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Preview: Blaine's Puzzle Blog

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 (Apr 15, 2018): Country Scramble

2018-04-20T20:42:59.916-07:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Apr 15, 2018): Country Scramble:
Q: The letters of SWITZERLAND can be rearranged to spell LIZARD and NEWTS — LIZARD being the singular name of an animal, and NEWTS a plural. Name another country with this same property. That is, name another country whose letters can be rearranged to spell two animals — one singular and one plural. It's a major country. What country is it?
I can't say this puzzle sounds very new.

Edit: The puzzle from February had the answer of NEW MEXICO where you dropped the W and got MICE, OXEN.
A: MEXICO --> MICE, OX



NPR Sunday Puzzle (Mar 18, 2018): How Now, Brown Cow

2018-03-22T12:31:36.285-07:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Mar 18, 2018): How Now, Brown Cow:
Q: Think of a popular two-word song title in 7 letters. If you have the right one, you can rearrange the letters to name an animal and the sound it makes. What is it? Here's a hint: The title is in a foreign language.
Edit: I don't usually like having the picture being my clue but I realized when I picked the photo it was already pointing to a sheep.
A: LA BAMBA --> LAMB, BAA



NPR Sunday Puzzle (Mar 11, 2018): I'm Too Sexy (for my Shirt)

2018-03-15T21:35:30.593-07:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Mar 11, 2018): I'm Too Sexy (for my Shirt):
Q: Name a common article of apparel in 3 letters and another in 4 letters. Rearrange all 7 letters to name a well-known three-word song title. What is it?
Kudos to the PM for a solid puzzle this week. My hint? I don't care for lime-flavored Jello.

Edit: PM may stand for Puzzle Master, or Paul McCartney. Let it Be is an EP released by American comedy metal/punk act Green Jellö in 1984.
A: TIE + BELT --> LET IT BE



NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 25, 2018): United States of Mammals

2018-03-01T12:51:55.524-08:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 25, 2018): United States of Mammals:
Q: Name a place in the United States that contains a W. Drop the W, and you can rearrange the remaining letters to name two types of mammals, each in the plural form. What place is it, and what are the mammals?
I was going to provide a crass clue but decided against it.

Edit: Crass Clue is an anagram of Las Cruces (New Mexico) which is where the puzzle submitter is from.
A: NEW MEXICO - W --> MICE, OXEN



NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 11, 2018): Put Your Back Into It

2018-02-17T17:24:54.672-08:00

Sunday Puzzle (Feb 11, 2018): Put Your Back Into It:
Q: Name part of the human body in six letters. Add an R and rearrange the result to name a part of the body in seven letters. What are they?
I went through three ENTIRE lists until I figured out the answer.

Edit: The first *3* letters of ENTIRE are ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat)
A: Tonsil and Nostril



NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 21, 2018): Ways to Get from Here to There

2018-02-11T06:50:58.917-08:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Jan 21, 2018): Ways to Get from Here to There:
Q: Take the name of a conveyance in seven letters. Drop the middle letter, and the remaining letters can be rearranged to name the place where such a conveyance is often used. What is it?
How close are you to the answer? Are you hot or cold?

Edit: You might see cable gondolas at a ski resort (cold) or gondola baskets below a balloon (hot). But most often you'll see them in the Venice Lagoon.
A: GONDOLA --> LAGOON



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 17, 2017): Back to School Puzzle

2017-09-21T12:18:57.365-07:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sep 17, 2017): Back to School Puzzle:
Q: This puzzle is for the new school year. Think of two antonyms, each in three letters. Set them side by side. In between them arrange the letters of TRY TO ACE in some order. The result will name someone at school. Who is it?
Don't make the mistake I did.

Edit: I originally thought all the letters had to be anagrammed, not just the ones in the middle. It was much easier to solve after that. And my hint was a reference to the quote, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" (or any of the numerous variations of that quote).
A: HISTORY TEACHER



NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 20, 2017): Don't Stare Directly at this Puzzle

2017-08-20T06:48:10.948-07:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 20, 2017): Don't Stare Directly at this Puzzle:
Q: Think of two synonyms — one in 5 letters, the other in 4. The 5-letter word starts with S. The 4-letter word contains an S. Change one of these Ss to an A. You can rearrange the result to name a group of people, in 9 letters, that ideally have those two adjectives describe them. What group is it?



NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 13, 2017): Watching Two-word TV Show Adds Character

2017-08-20T06:36:36.874-07:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 13, 2017): Watching Two-word TV Show Adds Character:

Q: Name a long-running TV show in two words. Add a C and rearrange the result to name another long-running TV show also in two words. What shows are these? And here's a hint: Both shows are currently on the air, although the second one was most popular the past.
The NPR website had last week's puzzle but now it's fixed! :)

Edit: My hints were the symbols ! and :) representing the exclamation point in the first show's title and the word "Smile" in the second shows tagline.
A: American Dad! and Candid Camera



NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 6, 2017): Inauguration Anagrams

2017-08-13T06:45:59.217-07:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Aug 6, 2017): Inauguration Anagrams:
Q: The word INAUGURATION contains the letters of GNU, GOAT, IGUANA, and AGOUTI, which are all animals. The name of what 9-letter animal can be spelled from the letters of INAUGURATION?
The 9-letter words I'm getting are RUINATION, URINATING and RATIONING. Other words are IGNORANT, RAINING, RANTING, RIOTING and ANGINA.
A: ORANGUTAN



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 (May 7, 2017): Medical Procedure Puzzle

2017-05-14T06:45:05.328-07:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 7, 2017): Medical Procedure Puzzle:
Q: Name a familiar medical procedure in nine letters. You can rearrange these letters to name two people who might get this procedure. The answer consists of informal names for these people. Who are they?
Using an anagram solver, I came up with an alternate pair of names. I'll tell you more next week.

Edit: The word "anagram" was a hint. And the alternate answer it came up with was MOMMA and GRAM.
A: MAMMOGRAM --> GRAMMA + MOM



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 (Mar 26, 2017): Kitchen Remodel

2017-03-30T15:00:40.781-07:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Mar 26, 2017): Kitchen Remodel:
Q: Name two things found in a kitchen — one starting with G, the other starting with K. If you have the right ones, you can rearrange the letters to name two other things, one of them found in the kitchen starting with F, the other one probably found elsewhere in the house starting with K. What things are these?
Anyone have an answer not involving a brand name?
A: GRIDDLE + KNIFE --> FRIDGE + KINDLE



NPR Sunday Puzzle (Mar 19, 2017): I (blank) you!

2017-03-26T09:15:57.642-07:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Mar 19, 2017): I (blank) you!:
Q: Think of a familiar phrase in the form "I ___ you," in which a four-letter word goes in the blank. Rearrange those letters and you'll get another familiar phrase in the form "I ___ you." Both phrases get more than half a million hits in a Google search. What phrases are these?
Lickin' chicken

Edit: "I read you lickin' chicken" -- military radio slang for "loud and clear."
A: I DARE YOU (~542,000 results), I READ YOU (~577,000 results)



NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 12, 2017): Having Fun in the Kitchen

2017-02-16T12:12:53.013-08:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 12, 2017): Having Fun in the Kitchen:
Q: Name some things commonly seen on a kitchen table. Switch the positions of the fifth and sixth letters of the word, and read the result backward. You'll name two things commonly seen in a kitchen. What are they?
For us, practically everything ends up on the kitchen table, but maybe the rest of you have a "normal" amount of stuff to consider. It's all relative.

Edit: Well, perhaps I have everything but the kitchen SINK? My other hints were rest as in NAP and relative as in KIN.
A: NAPKINS --> SINK, PAN



NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 5, 2017): And They Lived Happily Ever After

2017-02-12T06:34:58.616-08:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 5, 2017): And They Lived Happily Ever After:
Q: Name a prominent figure in a fairy tale. Write this in all capital letters. Add a stroke to one letter and rearrange the result. You'll name another prominent figure in a fairy tale. What two fairy tale figures are these?
A: FROG —> OGRE



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 (Oct 2, 2016): What Do You Do?

2016-10-09T06:15:18.484-07:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Oct 2, 2016): What Do You Do?:
Q: Name an 11-letter occupation starting with H. If you have the right one, you can rearrange the letters to name two things a worker with this occupation uses — one in six letters and one in five. What occupation is it?
I came up with curtains and a towel, but that isn't right.

Edit: My clues were to shears (curtains) and a drier (towel).
A: HAIRDRESSER --> SHEARS + DRIER



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 (July 10, 2016): The Boys of Summer

2016-07-17T07:31:38.389-07:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (July 10, 2016): The Boys of Summer:
Q: Think of a phrase that denotes a particular major-league sports team in 12 letters. The first 6 letters are the same as the second 6 letters rearranged. What team is it?
A: THE MIAMI HEAT



NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 15, 2016): Creature Comforts

2016-05-22T08:00:07.224-07:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (May 15, 2016): Creature Comforts:
Q: Name a creature in nine letters. The name contains a T. Drop the T, and the remaining letters can be rearranged to spell two related modes of transportation. What are they?
A: BUTTERFLY --> UBER, LYFT



NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 28, 2016): Graphing is Where I Draw the Line

2016-03-03T12:20:29.239-08:00

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Feb 28, 2016): Graphing is Where I Draw the Line:
Q: What two eight-letter terms in math are anagrams of each other, one from geometry, one from calculus?
I'm just going to say initially you may be confused, but you'll get it.

Edit: The initial letters of the two words are I and T.
A: INTEGRAL and TRIANGLE