This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden in for Liane Hansen.

And joining us is puzzlemaster Will Shortz. Hello there, Will.

WILL SHORTZ: Hi, Jacki. Nice to talk to you again.

LYDEN: Yes, been a while. How've you been?

SHORTZ: I have been doing great.

LYDEN: What do you have for us this week?

SHORTZ: Well, before we get to the puzzle, I want to mention the upcoming Sudoku National Championship, which I'm directing. It will be held in Philadelphia on October 24, sponsored by the Philadelphia Inquirer. Anyone can take part. There's $25,000 in prizes and lots of categories for both kids and adults. And there's more information at philly.com/sudoku.

LYDEN: Wow, that sounds like a really good time.

SHORTZ: It is.

LYDEN: Well, will you remind of us the challenge you gave last week?

SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Ron Aldridge of Leonia, New Jersey. I said, take the family name of a famous world leader in history. Drop the last letter, then switch the last two letters that remain. The result will name the country this leader led. Who's the leader?

LYDEN: Hmm, that sounds like a good one. And what's the answer?

MR. SHORTZ: The answer is Chiang, as in Chiang Kai-shek. And do that letter manipulation, you get China.

LYDEN: Okay, great. That was a tough one. We only received about 800 entries this week, which is lower than usual. From the correct entries, our randomly selected winner is Barry Alcock of Groveport, Ohio.

Hi, Barry.

Mr. BARRY ALCOCK: Hi, Jacki. How are you?

LYDEN: I'm doing just fine. And it's nice to have you with us. You know…

Mr. ALCOCK: Thanks. I enjoy it.

(Soundbite of laughter)

LYDEN: That would've taken me a long time if I could ever have solved it. How long did it take you?

Mr. ALCOCK: Well, I hate to admit that since you said that. But I began by thinking of countries and China was the second country I came to.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. ALCOCK: Doing that, I came to Chiang Kai-shek almost right away.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. ALCOCK: So I immediately got up entered it on the computer before I forgot to do it.

LYDEN: Are you a veteran puzzle player?

Mr. ALCOCK: I play every week, and I try to enter when I can figure it out, which is not often, but has been lately.

LYDEN: And what do you do in Groveport, Barry?

Mr. ALCOCK: Well, I live in Groveport. I teach between Grove City and Southwest Columbus. I teach language arts with eighth graders.

LYDEN: All right. Well, sounds like you're ready to play the puzzle.

Mr. ALCOCK: I am.

LYDEN: Say hello to Will Shortz. Will, meet Barry.

SHORTZ: All right. Barry and Jacki, I'm going to give you two words starting with the letter C. You give me a third word starting with C that can follow my first word and precede my second one, in each case, to complete a compound word or a familiar two-word phrase. For example, if I said comedy and car, you might say club as in comedy club and club car.

Mr. ALCOCK: Okay, I have it now.

SHORTZ: All right. Number one is cotton, cane.

Mr. ALCOCK: Cotton candy cane.

SHORTZ: Cotton candy cane. Good job. Number two is chemistry, clown.

Mr. ALCOCK: Chemistry, clown. Chemistry class clown.


LYDEN: Fast.

SHORTZ: Cumulus, cover.

Mr. ALCOCK: Cumulus cloud cover.

SHORTZ: That's right. Code, C-O-D-E, code, crumbs.

Mr. ALCOCK: Crumb? C-R-U-M-B?


LYDEN: Code.

Mr. ALCOCK: Code cracker crumbs.

SHORTZ: Good job.

LYDEN: Wow, you're fast.

SHORTZ: Coaxial, car.

Mr. ALCOCK: Cable.

SHORTZ: That's it. Cold, cow.

Mr. ALCOCK: Cash.

SHORTZ: Cold cash, cash cow. Good. Cross, club.

Mr. ALCOCK: Country.

SHORTZ: That's it. Caribbean, control.

Mr. ALCOCK: Cruise.

SHORTZ: Oh, that's good.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: Credit, catalog.

Mr. ALCOCK: Card.

SHORTZ: Oh, man. Creamed, that's C-R-E-A-M-E-D, cob.

Mr. ALCOCK: Corn.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: That's it. Here's a tougher one. Cabin, cut.

Mr. ALCOCK: Say the second word again, please.


LYDEN: Cabin, cut.

Mr. ALCOCK: Cabin - not cruiser.

SHORTZ: Oh, he's close. Just take off that second syllable.

