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#1
11-05-2007, 11:47 PM
 feppytweed Guest Join Date: Aug 2003
Tricky little word puzzle

My friend posed to me this little riddle:

Take a common 3 letter word, shift all letters 3 spaces, and the resulting word is a synonym for the first.

A hint was that it only uses the first half of the alphabet.
That would mean the second word has no A,B, or C in it, and the first word wouldn't have an N in it, for sure.

Any ideas?
#2
11-06-2007, 12:13 AM
 jackelope Guest Join Date: Sep 2001
Your friend is looking for help with this week's "Sunday Puzzle" from Will Shortz, on Shortz's weekly NPR radio show. Submitting the correct answer at this page gets you entered into a random drawing, the winner of which will appear on next week's show.

Your friend has also misstated the question slightly. The challenge is to take a common three-letter word, shift each letter three spaces forward (e.g., A becomes D), and then rearrange the resulting three letters to get a synonym for the original word. As you stated, all letters in both words are in the first half of the alphabet.

SPOILER:
FIB. You move each letter forward by three to get I-L-E. These can be rearranged to spell LIE, a synonym for FIB.

By the way, you can subscribe to the show's podcast here.

Last edited by jackelope; 11-06-2007 at 12:16 AM.
#3
11-06-2007, 12:19 AM
 feppytweed Guest Join Date: Aug 2003
Well damn. Had I known that little detail, I would've had it an hour ago. Thanks jackelope.
#4
11-06-2007, 12:25 AM
 commasense Charter Member Join Date: Mar 2003 Posts: 5,070
Working on my own, I had just come to the conclusion that that must be the solution, and that the OP had missed part of the puzzle.
#5
11-06-2007, 01:09 AM
 jackelope Guest Join Date: Sep 2001
By the way, here's how I solved it:

SPOILER:
Since the letters must be moved forward three spaces, and each word must contain at least one vowel:

The first word must contain an A, E, or I. Thus the second word must contain D, H, or L.

Also, the second word must contain a vowel, but it can't be A because the letter three spaces before it must be in the first half of the alphabet.

So:

First word contains A, E, or I.

Second word contains [D, H, or L] and [E or I].

Since I had two clues toward the second word and only one for the first, I started working on three-letter words that met the criteria for the second word, then worked backward from those to see what I'd get for the first word.

(This is what I do after the Sunday night football game: Listen to the podcast, then figure on it until I get it. Nerd Power!)
#6
11-06-2007, 06:35 AM
 twickster Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Moderator Join Date: Aug 2002 Location: Philadelphia Posts: 37,371
Quote:
 Originally Posted by jackelope By the way, here's how I solved it: (This is what I do after the Sunday night football game: Listen to the podcast, then figure on it until I get it. Nerd Power!)
**rises to feet and starts the ovation**
#7
11-06-2007, 11:25 AM
 Plynck Guest Join Date: Feb 2004
Quote:
 Originally Posted by jackelope Your friend is looking for help with this week's "Sunday Puzzle" from Will Shortz, on Shortz's weekly NPR radio show.
So, anyone ever submit a puzzle answer to Weekend Edition/Sunday? Anyone ever get chosen and played the on-air puzzle? Occasionally I'll get the weekly challenge before they finish giving the email submission address, sometimes it escapes me entirely, most of the time I work on it and solve it during the week. But I think that I have only submitted the answer twice (once by email, once by mail before they accepted email), and both times I sweated it out hoping that they would never call me and have me play on-air.

I mean, my bleary eyed Sunday morning is drinking a cup of coffee while shouting "You knucklehead!" at the person playing on-air. I don't want someone doing that to me!
#8
11-06-2007, 11:43 AM
 twickster Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Moderator Join Date: Aug 2002 Location: Philadelphia Posts: 37,371
I'm pretty sure they do the actual taping in advance, IIRC on Thursday afternoon.

twicks, who doesn't compete, but knows Will Shortz

Last edited by twickster; 11-06-2007 at 11:44 AM.
#9
11-06-2007, 01:28 PM
 jackelope Guest Join Date: Sep 2001
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Plynck So, anyone ever submit a puzzle answer to Weekend Edition/Sunday? Anyone ever get chosen and played the on-air puzzle?
I've submitted answers many times, but never been chosen. The first time I submitted was back in about 1994; back then you had to put your answer on a postcard and mail it in.

I'm not sure if I'm even eligible now, because my wife works for our local PBS TV station, and they're in the same building as the NPR station and have the same call letters. I keep submitting anyway, though.

(Thanks, twickster!)

ETA: Are we name-dropping? Because I have Will Shortz's home address.

Last edited by jackelope; 11-06-2007 at 01:29 PM.
#10
11-06-2007, 01:30 PM
 twickster Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Moderator Join Date: Aug 2002 Location: Philadelphia Posts: 37,371
Which I think makes you a creepy stalker guy ...
#11
11-06-2007, 05:43 PM
 Sternvogel Guest Join Date: Sep 2002
I've been submitting answers for the last couple of months. I've always correctly solved the puzzle (including the current one, which I figured out before reading this thread). If I "get the call" some Thursday afternoon, I'll announce the fact on the board, but you'll have to listen to the show on Sunday to see how I do!
#12
11-07-2007, 04:00 AM
 jackelope Guest Join Date: Sep 2001
Quote:
 Originally Posted by twickster Which I think makes you a creepy stalker guy ...
Hogwash. I was a creepy stalker guy WAY before I got Mr. Shortz's address.

(I have his e-mail address, too.)

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