## Sunday, February 18, 2024

### NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 18, 2024): Famous Year in History

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 18, 2024): Famous Year in History
Q: Think of a famous character in American literature. Change each letter in that character's name to its position in the alphabet — A=1, B=2, etc. — to get a famous year in American history. Who is this person and what is the year?
The author was born shortly after the famous year.

Edit: Herman Melville was born in 1819.
A: (Captain) AHAB --> (War of) 1812

1. Cocktail hint: White Russian

2. Musical clue: Led Zeppelin

1. Naturally I would counter with Elton or Leon.

2. I can think of another musical clue but it would be TMI.

3. Ahab, 1812. (Led Zeppelin's second album had an instrumental called "Moby Dick".)

3. Thinking of a nameless horror.

4. Too bad Aida isn't American. Would've had it straight away. I'll get some coffee and keep at it.

5. Reminds me of a movie my DH likes watching every summer. --Margaret G.

6. About 1200 correct entries last week.

7. A connection to a recent puzzle.

1. (A Tchaikovsky reference, since Tchaikovsky was mentioned on this blog during the week of the Pachelbel puzzle.)

8. This comment has been removed by the author.

1. Oh okay.
I bet there was a better way to have done that -- I didn't think too hard about obscuring it because I figure all Blainesvillagers will get this one fast.

Alright then: I bet Will Shortz loves this author.

9. The first character I thought of...

10. Can't believe how E Z

11. Pretty simple once I gave up on Aggf. Starting to worry about Will.

12. I had an advantage on this puzzle: I am right now reading the book in which the character is depicted, my eleventh or so time through the work. Advance the first letter of the character’s name two letters in the alphabet, rearrange, and you get something musical.

1. Oh nice. And that clue has a close connection with a recent puzzle!

2. Good for you! We should all be so up on our classics!

3. Nice, although there ALREADY WAS a close connection with a recent puzzle!

13. Over/under infinity or so.

14. A bit of dÃ©jÃ  vu with this one. Also worried about Will.

15. Take another character from the same book. Rearrange to get two alkaline substances.

16. I've already set a deadline I'm going to try to beat for solving next week's puzzle.

17. Take a 2-word phrase for the book’s titular character, rearrange, and get two words for a conveyance and something it needs to function.

18. This was so easy that just stating the puzzle verged on TMI.

19. Dumb puzzle.

What's in a name?

20. James Agee was a famous character in American literature. 1755 was a big year in the French and Indian War, the Expulsion of the Acadians began, and Nathan Hale was born.

1. Oh, true -- and, he was a character (although with a pseudonym) in his own A Death in the Family!
Good alternative answer. Let's have our own puzzle contest this week to see if we can come up with more. Great start.

2. Adib Khan is an Australian novelist, but unfortunately he doesn't seem to share a first name with any American literary characters of note.

3. 1741: Jonathan Edwards delivers "Sinners at the Hands of an Angry God"; Benedict Arnold is born... But I guess Agda, a character in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, isn't really famous.
Oh, and anyway Douglas Adams is a Brit!

4. If we can count comic books: Reg, short for Reggie Mantle from the Archie comics, equals 1857. That's the year James Buchanan became the 15th U.S. president, and the Dred Scott decision was made, largely considered to be the worst Supreme Court decision in history.

5. Tom Sawyer's brother Sid equals 1994, the year that the O. J. Simpson murders occurred.

6. Red Ryder and the Kansas-Nebraska Act?

21. Is there any point in even clueing this? If so, all digits equal two digits.

23. Just heard the broadcast of the puzzle segment. Hope Will is all right.

1. Ayesha's been out, too, but Will is in his 70s. Concurrent vacations maybe? Or, in Will's case, a honeymoon?

24. Is "The Mighty Ducks" considered "literature"?

25. Didn't even need a cup of coffee to solve this one.

1. I prefer my coffee to be as dark and bitter as my soul

2. Yes, wine dark and coffee darker!

3. Ooooooh. Very nice! And literary!

4. Starbuck(s) & the wine-dark sea :).

26. OK, fill in the blanks: a famous composer whose name scores 2 more than that year - an author with the same surname - his bestseller - a bird in the title - the Russian word for that bird - another famous composer - his famous composition - that year

