Sunday, January 30, 2022

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 30, 2022): Square Off and Exchange Punches

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 30, 2022): Square Off and Exchange Punches
Q: Think of a familiar two-word phrase meaning "to fight." Change the third letter of each word to get two new words that are opposites of each other. What words are these?
I have one answer, but won't have the other until around Wednesday.

Edit: We have a waning crescent heading into the new moon (around Tuesday) followed by a waxing crescent.
A: WAGE WAR --> WANE, WAX

167 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. Replies
    1. I think you may actually get the other answer on Tuesday. But everyone will get it at the same time.

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    2. After reading the puzzle, I decided to ask for a salary increase.

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    3. But before I go to ask, I'll dress up: Suit and tie, Combed hair (What there is of it!), shoes polished...

      Better do it before I lose my courage!!

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  3. This one came to me in a flash...

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  4. Take the synonym for “to fight.” If there are two or more instances of a letter, remove all instances. Rearrange. You get a term in science.

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    Replies
    1. Nice! You can also get an informal term in law, using a different rearrangement.

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    2. Rearrange again, and get an initialism for a major test.

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    3. One more arrangement gives you a valve.

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  5. More than 2800 correct responses last week. Will mentioned (and dismissed) "Sacramento" and "taco".

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  6. Linux is not a computer language!

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    Replies
    1. Yeth, but I thought he thaid "Linux".

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    2. also
      Lua, Leda, Limba, Lava, & Lisaac

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    3. jan, I noted that as well!

      And I was quietly yelling at the radio about a different matter, one of pronunciation.

      Although I was happy to have the Pioneer Valley (Go 5 college consortium!) represented by a geology professor from Amherst (silent H!), MA, as the on-air player, I winced at the Am-Herst, vs. Am-Erst sound.

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    4. I remember playing with Logo in school

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    5. Logo: Hmmm... are you sure, Blaine? I don't recall playing with you in school... because I am sure I am much older (but not wiser) than you.
      Blaine: No Lego, you misread what I wrote. "I remember playing with Logo in school," not "playing with Lego in school."
      (Blaine, now thinking to himself but not writing aloud so as to spare "Logo's" feelings: "Yes 'Logo,' it is evident that you are much older but not wiser than I!")

      Logo...IMeanLegoWhoReplies"OhThat'sMuchDifferentThen...NeverMind(SorryEnya_And_Weird_Al_Fan,ThereIsNoEnyaInThisPost!)

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  8. I recall wondering about one of my professors, back when I went to lectures, whether it was one or the other. In some senses, I regret not taking up Italian, however on the 16th I'll have pizza.

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    Replies
    1. Wage war - wane wax; clues: one of my professors was balding and I recall from the movie Moonstruck that when the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie it’s amore - on the 16th it’s full moon.

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  9. I liked the answer "fig" for orchard fruit. I have the answer, but I'll let the suspense build up.

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  10. Seems like it’s almost always doing one or the other.

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  11. Musical clue: Rodgers and Hart.

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  12. Replies
    1. Interesting! I came up with (and submitted) an ALTERNATE ANSWER that I think is just ducky.

      What do you think?

      FIRE AWAY (to fight) → FINE + AWRY

      FINE means "in good shape" and AWRY means "not in good shape."

      My "musical clue" was Julia Sweeney. Because one famous SNL character of hers was "Pat," and that was a hint at PAT BENATAR, who wrote "Hit me with Your Best Shot (Fire Away)"

      What do you think?

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  14. I just heard on NPR there is a form of Wordle for people who are colorblind. Has orange and blue colors.

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  15. https://metro.co.uk/2022/01/26/wordle-now-has-a-colour-blind-and-extra-hard-mode-if-you-want-them-15996017/

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  16. A shining example of a simple yet clever puzzle.

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  17. I heard this puzzle with my ear.

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  18. New host, good show, good puzzle.

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  19. Take a two-word phrase meaning "to fight".
    Remove an 's' from both words to get... well let's say an activity, since that's what Will might say, that is dear to Will's heart.

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    Replies
    1. Not what you're talking about, but two words leading to a fight must be cross words...

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    2. Perhaps this way?
      cros(s) sword(s) → crossword

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  20. I'm reminded of Romeo & Juliet, in more ways than one.

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    Replies
    1. "O, swear not by the moon, th' inconstant moon, / That monthly changes in her circle orb..."

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  21. I got the answer, but not without spending way too much time trying to make "butt heads" work...

