Sunday, February 27, 2022

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 27, 2022): The Oscar for Best Animal Goes To...

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 27, 2022): The Oscar for Best Animal Goes To...
Q: Name a famous actor — first and last names. Remove the last letter of each name. You'll be left with an animal and an adjective that describes that animal, respectively. Who is the actor?
Figuring "actor" could apply to either gender, I tried to make Cate Blanchett and Elke Sommer work. Suddenly the planets aligned to give me the answer.

Edit: One hint was gender (male) and the other was planet (Mercury). The actor portrayed Freddie Mercury
A: RAMI MALEK --> RAM, MALE

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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  2. Not an actor whose name popped into my head (thank you, internet lists), but I do remember a great performance. What a coincidence – I myself share the characteristic described by the adjective.

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  3. So did I, Blaine. I first thought of Elke Sommer because I had dinner with her in Germany in early 1964.

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    Replies
    1. I think we'd all like to hear more about that. I know someone who had dinner with Lisolotte Pulver (Ingeborg in the 1963 comedy One,Two,Three) sometime in the 60's

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    2. I once hit on Juliette Binoche at an art gallery reception, in Paris, about 1989. But I didn't know who she was, and she was unimpressed. Cute, though.

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  4. Redd Fox could work if it weren’t for that pesky word “respectively.”

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    Replies
    1. I think this name works perfectly. Why don't you?

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    2. According to the instructions, the animal is the first name.

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  5. We are visiting relatives. As soon as I found the answer, I Said “This one.”

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  6. Going to have to try to think about this today as I resurrect my Sunday bicycle rides. My butt’s gotten a tad big over the Winter.

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  7. Just checked my thermometer, 32 here on Cozy Lake.

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  8. Tough one. I have it and it does not involve GARY → GAR.

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  9. Got it. At least it doesn't involve phonetics, thus avoiding an awkward BARRY --> BEAR solution.

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  10. Having rethought my initial answer, I can now say, “By George, I think he’s got it.”

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  11. Well, it's not Wesley Snipes, Russell Crowe, Ethan Hawke or Jamie Foxx.

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  12. This one might have been a royal pain to solve if I didn't happen to think of the right animal early on! Though I admit I really wanted it to be Cuba Gooding Jr...

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    Replies
    1. "Royal," of course, was a little nod to Queen.

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  13. Sorry, Will, but if you're monitoring thsi blog and if I have the right answer, this person is not thought of first or even primarily as an actor.

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    Replies
    1. The answer I got is definitely known as an actor.

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    2. I guess I'll keep looking, but the answer I have at the moment satisfies the conditions of the puzzle exactly, except for the criterion of "actor"--"famous" yes, but not "actor," unless you stretch the definition.

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    3. When Victor Mature's application for membership in a Los Angeles-area country club was turned down because he was an actor, he exclaimed "Hell, I'm no actor, and I've got 64 pictures to prove it."

      (In truth he was great in "Kiss of Death" and "My Darling Clementine," but let's not let the facts get in the way of a good story.)

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    4. He was outstanding when he played himself in, After The Fox, starring Peter Sellers.

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    5. Except he didn't play himself. According to the IMDb pages, both for Victor Mature, and for After the Fox, Victor Mature played Tony Powell.

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    6. You obviously did not watch the movie. The name change is meaningless, and even a joke. He played himself just as Dean Martin also did when he played a satiric variation of his own womanizing persona as Las Vegas singer "Dino" in Billy Wilder's comedy Kiss Me, Stupid (1964) with Kim Novak. Both movies are a riot.

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  14. Move the first letter of the first name to the end, you will get a synonym of the last name.

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  15. I feel safe in saying the animal is not a monkey.

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  16. Are we sure about "respectively"?

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  17. Stumbled on this: Name a famous person known by only one name, 10 letters. Remove the last letter to be left with an animal.

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  18. Famous? What does that mean? Awards?

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    Replies

    1. fa·mous
      /ˈfāmΙ™s/
      adjective
      known about by many people.

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    2. I guess I'm not "many people". But that's just me. Not on my top 1,000 list.

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

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    4. Yes, Academy Award, to be specific.