27. I'll bet the combination on DA Willis's cashbox is more complex.

28. There is a connection to Star Trek. I'll say no more, lest I reveal too much

29. I have 2 answers. They both have a connection to the same recent puzzle.

1. My answers are Ahab (1812) and Aida (1941). Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture and Verdi's Aida are both related to the Pachelbel puzzle about composers.

30. Well, this took longer than Break Room - Rake Broom. Hope Will is doing OK, and not about to give up the spear.

31. I wonder what NPR and WS are hiding.

32. I don't mean to harp on some of you with your give-away clues, but enuff already.

1. I see what you did there, TomR. Here, the item you hinted at is a portmanteau.

2. Nicely done, TomR.

3. TomR, bravo.

Here's a favorite portmanteau: ERROGANT: when you're completely wrong but totally certain about it.

33. Well, that was very quick and easy. Unlike the piece of literature the character hails from.

34. Will Shortz may me absent, but we are still getting poor quality puzzles. I did discover another answer that is far more elegant. It is also for a book I have not read, but am aware of.

35. I finally solved it. Shame on me for being stumped.

36. Question: Can you use letters that are in two digit positions and then use each digit individually?

1. Not sure exactly what you're asking. But, C=3, L=12, A=1, R=18, and K=11, so CLARK=31211811, which clearly isn't a year in American history.

2. But could 18 be the one letter R or two letters A & H?

3. That is for us to figure out. I suggest reading the puzzle carefully.

37. Nah, KISS. I lived in a town in upstate NY, that a lot of people, unfortunately, don't know is associated with this author.

1. I meant that to be an answer to CAP, as well as a general comment.

38. jan, and others,
Ray finally got around to posting the answer to the chess puzzle, but did not explain it very clearly. He also left out that the pawn had to capture a black piece in order to advance to that square.

1. Agreed, sdb. Not a very complete answer. Thank you for pointing out the puzzler last week. It was more fun than either of the NPR puzzles from the last two weeks.

2. Yes, the puzzler asks what was the move that put the Black king in check? Saying the pawn advanced to the last row does not say what the move had to be. The White pawn in fact could have proceeded straight to the last row and become a knight, which would also place the king in check, but not solve the puzzle as stated. It might have even been more elegant had it been stated that way though.

39. I can “see a” connection of the titular character to a presidential candidate, or is it “Sia” connection? Unfortunately, she’s Australian and not a character from American literature, though I think 1991 was the start of the Gulf War.

40. Got it! The answer was nowhere near as elusive as I'd feared.
pjbLiked["SPARKLEGIG"'S]LatestOn-AirPuzzle,BTW(SeeLastWeek'sMentionOfMr.PliskaForAnExplanation)

