Sunday, December 12, 2021

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 12, 2021): This Time of Year

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 12, 2021): This Time of Year
Q: Think of a major U.S. city in two words. Insert an L in the exact middle of the second word. Now read the first word forward and the second word backward, and you'll name two things associated with this time of year. What are they?
Stromboli Airbus

Edit: "Stromboli Airbus" anagrams to "Mobula birostris" which is a species of manta ray and that rhymes with the city.
SANTA FE --> SANTA, ELF

171 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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    1. I got this one so easily they really need to up the intensity. This is easy enough for second graders to get it. Very disappointed with the lack of a challenge.

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    2. To offer up a "puzzle" like this shows a lack of understanding and respect for the NPR listeners. Second graders do not listen to NPR.

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  2. Rearrange the letters in the city into one word – it has a connection with last week’s answer.

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    1. I learned something new. I had not seen that spelling of the word I believe you mean.

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  3. Should be a high number of correct answers this week. It leads to a much more appropriate answer than Buenos Aires did in unhappier economic times!

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    1. I agree. At first, I groaned when I read this puzzle, but the answer came quickly.

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    2. Same. I know it’s easy because I solved it.

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  4. Drop the third letter of the city, rearrange, and get something also associated with this time of year.

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  5. Hm, I can see Dr. K's anagram, but not Rob's -- I can't make a single word from the city's letters.
    But all Blainesvillagers will get the answer and there's no doubt about it when you get it. If not, get yourself an atlas!

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    1. I got myself a large (20") globe instead. But it is on back-order. So I do not know if the city will be on the globe. Probably yes.

      Hint: Buses in the answer city cost $0.50 in mid-September 2001, when I was last there.

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  6. Think of another two-word U.S. city. Add two letters to the first word and rearrange. Just rearrange the second word. You'll have two words relatable to this time of year.

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    1. FORT WORTH > FROSTY(the snowman), THROW(a snowball)
      Inspired by Blaine's picture; admittedly, "THROW a snowball" is a lame, weak stretch; that's why I wrote "relatable" instead of "related".

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  7. I don't understand why none of the alternative answers to last week weren't accepted as well as Head and Herd. Given the parameters stated in the puzzle, DOVE and DOLE should have been accepted as well.

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    1. Clark a pseudonym, I agree. DOLE and DOVE is a solid answer pair.

      Only 400 herd/head answers reported.

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    2. Did not Blaine accept it? It would make a nice License plate too. Dove/L.

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    3. Perhaps we should flood the mailbox this week with, instead of answers to this week's puzzle, just asking the question of why DOVE/DOLE was not accepted.

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    4. Had anyone here ever heard of a dole of doves before last week?

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    5. "Are you smarter than a fifth grader?

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    6. Yes, jan, I had heard the phrase regarding members of the Federal Reserve.

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    7. I've been fighting Will's phobia about alternative answers for 20 years or more, with, I might add, very little support on three different blogs.
      The practice demeans the very spirit and joy of puzzling.
      Blaming interns, as skydiveboy and Shortz himself have often done, may be even worse. The PM surely has the ultimate say about the answers he is sent. He does little enough, IMHO, to earn his secret remuneration as it is.

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  8. Took only a couple of minutes to figure this out by looking at the USA map on my kitchen wall. The two things associated with this time of year can be anagrammed into a place to live, and a state of mind.

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  9. Take the US city, drop the middle three letters, add a D, and you’ll get a city 7200 miles away, with a similar focus.

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  11. Replies
    1. Specifically her song "Buddy X", which leads us to Buddy the Elf in "Elf."

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

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  12. This one is geared towards 5th graders. No “eulc” needed this week.

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  13. Easy & cute puzzle this week. And only one more day until I finish grading papers & fly off to visit family!

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

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    3. (My hint nodded at the song "Santa Fe," from the musical Rent.)

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  14. I looked into a DOLE of DOVES and saw this week's answer.

