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Blaine's Puzzle Blog



Weekly discussion on the NPR puzzler, brain teasers, math problems and more.



Updated: 2018-04-25T14:46:54.159-07:00

 



NPR Sunday Puzzle (Mar 4, 2018): Landmark Puzzle

2018-03-10T16:04:17.436-08:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Mar 4, 2018): Landmark Puzzle:
Q: Name a famous singer — first and last names. Change the last three letters of each name to an E and you'll name a well-known landmark. What is it?
"Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."

Edit: The actual quote from Forrest Gump is "Life was like a box of chocolates...". The phenomenon where a large number of people incorrectly remember a past event is called the Mandela Effect. Whitney Houston sang for Nelson Mandela at a White House dinner in his honor in October 1994.
A: WHITney HOUSton --> WHITE HOUSE



NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 28, 2018): Last Name is a Well-Known Brand

2018-02-04T06:30:56.079-08:00

Sunday Puzzle: Can You Keep Up? : NPR:
Q: Name a famous actor — first and last names. The last name is a well-known brand. Drop the last letter of the first name and you'll get the kind of product it's a brand of. Who is it?
Are you looking for a clue? Well you won't find it here.

Edit: "These are not the clues you are looking for..." :)
A: ALEC GUINNESS --> GUINNESS + ALE



NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 7, 2018): Take the Wheel

2018-01-14T07:32:52.014-08:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 7, 2018): Take the Wheel:
Q: Take the first and last names of a journalist well-known to NPR listeners. Remove the first letter of the last name. The remaining letters can be rearranged to spell two modes of transport. And here's a hint: The modes of transport have the same number of wheels. Who is the journalist, and what are the modes of transport?
The NPR puzzle most often involves names, lists or anagrams, so why not start the year with a puzzle involving all 3?

Edit: If you had 3 wheels and you took 1 away...
A: COKIE ROBERTS --> BIKE, SCOOTER



NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 31, 2017): Wrapping Up the Year

2018-01-06T10:22:17.107-08:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 31, 2017): Wrapping Up the Year:
Q: Name a famous singer — 3 letters in the first name, 5 letters in the last. Drop the middle letter of the last name and rearrange the result to name a variety of singing group. What is it?
I think it works equally well if you put the letter back in.

Edit: I can't say I care much for a boy band; I'd call them a boy bland.
A: BOB DYLAN --> BOY BAND



NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sep 24, 2017): What to Name the Baby

2017-09-28T21:53:20.977-07:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sep 24, 2017): What to Name the Baby:
Q: Think of a familiar 6-letter boy's name starting with a vowel. Change the first letter to a consonant to get another familiar boy's name. Then change the first letter to another consonant to get another familiar boy's name. What names are these?
Don't worry; even if you don't have the answer now, you still have until Thursday at 2:59 pm ET. But don't wait any longer than that. And especially don't go on vacation.

If you were to submit your answer at 2:59 pm, you'd be just in time. The last time this puzzle was used (July 27, 2014), I was on vacation.
A: AUSTIN, DUSTIN, JUSTIN



NPR Sunday Puzzle (July 2, 2017): Girls and Cars

2017-07-09T06:54:04.506-07:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (July 2, 2017): Girls and Cars:
Q: Think of a common girl's name. Write it in all capital letters. Rotate one of these letters 90 degrees and another of the letters 180 degrees. The result will name a make of a car. What is it?
And if you take one letter in the make of a car and turn it 90 degrees and another letter is turned 180 degrees the result is a fish.

Edit: A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
A: WANDA --> MAZDA



NPR Sunday Puzzle (June 25, 2017): Deranged Kim Kardashian

2017-07-02T06:07:44.534-07:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (June 25, 2017): Deranged Kim Kardashian:
Q: Take the name KIM KARDASHIAN. Rearrange the letters to get the last name of a famous actress along with a famous one-named singer. Who are these people?
My hint this week --> HfHN:AGBfER

Edit: Both actress and singer appeared on Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief.
A: (Nicole) KIDMAN and SHAKIRA



NPR Sunday Puzzle (June 4, 2017): Another Two-Word Cities Puzzle

2017-06-11T06:14:47.146-07:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (June 4, 2017): Another Two-Word Cities Puzzle:
Q: Name a well-known U.S. city with two words in its name. The second word sounds like the last name of a famous 20th-century writer. The first word is something found in virtually every work of this author. What is the city, and who is the author?
I'd say the first word describes the complete works of this author, not just most.

Edit: corpus (n.)
1 : the body of a human or animal especially when dead.
2 : all the writings or works especially the complete works of an author.
A: CORPUS CHRISTI --> Agatha CHRISTIE and CORPUS



NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 28, 2017): Fancy Math?

