OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:
Let's go to our next game. Standing in front of me, are our next two contestants, Leslie Billig. And Leslie is a crossword puzzle editor.
EISENBERG: I know. The audience is like, oh my goodness. And we also have Nisse Greenberg.
EISENBERG: Nisse's a math whizz. He teaches on a volunteer basis to kids, so you really have to like math to do that.
EISENBERG: And he's originally from Bangor, Maine, but a vegetarian. You've never tried the lobster? Not even once?
NISSE GREENBERG: I'm actually from Bar Harbor, Maine.
EISENBERG: Oh, Bar Harbor, Maine, well there you go.
GREENBERG: But I tried lobster once at age 22. Yeah, somewhere round there.
EISENBERG: So a couple of months ago.
EISENBERG: Well that's too bad because our game is the Tastes of Crustacean, so that's going to be -
JOHN CHANESKI: Sorry. So sorry.
EISENBERG: No, we're happy to have you. John, tell us about the game we're about to play.
CHANESKI: Sure, this puzzle is called Bankable Stars. We're going to letter bank the last names of bankable, or profit-winning, celebrities.
EISENBERG: OK, Jon. We don't speak puzzle, so what is a letter bank?
CHANESKI: In puzzle lingo, a letter bank is a short word that contains all the letters you need to make a much longer word. For example, with just the letters in the word pearl, P-E-A-R-L, you can spell parallel. And the word sprout, S-P-R-O-U-T, is a letter bank for the phrase support our troops.
CHANESKI: Now remember...
CHANESKI: Everybody pick up on that? Got it?
EISENBERG: There's two sides of the audience happening. Half are like, this is impossible, and the other half are like, yeah, I got it.
CHANESKI: Remember the word or phrase we're looking for will use all the letters in the bank, often more than once. For example, Ophira...
CHANESKI: ...if I gave you the last name Monet, M-O-N-E-T, as in?
EISENBERG: Claude Monet, yes.
CHANESKI: Claude Monet, right? And the clue, speaking in an unvarying pitch or volume. You'd said what?
EISENBERG: I would say monotone.
CHANESKI: Monotone, right. All the letters...
CHANESKI: ...in the word monotone can be found in Monet. Very good.
EISENBERG: OK. Contestants, you ready? You got this?
GREENBERG: Absolutely not. Oh sure.
EISENBERG: Oh excellent. OK.
EISENBERG: Remember to ring in when you have the answer.
CHANESKI: Great, here we go. The first celebrity is Ronald Reagan, R-E-A-G-A-N. Your clue, to move everything all-around, like the furniture. (bell ringing)
LESLIE BILLIG: Rearrange.
CHANESKI: Rearrange is right.
CHANESKI: Here's the next one. Rafael Nadal, N-A-D-A-L. Your clue, where you drift off to when you daydream, or a slang term for Los Angeles. (bell ringing)
BILLIG: La La Land.
CHANESKI: La La Land is correct, Leslie. Way to go. That's two for you. OK.
EISENBERG: Nice. Advantage Leslie.
CHANESKI: Jennifer Aniston, A-N-I-S-T-O-N. Your clue, the second most popular city in Texas, it's home to the Alamo. (bell ringing)
GREENBERG: No, no.
BILLIG: San Antonio?
CHANESKI: Yes, Leslie, way to go.
EISENBERG: Nisse, it's OK, it's all right.
GREENBERG: No, it's not OK.
EISENBERG: Give him a math question.
CHANESKI: This is a math guy in a word game with a crossword puzzle lady.
BILLIG: I mean really.
GREENBERG: It's a very fair match though.
CHANESKI: He's actually doing pretty well, so...
EISENBERG: Yeah, he's doing great.
GREENBERG: Three minus zero is three.
GREENBERG: I am three behind.
CHANESKI: Let's go to Tim Burton, B-U-R-T-O-N. The clue, the title track of a classic Bruce Springsteen album. (bell ringing)
BILLIG: "Born To Run."
CHANESKI: "Born To Run" is right.
EISENBERG: You're the boss, Leslie. Boss Leslie.
BILLIG: I'm so sorry.
GREENBERG: No. I'm liking hearing all these answers.
EISENBERG: Do you guys want to hug? Do you guys want to hug for a second?
GREENBERG: They're very good answers.
CHANESKI: OK, think on this one. Adam Sandler. Sandler, S-A-N-D-L-E-R. Your clue, the first and last name of a longtime advice columnist.
GREENBERG: No, you can do it.
CHANESKI: Ah, yeah.
Go ahead, Leslie. Take it. Yeah.
BILLIG: Ann Landers.
CHANESKI: Ann Landers is right.
EISENBERG: That's correct. That's correct.
EISENBERG: I've never seen this kind of interaction between contestants.
GREENBERG: I was trying to sweet talk her beforehand, I think it's helping.
CHANESKI: What I loved was that Leslie gave him a chance, but she put her hand over her bell and looked over at him...
CHANESKI: ...just to let him know like...
GREENBERG: You going?
CHANESKI: ...I'm giving you a few seconds here, chief.
Let's try Kim Basinger. Basinger, B-A-S-I-N-G-E-R. The clue is part of the Pacific Ocean between Russia and Alaska. It's known... (bell ringing) Yes?
GREENBERG: Bering Strait.
CHANESKI: It's known for its strait.
GREENBERG: Bering Sea?
CHANESKI: Bering Sea is right. Way to go, Nisse.
GREENBERG: I got one.
EISENBERG: OK, so our final scores are Leslie, six, Nisse, one, which makes Leslie our winner.
EISENBERG: Thank you, you will be moving on to our final round of double ASK ME ANOTHER ultimate challenge at the end of the show. Well done.
EISENBERG: We're looking for a few people in our radio audience who would like to play games and puzzles in a future show, so if you think you have what it takes, direct message us at @npraskmeanother, or you can send us an old fashioned email at email@example.com and we'll send you a quiz to see if you have what it takes.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.