A Word Game In Rare Form

On-Air Challenge: The four rarest letters in the alphabet are J, Q, X and Z. You are given a familiar word and must change one letter in it to a J, Q, X or Z to get another familiar word. For example, given the clue "enact," the answer would be "exact."

Last Week's Challenge: This Hat Rack Puzzle by Sam Loyd was published 100 years ago in Woman's Home Companion: A hat room contains a wall with 49 pegs, arranged in a 7-by-7 square. The hat clerk has 20 hats that are to be hung on 20 different pegs. How many lines, containing four hats in a straight line, is it possible to produce? A line can go in any direction: horizontally, vertically or obliquely. To explain your answer, number the pegs in order, from 1 in the upper left corner to 49 in the lower right corner; list which pegs you put the 20 hats on, and give the total number of lines containing four hats in a row.

Answer: 18 lines. Listener Blaine Deal's weekly blog about the Weekend Edition Puzzle challenge explains the seven ways in which the hats can be arranged to get 18 lines.

Winner: Jed Martinez, Margate, Fla.

Note: On this week's edition of the "Weekend Edition Sunday Puzzle," Will Shortz misspelled the word "siege." Plus, some listeners heard Will Shortz and guest host Jacki Lyden talk about making jewelry out of xenon. Xenon, however, is a colorless gas. We regret the errors.

Next Week's Challenge: From listener Adam Cohen, of Brooklyn, N.Y.: Think of a former world leader whose first and last names both sound like things you might see in a mine. Who is the leader, and what are the things?

Submit Your Answer

If you know the answer to next week's challenge, submit it here. Listeners who submit correct answers win a chance to play the on-air puzzle. Important: Include a phone number where we can reach you Thursday at 3 p.m. Eastern.

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