Sunday, March 19, 2023

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Mar 19, 2023): Bathroom and Kitchen Renovation

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Mar 19, 2023): Bathroom and Kitchen Renovation
Q: Name two well-known commercial products in five letters whose names are anagrams of each other. One product is something you'd probably see in your bathroom. The second is more likely to be in your refrigerator. What products are these?
My first thought came up with something I hope is NOT in my refrigerator. I'll have to keep thinking.

Update: Add a D to the end of my refrigerator product and you get something that sounds like a bathroom product again.

Edit: My initial thought was DRANO --> RADON but I realized that didn't work. My alternate answer was PIPES --> PEPSI (and then PEPCID). But I later figured out the intended answer.
A: NIVEA (cream), EVIAN (water)

227 comments:

  1. Blaine--I came up with a couple of those, too. Back to the drawing board...

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  2. My kitchen product could be kept in the refrigerator. Bathroom product checks out.

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  3. Got it. I also came up first with an alternate answer, where I have never heard of keeping the edible product in the refrigerator, but it could be kept there, if you really want to!

    The names can have one letter removed, or a different letter removed, and be rearranged to a pair of homophones.

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    1. I just had a strange experience when submitting my answer. Normally, a list of possible stations appears based on the ZIP code entered. This time, I got two radio buttons, one for I prefer not to say what station, and one for "None of these. Help me find a station." I clicked Help me Find a Station, and then was prompted to enter what station.

      Curious if others encounter this. It's possible they have updated the Submit your Answer form, but the old way of picking from a list was a lot quicker.

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    2. Same thing happened to me on Wednesday

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    3. Same thing happened to me for the second time now. Last week it worked as usual, but I did not get the notification. At least I got the notification this time. They do not seem to know what they are doing at NPR. I am so sick and tired of the way news is funded in this absurd country. BBC is not perfect, but at least they know what they are doing and do it well and without advertising and constant begging and pleading for cash.

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    4. I was not even going to enter my station this time but I did anyway. I am tired of all the ads everywhere. Perhaps it is best to just read the newspaper. I am going to drop my activities that involve commercial interruptions. Soon I will be too busy with work anyway. Goodnight!

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  4. I wonder if Will refrigerates his breath mints.

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  5. I just got it (it does seem to work), but after last week's puzzle, I'm wondering if there are going to be alternate answers this week as well.

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    1. I have some Vidal Sassoon shampoo in my bathroom and I just put my Advil in the fridge. Do you think WS will accept it?

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    2. Nice! Keep the faith, Nodd. Although Will did acknowledge a couple of alternate answers on air, Palau-Pole didn't make the cut. But you never know.

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    3. I expect he would say my alternative's not "valid."

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  6. Anagram the five letters twice more, and get two items of clothing.

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    1. You have a different answer than I do.

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    2. Aha...Here we go, alternate answers once again.

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    3. It all depends on how you interpret the phrase "commercial products."

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    4. Jan—My point exactly. The phrase is inherently ambiguous.

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    5. One can go a little bit crazy trying to disambiguate this. If I buy soup in a can, it is a commercial product. If I make homemade soup, it's not. If I order homemade soup in a restaurant, it is. I think that's why we can't dismiss the concept of brand name.

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  7. I have an answer. Not happy with it. Will keep working on it.

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    1. Update : I came up with 3 solutions none of which seemed like the answer. Then I realized that I was looking at things in the bathroom. I started looking at brand names and boom the answer hit me.

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  9. Blaine's clue doesn't fit my answer, IMO. I'm not going to spend any more of my time on this, but will interested to see what others come up with. I liked the refrigerated breath mints joke... :)

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  10. I'm pretty sure I have the intended answer -- it fits most of the clues given here so far, but I don't see how it fits Blaine's.
    Anyway, I don't see the attractions of anagram puzzles.

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    1. Crito, agreed. They just seem so mixed up. Add in brand names and blech.

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    2. It's very possible mine is not the intended answer.

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    3. I wondered about that, Blaine. I have an answer that does fit your clue nicely. But hung up on "commercial product." I have an alternate answer that I like about the same, but I'm hung up on "well known" (unless you are French).