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  15. I've said this before about many puzzles of the past and it applies to this week's puzzle as well.

    There are some folks out there who solve this week's puzzle in two seconds - and are still angry with themselves for not having solved it in less than one second!

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  16. Sometimes I think Will Shortz should put an upper age limit (maybe 8 years old) on puzzles, especially during a time when the callback could be during Christmas or summer vacations so the kid would more likely be home. Today's puzzle would have been ideal. Then he could gear the on-air puzzle to a similar age group & the whole family could listen together.

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  17. Replies
    1. Nice misdirection. Siz. And, of course, there is another Georgia connection.

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  18. Musical clue: Earth Wind & Fire

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  20. last week comment was a clue for dole ande dove. I was going actually post dole and dove as I was certain that was the wrong answer. Since it was clearly the wrong answer, would my clue have been removed. and if it hadn't think of all the people who would not have been disappointed
    I have a one letter clue this week it it were to get pulled it would tie the record for the shortest removed clue

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  21. Many cities with this name, including one in the headlines a few years ago.

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  22. Hm, still need a Sunday puzzle. The letters of CHIMP are in alphabetical order. Find an animal whose 6-letter name is in reverse alphabetical order. It lives in the sea but is not a fish.

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    1. Oh nice!
      And a good answer to a puzzle about order, since they form an order unto themselves.

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    4. I use it in some of my favorite dishes. Nice puzzle!

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    5. Manta Ray rhymes with Santa Fe. This was a puzzle on April 9, 2017.

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    6. A: SPONGE ... yep, it's an animal!

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  23. Spoonerize the city's name, and pronounce one of the letters the way it is pronounced as a letter in the alphabet. You will get a word that can describe the two things.

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    1. Santa Fe turns into Fanta Se. If you pronounce the E like an E, then it will sound like "fantasy". That describes Santa and his elves because Santa is pretend.

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    2. Did Satan make you recant or was it Flip Wilson who made you do it?

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  24. I wonder how they read the submissions and count the. Seems like the lottery is a secret process.

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  25. This one was a little tacky especially on the Holy Day of La Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe.

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  26. Never been to this city, but it was the second one that came to mind! I have a strong connection to one of the words.

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  27. Cancel culture? Wokeness? The relationship between the two things associated with this time of year bears some closer inspection.

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  28. I was hoping for a puzzle this week. But let's get back to last week. Will we ever know why the better answer was not mentioned? But more to the point. We have all heard:

    Murder of crows
    School of fish
    Pack of wolves
    Colony of aunts
    Band of brothers

    But have you ever heard of:

    Herd of head?

    NO!

    Edith of head could work. You remember her; she gave good costume.

    A disappointing Sunday morning.

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  29. Replies
    1. As they say in Spain: "It takes Juan to know..."

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    2. I thought they said (referring to his twin on the other side of the Strait of Gibraltar), "When you've seen Juan, you've seen Amahl."

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    3. Yes, and he was last scene sitting around his campfire entertaining his visitors and smoking his Camel.

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  30. The last time I went to this city was about 40 years ago. Iwas charming as was a smaller city next to it. It's been a long time so I'm not sure if the charm remains. Anybody know?

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  31. Anagram hints being abundant this week, here are a couple more:

    1. Rearrange the letters of the city to get a two-word phrase naming something that many aspire to but that we are warned is not possible.

    2. Drop the last three letters of the first word of the answer and add the first two letters of the second word, in reverse order, to name another thing associated with this time of year.

    While I agree this puzzle was overly easy, perhaps in the holiday spirit we should simply think of it as a gift to those who are too busy with preparations to spend time agonizing over a tough challenge.

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    Replies
    1. 1. SANTA FE --> "SAFE TAN"

      2. SA + LE --> "SALE"

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  32. Hardly qualifies as a puzzle. My partner read the puzzle to me (we slept in), and the second thought that popped into my head was the answer. Answered it in conversational flow. Could have been a little more puzzle-icious if they had not designated the letter and location, but still weak.