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  19. I was confident I would get this before I got out of bed, but decided not to waste the day.
    Do actresses prefer to be called actors?
    If so, since when?

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  20. O.k., I just solved it. This person IS most definately an actor as has been confirmed. However he has done at least one other thing in the movies, along with acting.

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  21. Gee, Medo, you must be as old as I am. This isn't a clue, just a response to your post.

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  22. On 27 February 1917 the garrison forces of the capital sided with the revolutionaries. Three days later Tsar Nicholas II abdicated, ending Romanov dynastic rule and the Russian Empire.

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  23. I feel like I'm at the rodeo, going after a calf on my horse, running at a canter.

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  24. According to the NPR website, both last week's and this week's puzzles are from Alan Hochbaum, of Duluth, GA. Do we think that's right?

    Anyway, speaking for myself, Jan is an animal who is Fond of other animals. But I don't think I'm done with the puzzle yet...

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  25. Finally, I got it with patience and a long list of names. Until I found the answer, I was banging my head against a wall.

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  26. Blaine, even though I have the answer, I can make neither head nor tail of your clue.

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  27. PS. Blaine, my wife explained to me even though she hates puzzles.

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  28. Makes me think of chocolate babke!

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  29. Speaking of body parts, it wouldn't be surprising if a leg ran, but I don't think Lee Grant is the answer.

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  30. Spinoff puzzle: Name a famous actor — first and last names. Remove the last letter of each name. You'll be left with two elements. Who is the actor?

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  31. Yet another spinoff puzzle: Name a famous actor -- first and last names. Remove the last letter of each name. You'll be left with the first name of one actor and the last name of another actor. Who are these three actors?

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  32. Take the juvenile name for the animal and add 3 letters to get the last name of a famous person closely aligned with the actor’s most famous role.

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    Replies
    1. I agree. PAOI (perfect amount of information)! Nice observation as well!

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  33. I got it! It was like a bolt out the blue.

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  34. Squids Inkyl's performance as Tevye in the Cape Playhouse's Fiddler on the Roof was the highlight of the summer of 1984. Mary Lou Retton a close second.

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  35. Finally! I don't think it was worth the headache though. I never heard of this actor.

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    Replies
    1. SDB< If I told you what he/she was so well known for it would be way too much info.

      Delete
    2. Clark,
      I already know that, and it means nothing to me. Nor would it have helped me to solve this annoying puzzle. I will say more after the deadline.

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    3. Ditto, sdb. What a waste of time!

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  36. Finally got it. Now it doesn't seem like it should have been a tough puzzle.

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    Replies
    1. Found the name on a list. I'm afraid I've already forgotten it.

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  37. You may feel left out by this puzzle.

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  38. Ok, I’ve got it, too. My other answer? Alas, there’s the rub. More about it on Thursday.

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  39. I thought the best approach would be to add a letter to the end of every animal name I could think of, looking for a first name.
    So far Elke, Ducky, Ewen, Cuba and Cody seem to be among a very few.
    Maybe if Blaine boots this post, it will help.

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  40. barbar the elephant didn't say it had to be a zoological name :-)

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  41. Tough one for sure. Want it to be Curt Mangel, but not sure he's really an actor... There is an actress Raye Brooke, but well, not a good fit

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    Replies
    1. ...also, I'm sure there are a lot of fond pets out there...

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  42. To those trying to make sense of Blaine's clue, I nervously pose this question: Why is a certain "O", not in a certain group?

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  43. Wow! This took me forever! I wouldn't have been able to name this person, and I am not that into the movie s/he is most famous for.

    About the other thing they did besides acting, I was skeptical at first, but it looks like it's true.

    BTW, Blaine, one of the comments above contains TMI.

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  44. I think I hear my chauffeur honking...

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    Replies
    1. About seven months too early or six months too late.

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  45. If only the Italian pianist Parameciumo Ciliacoverda were instead an actor.

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  46. I have submitted an answer that is probably not the intended answer, but I've reached the point where I don't really care about this anymore. I've looked at entirely too many names of actors.

    I got a little creative with my answer, so I'll post it here on Thursday.

