I’m not a listener of the Car Talk radio show but apparently they do a Puzzler each week and people try to send them the correct answer by email. I know this because my website gets hammered by Google searches anytime they deal with geographic trivia. I guess there aren’t many geo-oddity sites on the Intertubes. My humble little Twelve Mile Circle hits the first search page and visitors come flooding-in for answers, even though nothing on my site has anything to do with the radio show or the questions being posed.
I don’t know. Maybe they win a prize or something. It’s hard to imagine so many people that need to know the answer right away before it’s revealed in a week.
Last time this happened to me, the Puzzler had something to do with a town where one would reach the same state going north, south, east or west. I thought the answer was bogus and that Click and Clack should probably stick to cars. I still get a lot of traffic on that page almost a year later to my amazement and surprise.
It’s B-A-C-K! In the words of Yogi Berra, "It’s déjà vu all over again." Let’s see if we can help the Car Talk folks so we can get back to our weird little geography topics.
Here’s the puzzler for the week of March 12, 2011: "Nine Unusual States. There’s something special about the names of these nine states: Maine, Vermont, New York, Iowa, Florida, Texas, Utah, Idaho and Wyoming. What do they have in common?" The lesson I learned last time is that Car Talk provides more clues in the transcript from the actual radio broadcast. That’s also the case today. It was submitted by someone who is an aficionado of the New York Times puzzle (I’m assuming the crossword puzzle), and thus it seems to be coming from a wording perspective rather than a pure geography perspective. The final hint is that "You don’t have to think twice to know that Mississippi and Alabama are not eligible to be on this list."
My guess is that there are no vowel repetitions in each state name:
- Maine: a, i, e
- Vermont: e, o
- New York: e, o
- Iowa: i, o, a
- Florida: o, i, a
- Texas: e, a
- Utah: u, a
- Idaho: i, a, o
- Wyoming: y, o, i
I particularly like the use of "y" as a vowel in Wyoming. Why? Because I like unusual things, and yes I used "why" intentionally.
Does anyone have a better answer?
I’ll probably close-down the comments on this topic in a couple of weeks. All I can say is that the Car Talk website must generate huge volumes of rabidly loyal readers because the mere mention of their name is a spam-bot magnet. This will attract, I kid you not, hundreds of attempts by spammers to post fake comments. My filtering software will block most of them automatically but a small percentage will make it into the moderation queue. We’ll see if it reaches a level of annoyance where I feel I need to shut it down.
Anyway, welcome Car Talk crowd. I’ll see you again in a few months when they post something else that the all-knowing Google thinks I should answer.