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  11. ChatGPT has it all figured out:

    The two brand names that fit this description are "Crest" and "Scert", which are anagrams of each other. "Crest" is a brand of toothpaste that you might see in your bathroom, and "Scert" is a brand of yogurt that is more likely to be in your refrigerator. However, it's worth noting that "Scert" is not a real brand, as far as I'm aware, and I had to come up with a fictitious name to make the anagram work

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    1. When I rejected that, ChatGPT came back with ". . . Scert is a brand of refrigerated desserts . . ."

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    2. After continuing to make shit up for a while, the AI finally offered "LYSOL" and "SOLLY", but I'm still not buying it.

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    3. If LL Bean sold soy sauce, they would brand it LL Soy

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    4. Made from LL soy Beans, from Maine, of course.

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    5. Apparently there's a snack food company named Olly's ....

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    6. Maybe if you're a pretzel lover.

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  13. I really wanted yerba to be a brand of something, puzzle mates. Keep in a cool dry place.

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  14. Last week I added the mock word "consonym" to my anagram file. And this week we have this.
    Over the years, Will Shortz has asked for way too many "well-known" things, including products, that apparently exist in his world and not mine.
    Add "probably" and "more likely" to the clue and I think I will take another week off.

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  15. The words can be anagrammed into a 5-letter word that describes this puzzle.

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  16. Inspired by ChatGPT, who thought shoelaces could be found in a fridge:
    SCALE, LACES.

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  17. The radon detector next to our refrigerator went off a few months ago, but it was because of a dead battery.

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    1. Drano/radon was my initial thought too.

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    2. Yeah, don't want to find a rando in my fridge either.

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    3. I don't think NORAD will fit in a bathroom or a refrigerator.

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    4. O DARN!
      pjbMayHaveComeUpWithAnAlternativeAnswerAsWell(MakesSenseToHim,ThisMuchIsTrue)

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  18. My Shot at this gives me a clear answer.

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  19. My housemate in grad school wanted to get into taxidermy. I was surprised to find a dead bird in a baggie in the freezer one day. But he never went commercial, so I guess TOWEL and OWLET won't work.

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  20. After washing with JABON soap, I take my BANJO out of the refrigerator to play some cool songs.

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  21. I keep both products stashed in my office desk drawer.

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  22. Anagramming Curel proved to be cruel, as it yielded lucre and ulcer. The former might be concealed in a refrigerator, but the latter one hopes never to find there. I also expended an excess of labor—to no avail—on Oral-B.

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  23. That’s the question. As I said, the phrase is decidedly ambiguous, and my answers reflect that ambiguity: the first is a brand name; the second is not.

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  24. I'm sure he means a brand name. Why else say 'commercial'?
    I agree that they mean different things, properly speaking, in other contexts. Tylenol is a brand that came on the market in the 19050s; Paracetamol was a commercial product before that though.

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    1. Yes, Crito, I agree that that is almost certainly what Will meant, but his phrasing was weak. He probably should have explicitly said "brand name" to be absolutely clear, and it wouldn't have compromised the puzzle in any way. As delivered on-air and written, his diction simply lent itself to multiple interpretations and to some resultant degree of uncertainty and confusion.

      That said, I'm sure that, like you, I also have Will's intended answers, and perhaps I'm being naive after he overlooked my Palau-Pole alternate (and legitimate) answer, but I am considering sending in both sets of answers together this week anyway despite his omission.

      In any case, time for some exercise and the NCAA. Go, FDU!

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  25. Yes, just like Crest makes more things besides toothpaste.

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  26. I have some in my bathroom, and nightstand. Also, I prefer the other item non-refridgerated.

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    1. Plus, I actually never purchase that particular fridge item.

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  27. Broccoli looks like bunches of trees. I usually have a COPSE in my fridge.

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  28. My refrigerator product does not work when adding a D, as Blaine hints. And if Blaine had the correct answers, methinks he would be removing a few revealing posts.

