Games + Leisure

Games + Leisure
5:08 pm
Sun August 25, 2013

Quitting Your Job For Fantasy Football

Fantasy sports attract an estimated 36+ million players in the U.S. and Canada.
istockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun August 25, 2013 6:04 pm

You may just call it late summer; for many die-hard sports fans, it's called fantasy football drafting season.

Fantasy sports is a huge business, with an estimated 36 million people in the U.S. and Canada picking teams and talkin' trash, according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.

And now we may be at a tipping point.

One man - Drew Dinkmeyer - actually left his job as an investment analyst to play fantasy sports full-time.

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Games + Leisure
4:43 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

An Adventurer Returns To The Dungeon In 'Dice And Men'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun August 18, 2013 4:07 pm

Author David Ewalt was in the fourth grade when he got hooked on Dungeons & Dragons.

"I was at one of my friends' houses on a weekend after school. And he broke out this weird game," Ewalt tells NPR's Rachel Martin. "[He] said 'hey, do you guys want to fight some monsters and explore a dungeon?'"

Now a grown man, Ewalt still can't help but spread the good word about the game. He's written a new book about it, called Of Dice and Men.

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Games + Leisure
2:32 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Watch Me Do Something Impossible In Three Totally Easy Steps

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 7:19 pm

Here's what the Swedish artist Oscar Reutersvard did. In 1934, he got himself a pen and paper and drew four cubes, like this.

Then he drew some more, like this.

And, then — and this is where he got mischievous — he drew one more set, like this.

He called this final version "Impossible Triangle of Opus 1 No. 293aa." I don't know what the "293aa" is about, but he was right about "impossible." An arrangement like this cannot take place in the physical universe as we know it.

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Games + Leisure
5:58 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Fear Of Clowns: Yes, It's Real

Tim Curry as Pennywise in a 1990 TV adaptation of Stephen King's It. Come on, tell us you aren't just a little creeped out.
The Kobal Collection

Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 12:53 am

Warning: The following story may be upsetting to some people.

That's because it's about clowns.

Yes, clowns. Painted white faces, red lips, receding hairlines with tufts of wild hair, and — of course — the red foam nose. Fun for all ages, yet plenty of people are downright scared of them. There's even a word for it: coulrophobia, though that's not an official diagnosis.

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Games + Leisure
8:41 am
Mon August 5, 2013

First Names First

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sun August 4, 2013 1:39 pm

On-air challenge: This week's puzzle is called "What's in a Name?" Every answer consists of the names of two famous people. The last name of the first person is an anagram of the first name of the last person. Given the non-anagram parts of the names, you identify the people. For example, given "Madeleine" and "Aaron," you would say "Kahn" and "Hank."

Last week's challenge: In three words, name a product sold mainly to women that has the initials N-P-R. The answer is a common phrase.

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Games + Leisure
10:59 am
Wed July 31, 2013

Not My Job: Jim Gaffigan Takes A Quiz On Gwyneth Paltrow

Mark Mainz Getty Images

Originally published on Sat July 27, 2013 10:41 am

Comedian and actor Jim Gaffigan lives happily with his wife and his five young children in a two-bedroom apartment in lower Manhattan. You read that right: Five kids. Two parents. Two bedrooms. His latest book, Dad Is Fat, reflects on the challenges and triumphs of raising a big family in a small space.

We've invited Gaffigan to answer three questions about the health habits of Gwyneth Paltrow.

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Games + Leisure
9:39 am
Mon July 29, 2013

Psst ... It's Class Time

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sun July 28, 2013 12:31 pm

On-air challenge: This puzzle is supersonic. Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or name that has the consecutive letters S-S-T. Specifically, the first word will end in S-S, and the second word will start with T. For example, given, "A situation in which people speak on top of each other," you would say, "cross talk."

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Games + Leisure
9:07 am
Mon July 22, 2013

The Price Of Fame: A Scrambled Name

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sun July 21, 2013 12:41 pm

On-air challenge: Every answer is the name of a famous person, past or present, with five letters in the first and last names. One letter in each name is changed to make a new word. You name the people.

Last week's challenge: In the phrase "clothes closet," all the letters of the second word can be found inside the first. Think of another two-word phrase that means a place to keep clothes in which all the letter of the second word are found inside the first. The first word has nine letters, the second has six.

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Games + Leisure
12:21 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

The Freaks Shall Inherit The Earth

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 2:16 pm

For those who came of age in the 90s, or went to high school in the 80s, Freaks and Geeks is a cultural touchstone. Not only because it so perfectly captured the pains and joys of adolescence, but also because its young cast would go on to do amazing things. We quiz the show's creator, Paul Feig, about what everyone in the cast has been up to since their roles in Freaks and Geeks.

Plus, house musician Jonathan Coulton gives Joan Jett's "Bad Reputation" (also the Freaks and Geeks theme song) his own nerd-rock treatment.

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Games + Leisure
12:38 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Fangs And Fishnets For The Win: 'Goth Barbie' Is Monstrously Successful

Mattel executives say they did not anticipate the runaway success of the goth-influenced Monster High brand when it debuted in 2010.
Mattel

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 3:15 pm

We've got two words for you: Goth Barbie.

