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Today is the first Sunday of the month, which is traditionally our Puzzle Potluck. That means everybody is invited to bring a puzzle to share. If you have a puzzle, just go ahead and post it in the comments, and I'll copy it into the diary here.

For today's potluck I've contributed a logic puzzle, Hal Humbug's Horrible Headache. Plf515 is planning to post some Raymond Smullyan puzzles.

I'm assuming someone will bring a JulieCrostic, so I've posted the instructions for JulieCrostics in the diary. (If no one else posts a JulieCrostic, I've got one ready at hand and all set to post.)

The party starts right below the squiggle. Come on down and join the fun!

To start with, here are a couple from plf515. First, a Raymond Smullyan puzzle:

Solve this without using algebra.

Joe has 3 times as many tarts as Bill
If Joe gives one of his tarts to Bill, Joe will then have twice as many as Bill.

How many does each one have?

and second, a Lee Childs puzzle:
This one was in Lee Child's latest Jack Reacher novel

How can you speak for one minute without using any words that have the letter A in them?

Puzzle Party / SUNDAY PUZZLE / Puzzle Party / SUNDAY PUZZLE / Puzzle Party /

From pucklady, a rotating cypher:

This is a rotating substitution cypher. Each space rotates the cypher one space forward.

Kv yino ab Cdcep Dupjulh. Sqx dyppae qo nzimkx. Vwnvewn sv yqm.

Puzzle Party / SUNDAY PUZZLE / Puzzle Party / SUNDAY PUZZLE / Puzzle Party /

One of our most common types of puzzles is the JulieCrostic (named after the founder of Sunday Puzzle, Julie Waters). Here is Julie's explanation for how these puzzles work.

The rules are simple:  for each row, the answer is of increasing length, such as a five-letter word, a six-letter word and a seven-letter word.  Each next size word is formed by adding a letter to the previous answer and scrambling.
In the box in-between each answer, put the extra letter.  I.e., if your answers were:

You'd place an "R" in the box between ITEMS and MISTER and a "D" between MISTER and RED MIST.

When you solve the whole puzzle, you will get related words in the down columns.

And here is her puzzle, complete with her colors. Julie, we miss you so much!
Julie Crostic
From banjolele:
1. Doctor’s companion
2. Höðr, Gmot, e.g.
3. Seekers of solitude
4. An emperor by any other name
5. Costs
6. 2010 Mexican telenovela
7. Consume
8. Literally, a rich friend
9. Immerse
10. A slang language
11. Poetic term
12. Region
13. Delicate product
14. Irish county
15. Ophthalmologist’s term
Puzzle Party / SUNDAY PUZZLE / Puzzle Party / SUNDAY PUZZLE / Puzzle Party /

Here's my contribution to today's potluck: a logic puzzle about the dilemma a well-known radio talk show host encountered earlier this year. [Apologies for the length.]

                          Hal Humbug's Horrible Headache

Oh, my aching head! exclaimed the right-wing radio talk show host on awakening. I must have taken one too many oxycontins.

He looked around. The room didn't look familiar. And, looking out the window, the world didn't look familiar. Well, no time to think about that now. Almost broadcast time! He rushed to the studio to record the day's show.

He was surprised when he got to the studio to discover that he broadcast under the pseudonym Sir Hal Humbug. I must be a bit addled, he thought.

Quickly he skimmed his briefing sheet. Today he had 4 of the Elephant Party's presidential candidates (all of whom were seeking his endorsement) scheduled to be on the phone to answer questions. Elephant Party, he thought? Oh, well, close enough.

The candidates' names looked a little unfamiliar, as well -- but close enough to what he remembered. There was front-runner Tiny Tommer (a former Massachusetts governor whom nobody liked and nobody trusted), not-a-chancer Bishel Mockman (a Minnesota member of congress and leader of the Bathist Insane Caucus), not-a-chancer Sick Rantorum (a former senator better known online than off), and Prick Airy (Texas governor and Tommer's only serious competition at the moment).

Feeling unsure of what he had planned to ask the candidates, Humbug reviewed the notes he'd made.

There were 4 factions in the Elephant Party. Least to Humbug's liking were the 'Phant-asides: members of the party who favored a big tent and were willing to put ideological differences aside. 'Phant-asides strictly alternated telling lies and telling the truth, and their first statement to you might be either.

