Car Talk State Name Answer

On March 13, 2011 · 10 Comments

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:

UPDATE: The much better answer appears down in the comments. I know I can always count on the wise 12MC audience to quickly find a solution!

  1. Maine: a, i, e
  2. Vermont: e, o
  3. New York: e, o
  4. Iowa: i, o, a
  5. Florida: o, i, a
  6. Texas: e, a
  7. Utah: u, a
  8. Idaho: i, a, o
  9. 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.

On March 13, 2011 · 10 Comments

10 Responses to “Car Talk State Name Answer”

  1. Neil says:

    I think it’s actually no duplicated letters. Otherwise, Rhode Island would be on the list.

  2. Richard says:

    If it’s about vowel repetition, then why aren’t Minnesota, Kentucky, Georgia, Connecticut and Rhode Island on the list?
    I think it’s about character repetition. All of those 9 states don’t use a character twice.

  3. Liz Andrews says:

    No repeated vowels might be it – what about no repeated letters at all? Even that would apply to this list, but I haven’t checked a full list of states to see whether there are any others.

  4. Craig says:

    I wonder if listeners to KPRG-FM 89.3 will write them to let them know that they could have extended their puzzle to US territories and included Guam.

  5. Pfly says:

    Washington would count for vowel non-repetition vowels, but not for consonant non-repetition, fwiw.

  6. Peter says:

    No one has ever come up with a remotely comprehensible English sentence that uses all the letters of the alphabet without repetition.* The closest approximation is barely comprehensible and does not use the letter “t” (oddly, given that letter’s frequency): Fjord-bank cwm glyphs vex quiz.

    * = I suppose a list of all the letters could be construed as a sentence, for example the answer to “What are the letters of the alphabet?”

    • Alex says:

      But ‘cwm’ is Welsh for Valley, seeing as we’re using w as a vowel (it’s pronounced coom), and while Fjord is applied outside Norway, Cwm only really appears in descriptions of Wales, so I’m not really sure it counts.

  7. BreSharp says:

    We learned one in typing class, yes, typing…telling my age….

    Quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

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