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LIANE HANSEN, host:

From NPR News, this is WEEKEND EDITION. I'm Liane Hansen.

And joining us is puzzlemaster Will Shortz. Hi, Will.

WILL SHORTZ: Hi, Liane.

HANSEN: Now, you actually have something to talk about today.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: Well, I don't know. Last weekend I competed in the Empire State Senior Games and I won a gold medal in mixed doubles, bronze medal in men's doubles and didn't win anything in the men's singles, but it was a tough category and I played well.

HANSEN: Well, that's table tennis news. What about the upcoming U.S. Puzzle Championship?

SHORTZ: The annual online test that helps choose the U.S. team for the World Puzzle Championship, will take place this Saturday, June 20. I'm on the board that oversees the test. It's free, it's open to everyone. And if you'd like to register or find out more details, go to wpc.puzzles.com.

HANSEN: Excellent. Now we get to our little tiny radio puzzle where we give out these tiny little gold lapel pins.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: Remind us of the challenge you gave us last week.

SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Doug Heller of Flourtown, Pennsylvania. I said, think of a famous TV personality, five letters in the first name, four letters in the last. Change the first letter of this celebrity's first name to M. Drop the first letter of the last name. Read the result in order, and it'll spell something this person is famously known for doing many times. Who is it?

HANSEN: Who is it?

SHORTZ: It's Larry King. Do that switch and you get marrying. He's had eight -he's married eight times.

HANSEN: I, yeah, I know. I tried to find suspenders in that name, but it just didn't work for me. We received about 2,000 correct entries. And from those entries we randomly selected Connie Soucy of Coral Springs, Florida to play on the air. Hi, Connie.

Ms. CONNIE SOUCY: Hi, Liane. Hi, Will.

SHORTZ: Hey.

HANSEN: How long have you been playing our puzzle?

Ms. SOUCY: Since I was living in Boston in the '80s, WBUR, postcards.

HANSEN: Wow, the whole gamut. It's about time we finally picked an entry from you, right?

Ms. SOUCY: I just, as soon as I sent in my answer, I just had this feeling that this time I was going to get called.

SHORTZ: Whoa.

HANSEN: Wow. All right, well, you can use your psychic powers during the game. We won't tell anybody. Are you ready?

Ms. SOUCY: I'm ready.

HANSEN: All right. Will, say hello to Connie and let's play.

SHORTZ: All right, Connie, today's puzzle is called test. Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase in which the first word starts with T-E and the second word starts with S-T. For example, if I said, cut of beef that's often grilled or barbequed, you would say, tenderloin steak. Here's number one. Where shows are taped for broadcast.

Ms. SOUCY: Television studio.

SHORTZ: That's it. City thoroughfare between 9th and 11th.

Ms. SOUCY: 10th Street.

SHORTZ: That's it. Construction metal that's been heat-treated to make it stronger.

Ms. SOUCY: Tempered steel.

SHORTZ: Oh, that's good. University in Nashville.

Ms. SOUCY: Tennessee State.

SHORTZ: That's it. Longtime Alaska senator who was defeated in 2008.

Ms. SOUCY: Ted Stevens.

SHORTZ: Good. A piece pounded into the ground while making a camp shelter.

Ms. SOUCY: A tent stake.

SHORTZ: Good. Sieve-like device for brewing Oolong or Pekoe.

Ms. SOUCY: Tea strainer?

SHORTZ: That's it. According to an old gas company slogan: You can trust your car to the man who wears this.

Ms. SOUCY: Oh, the Texaco something?

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: Yes.

HANSEN: A star.

SHORTZ: Yes. Texaco Star. Good. That goes way back. Try this one: Dental procedure to align crooked canines or molars.

Ms. SOUCY: Teeth straightening.

SHORTZ: That's it. What Alaska and Hawaii had before 1959 and what Guam still has today.

Ms. SOUCY: Something status.

SHORTZ: Yes. They're not states, but…

Ms. SOUCY: Territory.

SHORTZ: Territorial status is it. A facility from which messages in Morse code were once sent.

Ms. SOUCY: Telegraph station.

SHORTZ: That's it. Refusal of union truck drivers to work.

Ms. SOUCY: Something strike.

HANSEN: Strike.

SHORTZ: Right. And who are union truck drivers?

Ms. SOUCY: Teamsters.

SHORTZ: Teamsters strike is it. And your last one: Lying.

Ms. SOUCY: Lying?

SHORTZ: Lying.

Ms. SOUCY: I have no idea.

HANSEN: Tell?

SHORTZ: Yeah, telling.

HANSEN: Telling stories?

Ms. SOUCY: Stories?

SHORTZ: Telling stories is it. Nice job.

HANSEN: All right. Connie, what a team we made. Nice…

Ms. SOUCY: Massachusetts girls.

HANSEN: That's it. Massachusetts girls. We stick together. Wicked smart. Well, as Will mentioned, Connie, the U.S. Puzzle Championship is coming up. So we thought it'd be fun to invite the defending champion to tell you what you'll get for playing our puzzle today.

His name is Thomas Snyder. He's won the tournament not just once, but the last three years in a row. And he's also the author of the books, "Battleship Sudoku," I can't imagine, "Battleship Sudoku," really? And "Mutant Sudoku," even better. Here's Thomas Snyder with your puzzle prizes.

Mr. THOMAS SNYDER (Author, "Battleship Sudoku" and "Mutant Sudoku"): Congratulations, Connie. For playing our puzzle today you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, the "11th Edition of Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus," the Scrabble Deluxe Edition from Parker Brothers, the "Puzzle Master Presents" from Random House, Volume 2, Will Shortz's latest book series, "Will Shortz Presents KenKen," Volumes 1, 2 and 3 from St. Martin's Press. And one of Will Shortz's "Puzzlemaster Decks of Riddles and Challenges" from Chronicle Books.

HANSEN: Hmm. Connie, what do you think?

Ms. SOUCY: I'm just flabbergasted. Thank you very much. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

HANSEN: Yeah, it was a pleasure for us, too. I'll let you know, Thomas says he's going to enter the championship again this year, Will. So you think maybe four times is the charm for him?

SHORTZ: We'll see.

HANSEN: We'll see. Yeah, it's only a game. And before we let you go, Connie, after playing such a great game, tell us what member station you listen to.

Ms. SOUCY: I am a member of WLRN, Miami.

HANSEN: Man, we have trained you well since the postcard days, haven't we, to say member? Connie Soucy of Coral Springs, Florida, what a treat, thanks for playing with us today.

Ms. SOUCY: Bye-bye.

HANSEN: Bye-bye. All right, Will, a challenge for next week, please.

SHORTZ: Yes. It's a spin-off of the on-air puzzle and it's a straightforward one. Think of a word starting with T-E and another word starting with S-T, they're synonyms. And here's the hint, the T-E word has two syllables, the S-T word has one. So, again, words starting with T-E and S-T that are synonyms. What are they?

HANSEN: When you have the answer, go to our Web site npr.org/puzzle and click on the Submit Your Answer link. Only one entry per person, please. Our deadline this week is Thursday, 3 p.m. Eastern Time. Please include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time. We'll call you if you're the winner, and you'll get to play puzzle on the air with the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzlemaster Will Shortz. Will, I'm going to be taking a week staycation.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: So, Alison Stewart will be here next week to play. So, thanks a lot for this week, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane.

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