Next were the Psycho-'phants: hard-line social conservatives. Their first statement to you was always a lie, after which they alternated telling the truth and telling lies. But their short-term memory wasn't good; if more than a couple of minutes elapsed between questions they often forgot what their last answer had been. When this happened, they always started afresh with a lie and then proceeded to alternate again.

Then there were the 'Phant-assists: folks who were members of the Elephant Party but no one was really clear why. Useful idiots, Humbug thought; he was delighted to have these folks as listeners, but not sure he'd ever want one as president. 'Phant-assists always started their statements to you with a lie, then alternated truth and lies. Like 'Phant-asides, their short-term memory was unreliable and if more than a couple of minutes elapsed they forgot whether their last answer had been true or false. When this happened, they'd randomly re-start with either the truth or a lie.

And finally there were the new kids on the block: the Pee Tartiers. These were Humbug's kind of people: dependable in their hatred of the current president, and dependable in their answers. Pee Tartiers always lied.

The presidential candidates had been somewhat coy to date about revealing which party faction they belonged to, in order to try to appeal for votes to as many factions as possible. So no one except the candidates themselves was sure which one belonged to which faction -- but it was known that each of these candidates was a member of a different one of the 4 factions.

Humbug felt that the best candidate would be the one who lied the most consistently. He hoped to use today's show to determine which candidate was the Pee Tartier and give his endorsement to that candidate.

He had 5 questions prepared:

1. What is the most important issue facing the nation?

2. What will your first action in office be?

3. Why should I endorse you?

4. If you had to pick one of the other candidates as your vice president, which one would you choose?

5. How honest are your fellow candidates -- which one do you think tells the most lies?


First on the line was Bishel Mockman. Humbug engaged her in conversation and, during the conversation, asked his questions. Her responses were:

1. The president plans to us into a nation of gay Muslim Marxists.

2. I'll put all the gays in therapy which will convert them to straights, put all the Muslims into therapy which will convert them to Christians, and put all the Marxists into therapy which will convert them to corpses.

3. As a 'Phant-aside, my highest priority is a concern for the children, a concern I'm sure you share.

4. I'd pick Sick Rantorum as my veep, since he's a 'Phant-asider like me and shares my passion for kids.

5. I have the highest regard for all the other candidates; like me, they have high moral standards and would never knowingly tell a lie.

After thanking Mockman and taking a break, Humbug talked with Tiny Tommer. Tommer's answers were:
1. Abortion is an issue I've always felt strongly about and is the most urgent issue facing the nation right now, especially if it's the issue most of the people whose votes I need in order to win the primaries care about most deeply.

2. I'm in favor of outlawing all abortions, with no exception; except, of course, as I've always said, this is something which should be left entirely to the states as soon as we pass a human life amendment to the constitution.

3. Like you and many of your listeners, I'm a devout Pee Tartier.

4. I'd probably pick Sick Rantorum to be my veep, since like me he's a Pee Tartier.

5. Bishel Mockman was honest in all her answers to you -- except possibly that last one ;)

After another commercial break it was Airy Prick's turn:
1. The most pressing need of our time is for more tax cuts and more cuts to government spending, especially on social programs, so that we can grow the economy and so that we can motivate people to take responsibility.

2. Look, I know you're going to ask about the other candidates' honesty I'm going to ignore your question and jump aheas to that: all the answers Tiny Tommer gave you were lies.

3. You should support me over the others because I'm the only Pee Tartier who's running.

4. Ooh! Getting back to the question of the other candidates' honesty: every answer Bishel Mockman gave to you was a lie, too.

5. Now, as to that who would I pick for VP question -- I guess I'd pick Sick Rantorum.

Finally Humbug got Sick Rantorum on the line:
1. The gays have a plan to force all heterosexuals (even women!) to engage in man-on-dog sex, and dealing with this will be my top priority.

2. My first day in office I'd have a Pee Tartier like Tiny Tommer lead the nation in prayer.

3. I'm not personally a member of the Pee Tartiers, but have great respect for those like you and Tiny Tommer who are.

4. I'd probably pick Bishel Mockman as my veep just because she's so hot!

5. Tiny Tommer mostly told the truth; if he made any counter-factual statements it was no more than one.

Hal Humbug considered the answers. They made his head hurt. (Or maybe that was still the effects of the oxycontin...) So he, like you, was left pondering the question:

Which of the candidates Humbug interviewed is the Pee Tartier?

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