## Sunday, November 26, 2023

### NPR Sunday Puzzle (Nov 26, 2023): We Don't Need Roads

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Nov 26, 2023): We Don't Need Roads
Q: Think of a common sign seen along a highway. Rearrange the letters to name something inside a car.
Change the last letter of the sign to an "I", rearrange to name part of the body. Change the last letter of thing inside the car to an "F", rearrange to name something found on the water.

Edit: REST AREI becomes ARTERIES and REAR SEAF becomes SEAFARER
A: REST AREA --> REAR SEAT

1. Not sure about you jan, but it was quite the opposite for me!

2. I think of REST STOP before REST AREA, and BACK SEAT before REAR SEAT.

1. I commented on last week's thread two minutes after Blaine started this thread. I guess I missed the exit ramp.

2. Rearrange the odd letters of the road sign. You get something associated with the thing in the car.

1. Jolly good, Rob!

2. I must have a different answer...

3. Nice one, mate!

4. Every week, almost without fail, Rob quickly comes up with incredibly clever hints to these NPR puzzles. This is one of his best, in my opinion.

LegoAFanOfRob'sTalents

5. Golly, thanks.

6. This comment has been removed by the author.

7. Good one, Rob!! That helped confirm my answer!

8. I was stumped by Rob’s hint, even though I knew I had the right answer. I brought the matter to my wife, who, having the appropriate ancestry, explained Rob’s clue to me. Brilliant!

3. Musical Clue: Paul McCartney

1. Paul had a British hit in the early 70s with "The Back Seat of My Car".

4. Musical clue: The Curls

5. Geologic field camp

6. Twenty-eight

7. Anyone else surprised there were only 151 answers to Lego's puzzle from last Sunday?

1. Yes, I was. I expected more (though not many more), but I didn't think there would be so few. It meant that those who submitted the correct answer each had about a 2/3 of 1% chance of receiving the call, generally speaking, a rather high percentage.

2. I'm not as surprised. The puzzle was described by Will as more challenging than usual. Second, there was the Thanksgiving holiday with an earlier deadline.

3. No: the plural of CELLO is CELLI. Drop any duplicated letter and non-Roman numerals, and you get CLI or 151. QED.

4. jan, TAS (That's a stretch. A fun stretch, though). 151 was oddly specific compared to the more usual round numbers.

Blaine, do you think Will's saying it was challenging kept people from trying the puzzle?

5. I think it was a factor. If someone couldn't get it right away, they probably gave up and didn't come back to it.

6. I guess that would be the Max Factor.

7. I wrote a script to look through a list of instruments to find the answer. I can believe that others may have had difficulty finding the right pairing, and of course some of those who stumbled onto the correct answer may have rejected it with the argument that a BOW isn't really part of a CELLO.

8. Spinoff (spinout?) puzzle: Add an "E" to something inside a car and rearrange to get a kind of illness and where it might show up.

9. There is a stop sign, and you can have pots in your car.

1. ....Or a post.

2. I already posted those 2 at the end of last week's blog.

3. This comment has been removed by the author.

4. A rest area is also called a rest stop. Pots can be used to make stew, an anagram of west, which can be on a sign. West is the opposite of east, an anagram of seat.

5. And a thorn in your seat might cause you to shout (and probably spill the stew).

10. Slippery Road/A sloppy rider? Surely we've all had one of those.

1. Good one! You should submit it as an alternate answer.

11. The letters also can be rearranged to spell a body part and something car passengers often do.

12. I was driving NOTED TENOR PlÃ¡cido Domingo in my car the other day, when I passed a DO NOT ENTER sign. Just thought I'd share that for the opera lovers here.

1. I also saw a NO PARKING sign, but you probably don't want to hear about the PINK ORGAN in my car...

2. And once, when I had The Family Circus cartoonist BIL KEANE in my car, I passed a BIKE LANE sign.

3. jan, It's okay just so long as you keep it short.

