Puzzle #101: Homophonic twist
(This puzzle appeared this past Sunday on NPR’s Weekend Edition puzzle segment with Will Shortz. You have until Thursday at 3pm EST to answer and try to get on the air.)
Take a common English word. Write it in capital letters. Move the first letter to the end and rotate it 90 degrees. You’ll get a new word that is pronounced exactly the same as the first word. What words are these?
Update: There are apparently two answers. One of them (the one I intended) has an interesting extra feature: if you remove that letter entirely, you’re left with a new word, one that is pronounced differently than the originals.
Puzzle #99: Cars and companies
Name a make of car. Add one syllable to the front to get the name of an international company. Or, add a different syllable to to the front to get the name of a different international company. What car and companies are these?
(Hint: spelled a particular way, these two syllables are opposites.)
Puzzle #98: Cars
What make of car, when written backwards, might be something you’d text to a certain kind of Volkswagen?
Puzzle #97: Twice-baked Idioms
Each of the seven sentences below twice reference the same English idiom: once figuratively, once literally. Figure out the idiom in each one.
Standard rules apply: please only solve for one, so more people get a shot at answer. Thanks.
When Felix spontaneously jumped out of Schrodinger’s backpack, the secret of his experiment was finally revealed.
Three years later, Pete was still angry about that time his brother dumped an entire Pringles can on him from above.
While floating in his inner tube, Alex felt a tug on his foot, only to quickly realize it was his friend, just pretending.
“Whoops, I didn’t mean to drop that,” said Michael Jordan as he picked up the pieces of broken dinnerware set.
As Jimmy stood awaiting his mafia execution, he regretted that he never got to fulfill his one dream of taking a nap in the big shark tank.
Chef Charlie made a fabulous, explosive Bananas Foster, but it wasn’t enough to keep him around the restaurant for more than a week.
The manager of the zoo supply store couldn’t keep bananas in stock because his surly teenage stock boy kept pocketing them.
Puzzle #95: The Cryptic Critic
The Cryptic Critic isn’t satisfied with simple criticism. Each of his reviews must abide by a particular gimmick. Below are seven recent reviews. The first six are paired with the TV show in question. Figure out the gimmick, and you’ll be able to determine what show he’s talking about in the seventh.
On Game of Thrones:
“No one else is even in the same neighborhood as this show when it comes to swordplay, gore, and political backstabbery.”
On Breaking Bad:
“Their cinematography feels like it was done by a thirteen-year-old with a ratty old camcorder.”
On Desperate Housewives:
“Not since Barbara Babcock’s turn as Grace Gardner on Hill Street Blues have I seen women this dangerous … and this seductive.”
“Besides pneumonia, it might be the worst way to spend 30 minutes lying on your living room couch.”
On The Soup:
“The only tastable ingredients are pap, banality and snark. And maybe a pinch of cayenne!”
“The saga of his departure from NBC is the biggest pile of corrupt BS that I’ve ever heard. Glad to see him land on his feet and take off running again.”
“One oughtn’t miss this soap opera… unless one has some laundry to do or a dog whose fur needs washing.”
Puzzle #94: Double Triple
(This puzzle appeared on this past Sunday on NPR’s Weekend Edition puzzle segment with Will Shortz. You have until Thursday at 3pm EST to answer and try to get on the air. As such, you can still post a comment here, but they won’t appear publicly until that time.)
Name an article of clothing that contains three consecutive letters of the alphabet consecutively in the word. For example, “canopy” contains the consecutive letters N-O-P. This article of clothing is often worn in a country whose name also contains three consecutive letters of the alphabet together. What is the clothing article, and what is the country?
Puzzle #93: Words to God
Name a part of speech. Combine the first syllable of this name with three examples of this part of speech, and phonetically, you’ll name a Greek god. Who is it?
Puzzler #92: Hypochondria
What has scabies but not SARS; herpes but not Hodgkin’s; and melanoma but not mesothelioma?
Puzzle #90: Road Trip
Above you see the path of the road trip I’m on. Here are some of the major cities I’ve visited:
- February 2: Washington, D.C.
- February 12: New York City
- February 16: Cleveland
Today I arrived at my latest destination, a capital city. Can you determine where I am?