Not only does such a thing exist, but after Barbie, it's the best-selling doll in the world. The dolls of Monster High are bone-thin beauties all related to famous monsters. They come with books and Web episodes that follow their stories in that place where everyone feels like a freak — in high school.

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Games + Leisure
11:15 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Easy As One, Two, Three Initials

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sun July 7, 2013 2:21 pm

On-air challenge: You're given the three-word names of famous people. For each one, you get a clue to a familiar three-word phrase or title that has the same initials as the person. Name the phrase or title. For example, singer Billy Ray Cyrus has the initials B-R-C. And B-R-C are also the initials of the phrase "Blue ribbon commission."

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Games + Leisure
3:43 am
Tue July 9, 2013

A Zombie Horror Game, Inspired By ... A Nature Documentary?

In The Last of Us, a fungus called Cordyceps that commonly infects insects has jumped over to humans, creating a fungal zombie apocalypse.
Naughty Dog

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 11:20 am

The Last of Us is a new survival horror video game and it features — no big surprise — zombie-like creatures. But these are not the same old zombies that have dominated movie and TV screens in the past few years.

Neil Druckmann, creative director for The Last of Us, says he wanted a fresh new way to wipe out humanity — and he found it in a BBC documentary series called Planet Earth, which depicts the scary effects of the Cordyceps fungus.

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Games + Leisure
12:55 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

To The Dump, To The Dump, To The Dump Dump Dump: Write Us A Lone Ranger Joke

Milos Luzanin iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 9:02 am

This morning, as I perused the headlines, I saw a few items about the new Lone Ranger movie, and rather than being struck by interesting thoughts about the racial politics of Johnny Depp's Tonto, I abruptly remembered this joke: "Where does the Lone Ranger take his trash?" "To the dump, to the dump, to the dump dump dump." You know, because of the music?

And then I thought, "Who built the Lone Ranger's luxury apartment building?"

"Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump Trump Trump."

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Games + Leisure
3:02 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

From Classic Toys To New Twists, Kids Go Back To Blocks

Legos and other interlocking toys are only one kind of blocks that remain popular with kids.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 1:39 pm

I visited Toy Fair in New York City hunting for ideas for our summer series about kids' culture. One of the big takeaways was the increasing popularity of construction games such as Legos. Sales shot up nearly 20 percent last year. Now, it seems, every major toy manufacturer is scrambling to add new games geared toward kids building things.

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Games + Leisure
9:13 am
Mon June 17, 2013

Not My Job: Astronaut Buzz Aldrin On Getting Mooned

AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat June 15, 2013 11:14 am

You probably know that Neil Armstrong was the first man on the moon. But that guy in all the pictures from the first moon landing? That's Buzz Aldrin. So here's a lesson for you all: It doesn't matter if you're the first guy out of the spaceship, just as long as you make the other guy hold the camera.

So sure, Aldrin has been to the moon, but what does he know about mooning? We've invited him to play a game called "Drop your pants and take a bow" — three questions about exposing one's buttocks.

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Games + Leisure
12:45 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

There's An Apt For That

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 12:01 pm

Have you ever met a baker whose last name was Baker, or a blacksmith whose last name is Smith? Then you might be familiar with the term "aptronym," a word that refers to a person's name that happens to suit her job or characteristics. In this game, host Ophira Eisenberg asks contestants about people both real and fictional whose last names are aptly suited to their professions.

Later, house musician Jonathan Coulton covers "Poisoning Pigeons In The Park," a seasonal favorite by Tom Lehrer.

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Games + Leisure
2:09 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Sandwich Monday: Dunkin' Donuts Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich

We couldn't wait for Dunkin's Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich to go national, so we got the raw materials and made our own.
NPR

Like all great traditional Boston foods — the Boston Cream Pie, Boston Baked Beans, the Chicago Pizza at the Pizzeria Uno near Fenway — the Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich is about to go national. Someday, Bostonians will talk about how they heard it play when it was just a cool, local sandwich.

Ian: I never realized how pointless bagels were before.

Miles: I like a breakfast that forces me to take a nap right after waking up.

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Games + Leisure
9:57 am
Mon June 3, 2013

Not My Job: Deepak Chopra Plays 'Yes, We Cannes'

Diane Bondareff AP

Originally published on Sat June 1, 2013 10:52 am

We've had a lot of impressive people as our guests on this show ... Nobel Prize winners, senators, governors, and two presidents of the United States. But now, for the first time ever, we are honored to welcome a Lord of Immortality, a Keeper of Perfect Health for the World.

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Games + Leisure
9:46 am
Tue May 28, 2013

Investigating The Crime Scene

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sun May 26, 2013 3:21 pm

On-air challenge: Today's theme is "C.S.I." — as in the name of the long-running TV show. You're given three words starting with the letters C, S and I. For each set, give a fourth word that can follow each of the original words to complete a compound word or a familiar two-word phrase.

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Games + Leisure
4:32 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Microsoft Reveals New Xbox One Game System

The new Xbox One entertainment and gaming system was unveiled Tuesday by Microsoft. The console includes live TV and advanced voice commands.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 10:51 am

Microsoft unveiled its new Xbox One Tuesday, displaying a device that takes new steps in game consoles' journey to becoming all-purpose entertainment and communication devices. The new console replaces the Xbox 360, which has been on the market for nearly eight years.

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