Sunday, January 01, 2023

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 1, 2023): Opposites Attract

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 1, 2023): Opposites Attract
Q: Name a U.S. state capital for which the name of another well-known U.S. city is an antonym. The second city has a population of more than 100,000
The second city was the setting of a sitcom from the '70s.

Edit: Mork and Mindy was set in Boulder, Colorado.
A: LITTLE ROCK and BOULDER

184 comments:

  1. If you ignore the 100,000 rule, the capital city has more than one city with literally opposite names.

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  2. It's been a while since I've been to Extravagance or Pepper Desert City.

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  3. I have two answers but I believe the intended is the one Blaine alluded to. In view of his hint, my hint for that answer is: common Halloween handout.

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  4. So we start the new year with another lame puzzle.

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    Replies
    1. The alternative answer is a little more interesting, I think.

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  5. Can travel from one city to the other by going through one other state.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. I have lived in the only OTHER state you need to drive through to get from the state with the capital to the state with the antonym.

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    4. yes, but it involves a "cheat"

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    5. Why is it a "cheat" to choose a route through a city that might have been named for another state capital?

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    6. No cheat needed. You go from Little Rock up to Hwy 412 in Northern Arkansas. 412 takes you all the way across Oklahoma up into the pan handle. At Boise City, Ok you turn north up into Colorado and proceed to Boulder.

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  6. Heh, this one is really cute.
    But awfully easy, so here's a somewhat harder one (although it won't be hard if you just look at a list).

    Call cities 'siblings' if they are distinct and share a name. Which US state capital has the largest US sibling?

    And harder yet:
    Say a city 'eclipses' another if (i) it is larger than the other, and (ii) they share a name. Which is the largest US city eclipsed by another US city?

    Oh, and in both of my follow-up questions, 'larger' means 'more populous'.

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    Replies
    1. Oh, shoot. I think the answer to the second question is basically the same as the answer to the first. Darn. I had a different answer in mind for the second one, but Arlington, VA is not a city. It's a 'census-designated place', but re-writing the question that way would make it too clunky.

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    2. I once lived in Arlington for a year and thought it was in Fairfax County. Later a relative moved there and tried to get married there, only to find that there was no town hall because the municipality had no legal existence.

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  7. Replies
    1. It's not the City of Angels nor the City of Demons (Phoenix)

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  8. Happy New Year

    <-- Same old mistakes

    Glorious new mistakes -->

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  9. Bugs Bunny knows the difference between these two cities.

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    Replies
    1. Dear Will, If you and Kathie are going to post a "New Names in the News Quiz" on the NPR puzzle page, how'bout you make sure the answers are not put right next to the names? Doing so significantly reduces the level of difficulty. Just an FYI.

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    2. Will has nothing to do with the foolishness of the NPR interns.

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  10. Odd coincidence: Just a few days ago, the flight my better half and I were on had to make a stop in one of the cities. It was the first time we’d been there.

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  11. Got it, and I like it. Happy Dry January! I'm going to celebrate with a nice cuppa tea.

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  12. I’ve been in both cities for about a day each. Trust me, the second city is more fun. No clue here.

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  13. Take the two-letter postal abbreviations for the states where the two cities are located. Rearrange them, and you will get something that visually demonstrates two more antonyms.

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  14. On a sidewalk in the second city, I watched a contortionist fit his entire body into an impossibly small sized box.

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  15. Could there be a law firm somewhere named Dunder, Sinkem and Strife?
    The on-air guy (with a coincidence) done good.

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  16. This could have been an interesting puzzle had it been worded, "Name the largest two cities in the US that are antonyms." Giving one as a state capital vaulted it neatly into the "mindless" zone. There don't seem to be many of the 50 that are not named after a person and that are things that can have opposites. Like, one.

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    Replies
    1. Providence? Concord? Is the opposite of a Red Stick an orange carrot?

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    2. We're going to Helena Handbasket.

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    3. ... just Topeka example. Juneau what I'm saying?

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    4. Concord is the first half of my proposed alternative answer.

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    5. JAWS, if your second city has a presidential connection, it's likely the same as mine.

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  17. Anagram both cities together, and get a two-word phrase meaning a broken garden implement.

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    Replies
    1. Very creative and fun! A musical hint for your spin-off, if I may: Cat Stevens. (If you think it's TMI, advise and I'll delete.)

