What's in a Name?

Oct 12, 2009

RAY: This was from my 'out-on-a-limb' series. And this was sent in by Bill LeTelpo.

Most motor vehicles sold in this country have both a manufacturer's name and model name, like Chevrolet Malibu, Toyota Corolla, where Chevrolet is the manufacturer and Malibu is the model, or Toyota is the manufacturer, and Carolla is the model.

Some manufacturers like BMW, Mercedes, Audi, to name a few, don't think enough of their cars to actually give them model names and use a bunch of numbers and letters instead. But I digress.

Let's take one of those motor vehicles that has an actual model name and is currently being sold in the United States and it could be a car, a truck, an SUV, it doesn't matter, it's a model that is currently sold in the United States.

Take that model name. Remove the last letter, and the remaining letters, in order, spell a new word. Now remove the new last letter, and you have yet another new word. Do it again and you have now another new word. Do it once more and you have another new word. So you'll have done it four times, and have four different words, all of which you can find in the dictionary.

Here's the last piece of it. Now put all the pieces back, go back to the original word, and remove the first letter. And you have yet another new word.

What's the model name?
RAY: The answer is Ranger, like Ford Ranger. You take off the last letter, and you get range. Take off another letter and you get rang. Do it again and you have ran. Then Ra.

TOM: Wait a minute, Ra is an English word?

RAY: Yes, it's in my English dictionary, Ra. Ra is an English word; it's the Egyptian sun god. You don't like it, tough. And, of course, if you'd put back all those letters and make the word ranger again, and take off the R, the first letter, you get anger. So who's our winner?

TOM: Oh wow. Our winner this week is Maria Patringa from Galveston, Texas. And for having her answer selected at random from among all the correct answers that we got, Maria's going to get a $26 gift certificate to the Shameless Commerce Division at cartalk.com, with which she can get a copy of our brand-new music CD called, Stairway to Heapdom.

RAY: Congratulations, Maria!

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