Puzzle master Will Shortz quizzes one of our listeners, and has a challenge for everyone at home.
The two-week challenge from Nov. 13: Write down these two chemical symbols of elements: On the first line write LI, for lithium, and FE for iron. Underneath, write NE for neon and AR for argon. Reading across you get the four-letter words "life" and "near." Reading down, you get "line" and "fear," completing a miniature word square.
The object is to create a 3-by-3 square, composed of the symbols of nine chemical elements, in which each of the three rows across and each of the columns down, spells a word. You may use as many two letter chemical symbols as possible, but you may not repeat symbols or words. Only uncapitalized words are allowed. Our source for acceptable words will be the Merriam-Webster 11th Collegiate Dictionary.
Ag Ra Fe
La Sc Ar
Re Al Er
Across: Agrafe is a clasp for clothing or armor. Lascar, an East Indian sailor. The others words are common. Realer. Down: Aglare, Rascal, and Fearer.
Winner: Jeff Terrace from Chelmsford, Mass.
Challenge from Nov. 26: (From listener Steve Baggish, from Littleton, Mass.) Name a six-letter animal. Change the second letter to the next letter of the alphabet. Read the result backward, and you'll name a major U.S. city. What city is it?