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    2. Thank you, Nodd. Sorry to take so long to respond, but I was out and am just seeing this now. I don't think the CS hint is TMI.

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  18. Here's a hint to celebrate the new year. Rearrange the digits 0f 2023 to get a second number, then subtract the smaller from the larger. Add up the digits of the difference, and if the answer has more than one digit, add them again. Keep adding them until you get a one-digit number, and that's my hint.

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  19. "Pierre Noire" could be the opposite of "Baton Rouge", but it's just "Pierre" and is light on population. As to the answer, I'm sure the gentlemen weren't too bothered.

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  20. 👋 Happy New Year, gang! 🥳

    I haven't been to either city, but I may have had each on my radar at different times for different reasons.

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  21. Here is a puzzle I coined Friday evening and sent to WS who rejected it without a reason. Please do not reveal the answer until the deadline. You will know you have the intended answer when you solve it. I would like to know if you like it, and if you think it should have been accepted. Oh, the puzzle comes with a hint. Without the hint it would be tedious. With the hint you should be able to solve it with a little logical thought. Here it is:

    Fill in the blanks with the same 9 letter word. Then insert 2 spaces to the first, making it 3 words. “You cannot __ __ __ with _______.”

    What is this sentence?

    Hint: Think of a municipality that is in serious trouble. (i.e. Flint, Michigan)

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    Replies
    1. I like it!
      It's probably too easy for a Sunday Puzzle.

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    2. You sure solved it fast. I thought it would be a bit more difficult.

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    3. I'll explain later how I solved it so fast -- don't want to ruin it for others.
      I like that style of puzzle, by the way.

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    4. sdb, I think it's a great puzzle and I wish it had been accepted. Unfortunately, WS seems to favor puzzles that require familiarity with pop culture, brand names, and the like rather than pure intellectual effort like yours. The recent "conquer/concur" puzzle was a rare exception.

      Crito, your fast solve was really impressive! I didn't find the puzzle easy at all, compared to most NPR challenges.

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    5. Got it! It was perhaps too hard without the hint, but rather easy with it.

      I like the puzzle. The only reason I can see for turning it down is that perhaps it works better as a visual (reading) puzzle than an audio one. Who knows how WS thinks, though? His whole selection criteria seems to be a mystery.

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    6. Tortitude, Glad you and Crito and Nodd enjoyed it. I would say two things in response.
      1. I included the hint in my submission to Will. What I posted here is a cut & paste of what I sent him.
      2. I agree with you that it works a bit better visually than over the air, but don't they all?

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    7. sdb, maybe you could license the answer to a bumper sticker company; I'm sure it would be a best seller. BTW if you share the puzzle again consider changing i.e. to e.g.

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    8. Nodd, I actually did consider using e.g., but I specifically did mean Flint, and so went with i.e.
      It would make for an interesting bumper sticker. My favorite is: So Many Idiots; So Few Comets.

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    9. I once was driving behind a pickup with a wood panel tied to its bumper bearing a plastic doll attached by a spike through its head and the words, "BABY ON BOARD". Gave it a wide berth.

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    10. Clever wordplay, but I'd have steered the same course as you!

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    11. Bumper sticker on the back of a garbage truck: "Satisfaction guaranteed or DOUBLE your garbage back!"

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  22. I finally got it. At first, I was sidetracked by a weaker alternative answer, but the second city had 53000 people.

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  23. Spinoff puzzle. Think of a state capitol for which the name of another well-known US city is a synonym.

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    1. Think of the same US state capital which is also a synonym for a large geographical US area. Still, nether is in English. Any guesses?

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  24. Hint: Neither of the two names is in English

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  25. I SO WANTED the answer to be Baton Rouge, but obviously, the 'bay' in Green Bay doesn't match up with 'stick'.

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  26. Happy New Year everybody, RIP Barbara Walters, and my Mom has actually made it to 80 years of age! Good Lord willing she'll have many more years ahead of her. Solved the puzzle easily, BTW. Totally get Blaine's clue, too.
    pjb'sMomHasSeenItAll(TooBadShe'sOnlyPaidAttentionToAboutHalfOfIt!)

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  27. I had to change my logic for this one.

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  28. Replies
    1. OK, here's one: "Smokin' in the Boys Room".

