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LIANE HANSEN, host:

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

And joining us is puzzle master Will Shortz. Hey, Will.

WILL SHORTZ: Hey, Liane.

HANSEN: All right. So, about this tempest in a tile rack, this new version of Scrabble coming out in the United Kingdom, called Scrabble Trickster that allows proper names. What do you think?

SHORTZ: I don't think much of the idea. First of all, it's very hard to say what is a common proper name and what isn't. And what's familiar to one person may not be familiar to another. So...

HANSEN: Right. Well, you know Stephen Colbert.

SHORTZ: Sure.

HANSEN: He had fun with this Scrabble news. I just want to play a little clip from his show.

(Soundbite of "The Colbert Report")

Mr. STEPHEN COLBERT (Host, "The Colbert Report"): Best of all, at long last, my name is now a legal move. Unfortunately, those 14 letters only add up to 23 points, which is why tonight I'm announcing my new middle name: Qxyzzy.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: Q-X-Y-Z-Z-Y, we love it. Stephen Colbert from his show, "The Colbert Report." I was surprised to find out that you don't play much Scrabble. It's not really one of your games.

SHORTZ: Yeah, it's a busman's holiday.

HANSEN: Busman's holiday. Tell us about the crossword puzzle tournaments you're doing this weekend.

SHORTZ: Yeah, I'm directing crossword tournaments at Brown, Harvard and Yale. I did this last year and just lots of kids come out for this. It's fantastic. Crossword are really popular at colleges now.

HANSEN: Excellent. Well, Ivy League college crossword tournaments, that should be very exciting.

Our radio puzzle was as exciting last week. Would you remind us of that challenge?

SHORTZ: Yeah, it as a tough one. It came from Eric Iverson of Eagan, Minnesota. And I said: Think of a 15-letter word meaning how Stephen King writes that is spelled without any of the letters of taxes, T-A-X-E-S. What word is it?

HANSEN: What word is it?

SHORTZ: The word is bloodcurdlingly.

HANSEN: Ooh. Well, this week, you know, we only had about 450 correct entries. And, now, this is a little spooky - we chose our winner at random and it turns out she's from Bangor, Maine, where Stephen King lives part of the year. Her name is Susan Pope. Welcome to the program, Susan.

Ms. SUSAN POPE: Thank you.

HANSEN: Now, come on, were there vibes coming from Stephen King there in Maine?

Ms. POPE: Definitely.

HANSEN: Oh, good.

Ms. POPE: And I did want to add too that Stephen King and his wife, Tabatha, are wonderful. They're so generous to the people not only of Bangor but of the entire state of Maine. And I just wanted to give them a thank you from everybody here that they're so generous with their time and their money.

HANSEN: Maybe they're listening. I don't know for sure. But are you ready to play? I am.

Ms. POPE: I am ready as I'll ever be, I guess.

HANSEN: Me too. Will, meet Susan. Susan, meet Will Shortz. Let's play.

SHORTZ: Now, every answer today is a six-letter word, name or phrase in which the first five letters read backward and forward the same. In other words, if you drop the last letter, what's left will be a palindrome. For example, if I gave you the clue to separate, you would say divide. 'Cause you drop the E, and D-I-V-I-D read backward and forward the same.

Ms. POPE: Oh boy.

SHORTZ: Number one: place to park a car. Where do you park your car next to your house?

Ms. POPE: A garage.

SHORTZ: Garage, there you go. Drop the E and you get G-A-R-A-G, read backward...

Ms. POPE: There you go.

SHORTZ: ...and forward the same. Good. Number two: a title for a French lady.

Ms. POPE: Mademoiselle, let's see.

HANSEN: No, married French lady.

SHORTZ: Married French lady.

Ms. POPE: Oh, madame.

SHORTZ: Madame, M-A-D-A-M, good. All right. Here's your next one: university name in both Chicago and New Orleans. I'll give you a hint: it starts with the letter L. University in Chicago and New Orleans, and now you know the fifth letter is also L.

HANSEN: Loyola?

Ms. POPE: Loyola.

SHORTZ: Loyola is it, good. How about a high school course in government?

Ms. POPE: Civics.

SHORTZ: That's it, civics. How about the maker of the Corolla?

Ms. POPE: Toyota.

SHORTZ: That's it. A brand of athletic shoe.

Ms. POPE: Adidas.

SHORTZ: That's it. Mount where Noah landed.

Ms. POPE: Ararat.

SHORTZ: That's correct. All right. And here's your last one: your clue is exhausts, and it's a two-word answer. It means exhausts or depletes.

HANSEN: Yes.

SHORTZ: How about if I tell you it starts with the letter U - exhausts or depletes - two words.

Ms. POPE: Begins with the letter U.

SHORTZ: All right. It ends in up. So, it starts with U, it ends in up and it means exhausts or depletes.

HANSEN: Oh. Uses up.

SHORTZ: Uses up is it, good job.

Ms. POPE: Well, thank you for your help 'cause there would have been a lot more I wouldn't have gotten for sure.

HANSEN: Believe me, me too. And we have something for you to hear as well as something for you to receive for playing our puzzle today. First, to tell you what you take away is an entertainment luminary that we're doing a feature on coming up in a few minutes on our program. Here is impresario Jerry Weintraub.

Mr. JERRY WEINTRAUB (Movie producer): For playing our puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, the "Scrabble Deluxe Edition" from Parker Brothers, the book series "Will Shortz Presents KenKen," Volumes 1, 2 and 3 from St. Martin's Press, one of Will Shortz's "Puzzlemaster Decks of Riddles and Challenges" from Chronicle Books, and a CD compilation of NPR's Sunday Puzzles. Pretty good.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: It is pretty good. If you dont know Jerry Weintraub, his career, you know, goes from Elvis and putting him in Madison Square Garden to Frank Sinatra, putting him in Carnegie Hall, not to mention movies "Ocean's Eleven" or the remake, and "Oh, God," and many other things. So you'll hear all about his life.

What do you think, Susan?

Ms. POPE: I think this is great.

HANSEN: Yeah. And all the good stuff. All the puzzles that you'll be able to play with. Before we let you go, what member station do you listen to?

Ms. POPE: Well, I listen to WMEH here in Bangor. And I'm a member. That's our public radio station, 90.9. Although, for the week of January 18th to the 25th, we listened to Stephen King's radio when he raised $25,000 for the Haitian Relief Fund.

HANSEN: Oh, nice for putting that in about your neighbor. Susan Pope from Bangor, Maine, thanks so much for playing the puzzle with us today.

Ms. POPE: Well, thank you.

HANSEN: All right. Will, I know youve got a challenge for next week.

SHORTZ: Yes. It's an extension of the on air puzzle and its a little easier than last week's challenge. Name something you might order in a restaurant: two words, eight letters all together, four letters in the first word, four letters in the last. Drop the last letter. The remaining seven letters will read backward and forward the same.

So again, something you might order in a restaurant: two words; four-four. Drop the last letter. The remaining seven letters will read backward and forward the same. What is this thing you might order?

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 is Thursday at 3 P.M. Eastern Time. Please include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time. We'll call you if youre 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, as always, thanks a lot.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane.

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