2017-06-11T06:54:24.106-07:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 28, 2017): Fancy Math?:
Q: If ELI is 173, and LOIS is 5,107, how much is LESLIE?
The first person who says it's a little more than 5.3 million is getting banned.

Edit: Turn the name upside down and you get the number, but not 5,318,008.
A: LESLIE = 317,537



NPR Sunday Puzzle (Apr 16, 2017): A Runny Variety of Cheese Puzzle

2017-04-20T18:23:07.030-07:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Apr 16, 2017): A Runny Variety of Cheese Puzzle:
Q: A spoonerism is when you change the initial consonant sounds of two words in a phrase to get a new phrase. For example, "Tames Jailer" is a spoonerism of the singer James Taylor. "Spark Mitts" is a spoonerism of the swimmer Mark Spitz. The name of what famous entertainer — first and last names — has a two-word spoonerism meaning "A runny variety of cheese"?
I got caught up on "entertainer". That's not the first word I'd used to describe this person. Anyway, back to getting dressed for Easter.

Edit: My pants are a little loose, so I made sure to wear a black belt.
A: BRUCE LEE --> LOOSE BRIE



NPR Sunday Puzzle (Apr 2, 2017): Proper Name Anagrams

2017-04-09T06:00:08.456-07:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Apr 2, 2017): Proper Name Anagrams:
Q: Think of four 4-letter proper names that are all anagrams of each other. Two of them are first names — one male and one female. The other two are well-known geographical names. What names are these?
If I combine the first names I get a third person.

Edit: Liam Neeson and Mila Kunis starred together in the movie Third Person
A: LIAM, MILA, LIMA, MALI



NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 26, 2017): I'd Like to Buy a Vowel, Pat

2017-03-02T12:20:55.477-08:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 26, 2017): I'd Like to Buy a Vowel, Pat:
Q: Take five consecutive letters of the alphabet. Write them in left-to-right order. Insert five letters at certain spots. These will all go between the first and last given letters. The result will be a famous actor — first and last names. Who is it?
Typing test: "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country."

Edit: Men serving country was a hint to jury duty and "Twelve Angry Men". The other hint was "aid" which is a homophone of "ade" as in lemonade.
A: JKLMN --> Jack Lemmon



NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 15, 2017): Gods of Comedy

2017-01-22T06:28:47.671-08:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 15, 2017): Gods of Comedy:
Q: Take the first and last names of a famous comedian. The first three letters of the first name and the first letter of the last name, in order, spell the name of a god in mythology. The fourth letter of the first name and the second through fourth letters of the last name, in order, spell the name of another god. Who's the comedian, and what gods are these?
Here's a long list of comedians and a list of gods to help you out.

Edit: The antonym of long is...
A: MARTIN SHORT --> MARS, THOR



NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 8, 2017): The Cat's Away...

2017-01-15T07:00:09.601-08:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 8, 2017): The Cat's Away...

I'm unable to post the puzzle this week, but I didn't want to leave you without a place to post comments on the puzzle. Somebody help me out by posting a copy here. Then feel free to add your *hints*.

Here's my standard reminder... don't post the answer or any outright spoilers before the deadline of Thursday at 3pm ET. If you know the answer, click the link and submit it to NPR, but don't give it away here. Thank you.

Update:
Q: Think of a two-word phrase you might see on a clothing label. Add two letters to the end of the first word, and one letter to the end of the second word. The result is the name of a famous writer. Who is it?
A: VIRGIN WOOL --> VIRGINIA WOOLF



NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 1, 2017): Start the Year with a Word Square Puzzle

2017-01-15T06:56:51.147-08:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 1, 2017): Start the Year with a Word Square Puzzle:
Q: Take the four-letter men's names TODD, OMAR, DAVE and DREW. If you write them one under the other, they'll form a word square, spelling TODD, OMAR, DAVE and DREW reading down as well.

Can you construct a word square consisting of five five-letter men's names? Any such square using relatively familiar men's names will count. Will has an answer using four relatively common names and one less familiar one.
This list of 5-letter names or this list of 5-letter boys names should help you get started.
A: Will's intended answer was:
KEMAL
EMILE
MILAN
ALAIN
LENNY

One of the many possible answers, and the answer of the person chosen to play on the air was:
ABRAM
BLANE
RANDY
ANDRE
MEYER



NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 18, 2016): Adding Historical Figures

2016-12-25T08:55:07.500-08:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Dec 18, 2016): Adding Historical Figures:
Q: Take the initials and last names of two opposing historical figures. Add a C and mix all the letters together. You'll get the title and last name of another historical figure from approximately the same era. Who are these people?
I'll just leave this space empty.