4. Jan, I can argue that most of the organs in our bodies are pink. :-)

5. Not once they're well cooked!

6. jan,
Consider yourself fortunate that you do not have to fret over your pink organ any more than you would with a cello. With a guitar you would be fretting all the time.

13. I'm reminded of the late, great crossword constructor whom Will Shortz often referred to as "our old friend", Merle Reagle. There's a scene in the Wordplay film where he's driving down the highway, anagramming road signs as he goes. "Dunkin' Donuts... put the D at the end, you get Unkind Donuts... which I've had a few of, in my day."

14. I got a very easy answer which doesn't fit the clues. It's so easy that I thought the star of this puzzle was its obfuscation. Maybe the answer I send in would be accepted as an alternative.

1. It's officially a pillar not a post.

2. I also have a very easy answer which doesn't fit the clues offered in this comment area, but I believe it fulfills the requirements of the puzzle as stated. I intend to direct my energy toward substantiating the viability of my answer while remaining open to accepting whatever the intelligentsia-favored (probably "cuter") answer might be, should it happen to unexpectedly dawn upon me.

3. Paul, I wish I could give you a direction.

4. I suspect I have that answer as well. It's my backup, in case I can't find a better answer by tomorrow.

5. I'm certain that I have the same answer as @Paul.

15. Speeding fines doubled when workers present. (Haven't come up with the 2nd part yet.)

1. Be careful there. LOL

2. "Fender benders, doors, weeknight pile-ups"?

3. "... news!"

4. Nice! I'm stuck on "Wookiee's finger bleeds....."

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

17. American Graffiti

18. Got it. I'm kicking myself for not getting this sooner. I was on a highway last night, and passed more than one of these signs.

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

19. Nodd,
This one is for you, just specially.
Last Wednesday was exactly 60 years ago that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Do you know how law enforcement were able to solve this tragic crime so quickly?

1. Wow, a personalized puzzle! I just saw this, and will give it my best shot, perhaps using some dead reckoning.

2. Not a puzzle; a joke I coined a few years ago.

3. Because two days later, Oswald spilled his guts. According to the news coverage, Ruby's bullet "had gone from the left to right, injuring the spleen, pancreas, aorta, vena cava, right kidney and right lobe of the liver." https://www.upi.com/Archives/1963/11/24/Physician-says-Oswald-lethally-injured-by-time-he-arrived/8181204553842/

4. They were able to solve it right away because it was a textbook case.

5. Darn. I was trying to work in "depository" but didn't think about the books. Good joke.

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

1. Ooooh, a light went on and I think I get this hint!

2. Pshaw! No more TMI than 22, 24, 28!

3. Thanks for the gallant defense, Jan! I thought it was pretty niche, tbh...ah well. I'll try again.

4. Dr Awk gave a snippet of Joyce Kilmer's famous poem. I thought (and obviously Blaine did too!) that was a reference to the NJ Turnpike rest stop named for Kilmer. There's also one named for Edison, thus my "a light went on...".
(Now there are some newer names on stops, like Whitney Houston's and James Gandolfini's.)

5. Those rest stops are on the Garden State Parkway, not the New Jersey Turnpike.

Now, if you want a real fight, we could talk about Taylor ham versus pork roll.

6. Oh, you mean the new ones -- that's right, I forgot.
And I guess they're called "Service Areas", not rest stops.
But I'm curious now about whether that's what Dr. Awk had in mind!

7. Yeah my comment (since deleted) referenced that the NJ Turnpike has Service Areas, not Rest Areas. I had commented that maybe I should go read some Joyce Kilmer or Walt Whitman (both NJTP service Areas). I had considered commenting that I was not looking for Bruce Springsteen, and in retrospect, that probably would have stayed up. Springsteen emphatically told the Garden State Parkway that he would not allow a Rest Area to be named after him. The GSP rest areas were renamed in the past few years. The previous names were largely geographical.