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  47. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  48. There were two answers that struck me as okay whatever types...First Minka Kelly...I know what a mink is; but I am questioning kell. Finally the answer that made me chuckle a lot was Brad Pitt...I know not an animal or an adjective just a mind that has spend way too much time of this puzzle this week

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  49. Wordle 256 4/6

    🟨⬜🟨⬜🟨
    ⬜🟩🟨⬜🟩
    🟨🟩⬜🟨🟩
    🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩
    Reminded me of a recent NPR puzzle.

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    Replies
    1. YEARN BANDY TAWNY NASTY

      Erin if you're nice.

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    2. Wordle 257 4/6

      ⬜⬜🟨🟩⬜
      ⬜🟩🟨⬜⬜
      ⬜🟩⬜🟩⬜
      🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩

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  50. Does anyone remember Bush Jr's comment about Putin? "I looked into his eyes and saw his soul". SDB, any comments or puns. You know what I mean. The stuff you're so great at.

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    1. It would not be hyperbole (not to be confused with the Rose Bowl) for me to say that I have never forgotten that Bush quote, and I wish I found it to be humorous instead of scary. The dominant species on our planet seems determined to self destruct. But that's another story and Wordle calls.

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  51. Not to preempt SDB, but I think we know that whatever Bush saw rhymes with "a soul."

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  52. Did not need a list - and the actor is legitimate, and if you are not sure about your answer, you do not have the correct answer.

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  53. Rami Malik, Ram, Male. My Ewww clue was a pun on ewe

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  54. RAMI MALEKRAM + MALE.

    I had never heard of him either. I assumed there was a good chance I'd never heard of the actor, so I decided to view the Academy Award for Best Actors winners & nominees LIST, et voilΓ , there he was the 2019 winner...

    I guess one man's “famous” is another man's “obscure.”

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    Replies
    1. That Academy Award tends to obscure any obscurity.

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  55. RAMI MALEK -> RAM, MALE

    > Finally got it. Now it doesn't seem like it should have been a tough puzzle.

    Tough

    > I think I hear my chauffeur honking...

    If you're lazy, "chauffeur" sounds like "shofar", a RAM's horn horn.

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  56. RAMI MALEK—>RAM, MALE

    My initial answer was LIONA BOYD—> LION, BOY. After some initial resistance, I came to see it wasn’t Will’s intended answer. While Liona Boyd is indeed famous, I knew she wasn’t an actor, unless you stretched the definition, and while it may be a quibble, it’s debatable whether or not “boy” can be an adjective (but the coincidence of “boy” and “male” in the intended answer is a striking one).

    On personal note, I saw Liona Boyd perform in MontrΓ©al in 1977. She was excellent.

    As for “Alas, there’s the rub,” astute observers will have noted that the original quote from Hamlet is “[A]y, there’s the rub!” But the substituted “alas” and “rub” can be anagrammed to form “Bulsara,” Freddie Mercury’s surname at birth, and as everyone who solved the puzzle knows, Rami Malek won the Best Actor Oscar in 2018 for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. (I did not see the film.)

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  57. Rami Malek of Bohemian Rhapsody and many other credits.

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  58. Our friend Bobby Jacobs has prepared an appetizing pair of peerless puzzles this week on Puzzleria! that are titled “Botany, Chemistry, and a Dynasty with Energy.” They are featured in his always challenging and entertaining "Puzzle Fun by Bobby Jacobs."
    We upload P! each early Friday Morn, just past Midnight PST.
    Our menu this week also features:
    * a Schpuzzle of the Week involving two "noisy anagrams" (totlaing 7 syllables),
    * a puzzle slice that “comes from the land of the ice and snow,”
    * a dessert puzzle about fictional and real s that share the same name, and a game, &
    * nine riff-offs of this week's "rami-lam-a-ding-dong" NPR puzzle.
    Join us, won't you, for puzzles not as easy as ABC, yet more fun than BCDE.

    LegoAlphabetically

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  59. Replies
    1. My Hint:
      "Finally! I don't think it was worth the headache though. I never heard of this actor." The hint is HEADACHE like a ram might have. I never actually get headaches.

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  60. I wrote "I feel like I'm at the rodeo, going after a calf on my horse, running at a canter." This is a nod to the Prologue of the Canterbury Tales, which tells us that "the yonge sonne/Hath in the Ram his halfe cours yronne."

