NPR logo

Race To The Top

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Race To The Top

Race To The Top

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm John Ydstie. And joining us is puzzle master Will Shortz. Hey, Will.

WILL SHORTZ: Hi, John. Welcome back to the show.

YDSTIE: Thanks very much. It's good to talk to you again, and I'm looking forward to playing the puzzle. Could you please repeat the challenge you gave us last week?

SHORTZ: Yes. I said: Name a famous person from America's past - four letters in the first name, five letters in the last. Take a homophone of the last name, move it to the front. The result will be something a woman might write. What is it?

YDSTIE: And so what is the answer?

SHORTZ: The answer is John Deere, who created the first commercially successful steel plow. Take the homophone of the last name, move it to the front, and you get Dear John, which is something a woman might write.

YDSTIE: Yeah, might write to me actually.


YDSTIE: And more than 1,700 entries came our way this week. Our winner, Kathleen Gray of Eugene Oregon. She is with us on the line. Hi, Kathleen.

KATHLEEN GRAY: Good morning.

YDSTIE: What do you do up there in Eugene?

GRAY: I'm an elementary school special education teacher.

YDSTIE: Special education teacher. And how long have you been playing our puzzle?

GRAY: I've been playing the puzzle since the postcard days.

YDSTIE: That's great. Are you ready to play today?

GRAY: I hope so.

YDSTIE: All right. Well, Will, meet Kathleen, and let's play.

SHORTZ: All right, Kathleen and John. Today's puzzle is called TOPs. Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or name in which the first word starts with T-O and the second word starts with P. For example, if I said a person who's responsible for organizing a series of live concerts, you would say tour promoter - first word starts T-O, second word starts P. All right. Number one: a classic scene in "Animal House."

GRAY: Toga party.

SHORTZ: That's it. Number two: Charmin or Cottonelle product.

GRAY: Toilet paper.

SHORTZ: That's it. An Indian carving with many faces.

GRAY: Totem pole.

SHORTZ: Um-hum. High-stakes casino came seen in TV.

GRAY: Some kind of poker.

SHORTZ: That's it. And it would be in a contest or what?

GRAY: I'm not a card player.

SHORTZ: Just a general term.

YDSTIE: A general term for contest. A...

GRAY: Tournament.

SHORTZ: Tournament poker is it. How about a line of destruction after a violent storm.

GRAY: A line of destruction. Tornado path?

SHORTZ: Tornado path, excellent. Its leaves are dried and used in making cigarettes.

GRAY: Tobacco plant.

SHORTZ: That's it. Front tip of an ice skate.

GRAY: Toe point.

SHORTZ: No. Toe is right though. What do they call that on the front of an ice skate?

GRAY: Toe pit, no, toe peck.

SHORTZ: I think you have it. Toe pick is right, toe pick. How about an area where drivers pay money to use a turnpike?

GRAY: Toll plaza.

SHORTZ: Toll plaza, excellent. Singer with the Heartbreakers.

GRAY: The Heartbreakers.

SHORTZ: The Heartbreakers, right.

GRAY: Tommy...Tommy somebody.

SHORTZ: It's Tom. Tom blank and the Heartbreakers.

GRAY: Tom Petty.

SHORTZ: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, good. Husband of the 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate.

GRAY: Todd Palin.

SHORTZ: That's it. Basic ingredient in pizza.

GRAY: Tomato paste.

SHORTZ: Tomato paste, good. Stud in a punk rocker's mouth, for example.

GRAY: Tongue piercing.

SHORTZ: Tongue piercing, good. Walkway along a canal.

GRAY: Some kind of a path.


GRAY: Gee, um...

SHORTZ: And it's a three-letter word, and it's what you do to a...

GRAY: A tow path?

SHORTZ: I thought you knew that. Good. How about a popular hybrid car?

GRAY: Toyota Prius.

SHORTZ: Um-hum. Schroeder's instrument in Peanuts.

GRAY: Toy piano.

SHORTZ: Yes. And your last one is a chocolaty candy on a stick.

GRAY: Chocolaty candy on a...a toffee, no.

SHORTZ: No, no.

GRAY: Chocolaty. Some kind of a pop.

SHORTZ: Yes. And the more usual form of this candy is a blank roll, which is chocolaty..

GRAY: Tootsie, a Tootsie pop.

SHORTZ: A Tootsie pop is it. Good job.

YDSTIE: All right.

GRAY: That was really, really, really fun. I'm so excited.

SHORTZ: Nice going.

YDSTIE: And for playing our puzzle today, Kathleen, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin as well as puzzle books and games that you can read about at So, what member station do you listen to?

GRAY: My husband and I are members of two stations. Our local FM station is KLCC in Eugene, and we're also members of Oregon Public Broadcasting, KOPB, AM station.

YDSTIE: Good for you. Lots of support for public radio. Kathleen Gray in Eugene, Oregon, thanks for playing the puzzle.

GRAY: Thank you. I have The New York Times puzzle in front me right now.


YDSTIE: All right.

GRAY: So thank you so much. It was really fun.

YDSTIE: Okay, Will, the challenge for next week.

SHORTZ: So again, a common two-word phrase that's the present tense of a verb. Move the last two letters to the start. Don't make any other changes, but you'll get a new two-word phrase that's the verb's past tense. What phrases are these?

YDSTIE: Thanks, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks a lot, John.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.