8. So, what did they name it: Autumnsteen?

9. Indeed, this is what I had in mind—didn't occur to me that the couplet would be such a giveaway! Also, gotta say, I found this one difficult because I invariably say "rest stop" (not "rest area") and "backseat" (not "rear seat").

10. (Also, I remember that rest stop well because once, after passing it, I won a bet with a friend who insisted that Joyce Kilmer was a woman.)

11. SDB, they named rest areas after other NJ people, including Whitney Houston, Larry Doby, James Gandolfini, et al.

12. For many years, Larry Doby was my neighbor.

13. JAWS,
That is good to know, although I haven't driven on the East Coast since too long ago to say, although I do know. I do know this though. There is serious talk about naming a new rest area in your region,after George Santos. The plan is that it will be well marked, but when you enter you will soon discover there is no way back on the freeway in the direction you were heading. Instead the exit ramp/road drops down into a tunnel that turns left and then another left which leads onto the freeway going in the direction you were coming from. It is being supported by republicans, but will have a large sign saying it was proposed by Joe Biden.

21. I bet I have the answer this week!

22. The answer came to me after I prayed to the Golfing Soda God icon I keep on my dashboard.

1. Andrei Codrescu did a piece that mentioned "gas food" a long time ago, but I can't find it anywhere. I think the term would include Merle Reagle's unkind donuts, mentioned above.

1. See my musical hint above.

24. In England, the A3 runs from London to Portsmouth. "A THREE" anagrams to "HEATER".

25. Let's just say there's a crossword crossover.

1. (A mention of Vince Lombardi, after whom another NJ rest area is named.)

26. This comment has been removed by the author.

27. Henry Kissinger, American diplomat and Nobel winner, dies at 100

Boo hoo, boo hoo

1. America had a Strangelove affair with him.

2. Mein FÃ¼hrer, I can walk!”

3. I wonder who's Kissinger now?

28. Certain cars don’t have the thing “inside a car.” Others, arguably, have more than one.

29. Arctic polar bears are dying off faster than Antarctic polar bears this year.

1. Would you then describe 2023 as anti-arctic, ursically speaking?

2. Please, just bear with me and go with the floe.

30. REST AREA, REAR SEAT

"Geologic field camp" is a clue only fellow Arizona field camp geologists would know. We used to say REST A-REEE-A as we passed every REST AREA. It elicited many laughs. (I guess you had to be there.)

31. Our pal Plantsmith again takes center-stage on this week's Puzzleria! with his "Garden of Puzzley Delights." It is a musical challenge, titled "Threading the ol’ Victrola needle," in which you must identify the common denominational category in a septet of popular songs (by Prince, REM, The Beatles, Booker T. and the M.G.s, Neil Diamond, Chris Brown and Carey Landry).
We will upload Puzzleria sometime tonight around Midnight PST.
Also on our menus this week are:
* a Schpuzzle of the Week titled "Dolefully furry Persian pet,"
* an "Authority Always Wins" Hors d’Oeuvre titled "Western writer Obie poet,"
* a Synonymous Slice titled, "Intriguing new difference-maker,"
* a Geometralculus Dessert titled Anagrammatical mathematics, and
* ten riff-offs of this week's NPR puzzle titled, fittingly, "Rear Seat Rest Area."
Drop by, why doncha, for a heaping helping of Plantsmithery!

LegoDelightfullyPuzzley

1. Once again, I fear the Appetizers, then, will leave me out in the cold, but I am looking forward to (and I imagine, Tortie will too) the 'dolefully furry Persian pet."

32. REST AREA → REAR SEAT.

33. REST AREA >>> REAR SEAT

34. REST AREA —> REAR SEAT

Musical clue: The Curls

The Curls were the backing vocalists on Paul Evans and the Curls’ 1959 novelty song “Seven Little Girls Sitting in the Back Seat.” In the song, the boy sitting in the back seat with the girls was named Fred (TomR’s hint).