41. There's a connection to a Holmes, but not Sherlock or Mycroft or either Oliver Wendell.

1. HH, that's a. Killer of a clue

42. Is ditch digging considered a labor of glove?

1. Not if you are a callous person.

2. I am more of a Callas person.

3. Nodd, thanks for reminding me of an incident I forgot about. Back in 1963, when I was 18 and arrived at Fort Ord, California for Basic Training, we all spent an initial week of preparation in what they call Reception Company, where we got uniforms, shots, our heads shaved, medical exams, tests, and yelled at a lot. One afternoon about a dozen of us recruits were standing outside listening to a sergeant, who was most likely about to retire, talking to us about the army, but I do not remember what it was, other than he seemed to be bragging. Anyway, he said something about how you could tell if a man worked for a living or was a snowflake simply by looking at his hands. He wanted to show us that we were not real men yet, or something like that. In order to back up what he was telling us he looked directly at me and told me to open my hands, palms up with fingers extended. He wanted to show how our hands would look if they hand done nothing more difficult than brushing our teeth. I was chosen because I was standing close to him and looked like I was no more than 14 years old. I had always looked younger than my actual age, and with my hair shaved that only increased, plus I weighed only 145 pounds. What he did not know was that just prior to my enlisting I had been working for the owner of a house on my paper route to help him dig underneath for the basement he was building. It was very hard work and my hands quickly developed major callouses. So when I offered up my hands so all could see how soft I was it quickly backfired on our sergeant, who immediately stopped talking, turned and walked away as we were snickering.

4. That's really interesting and satisfying story, sdb!

5. Thank you ViolinTeddy, I had intended to include this incident in my memoir of my 3 years in the peacetime part of the army I was in. Not sure I will ever finish it because I doubt anyone would be interested in my stories. I keep thinking about it though. It comes easily to me when I begin writing. I began with a short piece about a guy falling on a grenade on purpose in order to save those who hated him. I love that chapter, but it is not easy to get published these days unless you have already been published. I think there may be a book that explains that more eloquently. Catch 22 does seem to have legs, doesn't it? If they do not advertise your book, it is doubtful it will sell. This is only too well demonstrated by the wonderful new book, A Woman I Know. It was researched for more than a decade, and not even intended, but kind of blossomed out of strange happenings along the way. It also is about the JFK assassination, and may appear to be just another conspiracy story, but it is nothing of the kind. I wish it would thrive because it is important for us to know if the CIA was involved in his murder. If so, it could even more easily happen again.

6. Yes, the Warren Commission tried to ditch that grave subject. It's fortunate that you and others remain trenchant in demanding that it be laid to rest.

7. That reminds me of a group of gravediggers up in Saskatoon, Canada, who would always whistle a casket tune while performing their function.

8. Yuk yuk! On a roll, you are.

43. A rearrangement of the digits of the year can be translated into the name of another character in American literature associated with another significant year in American history.

1. I'd be interested to know that.

2. Nice one, Paul. I can feel it.

3. 1812 -> 8112 -> HAL (from Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey)
9-11-2001 resides in infamy along with 12-7-1941.
AÃ¯da Ferrari is a character in Seveneves, which is so famous I was completely unaware of it last Sunday. (But I appreciate the palindrome.)
I hope to solve the new puzzle by 1:15 PM this coming Sunday. That's 13:15 (military time) on 2-25, I.e. MOBY.

44. Lego should do guest host stints while the dust settles. Blaine too.

45. This was easy! Bring on The Montreal Cognitive Assessment, I'll ace that too.

46. The pool of answer possibilities is pretty shallow unless American literature existed in years that have more than 4 digits!!???..... how is this a weekly puzzle? Can't imagine not having a huge amount of correct answers for this.

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48. ...all the way from the bank

49. But does Lego accept the nomination?

50. Let us not be hasty. We might be well advised to wait a bit and see how generous the doctors are in giving him time enough to finish paying his bill.

51. Got it quickly. I hope they call me this week.

52. Well, now that most of us have solved the puzzle, it's time for a dive into reality. Danny Masterson was attacked recently in Corcoan prison in CA. He has been moved to San Luis Obispo, a "level three" facility. There was a "green light" on him ( a license to do bodily injury) issued by the Gay Boy Gangsters, a misfit prison gang made up of gay prisoners who hate sex offenders. Apparently, however, it was another gang with the initials BBC that got him. Any comments?

1. Never heard of him. Have you discussed this with Bill Cosby? My sex offender friends just don't call me any more these days.

2. SDB after that tequila fueled night in Tijuana, who can blame them.

3. TomR, I do not watch TV and do not know anything at all about this, so I really cannot comment.

53. I am surprised no one here has discovered the more elusive, but far better solution to this puzzle. I should be easy to solve; it was for me.

