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I'll See Your Susan Boyle And Raise You A Balloon Boy

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I'll See Your Susan Boyle And Raise You A Balloon Boy

I'll See Your Susan Boyle And Raise You A Balloon Boy

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Liane Hansen.

And joining us for the first puzzle of this new year, 20-10, 2010, is puzzlemaster Will Shortz. Hi, Will.

WILL SHORTZ: Hi, Liane. Happy New Year.

HANSEN: Happy New Year to you. Do you say 20-10 or 2010?

SHORTZ: I go back and forth. I don't know. If I want to sound science-fictiony, I say 2010, and if I want to sound, you know, informal it's 20-10. How about you?

HANSEN: I don't know. I'm the same. I go back and forth. I just would have to remember to put that date on my checks now. That's the hard part.

SHORTZ: I've already made that mistake.

HANSEN: Have you really?

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: All right. Well, you gave us a challenge last week, which on the surface was hard, but underneath was easy. Would you repeat it?

SHORTZ: Yes. I said take the phrase pray when P-R-A-Y W-H-E-N, I said, double four of these letters, and using those plus the four singles, rearrange all 12 letters to spell a familiar phrase. What phrase is it?

HANSEN: It's an appropriate phrase, right, Will? What's the answer?

SHORTZ: Yeah. We already said it: Happy New Year.

HANSEN: Happy New Year. Well, we received nearly 2,000 entries this week and from the correct entries, our randomly selected winner is Herb Harris of Boulder, Colorado. Hi, Herb.

Mr. HERB HARRIS: Hi, Liane.

HANSEN: How are you doing?

Mr. HARRIS: I'm really doing pretty well. And you?

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

Mr. HARRIS: Well, we like to play Boggle here, so I got out my Boggle cubes and sat down with them and it only took me a few minutes.

HANSEN: Oh, good for you. How long have you been playing our radio puzzle?

Mr. HARRIS: Well, I'd say close to 20 years. I started out sending in postcards. Didn't think it would ever happen.

HANSEN: Yep, and it did. So, are you ready to be the first contestant of the new decade?

Mr. HARRIS: Sure.

HANSEN: All right. Will, meet Herb; Herb, meet Will, and let's play.

Mr. HARRIS: Hi, Will.

SHORTZ: Hi, Herb. Well, this is a good two-person game, and it's my annual year-end-names-in-the-news quiz. And these are - I'm going to give you names of people that you almost certainly never heard of before 2009, but they became suddenly famous during the past 12 months. And this was prepared with the help of two past year-end news quiz contestants - Kathy Baker(ph) and Tim Goodman, as well as my friend Evie Eisenberg(ph).

Here's number one: Chesley Sullenberger.

Mr. HARRIS: Well, he was the pilot of the plane that went into the drink.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: Good. Into the Hudson in particular. Nice job. Number two is Nadya Suleman.

Mr. HARRIS: Liane?

HANSEN: She was the Octomom. She is the Octomom.

SHORTZ: Yeah, she had octuplets this past year. How about Carrie Prejean. And the last name is spelled P-R-E-J-E-A-N.

Mr. HARRIS: Liane, you're going to have to help me.

HANSEN: Not on your radar, Herb?


HANSEN: Wasn't she the former Miss USA, Miss California?

SHORTZ: That's right. She was first runner-up in Miss USA and she gained fame by her answer to a question about same-sex marriage. All right. How about Falcon Heene? That's H-E-E-N-E, Falcon Heene.

Mr. HARRIS: He was the person in Fort Collins who sent up a balloon as a hoax, publicity.

SHORTZ: Actually, the son. It's the boy who was supposedly in the attic, but not really.

HANSEN: The balloon boy himself.

SHORTZ: The balloon boy himself. How about Euna Lee and Laura Ling. It's a pair - Euna Lee and Laura Ling.

Mr. HARRIS: Are these the people who were in North Korea?

SHORTZ: Good job. Journalists detained in North Korea and they were brought home by former President Bill Clinton. How about Maria Belen Chapur, Maria Belen Chapur. It's a woman in Argentina.

Mr. HARRIS: This must be the woman that boarded with the governor.

SHORTZ: That's right. South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, good.

Mr. HARRIS: Right.

SHORTZ: Here's your next one: Joe Wilson. Joe Wilson. And your hint, Herb, is he yelled something this year. He's famous for yelling.

Mr. HARRIS: Oh, he yelled at the president.

SHORTZ: He yelled, you lie, good, during President Obama's speech in Congress. All right, and here's your last one: Bo. Just two letters, B-O, Bo.


SHORTZ: And your hint, B-O, and I'll give you a hint, it's not a human.

Mr. HARRIS: Do you know, Liane?

HANSEN: What did the president get for his daughters?

Mr. HARRIS: Oh, a dog.


SHORTZ: It's the new White House dog, a Portuguese water dog.

HANSEN: The first dog, as it were. Not easy to remember those names, is it, Herb?

Mr. HARRIS: No, I'm afraid not.

HANSEN: No, but I'm glad we were working as a team.

Mr. HARRIS: Yes. I am, too.

HANSEN: All right, well, for playing our puzzle today, you get some great prizes, and a wonderful person to tell you what you'll get. It's musician Bruce Hornsby. And he's actually on this week's show because we went down to visit him at his home studio in Williamsburg. And he's talking to us about his 10th album called "Levitate."

Here's Bruce Hornsby.

Mr. BRUCE HORNSBY (Musician): For playing our puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, the "Scrabble Deluxe Edition" from Parker Brothers, Will Shortz' latest book series "Will Shortz Presents KenKen" Volumes 1, 2 and 3 from St. Martin's Press, one of Will - do you say Shortz'? Shortz' sounds a little dodgy to me. I'd like to pose a question to the NPR audience: Would you say Shortz' or Shortz'?

Will Shortz' latest books series, "Will Shortz Presents KenKen" Volumes 1, 2 and 3 from St. Martin's Press, one of Will Shortz' "Puzzlemaster Decks of Riddles and Challenges" from Chronicle Books and a CD compilation of NPR's Sunday Puzzles.

HANSEN: Herb, what do you think?

Mr. HARRIS: I think that's great.

HANSEN: Oh, yeah. Will, what do you think, Shortz' or Shortz'?

SHORTZ: I go with Shortz', but you can do whatever you want.

HANSEN: Yeah, but it's your name.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: Oh, Herb, before we let you go, tell us what member station you listen to.

Mr. HARRIS: KUNC, and I'm a member.

HANSEN: Ah, great word for the new year - member. Herb Harris of Boulder, Colorado. Thanks so much for being our puzzle guest today and Happy New Year.

Mr. HARRIS: Thank you and Happy New Year to you both.

SHORTZ: Excellent.

HANSEN: Okay. Well, we've got many puzzles to go before 2010 comes to a close. What's our challenge for next week, Will?

SHORTZ: Yes. It involves a cool discovery by Ed Pegg Jr., who runs the Web site Write down the digits from 2 to 7 in order. Add two mathematical symbols to get an expression equaling 2010. Can you do it? So, again, write down the digits from 2 to 7 in order, add two mathematical symbols to get an expression equaling 2010. What symbols are these?

HANSEN: When you have the answer, go to our Web site, 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, and 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.

Thanks a lot, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane.

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