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    1. Yeah, I agree -- there are some TMIs but if Blaine doesn't have that answer, he can't detect them! Also, I think it will be much more revealing to say which of the comments are TMI, so it's not really possible to direct him.

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    2. πŸ™„

      On the other hand... Blaine knows the answer we have in mind now!

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    3. Should I reveal my original two commercial products in the bathroom and fridge? Or save it for Thursday? I agree the wording of "commercial products" could have been clearer and it wouldn't have led several people down an alternate path.

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    4. Blaine, I speak only for myself, but I'd like you to wait until Thursday.

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    5. This thread (begun by TomR on Sunday Mar 19 at 01:14:00 PM PDT) is proof of an "exception that proves the rule" (whatever that means).
      The Exception: It took Blaine longer than his usual five-minutes-or-so to solve the current NPR puzzle.
      The Rule: Blaine is a brilliant puzzle solver!
      Consider this unsettling hypothetical scenario:
      I, LegoLambda, am an "okay" puzzle-maker (and I run a puzzle blog), but I am a much-less-than-mediocre puzzle-solver. I solved the present NPR puzzle only after reading Nodd's elegantly subtle hint (see: Mon Mar 20, 07:12:00 AM PDT).
      Imagine that Blaine and I were to switch roles Prince-and-the-Pauper-like. He would surely improve my blog greatly.
      If I were in charge here, however, it would be a disaster! All you whip-smart, lightning-quick solvers (starting every early Sunday morning) would be posting TMI hints willy-nilly and givaway hints galore.
      And I, not knowing the NPR puzzle answer, would be powerless to prevent it!
      Don't sweat the Exception. Remember – and be thankful for! – the Rule.

      LegoWhoSuggestsThatWeNeverTakeBlaine'sBrillianceForGranted!

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

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  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  31. Just got it. Wow, I feel dumb.

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    1. Don't feel bad. I, too, am wondering how I could have been so oblivious.

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  32. Gee, that took too long; I don’t own either product. Write the five letters in alphabetical order. Move the fourth letter one letter forward in the alphabet, Move the fifth letter one letter backward. You will see the pattern.

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    1. I think that verifies my answer.

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    2. Me three. I can't believe that it's not the intended answer, but it certainly doesn't fit all the posted comments!

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    3. Oh good, this confirms my answer.

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    4. Went from Blaine's original thought (I think) to this one. Nice to have some consensus. Thanks!

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    5. Nice, Rob. That's my response, also. Agreed, Lancek! I'm curious as to what other ideas folks came up with given the "clues" people have posted here!

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  33. Well I have a marginal answer ... it anagrams to a very common adjective. Besides that ... ChatGPT gave me SOAP and PASTA ... You.com gave me STAIN and SATIN ... at least it can anagram ... as can Perplexity.ai which offered LEMON and MELON.

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  34. I was surprised to learn how long both companies have been around.

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  35. I keep my CERTS in the fridge...

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  36. Happy to have the answer but no hallelujah getting there.

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  37. Keeping with the refrigerator item theme, I Can't Believe It's Not Better! -the puzzle, I mean. Ridiculous, if only for the fact that the intended refrigerator item would never make it to my refrigerator!

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    1. Siz, not in my fridge either. And the margarine of error fits with your comment.

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    2. Neither item would make it to my car. I never even heard of one of them. Well known by whom? Not me.

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  38. One of the answers is not a well-known product, at least not well-known to me. The other passes my well-known test but I can see how it wouldn’t necessarily pass the test for others.

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  39. I don't think "well-known" means known well to a particular person. It means 'widely known'.

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  40. From a certain perspective, both these products/brands deliver the same result.

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  41. Npr sent me a response today.

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  42. If one wanted COLD EYES, one could answer SUAVE and UVEAS.

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  43. Can you think of something a person can both write on and ride on?

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    1. Are we supposed to answer now, or is that a clue?

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    2. Now. It's a joke I just coined.

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    3. I'm very bad, often, at getting jokes, sdb. Will hope it 'hits' me at some point!

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    4. Oh, ok....I'm guilty of 'overthink.'

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    5. Lorenzo, go ahead and post your answer.