54. Buck Bard-
Sarah Lucy Oliver is out of the office now. Her automated reply suggested we send to: weekendteam@npr.org
I emailed my alternate answer to her.

55. The date's good, but is this person truly a character in "American" literature? That's why I didn't send it in along with the intended solution.

1. I would say yes. I have not read the book, but it is all over the internet along with study guides, etc. If Tonto is a character in American lit, then so is this person. I cannot say more until the deadline.

56. For those wondering about Will: https://www.inklingsnews.com/b/2024/02/13/renowned-host-will-shortz-returns-to-crossword-puzzle-contest/

1. I am not sure that is correct. Next date: Fri, Apr 5, 2024 – Sun, Apr 7, 2024. That is what I found online. Also, in the past NPR always said when he was going to this event.

2. I now understand that above one is different, but the one you are referring to was already held Saturday and Sunday February 3 and 4, 2024. So where is he now?

3. My apologies - I thought it was a recent enough link, not realizing that it was published well after the event.

57. I've been paying more attention to the increasing problem of global warming and the eventual costs involved in dealing with it. For instance; will it become too hot for the Kentucky Derby to continue? I suspect the owners will be forced into pooling their racehorses.

58. Will frozen embryos now be included in the national census? If so how will this affect the House of Representatives? If one is older than 35 years can he/she run for President?

1. After 18 years in the freezer, they can buy guns. But they can be claimed as dependents immediately.

2. Yum yum, more food stamps.

3. We've got to stop them at the border!

4. My wife posted a link on Facebook to the CNN story about the Alabama Supreme Court's decision, and her account was put on "restricted" status by Facebook for 3 days because her "account activity didn't follow our Community Standards."

5. I guess they won't allow them if they are too high.

6. Birthdays are such a bother. I can never decide what to get a frozen embryo.

7. A birthday would be a great gift for a frozen embryo.

8. Now I have the title for my next book. For Womb The Bell Tolls.

9. Or maybe, The Embryo Who Came In From The Cold.

10. Ice cream cake!

59. Let's not egg them on.

60. Sdb and Jan: My wife, who is “enchanted” by your comments, asks if she might post them on Facebook but of course without your user IDs or the blog’s name. She’ll understand if you say no.

2. Dr. K,
Absolutely! And feel free to use my name, handle, photo, bank account, rap sheet, and anything else too. (Oh, not my car.)
I do not use Facebook, but I don't mind anyone using my stuff and posting it there. I cannot stand Mark Zuckerberg though.

3. From my wife: Many thanks.

4. I s-ovary much appreciate all the nice comments.

5. How do we go about obtaining birth certificates for our dear frozen embryos? Stay cool my darlings.

6. Well, you want to do something nice for them; they've spent their whole lives (?) in a freezer. How about a trip? But you need to keep them cold. Why not book them a trip on the Trans-Siberian Railroad? Make sure you get a sleeper car; it's impossible to sleep on those coaches. Hold on to that ticket! That's your berth certificate!

7. Nah. Daddy's little squirts are just fine being immobile in Mobile.

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Jillis Gagger

1. Spoonerize "Jillis Gagger" to get "Gillis Jagger"
The first name of Gillis is "Dobie"
The first name of Jagger is "Mick"
Spoonerize "Dobie Mick" to get what sounds like "Moby Dick!"

LegoSaysToCallMe"Ishmael(ButIs"Ishmael"AkinTo"JunkMail"?)

