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Expand Your Mind

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Expand Your Mind

Expand Your Mind

Expand Your Mind

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Quizmaster John Chaneski asks contestants to open their minds, and attempt a wily word game that requires them to add letters to both ends of a word. For example, "RAISIN" plus "speaking highly of" becomes "PRAISING." Scrabble tiles not included.


You're listening to ASK ME ANOTHER, NPR's hour of word games, puzzles and trivia, for people who can get past Wednesday's puzzle in The New York Times. I'm your host, Ophira Eisenberg and with me is our resident puzzle expert, John Chaneski.


JOHN CHANESKI: Yes, thank you. And I expect they'll bury me in a conundrum some day.


EISENBERG: All right. Standing in front of me are our two new contestants. We have Elliot Kort and Erin Hairston


EISENBERG: Welcome. Erin?


EISENBERG: Interesting fact about you I learned.


EISENBERG: Is it true that you are from the largest family in America?


EISENBERG: You're from the largest family in America.

HAIRSTON: In America.

EISENBERG: That's - How many people.

HAIRSTON: I would like to say the world.

EISENBERG: In the world?


EISENBERG: That's what you're working towards, is that a goal?

HAIRSTON: Yes I am. Yes. I have nine nieces and nephews, so I think we're on our way.

EISENBERG: Wow. And so when you say largest what is - What are the boundaries of that. How many generations do you go out?

HAIRSTON: Oh, 1700s.



EISENBERG: And there's been books written on you.

HAIRSTON: PBS specials, books, podcasts.

EISENBERG: D'you run out of names or there's more than one Erin?

HAIRSTON: Well I'm not the only Erin Hairston, so if I don't do well, I have plausible deniability.


EISENBERG: I love that. You have like other people you can blame stuff on.

HAIRSTON: And boys and girls, so there are...

EISENBERG: Boys and girls.


EISENBERG: Oh totally blame it on the boys, for sure.

HAIRSTON: Hm, hm, yes.

EISENBERG: The oldest one too I would take.


EISENBERG: Yeah excellent. All right. Well this is going to be fantastic. You have a lovely opponent named Elliot.


EISENBERG: Elliot, have you ever been on public radio before?

ELLIOTT KORT: I have actually. When I was younger, I was on a road trip through Wisconsin, because that's what one does when one is young and Jewish. And we found ourself - We found ourselves at...


HAIRSTON: Yeah, it was basically just us in front of What Do You Know and so I got to throw the dart. That was my entree into public radio.

EISENBERG: You just drove up and they were like you do it?

KORT: Well, sitting in front row and being kind of cute can get to you.


KORT: Yeah.

EISENBERG: Radio audience won't know this, but we'll tell them. Elliott is really cute.

KORT: Oh, you're too kind, too kind.

EISENBERG: He's really cute. This game is called Expand Your Mind. John, are we drinking some good tea around here? What's going on?

CHANESKI: You take that funny little pill, every one of you, just pick it up now. In this game I'm going to give you a word, we want you to add one letter to the front of the word and one letter to the back of the word, to form a longer word. You're going to expand the word man, get it? OK. To get you started, Ophira's going to try one. So Ophira, if I gave you the word raisin and the clue, speaking highly of, how would you expand that word?

EISENBERG: Hm, hm. I would add a P to the front and a G to the end to get praising.

CHANESKI: You got it, very good. OK contestants, whoever scores higher will move onto our Ask Me One More final round. Ready?


KORT: Indeed.

CHANESKI: Terrific, here we go. The word is Oregon. The clue is, a kind of conclusion.


KORT: We would add an F - an F to the beginning and an E to the end to be foregone.

CHANESKI: Yes, perfectly right. Thank you for talking it through, nice work.



CHANESKI: OK. The word is urban and the clue is, it's where Johnny Carson spent a lot of his time. It's a place in California. Yes Erin.

HAIRSTON: Burbank.

CHANESKI: Burbank is correct, with a B and a K.


CHANESKI: Nice... Lingo, the word is lingo. Lieutenant Worf was a member of this race.


CHANESKI: Elliott.

KORT: Klingon.

CHANESKI: Klingon is right, (Klingon spoken).


EISENBERG: (Klingon spoken). I said you're right in Klingon, did you see that? That was amazing. Come on.

CHANESKI: And I said success, (Klingon spoken).

JONATHAN COULTON: You're both great at speaking Klingon, congratulations.


EISENBERG: Elliott just gave us the whatever guys, all right, let's just keep this questions rolling.

KORT: I just - I know I'm not that talented, so I mean I'm definitely...


CHANESKI: Path, the word is path. You know what? I don't care whether or not you get this question right, so there's your stupid clue. Elliott?

KORT: Apathy.

CHANESKI: Apathy is right, with an A and a Y.


EISENBERG: He was so convincing, you actually just thought for a minute there, he was just done with it. He was just done with it.

CHANESKI: I had zoned out, I checked out. Elliott's in the lead, but Erin, there is a chance you can catch up. Try this one. The word is urchin, urchin. Staggering from side to side. Elliott?

KORT: Lurching.

CHANESKI: Lurching with an L and a G, very good.


CHANESKI: Finally, the word is implicit. It's a company known for making sewing patterns. Erin.

HAIRSTON: Simplicity?

CHANESKI: Simplicity is right.


CHANESKI: A last hurrah from Erin.

EISENBERG: It looks like Elliott won that round.


EISENBERG: You'll be going onto our final Ask Me One More round at the end of the show. Erin, what a pleasure, thank you so much.


CHANESKI: A hand for Erin. Very good.


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