35. Rest Area>>>Rear Seat

Back in the day, Howard Johnson’s Restaurants and Motor Lodges were common at highway rest areas. They are no more, but I remember them, and their 28 flavors of ice cream.

Note for Blaine:
Having lived on the East Coast all my life, and having often travelled the New Jersey Turnpike, I recognized Joyce Kilmer and Walt Whitman as the names of two of its rest areas. But, that’s not something I’d expected you, a Californian, to have recognized. Did you live on the East Coast at one time?

1. I felt both Kilmer and Whitman are known for poems about nature which I felt too directly leads to thinking about a place to pull off the freeway to rest.

2. Interesting that your reasoning was so different from what several of us (Easterners?) guessed. Thanks again for moderating this fun blog!

36. EAST and SEAT. [If you zoom in you can see that the EAST sign is separate from the INTERSTATE shield, if that makes any difference to you.] I could not anagram INTERSTATE into anything helpful. I did get REAR SEAT from REST AREA, which might be of interest to Fred, The Curls, and Paul Evans. I could not make anything out of BILLBOARD or BILLBOARI, in spite of the censoring of what I took to be an allusion to a Nash parody of Kilmer.
I also believe STOP / POST works (would not a pillar by any other name still support the roof and reinforce the torsional rigidity of the body?).

1. I think WS should accept "east" and "seat"! :)

2. I've never seen a road sign that said just "East".

3. Duh! That's because where you live they all say, West.

4. Jan, I also sent in EAST & SEAT. Entrances to highways usually say in which direction the road goes; NORTH,SOUTH, EAST OR WEST. So obviously I agree with Wolfgang. At least maybe meriting an honorable mention.

5. Yes, but on the German autobahns they have Einfahrt and Ausfahrt signs. These indicate where you fahrt on or fahrt off the highway.

6. This comment has been removed by the author.

7. STOP also anagrams to SPOT, as in "save me a spot on the rear seat!"

37. REST AREA -> REAR SEAT

> Synonyms!

REAR and SEAT are frequent crossword clues for each other. Each is certainly an AREA you REST on. And, anyone who's had kids knows the REAR SEAT can be a REST AREA -- you put your fussy infant there and drive around to get them to sleep.

> Pshaw! No more TMI than 22, 24, 28!

Blaine deleted Dr. Awkward's quote of the opening of Joyce Kilmer's Trees. Grover Cleveland and Woodrow Wilson also have New Jersey Turnpike REST AREAs named for them. . . .

> Again!

. . . As does Vince Lombardi (9D in Wednesday's New York Times Crossword). But, even more blatant, REST AREA appears inverted in the lower left corner (66A and 63A). FAT CHANCE (3D), though, that Will would cop to planting this Easter Egg.

39. REST AREA; REAR SEAT. "The letters also can be rearranged to spell a body part and something car passengers often do." (EAR, STARE)

40. All right, it's REST AREA — REAR SEAT.
Thanks, Blaine, for the clue. It confirmed I had the intended answer. :)

41. Rest area, rear seat

42. Rest Area --> rear seat

Last Sunday I said, “Many’s the time I’ve been happy to see that sign.” Blaine deleted it. Nonetheless, I drove across country a number of times in my younger days. Pulling off, stretching my legs, and taking a nap would do wonders for me. Where I sat for the short ones. On the rear seat for the longer ones.

1. I felt there were only a small subset of signs that evoke a "happy" feeling.

2. "One mile to exit" might be a happy sign?

43. REST AREA → REAR SEAT.

I clued that "I bet I got this one" because I was thinking of you bet your ass I got this one...

44. I just could not get this one! I did try "rest area". After several highway signs I attempted to work it bass-ackwards by thinking of things in a car. I tried "back seat" among other things. I've never called it a rear seat, so I was doomed this week. Will anxiously await next week's challenge.