Mr. ALCOCK: Crew.

SHORTZ: Cabin crew and crew cut is it.

Mr. ALCOCK: Yes, okay.

SHORTZ: All right, how about this? Clothes, which is C-L-O-T-H-E-S, clothes, case.

Mr. ALCOCK: Clothes, case. Closet. Close.

SHORTZ: That's it.

LYDEN: That's closet.

Mr. ALCOCK: Closet? Closet case, of course. All right.

SHORTZ: And a closet case is it. How about coffee, cake?

Mr. ALCOCK: Coffee. Oh, I want to say crumb, but that's not it. Coffee…

SHORTZ: Three letters.

Mr. ALCOCK: Jacki.

LYDEN: What do you drink it out of? Hint. Hint.

Mr. ALCOCK: Cup. Oh, of course.

SHORTZ: Coffee cup, cupcake is it.

Mr. ALCOCK: Yeah.

SHORTZ: Crystal, conscience.

Mr. ALCOCK: Clear.

SHORTZ: That's it. And your last one is crash, correction.

Mr. ALCOCK: Course.

SHORTZ: Oh, man. Barry, you are great.

LYDEN: He didn't even break a sweat there.

Mr. ALCOCK: It was a great puzzle. I enjoyed it.

(Soundbite of laughter)

LYDEN: Well, you did a great job. I think you get a little extra prize for fast timing there.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: And if I were one of our next guests, I might say you did wondrous and well, because guess what? We went to the Maryland Renaissance Festival last weekend and found a couple of characters to tell you, Barry, what you'll take home for playing with us today. So, it pleases me to introduce a sheriff and an undertaker with your puzzle prizes.

Mr. EDMUND PIERCE(ph) (Maryland Renaissance Festival): Good then, I am Sheriff Edmund Pierce. I pierce evil through the heart.

Mr. PRESCOTT PIERCE(ph): And I am Prescott Pierce, grave digger extraordinaire.

Mr. E. PIERCE: For playing our puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin.

Mr. P. PIERCE: The 11th edition of "Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary," I'm not very…

Mr. E. PIERCE: That's collegiate.

Mr. P. PIERCE: "Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus" and Scrabble Deluxe Edition from Parker Brothers.

Mr. E. PIERCE: "The Puzzlemaster Presents" from Random House, volume two.

Mr. P. PIERCE: Will Shortz' latest book series "Will Shortz Presents KenKen," volumes one, two and three from St. Martin's Press.

Mr. E. PIERCE: And one of Will Shortz's "Puzzlemaster Decks of Riddles and Challenges" from Chronicle Books.

Mr. P. PIERCE: Hizah(ph).

Mr. E. PIERCE: Hizah.

(Soundbite of laughter)

LYDEN: Well, what do you think, Barry?

Mr. ALCOCK: That was fun. I enjoyed listening to them. It was great.

LYDEN: I think he deserved it for such a speedy puzzle solution, don't you, Will?


LYDEN: Well, Barry, before we let you go, tell us what member station you listen in Ohio.

Mr. ALCOCK: I'm member of two stations in Columbus: WOSU and WCBE.

LYDEN: Great. Well, Barry Alcock of Groveport, Ohio, we thank you for playing the puzzle with us today.

Mr. ALCOCK: Well, thank you for having me. It's been a great lot of fun.

LYDEN: It sure has. So, Will, are you prepared to give a challenge for next week?

SHORTZ: Yes, I am. And it's literally an extension of my on-air puzzle. Some of the chains of C words in the puzzle can be extended in either direction. For example, cold, cash, cow. It could be lengthened by adding common at the start to make common cold, and college could go at the end to make cow college. So, I'd like to find a chain of C words connecting carbon to circuit.

My chain has seven words between carbon and circuit. Your chain doesn't have to match mine. But each word has to start with C and each has to combine with the words before and after to make a compound word or a familiar two-word phrase. So, carbon to circuit, can you do it?

LYDEN: Can you beat the puzzlemaster? The chain of Cs. 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 at 3 p.m. Eastern Time. And remember to include a phone number where we can reach you at about at that time. We'll call you if you're the winner. You get to play the puzzle on the air with the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzlemaster Will Shortz. And I'm glad I hardly had to help Barry at all, Will.

SHORTZ: He was fantastic.

LYDEN: Thanks a lot. It's been a pleasure.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Jacki.

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