This week, clean up Bruce Willis' Die Hard catchphrase, trivialize some dog breeds, and since no rule of three is complete without the third item, guess celebrities with triple names. Plus, the lovely and talented singer-songwriter Nellie McKay uses both her voice and brain to demonstrate her love of the icon Doris Day.
Strap on your safety goggles: we're turning up the Bunsen burners for a special math and science-themed episode, recorded at the 2013 World Science Festival. Play games that contain a Periodic Table spelling bee, turn pop songs into algebraic equations, and imagine if Greek goddesses had their own franchise of Real Housewives. Plus, our Very Important Puzzler, Cornell University math professor Steven Strogatz, is on a mission to prove that math isn't scary, but actually joyful.
Inspired by this week's Very Important Puzzler, the best-selling children's horror author R.L. Stine (Goosebumps, Fear Street), the games in this show have been designed to scare the answers out of you. Find out what zombies eat when they run out of brains, test your Looney Tunes knowledge through a revised rendition of "Sympathy for the Devil" and find out what else Edgar Allan Poe's Raven has been quoth'ing on about.
As the saying goes, "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery," and this week's Very Important Puzzler, actor Justin Long, knows this phrase all too well. While he's known for starring in romantic comedies like He's Just Not That Into You and Going the Distance, Long's knack for celebrity impersonations comes in handy for a game in which he brings Woody Allen, Michael J. Fox and others to life.
Would you classify your high school self as an A/V nerd, band geek or mathlete? This week's show pays homage to them all. In the games, we'll spoil some famous films by not spoiling anything at all, teach you how to "put a Björk in it," and make an inordinate amount of cat jokes. And Paul Feig, director of Bridesmaids and The Heat, discusses why funny women should be bigger stars, and reflects on the legacy of his beloved creation, the short-lived TV series Freaks and Geeks.
Shake things up in our nation's capital with one of D.C.'s music legends. In this hour, recorded at the NPR Headquarters in Washington, our Very Important Puzzler is the prolific and outspoken Ian MacKaye. The front man of the D.C. punk bands Fugazi and Minor Threat shares tales from the road, and muses about what "punk" means today. Plus, try out your best Nicolas Cage impression, play a game that asks you to create new company names after imagined big-time mergers and search for National treasures.
In this week's show, recorded at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, Minnesota, play games about famous sets of twins, grammatically-incorrect song lyrics--and did you know that James Bond also has a "license to grill"? Pun alert! Our V.I.P. is the woman who helped add 13 hours of marathon-watching to our schedules: Piper Kerman. She's the author of Orange is the New Black, the memoir that inspired the hit Netflix series about life in a women's prison. Plus, two Mystery Science Theater 3000 veterans riff on bad movies.
You may know this week's V.I.P. (Very Important Puzzler) Steve Guttenberg from such iconic films as Diner, Cocoon, and Three Men and a Baby. But he wears plenty of other hats – author, reality show contestant, even Guinness World Record holder. In this episode we'll explore all things Gute. Plus, we'll dine out on some soft rock, give movies the Randy Newman treatment, and find out that Mark Twain isn't all he's cracked up to be.
Want to know what J.D. Salinger was really up to during all those years as a recluse? He wrote racy letters to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, dined with Michael Jackson and cut a track with the Foo Fighters. At least according to V.I.P. Tom Ruprecht, a former Late Show With David Letterman writer and author of a totally phony oral history of Salinger's life. In addition to faking history this week, we invite you to talk like a 1930s movie gangster, sing songs heard on television and guess your favorite author's fictional characters.
This summer spectacular, recorded outdoors in New York City's Central Park, is a jam-packed show. The Office's B.J. Novak hits the puzzle hotseat for a Shakespearean pop quiz, Wet Hot American Summer filmmaker David Wain flaunts his movie trivia prowess, and Kurt Andersen, host of PRI's Studio 360, stakes his claim as a literary romantic. Plus, a ukulele-strumming Nellie McKay joins Jonathan Coulton to sing the catchiest songs of summers past, and NPR Puzzlemaster Will Shortz tries to stump contestants with a doozy of a final anagram showdown.