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  61. Rami Malik (Ram Male) starred in the movie, Bohemian Rhapsody. My, “By George…,” comment was a reference to George Gershwin, who composed, Rhapsody in Blue.

    I’d first thought of actor/comedian Redd Foxx, who starred in Sanford and Son. Red Foxx was born John Elroy Sanford, and his sitcom character was named Fred G. Sanford, in honor of his father.

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

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  63. RAMI MALEK — RAM, MALE

    As I said, I had never heard of this actor before. My "clue":
    About the other thing they did besides acting, I was skeptical at first, but it looks like it's true.
    One commenter apparently alluded to the actor singing in the movie Bohemian Rhapsody. I thought it might have been lip-synching, but according to the Wikipedia article about Rami Malek, he actually did sing in the movie (if not necessarily in all of the scenes in question).

    BTW, Blaine, one of the comments above contains TMI.
    That same commenter used the pronoun "he" to refer to this actor. Meaning, readers would know the actor looked for was a male actor—which narrows down the number of possible answers, and, therefore, is TMI. In my own comment, I had intentionally switched between "s/he" and "they" to draw attention to the use of pronouns—and, incidentally, I allude to the same topic addressed in that comment. I am somewhat baffled Blaine never removed that comment.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Never mind. Everyone has a right to his own mistakes.

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    3. Given the large number of actors and actresses out there, I don't think eliminating a bunch of them by outing the gender is TMI. I had figured out on Sunday that the actor appeared to be male, based on multiple comments, but that never made me think of Rami Malek.

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    4. Sorry, I didn't know which comment you were referring to and I missed the reference to "he" which normally would have been blog administered.

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    5. No worries, Blaine. I didn't want to draw other bloggers' attention to that comment. (The pronoun wasn't the "mistake" I was just referring to.)

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  64. RAMI MALEK

    I wrote that I Have got it with odd capitalizations intended, because Hg is the chemical symbol for Mercury, a hint at Freddie Mercury.

    Once a chemist, always a chemist.

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    Replies
    1. Something else we have in common (sort of) I’m a Chemical Engineer….(CCNY ‘69).

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  65. I submitted:

    ERNEST TRUEX, he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, so clearly he is famous!

    This of course reduces to ERNES TRUE. Ernes are white-tailed sea eagles, of which the bald eagle is well known, and is the TRUE symbol of freedom in the United States of America!

    I first looked at a list of the 1000 most famous actors on IMDB, and I suspect others may have done so as well. He's not there. Then I reviewed the names for every star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, figuring that a "famous" actor would be there. Rami Malek does not yet have a star, so I didn't find his name there, either. I guess I should have looked at Oscar winners!

    Getting back to my submission, I admit I took some liberty, because "ernes" is the plural, and does not quite fit the puzzle requirement of "an animal".

    I figure the submission will at least provide some entertainment to whatever intern came across it. Given how rarely alternate answers have been mentioned on air, I doubt this one will.

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  66. Rami Malek. Moving R to end of first name -> Amir which is synonym of Malek, both mean King in Arabic.
    Also: The Puzzle was on Feb 27. Feb 27, 1917 (the date in my post) was the birthdate of Archer King (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archer_King), whose name is the exact english translation of Rami Malek.

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  67. SuperZee's early "solved without coffee, or getting out of bed" comment made me think of the Folger's "best part of waking up" commercials. My response: "Do golfers tend to get up early?" used an anagram of Folger's and pointed to "arise"(an anagram of Aries(the ram)).

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  68. Blaine, In addition, your clue, talking about planets being aligned for Mercury, I also thought you were referring to the signs of the zodiac i.e. RAM.

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  69. I posted "I got it! It was like a bolt out the blue." That was a reference to Bohemian Rhapsody lyrics - Thunderbolts and lightning, very, very frightening me.

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    Replies
    1. And I thought you were referring to the Los Angeles Chargers, an indirect reference to the Los Angeles Rams. Overthinking leads to error.

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    2. Your thought process made sense. But if I was going for a team it would've been my Tampa Bay Lightning. Go Bolts!