1. Now that I know the answer it's fun to go back and reread all the clues. I especially like Rob's reference to "arse". So funny!

2. I tried 'rest area', too, and obviously MISSEd the 'rear seat' combo.

45. ChatGPT came up with both answers in a list but not put together as the answer.

46. When I'm tired, the last place I want to go is arrest area.

1. The last place anyone goes is the (cardiac) arrest area.

2. Not sure I understand. I do close up card tricks and manipulations, such as a one handed riffle shuffle. I have always considered myself a cardiac.

47. I sent in a different answer>>>>>>>EAST & SEAT

48. I would not say this week is taking its time, but Tuesday sure is dragging on.

49. Here's an easy spinoff: Take the first word of the common sign and add one letter from the second, rearrange, and get something you might do in a car.

1. If you do that something too abruptly, it can become a spinoff!

2. And you might even be charged with a mooving violation.

50. Now that George Anthony Santos has finally been expelled from Congress, and will be leaving our nation's capitol, I suppose he will return to New York City where he will lie in state.

51. My mother lives in Santos' district. My wife went to high school with the guy who lost to him (who is not expected to get the Democratic nomination in the special election to replace him). His oppo research was clearly lacking, whatever else you can say for the guy.

52. I too got Rest Area/Rear Seat. But, I was originally trying to anagram Rest Stop Ahead, and similarly worded signs. I didn't put them together as one until I had made lists of individual word signs and possible anagrams of those words. In my mind Rest Stop rings more familiar than Rest Area.

53. And let's not forget Sandra Day O'Connor, who gave us W as President, rather than the actually elected Gore, contributing significantly to the dismantling of American democracy, as well as the Iraq War, Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, and other obscenities.

1. That was my first thought as I heard she died.

2. War criminals.

54. OK, one last word/anecdote on the puzzle. We purchased a used Hyundai this week and found out that we needed to get some anti-theft software upgrade recall work done before our insurance company would insure it. (It's been in the news -- didn't really think about the implications and we like the low mileage Elantra that we acquired.) Got the software upgrade on Thursday and noticed that one of the things the dealer added were decals on each front door window stating that the anti-theft work had been applied. Don't know if thieves will stop to read them so we'll probably use a visible steering wheel lock on the rare occasions that we park in a high risk area. I answered NPR with "rest area/rear seat" like most of the folks here in Blainesville did but I see now that I have an alternate answer: Door decals/Road Closed. Happy puzzling!

55. Italy has been trying to sell the Tower of Pisa, but apparently someone has put a lien on it.

56. Only an Alien would have done that.

57. A muffler is part of an automobile. It's also the name of something you can wear. Think of two other parts of automobiles that are also things you can wear. These two words have the same number of letters and the same first two letters in the same order.

1. (That's this week's puzzle.)

58. This week's challenge: A muffler is part of an automobile. It's also the name of something you can wear. Think of two other parts of automobiles that are also things you can wear. These two words have the same number of letters and the same first two letters in the same order.

59. Didn't we have this one several years ago, or was it on CarTalk?

60. Lemme go check my Hyundai... :)

61. I see why Will saved this one for December.

62. Easy to solve. Difficult to clue.

63. The alpha and omega of dumb puzzles.

64. I think I've got it. But I agree with SuperZee. It's hard to clue. Waiting for Blaine...

65. This comment has been removed by the author.

66. Vauxhall driver might think of a different answer, except the two words don't have the same number of letters.

1. Yes, Wolfgang. I thought of this pair, too.

67. Just over 250 entries this week.

68. Got it quickly. Maybe I'll go for a walk, or do some yard work.

For NPR puzzle posts, don't post the answer or any hints that could lead to the answer before the deadline (usually Thursday at 3pm ET). If you know the answer, 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 assist with solving. You can openly discuss your hints and the answer after the deadline. Thank you.