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  22. Michael's bodyguard got Groucho's instructions backwards.

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  23. Replies
    1. I just revealed today's page on my page-a-day calendar, to reveal the following quote:

      "If we ever reach the point where we think we thoroughly understand who we are and where we came from, we have failed." - Carl Sagan

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  24. Saturday night's alright for fighting. Just sayin'.

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  25. Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody's business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy. - Thomas Merton (January 31, 1915 – December 10, 1968)

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  26. It took me overnight to get this one.

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  27. UGH! I looked at this for a little while on Sunday, and didn't have it. I looked at it a little more today, and realized that one of the phrases I was looking at yesterday had one of the two words in the phrase. How did I not see it until today!? I'm kicking myself.

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  28. Replies
    1. Now in keeping with the common tradition on this group of constantly going off on unrelated tangents, I have an internet grammar question: I was thinking that come Thursday I might mention to what many people might have thought my clue was eluding, compared to what my clue was actually eluding, and then perhaps skydiveboy responding with "That's the reason why I..." and then here's my question: Which is correct, "That's the reason why I LOL'd", or "That's the reason why I L'd OL"? (It IS actually the FIRST L that gets shifted into the past tense!)

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    2. First off, I am certain I know what your clue is referring to, and also what others may think you are referring to. But far more important is your grammar question which does not get the attention it deserves. Instead we worry about what Putin may or may not do. The answer, of course, is that LOL by itself is correct because it is an abbreviation that is clearly understood by all who use it.

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  30. The New York Times has announced that it has purchased Wordle.

    "Wordle was acquired from its creator, Josh Wardle, a software engineer in Brooklyn, for a price 'in the low seven figures,' The Times said. The company said the game would initially remain free to new and existing players."

    I don't see how the Times can hope to monetize Wordle. It's just a static page of HTML. Anyone can copy it, put it up on their own server, and let anyone else access it for free.

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    Replies
    1. Well I'm not going to lose any sleep over the NY Times stupidity, but I may wake up from a nightmare tonight wishing my savings account was in the low seven figures.

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    2. Anyway, this reinforces my earlier prediction that the phenomenon will burn itself out before Blaine's next holiday video.

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    3. Jan, you think it can't be copyrighted?
      They might have a plan to improve it in various ways and make their version the go-to one.

      Heh, I heard this story about the birth of Snapchat, though I can't vouch for it. The primary inventor, a guy named Brown, came up with the idea and pitched it in his entrepreneurship class at Stanford, and being Stanford the pitch part of the class was attended by some actual venture capitalists. The consensus was that there was no realistic way to monetize it.
      He launched Picabo, which later became Snapchat -- I think his partners may have forced him out somehow. But anyway, a year or two later there were ten-figure offers for it, and when it finally had an IPO it was capitalized at something like $25 billion.

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    4. You can't copyright something that's already been published and widely distributed for free. Sure, the Times could develop it into something else, but it's hard to compete with free. Also, some people (my wife, for instance) say that what they like about Wordle is that it's quick and easy, once a day, no bit time commitment required (I'm looking at you, Spelling Bee!). Start adding bells and whistles and a paywall, and you may lose your core audience.

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    5. ^^^ no BIG time commitment ^^^

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    6. The NY Times article talked about how they are adding subscribers, including puzzle only subscriptions, by adding more to the online content. I expect they will move it behind the paywall eventually, perhaps in a year or so.

      In the meantime, I expect they will capture info of users, and put a cookie on them, so they can target ads to existing Wordle players, to try to entice them to subscribe in the future. Watch for ads on your device!

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  31. jan, Wordle get out soon about these plans ;-).

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  32. I am happy to see Frankfort, Kentucky was a Jeopardy! question today.

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    Replies
    1. "What is Frankfort, Kentucky?" that is. . .

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    2. Interesting question, too. Mitch McConnell keeps making me forget that Kentucky was a Union state.

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    3. ... although, as a slave state, I wonder how strongly they opposed the Confederate occupation. While rebel states had to ratify the Reconstruction Amendments as a condition for readmission, Kentucky didn't get around to ratifying the 13th, 14th, or 15th Amendments until 1976.

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  33. Replies
    1. LOL. I believe Pat made an error. Wonder if anyone noticed. Could be a legal issue.

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    2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CyaWuQ48GIs
      look at 14:34 for the Final spin values of vowels and consonants.

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    3. No, no, no! TV iz uh waist uv thyme.