      Nodd, No

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    6. While we wait for Lorenzo, how about a flexible flyer?

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    7. The answer has to be humorous.

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    8. I assumed you thought puns were humorous, given that you post a lot of them. Back to the "drawing board."

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    9. Flexible Flyer sled, paper flyer you receive in the mail.

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    10. Okay, how about "a stationery bike"?

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    11. Congratulations, Nodd! Your pin is in the mail.

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    12. Thanks! Love the puzzle too. Apologies to Lorenzo if he had the right answer first.

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    13. A subway car or a bus. I've seen plenty of writing on those, and I've ridden on them! :-)

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    14. sdb, do you want to try this one? What did the traffic cop at the beach say to the bird that was speeding? (I posted this earlier but it was part of a larger post that I later removed as irrelevant in light of further discussion.)

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    15. That isn't the "intended," but it's an excellent alternative and will be mentioned on Thurs.

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    16. Did he inform the bird that his excuse would not work because he was not gullible?

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    17. Another good alternative, but we're looking for a quote of what the cop said, in one word.

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    18. Congrats, sbd! Guess I'll have to send that lapel pin back by return mail.

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  46. (Sorry, I kept wanting to rephrase this, and I also wanted to be sure that I had selected "Notify Me.")

    I have a pair that kind of works, and it clearly matches several of the clues here (though not Blaine's). Both of my words are brands, though the refrigerator word is often used for the brand's main product.

    I really wish Will would define his terms better. He often uses "product" and "brand" rather loosely, and he has done so in several recent puzzles. (Remember the October 2, 2022 puzzle? MICHELIN isn't a product!) I personally think he's often explicitly aiming for ambiguity, trying to squeeze two entities into the same category when they aren't really analogous. As an(other) example, I'm still mad at him for his ambiguous usage of "vehicle brand" in the April 4, 2021 puzzle.

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    1. Okay, now relax and have a second Molson Ice, if you can locate one.

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  47. Mais oΓΉ sont les neiges d'antan?

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  49. The problem with one of the products is that the product that the company produces isn't what the consumer consumes.

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  50. Ultimately, I gave up trying to find the right brand and began thinking of 5 letter words and their anagrams. Then I'd check and see if any could be a product. The first 5 letter word used to come up in my pre-retirement career and, low and behold, it can be found in a refrigerator and its anagram may be found in a bathroom. I have no idea if my answer is the intended one or not, but I sent it in anyway.

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    1. If the first word you mention fits with Bobby's clue posted 3/19 at 10:03:00 AM PDT, I'm pretty sure you have the intended answer.

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    2. The one in the refrigerator was a brand I knew, but not the one I might find in a bathroom.

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  51. Musical clue for the fridge product: Eight miles.

    Film clue for the bathroom product: Eighty days.

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  52. Did I miss the discussion of why "Y" could not be used last week?

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    1. It was explicitly stated in the puzzle that Y wasn't part of any country or nationality.

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    2. Blaine: You OK?
      I asked why Shortz made that point or rule.

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    3. I think he was stating that his intended answers (Lebanon/Albanian, Ukraine/Korean) didn't involve the letter Y to save people from questioning whether Y was a consonant or vowel, or to eliminate an answer like Albania/Libyan.

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    4. Ah! Then thank God for Y, the stake in the black heart of "consonym."

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  53. I coined the following puzzle after I went to bed last night. Should I submit it to Will?

    Think of a well known cartoonist of the past. Remove the last letter of his name and replace it with a number. Now you have the name of a famous outlaw of the past. Who are these two men?

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    1. Worth a try; he might even be able to work it in before the tax deadline.

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    2. Well, skydiveboy, I solved it, and if I solved it it is probably too easy.

      LegoTheWorstSolverOfPuzzlesInBlainesville!

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    3. Sure, we can always use a 5th puzzle involving the outlaw. :)

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    4. The outlaw was the subject of a Sunday Puzzle not too long ago, so you might catch some flak from people here who are always criticizing WS for repeating puzzles. On the other hand, he doesn't seem to care, so you might have a good chance of acceptance!