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    2. Simon and Garfunkel, but it was too late by the time this puzzle aired.

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    3. "I Am A Rock." But since it is set in September, it is too late now.

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    4. That's December. Deep and dark, etc.

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    5. You're right. Not sure what I could have been thinking.
      Still too late by one day, though.

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  29. Replies
    1. How'd you cobble up an arbitrary number like that?

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    2. "That's two to the fighting eighth power," Yossarian pointed out, "if you're thinking of writing a symbolic poem about our squadron."

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  30. Write today's date in the following notation: ??/??/??. Remove the zeroes and slashes. How are the remaining digits the start of "something Golden?"

    LegoWishingAllAnIconic&Fab2023

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    1. Oh, a math puzzle!
      Nice. You could find the answer listening to the sounds of the sea, or watching nature turn toward the sun.

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    2. Although, Lego, the Fibonacci number series actually starts with zero, not one.

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  31. Given that the setting of a sitcom from the 70's is but a few blocks from my house, I thought I might be in luck. Alas, no luck needed to solve this one.

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    Replies
    1. Little Rock / Boulder "No luck" was a reference to Tough Luck Cowboy in Boulder (Pearl Street Mall - if you know, you know). For the 70's sitcom in my neighborhood, you'll just have to kiss my grits!

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  32. The answer to my spinoff puzzle was SACRAMENTO and CORPUS CHRISTI. Nobody seemed to be interested. Oh well...Happy New Year gang.

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    Replies
    1. Cap, I took a few swings at it, but fanned! It's a quite clever riff.

      LegoWhoLamentsThatClarkAPseudonymPitchedMeKryptoniteSoNowThereIsABig"K"OnMyScorecard!

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    2. Dang it. SACRAMENTO was the first thing I thought of, but I was too narrow-minded in thinking about its translations. If the particular sacrament had occurred to me, I would have posted it (or a clue).

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    3. Here's another spinoff: Remove one letter from a state capital to describe an act and where it is often performed.

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    4. I think I got it, Nodd…if the answer is connected to occasions such as Memorial Day and Labor Day.

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    5. Wolfgang, does yours maybe require removing *two* letters?
      I have an answer, but it definitely isn't associated with those holidays. Maybe with Guy Fawkes Day? But that's a stretch...

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    6. It sounds as though Crito has it. Wolfgang, I hope not.

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    7. No, I only removed one letter. I could have mentioned other holidays or a recurring specific annual occasion, but that would have been TMI. Anyway, you have seen a lot of my answer in advertising, I swear. It is the one and only answer I got.

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    8. We are talking just the name of the city, without the two-letter postal state abbreviation, right?

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    9. Yes, just the name of the city. And there is no anagramming required, in case that wasn't clear. If your answer works with those criteria, you might have an alternative answer. The only way I can think of that the holidays you mention would be connected to my answer is if there were a serious mishap.

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    10. No anagramming involved in my answer. No serious mishaps, either. Remember, I was being intentionally oblique about the holidays I mentioned. Sounds like there may be a possible third answer besides Crito's (which I can't put my finger on) and mine. 🤷‍♂️

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    11. Then maybe the connection you perceived is too subtle for me. Subtlety is not always my strongest suit. Presumably all will be clear after Thursday.

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    12. Nodd, my answer was Sale(m), the state capital of Oregon. A sale is an act, and one frequently performed…well, at a sale.

      About the holiday association: You would have seen a Memorial Day sale here and a Labor Day sale there advertised often, every year.

      I could have mentioned Christmas, or—in the run-up—Black Friday, but I was concerned especially the latter would have been TMI.

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    13. Presidents Day would also have worked in connection with "sale," for some big-box stores.

      So Nodd, what was the answer you said you "hoped not," and what would the "serious mishap" have been?

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    14. Sorry for the delay; just got my Internet back. The answer was Carson City. I hoped those holidays would not be associated with arson, unless maybe if someone's barbecue had a mishap and burned something down.

      Your alternative answer is creative -- I like it and gladly accept it as a winning entry along with my intended answer.

      Here's another similar one if anyone's interested: Name a state capital and remove one letter. Divide what's left into two words (no anagramming). The first word describes something that is often of extreme importance in the second word.