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    4. SDB,
      I hate admitting this, but in my 40's I once forgot how to spell "if". Each time I tried to spell it as it sounded, I wanted to spell it "UV" and knew it ws wrong. Finally, the brain fart passed!

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    5. Cap,
      Not a surprise. I always suspected you had an iffy past. :-)

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  34. I’m late to the party, but finally got the answer! Party time, excellent!!!

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  35. Replies
    1. Me too! I had three golds in my first word, two golds and two greens in my second. You?

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    3. One gold in first word. 2 gold and one green in second word.

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    4. Wordle needs to use more difficult words: 5-letter word with 3 R's, or 3 E's, or 3 L's, etc. LULLS, now try the others.

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    5. Natasha, nice job! You had much less to go on. I thought the word difficult today. Yesterday, I had green _IGHT in my second word (RIGHT), and ended up going right down to the wire (SIGHT, TIGHT, FIGHT, then finally, LIGHT) -just to make it more exciting. I hate it when I get the "Phew"!!!

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    6. Siz, Thanks! I was lucky today. Yesterday's was difficult because of the first letter.

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    7. I solved in 3 also, but am pissed that I did not get it in 2 because my second guess was the better choice of the three choices I had to choose from.

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    8. Yesterday I was lucky to guess the correct first letter. There were a lot to choose from.

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    9. Did it in TWO today! Nickelback was not the word, but it was close.

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    10. Wordle: 3 R's = ERROR, RARER...

      3 E's = EERIE, GEESE...

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    11. Today was my lucky day. I solved the Wordle in one guess. It was the same word I've been starting with for over a month lol.

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  36. I don't recall ever having to visit NASA.gov to solve a puzzle. Danke schön for the hints!

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  37. Think of a familiar two-word phrase in 4 and 5 letters meaning "recent times". Change the third letter of each word to get two new words that are opposites of each other.

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  38. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  39. Replies
    1. I'm looking forward to 2/22/22, the anniversary of the day I moved into my house 50 years ago.
      And it will even be on a Twosday.

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    2. Congrats on your anniversary Mendo. And here's a literary footnote to your celebration:

      In "Confessions of Zeno," the protagonist made a point, each time he gave up smoking, of recording the date in the inner cover of a book or on the wall of his apartment, with the notation "Ultima sigaretta." He ended up writing down so many dates that he became an aficionado of dates, appreciating both those that were as elegantly symmetrical as your upcoming anniversary and others that had the appeal of not following any particular pattern. He would no doubt have made a point of giving up smoking (again) on 2/22/22; he certainly thought he would on 9/9/99.

      (A sad footnote to this: the author of the "Confessions," Italo Svevo, was badly injured in an automobile accident. Taken to the hospital, where his condition deteriorated sharply, he asked for a cigarette but was refused. "That would have been my last," he quipped; he died the next day.)

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    3. That it was Washington's Birthday (when there was still such a thing) has always helped keep it in mind.

      My cousin told me several times that I hadn't really quit smoking until I forgot when it was.
      It was on the Winter Solstice when I cold turkeyed a two pack a day habit that I had for 50 years (a different 50 then my house).
      I have felt for quite a while that it is going to stick and now i can't remember which Winter Solstice!

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  40. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  41. I didn't even try to solve this one
    a good omen

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  42. Do not like the topic of this puzzle.

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    Replies
    1. Well, Natasha, it is exactly what our country is about. Recently President Joe Biden said, "This is not who we are." The truth is somewhat different that what he said. It is exactly who we are, and who we have always been.

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    2. SDB: I agree. Thanks. Disappointed in NPR.

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    3. You do understand that there's a difference between engaging in fighting and engaging in wordplay involving words about fighting, right?

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    4. Jan: I do not like the topic.

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    5. What I really understand is that words count, and that the words put out by our leaders and teachers are lies. Pretending things are not how they really are is not going to improve our situation.

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  43. Why not pick uplifting topics? Fun topics.

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    Replies
    1. When the unsinkable liner Titanic hit the iceberg and some of the crew tried to get passengers to leave the sinking ship in the lifeboats, most would not comply. Instead they remained where it was comfortable and probably discussed uplifting topics such as what they were going to do when they reached New York. Much more fun than shivering in a lifeboat all night. The ocean didn't care.

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    2. SDB: Did you read about that?

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    3. Decades ago I did. And, NO, I have not watched the movie, Titanic.