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  70. After I solved it and re-read Blaine's clue, I assumed he was hinting at "Galileo", also from Bohemian Rhapsody. Either way, it made sense and was fun!

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  71. "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

    Will Shortz has fooled me dozens of times with with the descriptor "famous."
    It doesn't make me feel ashamed, just foolish.

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  72. I posted on Mon Feb 28, at 02:56:00 PM PST:

    To those trying to make sense of Blaine's clue, I nervously pose this question: Why is a certain "O", not in a certain group?

    I can now give the complete question: Why is Ophiuchus (the serpent barer) not part of the Zodiac?

    What makes a constellation part of the Zodiac? If it contains part of the ecliptic (the path of the sun through the celestial sky).

    But the constellation Ophiuchus ALSO contains part of the ecliptic, so why is Ophiuchus not part of the Zodiac?

    So the reason for Blaine's clue? I figure that only after people solved the puzzle, they'd think "Rami ==> Ram, as in Aries the Ram, from the Zodiac"; hence the Astrology talk ("Suddenly the planets aligned...").

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  73. I have a question for those here who might know the answer. When we go out cow tipping should we feel comfortable with a remuneration of ten percent or would fifteen percent be more appropriate?

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    Replies
    1. Considering the contribution the cow may have made to the meal, 100% is probably inadequate.

      Delete
  74. My clue: I feel safe in saying the animal is not a monkey.
    Rami played Safin in the latest James Bond movie and voiced a gorilla in Dr. Doolittle.

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  75. Oh, well. Wolf Frees was close, but a no-go. From IMDB: He was an actor, known for Doctor Zhivago (1965), Der Andere (1959) and The Champions (1968).

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  76. never heard of tis guy and neither did lists I looked at including list of 1000 boys names. Final score: Puz 3230- bird 0

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  77. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  78. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  79. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  80. Did anyone get this in their head without finding the name on a list?

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    Replies
    1. I did it by thinking of animals with short (3-letter) names and came up with Ram which led to Rami (Malek). But I was familiar with Rami from watching Mr. Robot on the USA Network.

      Delete
    2. That's an unfair advantage. I've never heard of Mr. Robot either.
      I ran Ram_ through the alphabet (in my head) without a hit.

      Delete
    3. I did the same. I thought it likely would be a 3 letter animal such as hog, pig, cat, elk, rat, ram, etc. I would not have solved it had someone even told me it was ram because I have never heard of this "famous" guy. I had to go through a list of male actors that took hours. Not my idea of fun.

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    4. I saw the movie but he wasn't in my sights or in any of my lists.

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  81. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  82. Mervingian dynasty = moving van.
    Cary Grant= car, gran.

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  83. I submitted another actor that I had not heard of- Cody Longo, Cod and Long.

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  84. Follow the rules, dummy.
    Of course respectively means ‘in that order’, but since when does the puzzle follow rules?

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    Replies
    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9KBOhPXhds

      Delete
  85. This week's challenge: This week's challenge comes from listener Ward Hartenstein, of Rochester, N.Y. Words starting with a "kw-" sound usually start with the letters QU-, as in question, or "KW-," as in Kwanzaa. What common, uncapitalized English word starting with a "kw-" sound contains none of the letters Q, U, K, or W?

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  86. I have one, but I'm not sure it's "common."

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  87. I’ll chime in that this word is way common

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    Replies
    1. Agreed. However, some may argue that the "regional dialects" bugaboo rears its ugly head with this one again.

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    2. So, although mine is a legit word, it's back to the drawing board for me.

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    3. Ok, I got it. But the other word qualifies, too, except for "common."

      Delete
  88. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  89. This one's not going to drive me bats.

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  90. Oh. A lot of people will get this today.

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  91. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  92. It is a common word. I can't think of a clue that would be "Blaine worthy" or accepted by the rest of you in the group.

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  93. I got two. I actually don't know which is intended -- but the clues I see in comments above are pointing to the same one. (I can't think of a good clue that isn't TMI right now -- I'll think of one for the actual thread for this puzzle.)

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  94. The one I came up with .... I don't know how common it is, either. But it came to me pretty easily because the letter combination is part of one of my student's names.

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  95. Put a certain letter in front of it and phonetically you’ll get…..

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