Top Row

Forget the typing etiquette you learned in school. In this game, we ignore most of the keyboard to focus only on the 10 letters to the right of the Tab key. House musician Jonathan Coulton leads this game and shows us just how many words we can spell with Q, W, E, R, T, Y, U, I, O and P.

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OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

You're listening to ASK ME ANOTHER, NPR's hour of puzzles, word games, and trivia. I'm your host Ophira Eisenberg and this hour we're featuring some of the most mind-bending games we have ever played. In the studio with me is our puzzle editor Art Chung and our next number is called Top Row, which unfortunately has nothing to do with top shelf. It has everything to do with QWERTYUIOP.

ART CHUNG: I don't think QWERTYUIOP is a word.

EISENBERG: Check your computer.

CHUNG: Well, I'm looking at my computer and it does stand for the letters on the top of the computer keyboard.

EISENBERG: Ah-ha.

CHUNG: Q-W-E-R-T-Y-U-I-O-P.

EISENBERG: Exactly.

CHUNG: Well, in this game, Top Row, we asked the contestants to remember all those letters in their head. We didn't give them a computer keyboard and they had to figure out words that could be spelled using only that row of letters.

EISENBERG: Which is more difficult than it sounds.

CHUNG: It was a little difficult and a little sadistic.

EISENBERG: Now standing at attention, we have our next two contestants. We have Joe Altieri and Lorna Jordan, ready for our next game. Just as a warm-up, Joe, can you give me any four letters that appear on the top row of a keyboard?

JOE ALTIERI: T, R, Q, U.

EISENBERG: That's excellent, well done.

ALTIERI: Really?

EISENBERG: Yeah. Now, Lorna, I know he took four of the mix there, but can you add a couple to that?

LORNA JORDAN: Mm-hmm.

EISENBERG: Yeah, great. Good. I like your attitude.

JORDAN: P, O.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

JORDAN: I, N, T. Maybe?

EISENBERG: Yeah, more or less. OK. Yeah. You know what, just remember that.

JORDAN: Mm-hmm.

EISENBERG: Jonathan, what are we going to play?

JONATHAN COULTON: Well, this game is called The Top Row, because all the answers in this game can be typed using only the top row of letters on a computer keyboard.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: So there are 10 altogether, the 10 next to the tab key: Q, W, E, R, T, Y, U, I, O, and P. A simple pneumonic is to remember the word Qwertyuiop.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: And letters can be used more than once in the answer. Here we go. You might use your keyboard to tap out this message, limited to 140 characters.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Lorna?

JORDAN: Tweet.

COULTON: That is right.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: R-T and H-T to Lorna.

COULTON: Yes.

EISENBERG: H-T is hat tip. I just learned that. I love it.

COULTON: That's internet talk. In ballet, a twirl on your toes.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Lorna?

JORDAN: Pirouette.

COULTON: Yes.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: Some people call a see-saw this.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Lorna?

JORDAN: Teeter-totter.

COULTON: Zing, you are right.

EISENBERG: Yes.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: An aromatic mixture of dried plants and spices.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Joe?

ALTIERI: Potpourri.

COULTON: Yes.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: Gentlemen should always hold open doors for ladies, according to this.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Joe?

ALTIERI: Etiquette.

COULTON: Yes.

EISENBERG: Nice.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: There's a gentleman right there, obviously.

ALTIERI: My chivalry has paid off.

COULTON: Yes.

EISENBERG: Well done.

COULTON: If you are one of these, you never win.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Lorna?

JORDAN: Quitter.

COULTON: Yes.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: Brits don't wait in line, they do this.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Joe?

ALTIERI: Queue.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes!

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Joe is getting all the polite things. He has etiquette. He queues. He buys potpourri.

COULTON: You know why? Because don't let him fool you. Joe is a nice young man, that's why.

EISENBERG: Yes.

COULTON: Before Alaska became a U.S. state, it was a this.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Lorna?

JORDAN: Territory.

COULTON: Yes.

EISENBERG: All right. Nice job.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: All right, that was close, but it turns out, Lorna, you won this round. Congratulations, you'll be moving onto our Ask Me One More final round at the end of the show.

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