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  44. SDB: I am not trying to spar on here. I just feel saturated with violence in this world. Now it is on this site. Yes, it is fine to have puzzles with fight in them. It is just not my preference. I would have to think of phrases that mean to fight. I do not want to do that.

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    Replies
    1. Natasha, I understand that. I wish things were not as they are too, but they are and I wish people would pay more attention instead of retreating into their comfort zone of denial. Have you ever noticed that Will Shortz has several times presented NPR puzzles with answers that come from Christianity and/or Hebrew faiths? He never seems to understand that there are many other religions and that those of us who are not either Christians or Jews will not relate.

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    2. SDB: No I do not recall religious oriented puzzles on NPR Sunday Puzzle. Why don't you write to him. He may not be aware of this issue. Just a thought so as to give WS the benefit of the doubt. I would give him the benefit of the doubt. Are you still solving Wordle?

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    3. Thought I had it in 2 guesses today, but it took me 4 although I believe I chose the better of the 3 words that worked.

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  45. Wordle Nerdle Notice: Being a bright spark, my son reverse engineered the Wordle algorithm. So he knows ALL the answers. We are "white hats", so won't ruin everyone's fun by publishing ALL the answers. I'll continue to enjoy solving it on a daily basis. And we are over the moon because we got the Sunday Puzzle.

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  46. WAGE WAR (to fight) → WAX (gradually increase) ≠ WANE (gradually decrease).

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  47. WAGE WAR => WANE, WAX

    I spent a lot of time on Sunday working with MAKE WAR. I had on my list that WAR could become WAX. I had MAKE changing to MAGE. Somehow, I didn't connect that I needed to change to original phrase slightly, until I looked at it again on Monday. Now, even three days later, I'm amazed that I didn't see it on Sunday. Funny how the brain works (or doesn't) sometimes.

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  48. WAGE WAR >>> WANE & WAX or WAX & WANE

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  49. wage war --> wane, wax

    Last Sunday I said, “Seems like it’s almost always doing one or the other.” The moon, that is – waning or waxing.

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  50. WAGE WAR -> WANE, WAX

    > What this needs.

    WA[Y]NE WAX keeps it shiny.

    Continuing the theme...

    Wayne whacks.

    > Hah! He did it again!

    In Wednesday's NY Times crossword: 21D: Surname of Batman, by day

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  51. WANE, WAX <— WAGE WAR

    Musical clue: Rodgers and Hart. Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart wrote “Blue Moon.” The moon is in its phases is said to wax and wane.

    Piggy-backing on Rob’s clue: The remaining letters can also be rearranged to form GRE, the initialism for the Graduate Record Examination.

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    Replies
    1. Also, Exhaust Gas Recirculation, or EGR valve, found on cars.

      Delete
  52. WAGE WAR: WANE, WAX. I said, “A shining example of a simple yet clever puzzle,” referring to the waxing and waning of a shining moon.

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  53. Puzzleria! features six challenging and entertaining puzzles by our friend geofan (Ken Pratt) in this week's edition of Puzzleria! They appear in his recurrent "Worldplay" package of puzzles on Puzzleria!
    (Whenever I solve, or try to solve one of geofan's puzzles, I more-often-than-not learn something I did not know before. It's like going to a class taught by a delightfully enjoyable professor!)
    We upload Puzzleria! in the wee hours of Friday morning, after the clock strikes Midnight Pacific Standard Time.
    Also on our menus this week:
    * a Schpuzzle of the Week that involves "game-board-certified brainy surgeons,"
    * a slice-of-puzzle that requires you to edit the letters of the Bible,
    * a Dessert-puzzle that features perennial plants and plumed critters, and
    * nine riff-offs of this week's NPR puzzle, one that encourages us all to "Let wages wax and wars wane!"
    Why not drop on by for some Worldplay and wit?

    LegoWaxing"Doggerelic"

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  54. I posted on Mon Jan 31, at 12:33:00 PM PST:

    TV clue: The Honeymooners

    Jackie Gleason, in character as Ralph Kramdon on "The Honeymooners", often said "One of these days, Alice, TO THE MOON!"

    The moon waxes and wanes a lot.

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    Replies
    1. I got your hint right away and thought it clever.

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  55. While I agree "wage war" is a "familiar phrase," I got to thinking when I had last heard it used. I cannot recall if I have heard it since the 1980's.

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    Replies
    1. E.g., March 19, 2003: George W. Bush: "My fellow citizens, at this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.
      On my orders, coalition forces have begun striking selected targets of military importance to undermine Saddam Hussein's ability to wage war."