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  33. Inspired by Legolambda, here's another mathy one.
    Remove 'extra' occurrences of all repeated letters from a state capital's name to get two constants and a variable associated with one of the constants.

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    Replies
    1. I may have it, if it has to do with Justin.

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    2. It does! I had to think about that, but yeah, that's it!

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    3. Are you a techie? I ask because your puzzle concerned math and because I thought perhaps your quick solve of sbd's puzzle used some sort of algorithm. I'll be interested to learn Thursday how you did it.

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    4. Got it, but now I'm hungry and need to take a long walk. Oh, and this puzzle has a connection to this week's answers.

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    5. I am not that into math, but this one I got right away. I guess it is because it is more of a word being "dissected."

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  34. I am reminded of a popular tweet. I also have an alternative answer that reminds me of a popular musical.

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    1. The tweet was "large boulder the size of a small boulder" (classic!); my alternative was Salt Lake City / Sugar Land (which reminds me of Book of Mormon).

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  35. Bob Dylan may have a Nobel Prize in Literature. But for my money, Weird Al's palindrome-fest, "Bob", is way cleverer than Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues".

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  36. To Blaine's clue, there was a pretty famous movie filmed in the first city.

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  37. My puzzle seems to have now been sidetracked. Here it is again:

    Here is a puzzle I coined Friday evening and sent to WS who rejected it without a reason. Please do not reveal the answer until the deadline. You will know you have the intended answer when you solve it. I would like to know if you like it, and if you think it should have been accepted. Oh, the puzzle comes with a hint. Without the hint it would be tedious. With the hint you should be able to solve it with a little logical thought. Here it is:

    Fill in the blanks with the same 9 letter word. Then insert 2 spaces to the first, making it 3 words. “You cannot __ __ __ with _______.”

    What is this sentence?

    Hint: Think of a municipality that is in serious trouble. (i.e. Flint, Michigan)

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    Replies
    1. And the answer is:
      You cannot mend a city with mendacity.

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    2. Yeah I thought 'municipality' was too big a hint, since it very strongly suggested that we were looking for a 9-letter word ending with "city".

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    3. I agree, but some still could not, or had a hard time, solve it. I knew it was more of a hint than I desired, but I saw no better way. Without a hint the puzzle would have been just another tedious bore. I still cannot understand why Will does want to use it.

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  38. Would ice cube be an antonym of iceberg?

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  39. I have an idea. If the Republicans in the House are unable to confirm Kevin McCarthy as Speaker, why don't they elect Marjorie Taylor Greene and then they can change from being the Republican Party to the Greene Party?

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    Replies
    1. Perhaps if they did, Kyrsten Sinema would return to the party she began with. They could even feature a Greene New Deal (discounted CrossFit membership?).

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  40. LITTLE ROCK, AR and BOULDER, CO

    "256" refers to 256 mm, the minimum size classification for a BOULDER.

    I've driven between the two states several times but always go through Kansas and a wee bit of MO or OK to get to AR. Never wanted to stay in OK the whole way, though clearly I could have.

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    Replies
    1. I'm not a geologist, and a quick google search didn't answer this yet. Is the 256mm size the minimum in any one measurement, the average of height, width, and depth, or something else? For example, if I find a rock that is 300mm x 100mm x 100mm, does the one measurement of 300 make it a boulder, or is it not, because of the other two measurements?

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    2. That boulder dimension of 25.6 cm is a diameter. Most boulders are round or ovoid. As such, I'd say all three dimensions at 25.6 cm will qualify as a boulder. I've never been asked this question before! I do know a boulder when I see one, though...

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  41. LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas → Big Rock = BOULDER, Colorado (2020 census population: 108,250)

    Oklahoma is the connecting state.

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  42. LITTLE ROCK, BOULDER

    My non-hint: “Odd coincidence: Just a few days ago, the flight my better half and I were on had to make a stop in one of the cities. It was the first time we’d been there.”

    Yes, on a red-eye from SanDiego to Charlotte, my wife and I really did make an unscheduled stop at Little Rock for another passenger’s medical emergency, and it was the first time either of us had been to either Little Rock or Arkansas.

    Hint: “Anagram both cities together, and get a two-word phrase meaning a broken garden implement.”

    Little Rock + Boulder —> buckled rototiller

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  43. LITTLE ROCK, BOULDER

    > The other city is a homophone of what you might advise the homophone of another capital to become.