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    5. His wallet was full of stolen money. What's in your wallet?

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    6. TomR, I love it! LOL
      I will say more after there are more comments.

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    7. I wonder if ws would use a puzzle that has already posted on this site.

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    8. Good point, Natasha. I'll forget it and see if I can coin an Elon Musk puzzle. And by the way, this has not been used here before.

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    9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    10. sdb--Check the August 5, 2020, puzzle.

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    11. I already did check and it is not the same puzzle. More later.

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    12. Oh, you mean for Elon Musk puzzles. There have been several, that was my point to Natasha.

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    14. SDB: Would ws give a puzzle that was shared on this blog first?

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    15. As those who answered know, the answer to my above puzzle is: Al Capp & Al Capone

      I remembered after I coined it that Al Capone had been used as an answer before, but I had to look to see it had been used 4 times already. So what? It is not my job to do NPR's research. Also, when I looked at the earlier Al Capone puzzles, I did not see any correlation to mine, and I think mine is more elegant. Of course I am biased. That being said, I had already sent it to Will, who answered back Monday morning with his usual rejection, relevant part being:

      "The Al Capp / Al Capone wordplay is maybe a little too well-known. I'd better say no."

      Will said nothing about Al Capone being used in previous NPR puzzles. If it is "a little too well-known" then I am left wondering why I have not heard of it before. And, even if that is true, isn't it better than names of little known products most of us do not use presented for us to solve? Also, younger listeners are not always knowledgeable about what us long in the tooth folk know.

      To answer Natasha: How would I know? He would have to know it was used here. He has used puzzles that have been used other places sometimes, and has reused several NPR puzzles.

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    16. You know how I always claim Will Shortz hides hints to his NPR puzzles in his New York Times crosswords? Well, maybe skydiveboy has been chatting with him too long. Check our today's puzzle, 11D.

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    17. WOW! I just now did. That really is strange.

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  54. Happy Spring to all Blainesville bloggers, forwards and backwards:
    3-20-2023 or 3-20-2023

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    1. We had a countdown about 25 minutes ago here. Was impressed when my 6-year old granddaughter was able to explain why the equinox usually falls on 3/20 here in the eastern time zone, but on 3/19 in 2020, 2024, etc.

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    2. Impressive indeed. Did she learn it in school? I hope so, given all the grief teachers are getting these days.(I'll have to go look up the explanation now, or maybe ask my 3-year old grandson, LOL.)

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    3. No, she just thought about it for a moment when I asked, and said, "Because every four years there's an extra day in February?"

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    4. Smart girl, must take after her grampa.

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  55. I also don't refrigerate the second product, nor do I buy it. Instead, I buy a product related to an entirely different country.

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  56. I thought perhaps it was SALVE and VEALS, but I went for a more elegant, yet noneffervescent solution.

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  57. Suggested reading:

    Reagan’s Treason, Two Bushes and the $23 Million Payoff

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwiwvqC65e39AhUFLEQIHbr5ApMQFnoECBAQAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.gregpalast.com%2Freagans-treason-october-surprise%2F&usg=AOvVaw1GAI0L-fEAzVwxxcIrUoap

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  58. Blaine: if you did not originally have the intended answer is your update (which you have not removed) still good with the intended answer? I do not think so but who knows when there is “sounds like”πŸ˜€

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    1. No, my update was for an alternate answer. It doesn't work for the intended answer which I got later.

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  59. Finally got it. I don’t love the phrase “commercial product” though. The refrigerator part is debatable as well.

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  60. NIVEA, EVIAN


    "Happy to have the answer but no hallelujah getting there. Happy is one of the 7 dwarfs; NIVEA means SNOW-WHITE.

    "Plate Tectonics" has the same initial letters as Parent Trap, the Disney movie that featured a lizard atop an EVIAN bottle.

    Sifting through brand names is just not all that satisfying so the over-the-top hint was welcome this week.

    Plus, bottled water?! I just refill my reusable container.

    When I posted my original answer I was fooling around with CREST and CERTS; several others did, too.