    BTW, we were one of the 400 head of puzzlers who got the answer and the 399 who didn't get "the call".

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  33. Anyone know whether today's on-air player, Jamie Tyrrell, a medical writer from Somerville, MA, is the same Jamie Tyrrell (then described as a test prep instructor from Rochester, NY) who was a 1-day Jeopardy! champion in 2019?

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    1. Yes I know Jamie and she was also on Jeopardy.

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  34. Musical clue: The Eagles
    pjbSolvedItQuickly,AndCanNowTakeItEasy

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    1. SANTA FE, SANTA, ELF
      The Eagles recorded "Life in the Fast Lane" in 1976(released May 3, 1977). FASTLANE is an anagram of SANTA, ELF.
      pjbWishingY'allAMerryChristmasAndAHappyNewYear!

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  35. There's currently one chillin' out in my fridge.

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  36. If you read three of the letters in the city backwards (in order), you get an adjective that describes one of these things.

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    1. And if you rearrange the last four letters, you get a homophone of a large characteristic of one of those things.

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    2. Removing the TAF (FAT backwards) from SANTA FE leaves SANE, which is "not crazy".

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  37. Think of two words that both mean to show disapproval and you can anagram them together to name a character that is very important to this cities cultural life.

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    1. The words are Razz and Boo. Anagram them together and you get Zozobra or Old Man Gloom that is burned every year at the Fiesta De Santa Fe.

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  38. Think of a German town in Bavaria in two words, 3 & 7 letters. Change the A in the second word to an L and anagram it. Now these two words will describe something no actor wants. Can you name them?

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    1. Did you work at the ECHELON station there?

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    2. Thanks,jan.
      Nobody wants to see it on their credit card statement, either.

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    3. I first thought about writing it that way.

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    4. BAD AIBLING > BAD BILLING

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    5. That's some bad eye bling above

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    6. Yes to all of the above.
      I could have sent that puzzle to Will, but I was sure he would not accept it. I could easily have made it more difficult by how I worded it, but I thought easier was best for here. Anyway I hope you all will agree that it is a BAD puzzle.

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  39. Im grateful for an easy puzzle this week giving me time to focus on The NY Times Puzzle Mania section that came out today. Anyone playing with this?



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    1. No, I have an All Digital Access account with the Times, which, despite claiming to include access "to all of our games", doesn't include the annual Puzzle Mania section. For that, you gotta kill trees and get ink on your hands.

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    2. I went digital earlier this year but went out and bought a hard coy of Puzzle Mania. I think I solved the Murder Mystery included i8n it.

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  40. I've been to this place more times than I can count.

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  41. Replies
    1. SANTA FE
      SANTA ELF
      Constant readers of this blog will recall some discussion a few weeks ago about the German word for eleven, "elf." The first thing that comes to mind whenever someone mentions the number 11 is "This Is Spinal Tap," the greatest mockumentary of all time, which was released in German-speaking markets as "Die Jungs von Spinal Tap!" ("The Guys from Spinal Tap!") No idea how well their humor translated into German.

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  42. Anyone know what the latest spin on tornadoes is?

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    1. A long time ago, when my wife and I owned a house in Little Rock that we were trying (unsuccessfully) to sell, I ran into my father's business partner at a party. When he politely asked me how I was doing I spilled out all the details of our predicament, telling him "Right now I would be happy if a tornado came and tppk it away--except we don't have tornado insurance." To which he responded, without missing a beat, "Tornado insurance? I can start a tornado?"

      I've spent the last 39 years wishing I had his ability to come up with the witticism appropriate for the moment on the spot.

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    2. Not to worry. I thought this might just be one of those occasions where it would be better not to take one at his word. Therefore I took this occasion to lppk the other way.

