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LIANE HANSEN, host:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Liane Hansen.

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

WILL SHORTZ: Hi, Liane.

HANSEN: You have some news.

SHORTZ: Well, the National Sudoku Championship is this Saturday. I'm directing it, as usual. It's in Philadelphia, $25,000 in prizes - there's lots of prize categories - sponsored by the Philadelphia Inquirer. And if anyone is interested in competing, go to Philly.com/Sudoku.

HANSEN: Okay, there you are. You got the message out. Now you have to remind us of the challenge you gave us on the radio last week.

SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Doug Heller of Flourtown, Pennsylvania. I said, think of a beverage with a two-word name. The first word has three letters and the second word has nine. Arrange the letters of the nine-letter word in a three-by-three box. If you've named the right beverage, you can read down the center column of this box to get the three-letter word in the beverage's name.

What beverage is it?

HANSEN: My, such a complicated clue. What was the answer?

SHORTZ: It's hot chocolate.

HANSEN: You betcha. Hot chocolate. Boy, that sounds good right about now that winter seems to be crawling back. And our listeners seem to agree. We received more than 3,000 entries this week. And from those correct entries we randomly selected May Shaw of Laguna Woods, California to play the puzzle on the air today.

Hi, May.

Ms. MAY SHAW: Hi, Liane.

HANSEN: How long did it take you to solve the puzzle?

Ms. SHAW: Well, after I eliminated tea, T-E-A, it popped into my head - hot chocolate.

HANSEN: Wow. How long have you been playing?

Ms. SHAW: Maybe 20 years.

HANSEN: Oh, my goodness, as long as I've been doing the program.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: And then, are you a puzzle person?

Ms. SHAW: I definitely am.

HANSEN: Excellent. Well, sounds like you're ready to play.

Ms. SHAW: Yes, ma'am.

HANSEN: And you've been waiting 20 years, so we don't want to keep you waiting any longer.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: All right. Will, meet May. Let's play.

SHORTZ: All right, May, I'm going to read you some clues. The answer to each clue is a four-letter word, which can be found in consecutive letters inside the clue. For example, if I said a sailboat's part, you would say spar, S-P-A-R, because a sailboat's part is a spar and it's concealed in the consecutive letters inside sailboat's parts. Okay?

Ms. SHAW: Got it.

SHORTZ: Number one is: create a rip. And if you were just to answer that clue normally, what would you say? To create a rip is to…

Ms. SHAW: Tear.

HANSEN: Yeah.

SHORTZ: Tear - and there it is right inside that phrase.

Here's number two: emotion that enemies may harbor.

Ms. SHAW: Hate.

HANSEN: Yup.

SHORTZ: Hate. There you go.

Close a letter with wax.

Ms. SHAW: Seal?

HANSEN: Yeah.

SHORTZ: Seal. Good. Right inside. Close a letter. Good one.

Top level of the barn. And what is the top level of the barn where you keep the hay?

Ms. SHAW: Loft.

HANSEN: Yup.

SHORTZ: The loft and there it is inside level of the…

Ms. SHAW: Right.

SHORTZ: Good. Edgar Allan Poe, to name one.

HANSEN: Oh.

Ms. SHAW: I'm trying to get poet.

HANSEN: You got it.

SHORTZ: There you go. Right inside Poe and the first letter of two. Good one.

Ms. SHAW: Yeah.

SHORTZ: Utensil for kitchen use. Utensil for kitchen use.

Ms. SHAW: Fork.

HANSEN: You got it.

SHORTZ: Fork. Good one.

State between Ohio, Washington. And there's only two-letter, two four-letter states in the U.S. and it's one of those.

HANSEN: So it would be the I-O of Ohio?

Ms. SHAW: Iowa?

HANSEN: Yeah.

SHORTZ: Iowa, which actually is, you know, between Ohio and Washington. Good one.

HANSEN: There are a lot of states between Ohio and Washington.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: This is true. That's one of them.

HANSEN: But the four letters narrowed it down.

SHORTZ: The four-letter one. There you go. Try this one: having lots of tufts, T-U-F-T-S. Having lots of tufts.

Ms. SHAW: Soft?

HANSEN: Yeah. Soft.

SHORTZ: Soft is it. Right in there. Good.

They espy things. They - and the second - the middle word is E-S-P-Y. They espy things.

HANSEN: Well, spy is not a four-letter word, so…

SHORTZ: Right. But what would be things that look at things?

HANSEN: Things.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: Things that look at things?

SHORTZ: Things you had…

HANSEN: Oh, it's further up in the word.

SHORTZ: Yeah.

Ms. SHAW: Eyes.

HANSEN: Got it.

SHORTZ: There you go. They do espy things.

How about this one: where a Siamese came from.

Ms. SHAW: Siam?

SHORTZ: Well…

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: That would be too easy.

SHORTZ: That's a little too easy. No, it's got to span words. But take the letter before Siamese - where a Siamese came from.

Ms. SHAW: Asia.

HANSEN: You got it.

SHORTZ: Asia is it. And here's your last one: insane Roman emperor.

Ms. SHAW: Nero?

HANSEN: Yeah.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: Nero. Nice job.

HANSEN: That didn't take you long, May. Nice work.

Ms. SHAW: Thank you.

HANSEN: Nice work. Yeah, these were tough because sometimes when you see the phrase, you can't see the words through the phrase.

SHORTZ: It's hard to visualize, yeah.

HANSEN: Yeah, exactly. Well, May, you know, as a longtime listener that we send some things to you, some fun things to you for playing with us today. And we actually have someone very special to tell you about them. He's an actor. He starred in the movie "Leatherheads." He voiced an animated character in "Monsters Versus Aliens." He also wrote and directed brief interviews with "Hideous Men," which is an adaptation of David Foster Wallace's short stories. But he's probably best known for playing Jim on the TV series "The Office." Here's John Krasinski with your puzzle prizes.

Mr. JOHN KRASINSKI (Actor): 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 Puzzlemaster Presents" from Random House, Volume 2. Will Shortz's latest book series, "Will Shortz Presents KenKen," Volumes 1 and 2 and 3 from St. Martin's Press. And one of Will Shortz's "Puzzlemaster Decks of Riddles and Challenges" from Chronicle Books.

HANSEN: And, May, guess what? There's a prize that John Krasinski didn't mention. And you're going to be the first one to get it.

Ms. SHAW: What?

HANSEN: We have a new CD compilation of NPR's Sunday puzzles featuring you know who, puzzlemaster Will Shortz.

Ms. SHAW: Yes.

HANSEN: And me. And some of your other NPR favorites and people we've had over the years. So you're the first prize winner to take home the new CD. What do you think?

Ms. SHAW: Wonderful.

HANSEN: Oh, great. Yes, you can listen to the puzzle over and over and over again…

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: …in your CD player. May, before we say goodbye to you, tell us what member station you listen to.

Ms. SHAW: KPCC.

HANSEN: Okay. May Shaw of Laguna Woods, California, thanks so much for playing the puzzle today and for being such a loyal listener.

Ms. SHAW: Thank you.

HANSEN: All right. Will, we need a challenge for next week.

SHORTZ: Yes. It comes from listener Adam Cohen of Brooklyn. Take the name of the singer Bonnie Raitt, that's B-O-N-N-I-E R-A-I-T-T. Rearrange these letters to spell two words that are loosely synonyms. What are they? So, again, Bonnie Raitt, rearrange these 11 letters to spell two words that are loosely synonyms. What words are these?

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 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. And we'll call you if you're the winner. And you will get to play puzzle on the air with the puzzle editor of the New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzlemaster Will Shortz. Will, thanks a lot.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane.

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