BONUS: Lexiconundrum #1

This is more than a word puzzle; this is a linguistic challenge.

  
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To continue our celebration of the re-release of 10 original Lexicon Valley episodes with Mike Vuolo and Bob Garfield, we’re making today’s bonus content free for everyone. Presenting the fan-favorite “Lexiconundrum” — a portmantastic puzzle for the ages. This week, an homage to Bob’s ancestors.

* TRANSCRIPT *

MATT SCHWARTZ: Hey, Matt Schwartz here, one of the executive producers at Booksmart Studios. This week's bonus Lexicon Valley is a remastered gem straight out of the archives: the short-lived but much-loved Lexiconundrum. I like to think of these not as mere word puzzles, but as a lexical challenge — a test of your linguistic wits. So without further ado, I present to you Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo.


BOB GARFIELD: Each week, for our listeners, you are gonna come up with what I call the Lexiconundrum. Tell us what this week's Lexiconundrum is.

MIKE VUOLO: This first Lexiconundrum is a kind of homage to you, Bob. Your name, Garfield was not your ancestors' original name. It used to be—

GARFIELD: Garfinkle.

VUOLO: So your ancestors, presumably upon arriving through Ellis Island, do you think somebody arrived at Ellis Island whose name was, like, Martin Garfield and he was like, “I wanna be called Hymie Garfinkle”?

GARFIELD: To Judaicize their names? (Laughs.) Yeah, I don't think you don't see much of that.

VUOLO: But maybe one reason that your ancestors settled on Garfield was that it preserved the vowel progression in their last name: A I E. So my challenge to the listeners is to find a name — a name of somebody relatively famous; not your cousin, not your nephew — whose first and last name has the vowels A I E in that order, and no other vowels. And just to make it simple for the purposes of this challenge, we will not consider the letter Y to be a vowel. So for example, Charlie Daniels of the Charlie Daniels Band, Charlie and Daniels both have A I E — and only those vowels — in that order. Daniel Radcliffe, he is the actor who played Harry Potter in the Harry Potter movies.

GARFIELD: Well that’s good, Mike. So you've not only given us the puzzle, but also the solution.

VUOLO: Well, those are two solutions which are now ineligible. You have to come up with another one.

GARFIELD: I’m on it. Well, that wraps up the shakedown cruise of Lexicon Valley. All right, Mikey, later gator.


(Music)

SCHWARTZ: In the original airing, listeners had about a week to think of their answer and email it in. You have 10 seconds. But you can always hit pause while you think about your answer and tweet it to @LexiconValley. All right, ready for the solution? Here we go.


VUOLO: Last week, I revealed that your ancestors’, Bob, changed their name from Garfinkel to Garfield, and noted that both names have the vowels A I and E in that order. And I challenged our listeners to come up with a name of somebody famous whose first and last name has the vowels A I and E in that order, and no other vowels.

GARFIELD: And you gave a couple examples, which I had assumed had covered the entire universe of correct answers for this Lexiconundrum.

VUOLO: I gave the examples Charlie Daniels, of the Charlie Daniels Band, and Daniel Radcliffe, who played Harry Potter in the movies. And a lot of people submitted entries, many of which had the vowels A I and E in both names, but also other vowels. So they didn't count. The first correct submission was by John Delano with Xavier McDaniel, who is a former basketball player with the SuperSonics. Also a listener named Curtis Earhart was the first to submit Hattie McDaniel. Hattie McDaniel was the first African American to win an academy award for her role as Mammy in Gone With the Wind. I didn't know this, but apparently half the population of this planet has the name Javier Martinez. So there were a lot of those entries. And, you know, half of those are, like, South American soccer players. A few other noteworthy entries: Clara Loganoff was the only person to submit Reiner Fasbender, the German filmmaker. Frankie Lane was actually the name that I had in mind when I issued the challenge. He's a singer with a bunch of hits in the 1940s and 50s. Stephanie from Alaska guessed that one. But perhaps my favorite submission is Charlie Laine. And I'll quote directly from the email: “Charlie Laine is an American porn actress with 177 credits on IMDB” — 177!* — “including Girls Kissing Girls 8, and curiously,” says the emailer, “Ashlynn Goes to College 3, this time for her PhD, I suppose.”

GARFIELD: Yeah, by the way, Ashlynn Goes to College 3? Not half as good as Ashlynn Goes to College 2, which — my view — masterpiece.

VUOLO: Really? I'm really looking forward to number four. I think that that's the one where they're gonna introduce 3D.

GARFIELD: (Laughs.) Okay. I think, I think this has to stop.

Editor’s note: At the time of this re-airing, Charlie Laine now has 222 credits on IMDB.