63. Note: I am posting this Puzzleria! Preview earlier than usual because I shall be "on the road again."
Ready for some prime-time puzzling? Our friend Nodd is. This week's Puzzleria! features his "Nodd ready for prime time" puzzle-package – a half-dozen eggs-pertly crafted bafflers that are 1) Suitable, 2) Digital, 3) Mythical, 4) Rangy, 5) Differential, and even 6) Poetic!
We'll upload this week's Puzzleria! sometime later today, before Midnight PST.
* a Schpuzzle of the Week titled "Acts of the Apostle Islands?"
* a Scrapping The Chaps Hors d’Oeuvre titled "Bend, shape and cause curvature,"
* a Dawn Quiche-Hymny Slice of Puzzle entitled "Jimmy a door, adore a Jenny,"
* a More Mundane Dessert titled “ ‘Everyday’ prime time property,” and
* eleven riff-offs of this week's NPR Puzzle titled "??, ??andon ? ???it!" (question marks inserted so as not to be blog-administered). Nodd, ViolinTeddy and Plantsmith each contributed a riff to our 11-riff mix this week.

LegoWhoOpinesThatNodd'sTeasinglyPleasingPuzzlesDeserveMuchMoreThanOurMere"Nodding"Approval!

64. AHAB, 1812

"What's in a name?" >>> He is rebuked by one of his colleagues, who points out that "He did not name himself."

65. Ahab, 1812

Last Sunday I said, “All digits equal two digits.” That is, the sum of 1 + 8 + 1 + 2 = 12, the last two digits.

/Winner/
Ahab, major character from the novel, Moby Dick, by American author, Melville, letter counterparts 1812, War of 1812

/Also Ran/
Aida, major character from the opera, Aida, by Italian composer, Verdi, letter counterparts 1941, US entry into WWII

/Also Ran/
Agda, minor character from the novel, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by English author, Adams, letter counterparts1741, New York Conspiracy of 1741 (Also called the Slave Insurrection of 1741

66. Captain AHAB, from Melville's Moby Dick → The War of 1812 with Great Britain.

67. AHAB 1812 > from Moby Dick

Alternate Answer: RAB 1812 > from Johnny Tremain

I right away thought of 1812, and Ishmael also came to mind, but not Ahab. That took me a moment longer because I never read the book. However I did watch the movie, starring Gregory Peck, that inspired George Santos to write the novel. I just could not bring myself to read a book about a bunch of sissy men going around blubbering all day.

I never read the novel, Johnny Tremain either, nor did I watch the movie, but I did some Google researching after coming up with Rab and finding it did fit as he was as important a character in that book as the titular character. In fact it appears from what I read in some online study notes that Rab was Tremain’s higher self, so to speak. They were best friends, but also opposites and Tremain eventually comes to embody his friend in regard to how he had looked up to him. The book won awards and Disney made it into a color movie which they first showed in theaters and later on television.

“In the book Johnny Tremain, Rab Silsbee is not a real historical person. He is a fictional character created by the author. Rab plays a vital role in shaping ...” Homework.study.com

68. Ahab....1812

Since the, “Puzzle,” was so easy I opted not to post a hint.
Some of the comments I chose not to post:
Weigh too easy.
Doesn’t have a leg to stand on.
Solved without my morning coffee.
Any Nantucket limerick…

69. AHAB —> 1812

This was an easy puzzle, but I had an unfair advantage since I’ve taught Moby-Dick and, like Rob, have read it multiple times. Several years ago, I answered a 7-day, book-a-day challenge to list works that were (and continue to be) important to me. Moby-Dick was my Day 3 selection. So it was not surprising that, like some others here, I thought of Ahab instantly.

My literary hint: “[N]ameless horror” is one of Melville-Ishmael’s key phrases in Ch. 42, “The Whiteness of the Whale.”

My nonliterary hint: “Take a 2-word phrase for the book’s titular character, rearrange, and get two words for a conveyance and something it needs to function.”
SPERM WHALE —> PRAM, WHEELS

I considered many other hints but, except for the two listed above, every one of them—e.g., Ahab’s revealing phrase “linked analogies”—was TMI, so I decided not to post them.

A question: Was the connection to a previous puzzle mentioned by some the passage in Melville’s book about Cape Tormentoso, i.e., to the recent “mentor-tormentor” puzzle?