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    2. Or, November 5, 2019: Donald Trump: “This is the time for Mexico, with the help of the United States, to wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth."

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    3. jan,
      That is interesting to read, but not for the use of the term, wage war, just the historical information. I was not saying the term is not in use, but that I do not recall hearing it lately. There are phrases everyone may know, but are not often used now, and I think this may be one of those. We wage war constantly, but I don't think we use that term to describe our criminal actions. Oh, I'm forgetting that if we do it, it is not criminal, only when those we do not agree with do it is it criminal. I really should pay closer attention.

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  56. Extra credit: "recent times" =>
    PAST WHILE => PART WHOLE

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  57. Wage War........Wane Wax. My clue was about asking for an in increase in salary ie. a higher wage

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  58. Wage war= wane,wax. My reference to fig was to lead you to fig newton, then to WAYNE (wane) Newton. The "build up" comment was to lead you to WAXY (wax) build up. The "stick 'em up" reference in response to Dr.K was to lead to John Dillinger who saw Manhattan Melodrama right before the Feds iced him.
    The song Blue Moon (Rodgers and Hart) made its debut in that movie.

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    Replies
    1. Excellent. It was originally titled "Prayer" and meant for Jean Harlow in the movie Hollywood Party (1933) but was not used. (Neither was Harlow.) Then the lyrics were rewritten and the song was retitled "The Bad in Every Man" and sung by Shirley Ross in "Manhattan Melodrama" (1934). And finally, later in 1934 Rodgers and Hart gave it one final rewriting and renamed it "Blue Moon." Interestingly, it may be the first song ever to have the doo-wop chord progession. In 1961, the Marcels did an #1 uptempto doo-wop version that featured bass singer Fred Johnson singing the frenetic--and famous--bass line.

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    2. Minor correction: Hollywood Party was also 1934, not 1933.

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    3. Thanks for the clean bill of health, Doc. As for the Doo-wop chord progression, I know it well: C, A minor (7), D minor 7, G(7).

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  59. Those who don't like discussions of violence may want to skip this.

    "Michael's bodyguard got Groucho's instructions backwards."

    In "Horse Feathers" Groucho, as Professor Wagstaff, is talking to some members of the faculty and ignoring the Dean, who is waiting outside to talk to him, when his secretary bursts in to tell him that "the Dean is furious! He's waxing wroth!" To which Groucho responds "Is Roth out there, too? Tell Roth to wax the Dean for awhile."

    In Godfather II, Michael's bodyguard (that's how he's listed in the credits) tries to wax Hyman Roth by smothering him, but ends up getting shot before he can finish the job.

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  60. Interesting! I came up with (and submitted) an ALTERNATE ANSWER that I think is just ducky.

    What do you think?

    FIRE AWAY (to fight) → FINE + AWRY

    FINE means "in good shape" and AWRY means "not in good shape."

    My "musical clue" was Julia Sweeney. Because one famous SNL character of hers was "Pat," and that was a hint at PAT BENATAR, who wrote "Hit me with Your Best Shot (Fire Away)"

    What do you think?

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    Replies
    1. Hmmm...as Arte Johnson used to say on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, "Very interesting." I like it. We'll have to wait until Sunday to see if Will does, too.

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    2. OFF COURSE, excellent, why didn't we think of that! I mean, OFT COARSE ...

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    3. Sent it in to our Puzzle Master, who said he thinks it's a valid answer. Hasn't yet said if he'll mention it on Sunday.

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    4. Ben: I have a good sized list of things I would like to "send in" to the PM.
      Others must have too, so how about posting his contact info.
      Or yours, if you would like to be a go-between.

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    5. I think it is excellent. Nice work, Ben.

      LegoWhoLikesBen'sShot

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  61. I submitted cross fire, crass, fine. "Wage war" is better but as a Quaker I would rather fight for peace.

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  62. Good Night Moon, my children's favorite nighttime book, by Margaret Wise Brown, is the only WAX and WANE for me this week. This New Yorker piece about Ms. Wise Brown is almost as long as a moonless night but I found it quite illuminating.

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  63. all I had was "let's move," to less more".....

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  64. This week's challenge: What language in seven letters can be spelled using the letters on three consecutives keys on a telephone? It's a language you would probably recognize, but not one that many people can speak.

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    Replies
    1. I've got an answer. Could it be?

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

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    3. I'm sure now. Waiting for Blaine...

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

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