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  61. NIVEA, EVIAN

    A number of others seem to agree the puzzle was ambiguously worded. However, in this instance, discretion was the better part of my valor, so unlike last week, I did not send in--along with the intended answer above--my alternate answer, which was…

    COAST (the bathroom item and a soap brand) —> TACOS (the fridge item),
    .
    These five letters, when further anagrammed, yield two items of clothing, ASCOT and COATS.

    In my lengthy reply to Crito, I buried the word “naive” (which Sarma did not get away with in an earlier post and Bobby hinted at); “naive” is of course yet another anagram of the intended answers.

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  62. NIVEA, the “well-known” hand cream → EVIAN, the “well-known” bottled water.

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  63. NIVEA, EVIAN

    I have seen NIVEA in a bathroom, and I have consumed EVIAN spring water. I think I have had a bottle of EVIAN in the refrigerator in the past, but not now.

    I had mentioned that you could remove one letter, or a different letter, and rearrange to a pair of homophones. Removing the A or the E results in VAIN or VEIN.

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  64. Our good friend Ecoarchitect (aka Greg VanMechelen) has penned a pair of puzzling "short stories" that we will be proudly publishing on this week's edition of Puzzleria! Both involve "Econfusing False Equivalencies" and are titled "From the Laugh Factory" and "Defeat Is Hard to Swallow."
    Puzzleria! is uploaded in the early Friday dawn hours, just after Midnight PDT.
    Our menus this week also feature:
    * a Schpuzzle of the Week titled "Everybody wants to rule the world... or at least a part of it,"
    * a "Surnominal Slice" titled "Uppercase, lowercase, So, where’s the place?"
    * An incendiary Dessert Puzzle titled "Phil Phosphor the Phillumenist," and
    * A dozen riff-offs of this week's NPR puzzle titled "Adam and Evian? Jonah in Nivea?"
    So, stop on by our "Puzzlerian! Library," why don't you, to check out our mysteriously Econfusing short stories (that Poe wishes he had penned!) and all our other tall labyrinthine tales!

    LegoWhoWouldLoveToBeSeatedAtTheHouseOfUsherButFearsThatThereMightBeCollectionPlatesPassedAround!

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  65. NIVEA, EVIAN

    > I was surprised to learn how long both companies have been around.

    Since 1882 and 1829, respectively. (NIVEA, a German company, continued doing business during the Third Reich, after its Jewish Chairman and board members were forced out.)

    > The problem with one of the products is that the product that the company produces isn't what the consumer consumes.

    The water just comes up out of the ground. What EVIAN produces is over 2 billion plastic bottles per year.

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  66. NIVEA, EVIAN. My hint: Musical clue for the fridge product: Eight miles; Film clue for the bathroom product: Eighty days.
    “Eight Miles High” – The Byrds – avian – Evian.
    “Around the World in Eighty Days” – David Niven – Nivea.

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  67. I wrote, “Write the five letters in alphabetical order. Move the fourth letter one letter forward in the alphabet, Move the fifth letter one letter backward. You will see the pattern.” That’s AEIOU,

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    1. Rob, that was fun and clever!

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    2. As always, Word Woman is right and Rob is inventive.

      LegoWhoIsNotAlwaysRightButWhoIsInThisPost

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    3. Golly, thanks. I like that it gave nothing away, but the hint was proof positive of the answer.

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    4. Yes, it was your best confirming and beautifully hidden clue yet!

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    5. Yes, Rob, that was a perfect post, and a more delightful bit of wordplay than the puzzle itself!

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  68. NIVEA, EVIAN.

    My hint was "I got it. I'm so dumb" -- implying NAIVE, which is everyone's favorite anagram for EVIAN.

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  69. I spent some time using the more general definition of a "commercial product" as anything has been offered for sale to the general public in standard or customized form. Hence I first thought of PIPES in the bathroom and PEPSI in the fridge. I did eventually figure out that the intended answer was a pair of brand names (NIVEA, EVIAN), but I think Will could have made that clearer from the outset.

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    1. I too considered PEPSI, but for only a moment and did not get PIPES.

      Delete

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