Paul’s spinoff was terrific: (1812 —> 8-1-12) Hal and 2001. Well done, Paul. “Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do….”

In an 1851 letter to his friend Hawthorne, Melville impishly wrote, “I have written a wicked book, and feel spotless as the lamb.”

70. AHAB (1812)

> Call me, Will! [deleted]

But don't call me Ishmael.

>> I don't mean to harp on some of you with your give-away clues, but enuff already.
> I see what you did there, TomR. Here, the item you hinted at is a portmanteau.

The Harpoon Brewery in Boston was started by a group of Harvard alums, and named for the HARvard lamPOON.

71. I wrote, "Advance the first letter of the character’s name two letters in the alphabet, rearrange, and you get something musical.” AHAB ---> CHAB ---> BACH.

1. Hum BACH! ... The sequence I asked for:
o Bach a famous composer whose name scores 2 more than that year
o Richard Bach an author with the same surname
o Johathan Livingston Seagull his bestseller
o seagull a bird in the title
o chaika the Russian word for that bird
o (t)Chaikovsky another famous composer (his name means "of a seagull")
o 1812 Overture his famous composition
o 1812 that year

72. AHAB; 1812. My hint: White Russian. (White whale, 1812 Overture.

73. 1812, Ahab
I wrote: A bit of dÃ©jÃ  vu with this one. It reminded me of Blaine's hint of Tchaikovsky from a few weeks ago and the 1812 Overture.

74. AHAB, 1812.

Ahoy!

1. My clue was ...all the way from the bank

As in "I was laughing ...all the way TO the bank," which could be written as BAHA.

And thus "...all the way FROM the bank" could be BAHA backwards, or AHAB.

75. Dr. K,
Have you read the 1949 Pulitzer Prize novel: Guard Of Honor, by James Gould Cozzens?

1. Sdb, no, I haven’t. But you may be interested to know that in about 2 hours we’ll be at the Itzhak Perlman concert. I cozen you not.

2. Sounds like fun. Night before last I attended Meany Auditorium for the Lu Han Trio.

76. Good luck next week everyone.

1. Did you get the call?

77. Clue not posted (due to risk of TMI): “Polo maker.”
Ralph Lauren, aka RL (R = 18, L = 12).

1. The name's Lifshitz.

78. Ahab (1812) or Aida (1941)

Ahab is a character in Moby Dick. 1812 is like The War of 1812. Aida is a character in an opera. 1941 is when the US entered WWII.

79. As others have already noted, Ahab, 1812.

My hint was "There's a connection to a Holmes, but not Sherlock or Mycroft or either Oliver Wendell."
Whom I had in mind was Anna Holmes, who founded the web site Jezebel.
Jezebel was the wife of Ahab, who was a king of Israel (the northern of the two Jewish kingdoms in biblical times).

80. My clue (after I deleted my TMI "Call me unimpressed") was
"I bet Will Shortz loves this author."
Because Melville also wrote TYPEE and OMOO, which crossword constructors just love!

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82. AHAB("Moby Dick" captain), 1812(War of 1812)

83. This comment has been removed by the author.

84. This comment has been removed by the author.

85. This week's challenge comes to us from listener Eric Berlin of Milford, Connecticut. Take the word SETS. You can add a three-letter word to this twice to get a common phrase: SPARE PARTS. Can you now do this with the word GENIE, add a three-letter word to it twice to get a common phrase. Again, start with GENIE, insert a three-letter word twice, get a common phrase.

1. I feel like I've seen this before

86. And it looks like we've got Greg Pliska instead of Will Shortz again this week.

87. Just got it. Waiting for Blaine...

88. Musical clue . . . nah!

89. About 2400 correct entries this week.

90. Great job, on-air player and fellow Cantabrigian Tom Gould, if you're on this blog!

91. Shuffle, repeat.

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.