    Shy Ann should try to be bolder.

    > Musical clue: . . . nah.

    Rock, The Stones, etc, ... : None of them would pass muster with Blaine.

    > OK, here's one: "Smokin' in the Boys Room".

    The BOULDER Public Library has been closed to clean up contamination caused by too many people smoking meth in the restrooms.

    >> 256
    > How'd you cobble up an arbitrary number like that?

    A cobble is a littler rock than a (>256mm) boulder.

    > Why is it a "cheat" to choose a route through a city that might have been named for another state capital?

    The shortest drive from Little Rock to Boulder that passes through Boise City, OK, fits the bill.

    > Bob Dylan . . . .

    Like a Rolling Stone.

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  44. Little Rock, AR, -> Boulder, CO

    Rearrange the state postal abbreviations, and you get ORCA, a black and white animal.

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  45. Little Rock, Arkansas & Boulder, Colorado

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    1. Blogger would not let me post at first. I had to open a new tab. UGH!

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  46. Little Rock (AR) — Boulder (CO)

    I haven't been to either city, but I may have had each on my radar at different times for different reasons.
    Little Rock, when Bill Clinton was running for president.
    Boulder, as the occasional flyover location, or that time I had some work-related communication with someone based out of Boulder.

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  47. My New Year's hint starting with 2023 was just a way to conceal the number 9, which I figured might otherwise be TMI relating to Little Rock. No matter how you follow the instructions, the answer will be 9.

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  48. I wrote, “If you ignore the 100,000 rule, the capital city has more than one city with literally opposite names.” There are cities or villages of Big Rock in Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, and maybe more.

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  49. Little Rock, Arkansas, Boulder, Colorado

    A big rock is a boulder.

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  50. This week's Puzzleria features five fantastic puzzles created by out friend Tortitude, in her "Tortie's Slow And Sure Puzzles" puzzle package. They are titled:
    * “The Life of Pie”
    * Hunger Games
    * “Who Flew the Coop to Cooperstown?”
    * “Pairs,“ Texas?, and
    * A Timely Buckeye State Puzzle.
    Also on this week's menus are a mess of "Little “ ‘rock-the-boat’ spirit” or BIG “Bolder”? riff-offs of this past week's NPR puzzle, plus a Schpuzzle of the Week, Slice and Dessert.
    We upload Puzzleria! just after Midnight Friday morn, Pacific Standard Time.

    LegoWhoOwesPuzzleria!sGuestPuzzleMakers(IncludingTortitude!)HisDebtOfUndyingGratitude!

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  51. Little Rock; Boulder. My hint was "in view of" Blaine's hint, which referred to Mork and Mindy, so my hint was a common Halloween handout (M&Ms).

    As a alternative answer, I submitted Concord and Independence (not holding my breath it will be accepted). Perhaps the antonymic aspect isn't as graphic as in the intended answer, but I still think it works since one who is independent is less likely to be in concord with others.

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  52. Little Rock, Arkansas – Boulder, Colorado

    Last Sunday I said, “I’ve been in both cities for about a day each. Trust me, the second city is more fun.” I’m sure anyone who has been to both would agree. Boulder is kind of a small, rockin’ college town. Little Rock isn’t.

    I also said, “Peach but not the Peach State.” The Peach State is Georgia, which would suggest Atlanta, which is not part of the answer. However, Little Rock, Arkansas, is where the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum is located, in honor of our 42nd President, who was im_peach_ed.

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  53. This was so easy that it wasn't until TomR's question about ice cubes that I realized that boulder and little rock are synonyms, not antonyms.
    They differ in scale, not kind.
    All antonyms I can find for boulder online are such things a holes, gaps and orifices.
    So I'd say that WS screwed up again and almost got away with it.

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    Replies
    1. Since there seems to be unanimity about the solution to this "puzzle," someone (everyone?) should explain how the two terms are antonyms.
      I say they are not and this is another Shortz offering without a viable answer.

      Delete
    2. A Boulder is a large rock.

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    3. Thesaurus.com lists pebble as a synonym for boulder.

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    4. I thought Thesaurus was a roman centurion who was bolder than some of the others.

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    5. jan, John Cleese looks good with the beard, don't ya think?

