The Daily

Posts Tagged ‘questions’

Netanyahu’s Ready for More Puzzling?

September 26, 2016 | by

puzzle9-26-2016

Every month, the Daily features a puzzle by Dylan Hicks. The first list of correct answers wins a year’s subscription to The Paris Review. (In the event that no one can get every answer, the list with the most correct responses will win.) Send an e-mail with your answers to contests@theparisreview.org. The deadline is Thursday, September 29, when we’ll post the answers. Good luck!  

Early last year, the novelist, editor, and wordplay master Ed Park energized and distracted his Facebook circle with the post “Hall and Joyce Carol Oates,” which as of this writing has prodded 5,853 comments. The responses imagined other incongruous supergroups and amalgams—Umberto Eco and the Bunnymen, Howlin’ Virginia Woolf—and ventured into kindred puns and portmanteaus such as the answers to this month’s puzzle. Aside from recycling or reformulating a few of my own contributions, I haven’t knowingly plagiarized from Park’s thread, but neither have I reviewed more than a fraction of its comments, so quite likely there’s some overlap. (Great minds and so on.) Though there are several musical-literary pairings here, I’ve rarely mingled writers with musical acts on Park’s precise model. Most frequently, the title of a movie, book, album, song, TV show, or poem has been joined with a celebrated figure from any field, but you might run into a tagline or some other familiar phrase instead of a title, or the answer might blend two titles. Homophones are welcome. The clues try to provide some context, often anachronistic or absurd, for the pun. A few examples:

  1. Popeye Doyle chases Irish suspense novelist.
  2. Kiss Me Kate, staged as will and representation, kicks off with a twist.

The answers would be (1) The Tana French Connection (though I’m sure French is as law-abiding as her books are addictive); and (2) Another Op’nin’, Another Schopenhauer (which would present singers with phrasing hurdles). As must be clear, answers lean heavily on given names and surnames that are also everyday English words (Moscow on the Hudson Yang) and names that include meaningful syllables (as in our groaner headline, or The Danny McBride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even).

Okay, that should be enough explanation; I’ll let you John Kerry on. Read More »

What’s the Takeaway?

August 29, 2016 | by

toyota

Every month, the Daily features a puzzle by Dylan Hicks. The first list of correct answers wins a year’s subscription to The Paris Review. (In the event that no one can get every answer, the list with the most correct responses will win.) Send an e-mail with your answers to contests@theparisreview.org. The deadline is Thursday, September 1, when we’ll post the answers. Good luck!  

This month’s puzzle is composed of twenty three-part questions whose one-word answers get shorter by subtraction. A riddle by Roget provides a model for our answers, though not our questions:

What is that which is under you?
Take one letter from it and it is over you?
Take two letters from it and it is round you?

The answers are chair, hair, and air. Our answers rarely rhyme, but the form is pretty much in line with Roget’s. Letters are taken away—from any part of the word, not just the beginning—but never jumbled; left-to-right order is diminished but maintained. Croton could become croon but not Orton. As those examples illustrate, we’ve imposed no Scrabbly prohibitions on proper nouns. Abbreviations are welcome, too. Note also that letters, as they travel from word to word, might take on diacritical marks, be capitalized, or otherwise undergo modest transformation. Très, for example, might follow trees. In most cases, the answer words shrink by ones (bread leads to bead before heading to bed) but in some cases they decrease by twos (bonobo to Bono to no) threes, or fours. Tailgate wags discovered this classic of quadrimedial reduction (above). Read More »

Fair Game

July 5, 2011 | by

“Here’s one for you,” the driver said as soon as the taxi door had closed. “If you’re standing in a house, and every window faces south, what color bear are you looking at?”

I was caught off guard; it seemed to me late in the day for riddling.

I stifled a sigh and marshaled my meager resources.

If you’re standing in a house, and every window faces south, what color bear are you looking at?

I know next to nothing about geography, but it seemed clear that the riddle dealt with a geographically anomalous zone. Probably a pole. Which meant …

“A polar bear?” I suggested.

“What color bear?” he repeated, clearly disappointed.

“Oh. White.” I said. He sighed, deflated.

“Yes.” He said, and we drove in silence for a few minutes.

“What exotic meats have you eaten?” he asked after a while.

“Let’s see,” I said thoughtfully. “Ostrich, alligator, elk, bison ... I guess venison doesn’t count, does it?”

“Oh, it counts all right,” he said with suppressed violence. “I count it. So you’ve never had bear? Moose? Bear?!”

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