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  43. This is post #93. I love number 93!

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  44. I actually saw a tornado cross a river, once. The Kaw river to be exact, which separates Kansas City,KS (not a "clue" city) into two halves, north and south. This was from the roof of a high apartment building in Kansas City,MO (not a "clue" city, either.Sorry). Then I watched exactly the same thing broadcast a few minutes later on t.v. Tornados are a big deal in the midwest, mostly in the Spring and early Fall. However, the month of December seems an odd time to be seeing them (climate change?). Once you see one, you can't unsee it. Later, I learned later from someone that several roofs were blown off in his neighborhood from this tornado, but not his or his next door neighbor.
    Tornados are odd like that.

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    1. Judy Garland's career shot up like a tornado.

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    2. A tornado and a few amphetamines and you're over the rainbow, baby.

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    3. You really don't need the drugs. Many people find them to be uplifting just as they are.

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    4. One of the 600k SF buildings I designed was directly across the road from the Amazon in Edwardsville. No damage. There but for the grace of god...

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    5. Is that 10 acres +?
      Seems like it would be like a sail.

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    6. I know what you mean, DDX. Tornado stories always seem to have a strange twist to them.

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    7. Actual size is 674,896 SF = 15.5 acres. If you look at photos and videos, most of the damage was a result of suction on the leeward side, to continue your nautical analogy. The north half of the building survived. The southern portion of the building sheared off at the brace bay column line. You can see the braces remaining in the photos.

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  45. It is one thing to solve an "Easy "puzzle. Quite another to write one. I believe Mr.Schteyman (sp?) has written others of various degrees of difficulty. But i suppose the best puzzle is one we don't solve- like last week when there were many fails.

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  46. The country of Brazil has been destroying their Amazon rain forest. Perhaps it is now time for our country to destroy its Amazon too.

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  47. SANTA FE; SANTA, ELF

    "Ok, then" refers to Georgia O'Keeffe." The GOK Museum in Santa Fe represents her artwork and life well, although I enjoyed staying in Abiquiu, NM, and viewing her home and gardens more.

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  48. Santa Fe, New Mexico >>> Santa & elf

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  49. SANTA FE, New Mexico → SANTA + ELF.

    “Just in the Saint Nick of time” didn't fly...

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  50. Our friend Rudolfo is the featured puzzle-maker on this week's Puzzleria! His puzzle challenges you to find links for a chain of names... For example:
    Phyllis George - George Washington - Washington Irving - Irving Stone - Stone Phillips...
    We upload P! just after midnight PST every early Friday morning.
    Also on our menus this week:
    * a Schpuzzle of the Week about Christmas Carols and Looney Tunes,
    * a puzzle about an Old Word marriage that spawns a New World municipality,
    * a Dessert about Gold, Frankincense and a "Myrrhacle!"
    * seven riff-off puzzles of the "Santa and his fey elfin toysmiths" NPR puzzle.
    Come join us for some "spicy puzzle slices" and some "tasty links."

    LegoVeryLooneyButNotSoTuney

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  51. SANTA FE —> SANTA + ELF

    My hint: “Drop the third letter of the city, rearrange, and get something also associated with this time of year.” —> a feast

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  52. SANTA FE -> SANTA, ELF

    > Many cities with this name, including one in the headlines a few years ago

    17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis killed ten people and wounded 13 others at Santa Fe High School, in Santa Fe, TX, in May, 2018. He's still awaiting trial.

    > Cancel culture? Wokeness? The relationship between the two things associated with this time of year bears some closer inspection.

    Are Santa's elves slaves?

    > Ironic!

    But "Fe" refers to St. Francis, not iron.

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  53. I wrote, “Rearrange the letters in the city into one word – it has a connection with last week’s answer.” That’s FEASANT which means animal or chattel (the connection was to HEAD / HERD), usually used in the legal term “damage feasant,” damage to someone’s property by someone else’s animal (often cattle).

