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Process

'A' Is For 'Antony,' 'B' Is For 'Barney' and 'W' Is For 'Winner'

NPR Digital Media folks are a quirky, fun-loving lot. We don’t slap just any old name or number on our regular software releases, we make a game out of it!

Our releases go live about every two weeks, for a total of 26 releases per year. Coincidentally, that’s also the number of letters in the alphabet. So the naming convention we use for releases each year follows a secret alphabetical theme. The first staff person to guess the theme wins the right to create the next year’s theme.

No Google-ing, Wikipedia-ing, or asking your pub-quiz-champion friends! Players have to use their brains and extensive knowledge of esoteric trivia to win.

We post the year’s names on our internal wiki in dribs and drabs, no more than 3 months at a time. We also post incorrect guesses as they are proffered to the implacable judges. Since the theme isn’t often guessable until more than a quarter of the alphabet is used, geeky hilarity ensues with some creative and detailed attempts to identify the theme. “Almost” doesn’t count in this contest, only dead-on accuracy.

The 2011 game is well underway. No one has figured it out yet, so I can’t share the release names or answer with you. I can tell you that it’s especially devious. Each year seems to be a little harder than the previous one. (Heaven help us if “Team Library” figures out 2011, because they lobbed their first guess when we posted “E” and it was a masterpiece of complexity and “How do you KNOW this stuff?!” awesomeness.)

Now it’s your turn to play our game. Below is a sampling of release names from 2009 and 2010. Take a crack at it and post your answers for each year in the comments section below. And please follow the same rules we do! No Google, etc.!! Just brains!!!

2009
Antony
Barney
Cecil
Dino
Elmer
Foghorn

2010
Abby
Biff
Claribelle
Domby
Ernestine
Georges
Hoots
Ikri Mikri
Joey
Kami

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