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  54. My clue: "Got it, and I like it. Happy Dry January! I'm going to celebrate with a nice cuppa tea." Celestial Seasonings tea is based in Boulder, CO. Any I really am doing Dry January. So far so good.

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  55. LITTLE ROCK(AR)and BOULDER(CO)
    pjbIsSureWileE.CoyoteWouldMuchRatherBeCloserToArkansas,IfGivenTheChoice

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  56. I've spent at least a week's worth of time on Pearl Street in Boulder. I don't think I will ever forget that contortionist.

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    Replies
    1. He was amazing...I saw him as well, but let's not get all twisted up about it!

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  57. If anyone here does the Sunday New York Times variety puzzles, there's an error in this week's "Building Blocks" puzzle by Will Shortz. I told them about it 6 hours ago, and got an acknowledgement from them that they'd fix it ASAP, but the bad version is still up.

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  58. Jan: Thias blog does seem to wander around some.
    I am curious why you bring up an error in a crossword puzzle some here may or not be interested in but ignore the error I have pointed out in the puzzle this forum exists for.

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  59. SDB, what flies in from Europe and takes artistic pictures?

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    Replies
    1. I don't know, but flies seem to be attracted to Mike Pence.

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    2. Nice! And what flies in from Ireland for a poetry reading?

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    3. Ummm.
      William Butler Morrison Yeats?

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chip_Yates

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    4. A Learjet, nonstop from Limerick.

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    5. From Limerick? Must be flying to Nantucket.

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    6. Correct. Since it's coming from a different country, Ron DeSantis is diverting it, but Martha's Vineyard is full right now.

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  60. jan,
    A 38-year-old retired NASA satellite is about to fall from the sky this weekend. Are you doing anything to protect yourself?

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    Replies
    1. There've been lots of much heavier objects deorbiting uncontrolled before. No biggie.

      Now, on March 11, asteroid 2005 ED224 has a 2-in-a-million chance of hitting the Earth, with the impact energy equivalent of 18 megatons. Long odds, but a bang like that will get your attention.

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    2. Then, on December 17, 2024 (next year), asteroid 2022 YO1 as a 2-in-a-thousand chance of hitting us, with an impact energy equivalent of 2000 megatons. In case you're thinking of leaving your shelter for any Stop-The-Steal-II rallies.

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    3. Well I would like for it to hit either Elon Musk or Mark Zuckerberg. So it is down to a 50/50 chance it will hit Musk who is my preferred target. As for me, I put a target on my roof because we all know how hard it is to be on target, or shop there.

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    4. Oops, sorry, missed a '-' sign on the 2022 YO1 chart. It's just a little rock -- only around 3 m diameter (still a boulder, though) -- so the impact energy would only be around 2 kilotons. Nothing to worry about.

      Delete
    5. Never the less, but I'm draining my waterbed just in case. I don't have flood insurance.

      Delete
    6. Thanks for the info; I was up in the air about what to do. With the satellite re-entry so imminent, I didn't have a chance to planet out ahead of time.

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    7. We wouldn't want Mars on the furniture now would we? Therefore I sent the children outside to play.

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    8. A good solution if you are a plutocrat with Louis XIV furniture or something ....

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    9. Just remember to please keep Uranus off my stratolounger.

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    10. I've never saturn one of those.

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    11. Probably just as well because they are filled with Mercury.

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    12. Io! What a mess if it leaks out.

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    13. No worries. I don't live in Washington D.C.

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    14. That's surprising since you are an accomplished pundit.

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    15. Can't think of an appropriate reply, so I guess I'll have to punt on that one.

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    16. True, but trying to think of appropriate responses can be punishing.

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  61. Another too easy puzzle. This could have been part of an on-air challenge.

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  62. Got it. Pretty easy. Waiting for Blaine...

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  63. TV clue: "The Trouble With Tribbles"

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  64. The same living person was the answer to a previous Sunday puzzle.

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  65. The NPR interns are at it again: On the new Sunday Puzzle page, last week's challenge is given as: "Name a U.S. state capital for which the name of another well-known U.S. city is an antonym. The second city has a population of more than 100,000.." And the given answer? "Chesapeake Bay (chess + peak + eBay)"

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    1. You have to admit that would be more of a challenge than the actual puzzle.

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  66. So easy, I feel like even sharing the link to the list I used would be TMI. 😏

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