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  54. I said "rearrange the last four letters, you get a homophone of a large characteristic of one of those things." Elves have big feet (feat).

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  55. Santa Fe --> Santa, elf

    Last Sunday I wrote, “This one is geared towards 5th graders. No “eulc” needed this week.” Nothing more need be said.

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  56. I also said Santa Fe and Elf. But Blaine does your clue have to be a tougher puzzle than the original puzzle was? Even Will Shortz who already knows the answer, on air, once said that he can't understand some of the clues on the blog.

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    1. Nope. I'm really not getting my bowels in a roar. It's just a puzzle

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    2. And that was a Lego puzzle as I recall!

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    3. Yes, thanks for remembering, Word Woman. That was the first puzzle of mine that Will Shortz used on NPR.
      And, I guess I am not alone in having Blaine's clever and obscure "Stromboli Airbus = Mobula birostris" anagram clue going completely over my head!

      LegoSantaMantaFayWray

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    4. WW,

      Are you referring to lower abrasion? If so, I apologize for being gross!

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    5. C a p, just anagramming BOWELS IN A ROAR {because I know how much you enjoy anagrams ;-)}.

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    6. C a p and WW, ARBOREAL WINOS?
      DRUNKS IN A TREE? --> UNDERTAKEN, SIR

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    7. Should one get one's "bowels in a roar" would that require intestinal fortitude in order to overcome the situation? I am beginning with my first thought on the matter and then working my way down in somewhat a process of elimination.

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    8. SDB,

      I knew you'd have the end word.

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    9. It didn't take me long to get to the bottom of that topic.

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    10. I have to speak about this with my Roman advisor, Gluteus Maximus.

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    11. Does this mean you will now change your moniker from Cap to Sir Ender?

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    12. SDB,
      Hey, don't hit a guy when he's given up! BTW, have a good holiday.

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    13. Thanks, but everyday is a holiday now for me, and I don't celebrate Xmas or Thanksgiving. I hope you got the joke: Sir Ender a.k.a. "surrender."

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    14. Good; you had me worried for a moment. Text is not the best way to try to communicate.

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  57. I had said, "The two things associated with this time of year can be anagrammed into a place to live, and a state of mind." SANTA and ELF can anagram into FLAT and SANE.

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  58. Local News Local Politics Seattle Times breaking news

    Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant defeats recall effort
    Dec. 16, 2021 at 4:11 pm Updated Dec. 16, 2021 at 4:19 pm

    This is a victory for the whole country!

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    1. So annoying. Voted MAWIS second year in a row. Gives socialism a bad name.

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  59. Santa Fe, Elf.

    I had posted about having a family connection to one of the words. My maiden name is Elf; it was a last name that definitely invited a lot of commentary!

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  60. Santa Rosa - Santa, Aslor. What, am I the only one with fall allergies?

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  61. We have an Elf on The Shelf named Peggy Peppermint. I woke up to find her hugging my coffee creamer in the fridge. I guess the cold's never bothered her anyway.
    Santa Fe/eLf Santa

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    1. Reminds me of the one about the foul-mouthed parrot.

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  62. This week's challenge comes from listener Greg VanMechelen of Berkeley, Calif. Take the name of a well-known artist. The first name can be divided to form two common words that are synonyms. The last name can be anagrammed to form an antonym of those two words. Who is the artist, and what are the words?

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  63. Nice to hear from eco. I think I've solved it. Now for Blaine and coming up with a hint. Good puzzle.

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  64. Take the artists last name, add a letter, rearrange, head there, and enjoy your holiday.

    Speaking of which, may the holiday season, and the new year, bring peace, joy, and health.

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  65. Almost as easy as last week's disappointment.

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  66. The artist's real name is 85 letters long.

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  67. More than 2000 correct responses this week!

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  68. Congratulations Eco fellow Berkeley resident. Miss you. Come back.

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

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