Saturday, October 20, 2007

puzzles and getting out more

Here's a language puzzle for you.

Can you think of a word that includes two "u"s in a row? Anywhere in the word. They just have to be together.

I had one and then my step-dad came up with another today.

I'm actually not one of those people who just loves words. No crosswords, find the words, unscramble the letters, how many words can you make from the phrase "pinapple cheese bake", sort of games for me. Still, the uu puzzle is kind of fun. Actually, it's only fun because I have an answer.

Random things I do like that are just as inoccuous as word games include: random geography facts. I like to just look at maps, see where things are. N and I still periodically quiz each other on things like state capitals, name all the countries of Europe starting with an A, etc.

Andorra, Austria, ... , is that it? Albania. Did I miss anything? There's a map on the wall, but I'm not allowed to look, because that ruins the fun. Yes, fun. Do Azerbaijan and Armenia count as Europe? How about B? Bulgaria, Belgium, ... , Britain isn't a country.... How about if we go outside of Europe? Benin, Bhutan, Bora Bora, Brazil, Belize, Bangladesh, Bosnia-Herzegovina (see I missed a Europe one before), ... , that's all I got. You get the idea. But what did I miss?

I do enjoy trivia to some degree. I used to go to my grandmother's house after 7th grade let out and we'd watch Jeopardy and Tic Tac Dough together. Then I'd go in the kitchen, eat Fritos, drink soda, and watch Gilligan's Island. But I was never serious about trivia. In college, N, I, and two other friends formed a... what do they call them? I call it quiz bowl, but that's not the college name. Two teams go against each other to answer trivia questions. It got off to an auspicious start:

Question 1:
Referee / Asker Guy: Meaning "no drink"-

Paca: Buzz!! Koala!!

Referee / Asker Guy: Um, yes, correct.

Everyone stares at me. What the-? Who is this guy? How'd he know that?

Question 2:

Anything else. My memory is that we never answered another question before our super team competitors did the whole rest of the game. I think that's false. I think N answered something. But that was pretty much it. They wiped the floor with us. Final score: 28-2, or some such. That other team actually knew stuff about sports! (I do now. I could list every team in the NFL organized by division, probably 2-3 players on each team, etc. But at the time... uh, no.)

As for the koala answer that I knew so quickly, N and I had gone to the Minnesota zoo a couple days before and their koala exhibit had a big sign talking about how the name comes from the fact that koalas get most of their water from their eucalyptus leaves and so were called "no drink" or some such by aboriginal people. In other words, I was just lucky.

Question 3:

How many U.S. state capitals have exactly 6 letters in their name?

I've got two so far....


SzélsőFa said...

double uu: continuum

I don't understand questions 1 and 2.
are they actual questions?

Robin S. said...

Continuum is a good one. I have a boring one: vacuum.

It wouldn't be boring if it was some kind of vaccum in a space-time continuum or something- but unfortunately- I was thinking of a vacuum cleaner.

steve said...

I'm hopeless with questions like your first one. And I've probably missed some here: Pierre, Denver, Austin, Albany, Juneau, Boston, Topeka, Helena--that's 8. And I suppose, St. Paul, as opposed to Saint Paul, if that isn't cheating.

moonrat said...

i heard a word puzzle on Car Talk about a million years ago and it's plagued me ever since.

they said there are three words in the english language that contain the consecutive combination "ngr" (one being hungry, one being angry). what's the third?

pacatrue said...

I think I came up with it, moonbat. Gangrene. Does that match the requirements?

And you guys are great on puzzles. I came up with vacuum and couldn't come up with anything else. Actually, I was just spelling the word for B and realized it was an unusual spelling. Then I couldn't come up with anything else like it. My stepdad came up with muumuu, the dress. And then, yeah, continuum. I wonder if there are any other words like continuum, which is made from continue and adding -um. Retinue + um = retinuum. That's not a word. Maybe we need a verb that ends in "ue". Hmmmm...

And, hi, mysterious Steve, welcome in. I think you got them all. My wife and I did a check of all the state capitals and our list totaled 8 as well. She actually gets most of the credit. I only had 4 when I told her the puzzle and one minute later, the list had grown to 8. I debated St. Paul as well. I lived in Minnesota for a few years and I'm not sure I ever saw "Saint Paul" written, even though that is the official name. However, "St." has that little period on it, which might rule it out regardless.

Finally, szelsofa, sorry for the confusion on questions one and two. You are right that they aren't full questions. They are only part of me telling the old story from college.


Ello said...

I am not good with tests. I would fail at Jeopardy.

steve said...

Pacatrue--I didn't mean to be mysterious. I linked through szelsofa's blog. I'm a grad school dropout (history) and Amtrak ticket clerk currently working in Normal, IL. Your essay on the word "root" on szelsofa's blog was very well-reasoned.