,300 km apart.

    Also, DEER Island, and REEF Island, about 103 miles apart, in Washington (and in other places).

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  43. I misread the challenge and changed the last letter by two, instead of the first, and got Hawaii and Kiawah (SC).

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  44. GUAM —> MAUI

    My hint: If you change the first letter of the first island’s name to 5 letters later in the alphabet and read the result backward, you get…“maul,” both a word and a homophone of the National Mall in D. C.

    Thanks again, Blaine.

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  45. I got the call! They said mine was the only submission.

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    1. Will and Lulu are taking the week off. You can talk about anything you want.

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    2. Just off Aquinnah on Martha's Vineyard, WW

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    3. Dr K and jan, I'm donne ...and yet I'm not.

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    4. Ask not for whom the Tell Bowls:

      Tell City Bowling Center
      91 Google reviews
      Bowling Alley in Tell City, Indiana
      Address: 322 IN-66, Tell City, IN 47586
      Phone: (812) 547-7958

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  46. GUAM >>> IUAM >>>MAUI

    "8 1/6" hours is the flight time between these two islands.

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  47. So Charles:

    I'm sure Blaine is as interested as I to learn your pair of islands which are approximately 10,200 miles apart. The rest of us know of 3 pairs:

    1. GUAM and MAUI
    2. CRAB and BARE (both among the San Juan Islands, Washington State, USA) and...
    3. DEER and REEF (also both in WA, USA)

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    1. SABA and ABAU Island, Papua New Guinea

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    2. Interesting! So all 8 islands involved in all 4 pairs of solutions are 4 letters long; consistent with an old mnemonic aid I've known for some time for distinguishing between two nautical terms! Between PORT and STARBOARD, which means the left side of a ship and which means the right side? Answer: PORT is the LEFT side because PORT and LEFT are both 4 letters long. Here's another one: Is the PORT light red or green? Answer: The PORT light is red because PORT WINE is red.

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    3. This is how I remember the green and red boat lights (song I learned at Girl Scout Camp):

      Barges
      submitted by Sara Prater

      Barges, I would like to go with you,
      I would like to sail the ocean blue.
      Barges, have you treasures in your hold?
      Do you fight with priates brave and bold?
      Out of my window looking in the night,
      I can see the barges flickering light.
      Silently flows the river to the sea,
      As the barges go by silently.

      Chorus

      Out of my window looking in the night,
      I can see the barges flickering light.
      Starboard shining green and port is shining red,
      I can see the barges from my bed.

      It's a sweet song.

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    4. I have long known the ``We have some nice red port'' mnemonic. But what really sunk in for me was realizing that the rule for boats is the same as the rule for cars meeting at an unmarked intersection (not that I've seen one of those since I can remember--here in Colorado, even intersections of dirt roads seem to have stop signs!). Namely, the vehicle to the right of another vehicle has right of way; the vehicle to the left of the other has to yield. With boats, the vehicle to the right will be showing a red light (if it's approaching from your right, you are looking at its port side), and the vehicle approaching from the left will show a green light (you are looking at its starboard side). Red means stop and green means go. There you have it!

      Of course, the small sailboats I mostly use don't have any lights at all. We don't go out when its dark. But a sailboat on starboard tack (wind is coming over the starboard side of the boat; sail is to port) has right of way over a boat on port tack. It's really the same rule. But then if two boats are on the same tack, the leeward boat has right of way over the windward boat, except when then overlap is created by …. See The Racing Rules of Sailing for the 100 pages or so of rules!

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    5. A related story. Many here are too young to remember what an inspiration John F. Kennedy was, and what a grand sense of humor he had. Three months before he died, he gave a speech to the midshipmen at my alma mater, the US Naval Academy; this was five years before I enrolled. Anyway, he ended the speech with this story:
      ------
      There is an old story-which I will close with which will give you very valuable advice as you follow a naval career-about a young yeoman who watched a lieutenant begin a meteoric career in the Navy, and he always used to go into his office every morning and go to his drawer and take out a piece of paper and look at it. He became the youngest captain, the youngest admiral, the youngest commander-in-chief. Finally one day he had a heart attack. The yeoman said, "I want to see what is in that paper. It might help me." So he went over and opened up the safe and pulled out the paper. And it said, "Left-port; right-starboard."

      If you can remember that, your careers are assured!

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  48. I also had GUAM > MAUI.

    As for my "contribution":
    Greenland is an "autonomous territory" of Denmark (whatever that means); it's not a country, but it's an island. REmove RE from GREENLAND and just slide the G over to between the N and the L, and you get ENGLAND, which I call a country (as I think most people do), even though it's only a "constituent" of the sovereign state known as the United Kingdom. Since it's on the island of Great Britain, I think that makes it an "island country".
    That was my intended answer, and I'll bet ron and sdb knew that.
    It's interesting (to me) that dropping the IA from RUSSIA leaves a muddled version of USSR, but clearly neither of those entities could ever be considered an island, except in some far-fetched metaphorical sense. I only mentioned them because:
    England : UK :: Russia : USSR
    ... in some sense ...

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    Replies
    1. Paul,
      Every "contribution" you make (both here and over on Puzzleria!) is "thought-provoking" and/or "clever."

      LegoLeavingAMuddledVersionOfAnIntendedKudo

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  49. My sign-off to the weekly Puzzleria! preview I posted Wed Aug 18, 01:49:00 PM PDT included a riff that challenged Blainesvillians to:
    "Take the name of an island in the United States and shift the first letter twenty places later in the alphabet (so "A" would become "U", for example) and then read the result backward to get a word to describe the pre-emption of Will Shortz's NPR puzzle this past Sunday."
    The answer:
    Ellis Island; Silly
    ELLIS=>YLLIS=>SILLY!

    LegoWhoThanksBlaineForATerrificAndRiffiblePuzzleToTideUsOver

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    1. Fortunately, systems are "go" for tomorrow.

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    2. Right. They scrapped the taping from last week and taped it again yesterday with a different on air challenge. Next week they will use the scrapped challenge with this week's winner.

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    3. I wonder if this is the first time an on air contestant got to participate in two separate on air challenges a week apart and for solving just one puzzle.

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    4. How do you know about the refresh of the on-air challenge SDB?

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    5. Ben,
      Will told me all about it today.

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  50. Guam and Maui...my earlier post alluded to the fact that I just recently returned from Oahu, not far from Maui

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  51. Good puzzle Blaine. WS couldn’t have done better.

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  52. This week's challenge comes from listener Ben Austin, of Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. Take the name of a major American city. Move one of its letters three spaces later in the alphabet. Embedded in the resulting string of letters, reading left to right, is a cardinal number. Remove that number, and the remaining letters, reading left to right, spell an ordinal number. What city is it, and what are the numbers?

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  54. Momma told me i should have taken math.

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  55. I really value these early Sunday morning puzzles! It always helps to read the question thoroughly. --Margaret G.

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