Edit: Custer's last stand was at Little Bighorn, MT (Montana).
A: U.S. GRANT + R.E. LEE + C --> GENERAL CUSTER



NPR Sunday Puzzle (Nov 27, 2016): Sporty Actress

2016-12-01T12:01:15.237-08:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Nov 27, 2016): Sporty Actress:
Q: Take the first name of a famous actress. Drop a letter. Rearrange what's left, and you'll get a word used in a particular sport. This actress's last name, without any changes, is another word used in the same sport. What actress is it?
Sorry to drop the ball, but I've got nothing.

Edit: As others have noted, a similar version of this puzzle was presented in March 2007 - Best S'porting Actress. As for me, I guess I just threw a gutter ball this week. :)
A: KIRSTIE ALLEY --> STRIKE, ALLEY



NPR Sunday Puzzle (Oct 30, 2016): Name in the News

2016-11-06T08:50:11.843-08:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Oct 30, 2016): Name in the News:
Q: Think of a name in the news that has a doubled letter. It's a person's last name. Change that doubled letter to a different doubled letter, and you'll get the commercial name for a popular food. What is it?
A: (Evan) MCMULLIN --> MCMUFFIN



NPR Sunday Puzzle (Oct 9, 2016): Grabbing a Bite to Eat Before the Movie

2016-10-16T05:06:31.750-07:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Oct 9, 2016): Grabbing a Bite to Eat Before the Movie:
Q: Name a famous actress of the past — first and last names, 10 letters altogether. Change one letter in the first name and one letter in the last. The result is a two-word phrase naming a food item often found in a kitchen cabinet or refrigerator. What is it?
I was looking into the yard and the answer came to me.

Edit: Obviously I was looking out the "Rear Window"
A: GRACE KELLY --> GRAPE JELLY



NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 21, 2016): Name that Rhyme

2016-09-04T06:17:20.297-07:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 21, 2016): Name that Rhyme:
Q: Name a famous person with the initials B.S. and another famous person with the initials G.M. — whose first and last names, respectively, rhyme with each other. One of the names has one syllable and one has two syllables. Who are these famous people?
I'd rather be reminiscing about my vacation.

Edit:The song Reminiscing mentions Glenn Miller, and during American Idol's 2007 broadcast of Idol Gives Back, Ben Stiller jokingly threatened to sing the song nonstop until $200 billion in donations was achieved.



NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 7, 2016): All that Glitters is not Gold

2016-08-07T06:18:22.021-07:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 7, 2016): All that Glitters is not Gold:
Q: Name a famous Olympics champion past or present — first and last names. Remove every letter from the name that appears exactly twice. The remaining letters in order will name certain minerals. Who is this Olympics star?
You've probably figured this out already, so you don't need my help this week.



NPR Sunday Puzzle (July 17, 2016): Mixed-up American Politicians

2016-07-24T07:31:36.362-07:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (July 17, 2016): Mixed-up American Politicians:
A: Name a prominent American politician — first and last names, 11 letters total. Rearrange these letters, and you'll get a country plus the former name of another country. Who's the politician, and what countries are these?
A: NANCY PELOSI --> SPAIN, CEYLON



NPR Sunday Puzzle (June 5, 2016): Pack your Bags

2016-06-12T06:12:07.413-07:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (June 5, 2016): Pack your Bags:
Q: Name a famous actor — seven-letter first name, four-letter last name. Take four consecutive letters from the first name and three consecutive letters from the last name. These seven letters, in order from left to right, will name something that's often packed nowadays when taking a trip. What is it?
I like to travel to see the world.

Edit: "See world" sounds like "SeaWorld" which is in San Diego, home of the San Diego Chargers.
A: RICHARD GERE --> CHARGER



NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 22, 2016): Another Household Item

2016-05-28T23:14:45.939-07:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 22, 2016): Another Household Item:
Q: Name a common household item in 6 letters. Change the middle two letters to a P, and you'll get the 5-letter last name of a famous person who professionally used that item. What's the item, and who's the person?
Is pectin a household item used professionally by Chef Jacques Pépin?
A: CAMERA --> CAPRA



NPR Sunday Puzzle (April 24, 2016): Drugstore Singer

2016-05-01T06:14:46.649-07:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (April 24, 2016): Drugstore Singer:
Q: Name a famous singer — first and last names. The last four letters of the first name spelled backward plus the first four letters of the last name spelled forward ... read together, in order, name a section of products in a drugstore. What is it?
At a minimum we need a name like BURL IVES, with four letters in each name.

Edit: Burl Ives was in the musical "Paint Your Wagon" and sang "They Call the Wind Maria". The song was the inspiration for Mariah Carey's name.
A: MARIAH CAREY --> HAIR CARE