Games + Leisure

Games + Leisure

On-air challenge: Today's puzzle is called "Break Loose." Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase in which the first word has a long-A vowel sound (as in "break"), and the second word has a long-U vowel sound (as in "loose").

Last week's challenge: The challenge came from listener Sam Williamson of Charlevoix, MI, and it's a two-part question: where in most homes will you see the words SHE and HIS ... and what word will you see right after HIS?

Great comedy is sometimes hard to find, and great comedy in a video game is even rarer. But the new game Octodad: Dadliest Catch is a "Theater of the Absurd" for the gaming crowd, and it certainly does not fail to entertain. From the title alone you know you are in for something completely silly.

Whether the Subway Fritos Chicken Enchilada Sub was the result of creative inspiration or an enormous workplace Fritos spill, we'll never know. What matters is it happened, and it's only a matter of time until all foods everywhere will be available topped with Fritos.

Ian: I like that they're thinking in texture. And adding crunch with Fritos is way better than McDonald's creepy BBQ McTickle.

Miles: Yeah, but let's be honest, crunches are the last thing anyone is going to be doing after eating this sandwich.

First things first: Yes, this is a game review — but I'm no gamer. I'm surrounded by them at work and at home, mind you, but I personally haven't played a video game since a brief Tetris obsession in junior high.

On-air challenge: For each single letter given, recombine it with the letters in the word "ZERO" to spell a new word. For example, ZERO plus F would be "FROZE."

Last week's challenge: What word, containing two consecutive S's, becomes its own synonym if you drop those S's?

Answer: Blossom, bloom

Winner: Trey Moody of Killeen, Texas

Mad Money, CNBC's daily show about the stock market, is not your typical financial show. Host Jim Cramer shouts, he throws things around, he pushes buttons to make funny noises.

Since Cramer is a former hedge fund manager, we'd like to see just how much he knows about actual hedges. We'll test him with three questions about the world of topiary.

On-air challenge: For each word given, name a synonym in which the first two letters are the same as the second and third letters of the given word. For example, spin and pirouette.

Couch potatoes everywhere, rejoice.

New commercial devices, using technology borrowed from the field of neuroscience, are making it possible to control objects with brain power alone. The idea is to help train users to become more focused — and relaxed.

EEG headsets, which detect electrical activity in the brain, were once found only in research labs. Today, the technology has become cheaper and easier to use. That's made it possible to connect EEG headsets to other consumer devices.

We've discovered a text that could rank among the geekiest of all cookbooks. It's based on Settlers of Catan, that German civilization-building board game with the cult following.

The latest movie by Joel and Ethan Coen, Inside Llewyn Davis, is a lot like their other movies in which a guy endures a lot of terrible things happening to him. This one's different though, in that this time, the guy seems to deserve it. Oscar Isaac plays — and sings — the role of Llewyn Davis, a homeless, former merchant marine trying to make it in the 1960s Greenwich Village music scene.

On-air challenge: Every answer is a five-letter word. You'll be given a clue for the word. Besides giving you a direct hint to the answer, the clue will also contain the answer in consecutive letters. For example, given "push over hard," you would say "shove."

Nick Lowe was one of the founders of the Great British rock explosion of the 1970s, writing songs like "Cruel to Be Kind and "What's So Funny 'Bout Peace Love and Understanding." He's just released a new album of Christmas songs called Quality Street — A Seasonal Selection For All The Family.

Since Lowe's lyrics would lead us to believe there isn't anything funny about peace, love or understanding, we'll quiz him on three hilarious instances of human kindness.

On-air challenge: Every answer is the name of a famous person whose first and last names start with the same consonant or group of consonants. You're given rhymes for the two names. You name the people. For example, if given "cycle four," the answer would be "Michael Moore."

Last week's challenge: Name a dance. Change one of the letters to a U. The resulting letters can be rearranged to name an event at which this dance is done. What is it?

Answer: hula, luau

If you love cats and adore Christmas, do we ever have the website for you. It takes the concept of "reality TV" in new directions — eight solid hours a day of streaming video of cats in a holiday setting.

The scene you'll find at Christmas Cats TV is a unique one. A woman sits in a den that includes a Christmas tree, a hearth and some presents — and a whole lot of cats, some of which have been cajoled into wearing Christmas sweaters.

Much of the modern education reform movement has centered around the drive for data. Standardized tests now gauge whether children are at grade level seemingly every few months. Kids are observed, measured and sorted almost constantly.

In Silicon Valley, a $20 billion industry does much the same thing — but for a different purpose.

Video game design has become a data-driven industry where games evolve depending on how they are played.

Actor John Lithgow has won awards for performances ranging from the goofy alien patriarch in 3rd Rock from the Sun to a demonic serial killer on Dexter to dramatic and musical roles on Broadway. (And if that weren't enough, he's written best-selling children's books, too.)

This week on All Tech, we're exploring kids and technology with posts and radio pieces about raising digital natives. Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments, by email or tweet.

On-air challenge: For each given category, name things in the category starting with the letters R, H, Y, M, E. For example, if the category were "chemical elements with names ending in -ium," you might say: radium, helium, yttrium, magnesium and einsteinium. You can give the answers in any order, and any answer that works is fine.

This weekend, independent video game developers and fans gathered for the international IndieCade Festival in Los Angeles.

One of the featured speakers Saturday was sound designer Ben Prunty, who integrates audio into some of the most popular independent video games. Prunty composed the soundtrack to the computer game Faster Than Light, which was nominated for IGN's Best Overall Music and Best PC Sound of 2012.

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