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AUDIE CORNISH, Host:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish. And it's time for the puzzle.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

CORNISH: And here was the challenge from two weeks ago from puzzle editor of the New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master Will Shortz:

WILL SHORTZ: It's a creative challenge involving palindromes. And as you know, a palindrome reads backward and forward the same. I'd like you to write a palindrome that contains the name of a famous person.

CORNISH: We had about 150 entries, and this week our winner was chosen by Will Shortz, who joins us here now. Hey, Will.

SHORTZ: Hey, Audie.

CORNISH: So, we received some pretty interesting palindromes from our listeners. And can you describe some of the better ones?

SHORTZ: Yeah, I picked some of my favorites. One of them was from Joe Chrosel(ph) of Creve Coeur, Missouri. Pee Wee let reborn Robert E. Lee weep.

CORNISH: Wow.

SHORTZ: Not bad. Donna Finn-Macarthur(ph) from Northborough, Massachusetts sent in: yawn Madonna made baby a man no damn way.

CORNISH: Whoa. So, who was the winner?

SHORTZ: Yes. The winner is Dan Duke of St. Paul, Minnesota.

CORNISH: Yay. And we have Dan on the line with us now. Hi there, Dan.

DAN DUKE: Hi, Audie. Hi, Will.

SHORTZ: Hey there.

CORNISH: So, Dan, tell us what your winning palindrome was.

DUKE: OK. Did I cite operas I'd revere? Verdi's are poetic. I did.

CORNISH: Wow. How long did it take you to come up with that?

DUKE: Oh, a couple, three days. I...

CORNISH: But what's involved? I mean, I don't even know where to start in creating a palindrome sentence like this.

DUKE: I basically started going through any famous people I could think of. I was even looking through dictionaries and just seeing whose name makes something backwards.

CORNISH: Were there any celebrity names that you tried before you got to Giuseppe Verdi, the Italian opera composer?

DUKE: I had Neil Diamond lying on no maid, I think. Al Pacino was doing something.

CORNISH: Will, what were you looking for in a winning sentence?

SHORTZ: Yeah, well, a full name was better than part, and I thought a long palindrome was better than short. But most important, it had to read naturally and make sense.

CORNISH: Well, Will, I think Dan's warmed up and it sounds like you're warmed up. So, we're ready to play the puzzle.

SHORTZ: With the start of the school year, I've brought a puzzle involving colleges. Every answer is the name of a college or university which I'd like you to identify from their anagrams. For example, if I said: icer I-C-E-R, you would say Rice.

DUKE: Let's hope I would.

SHORTZ: All right. Number one is Moyer M-O-Y-E-R.

DUKE: That's Moyer?

SHORTZ: Yes.

DUKE: Moyer. Oh, wait, Emory?

SHORTZ: Emory in Atlanta. Very good. Number two is hamster, as in the animal, H-A-M-S-T-E-R.

DUKE: Hamster. You know, I like anagrams but I'm not great at them.

SHORTZ: It's a school in Massachusetts and it's also the place where the...

DUKE: Amherst.

SHORTZ: Amherst, excellent. Gel coat G-E-L C-O-A-T.

DUKE: Gel coat. OK. I'm writing these down in a triangle. Could we have a location or something?

SHORTZ: Upstate New York.

DUKE: It's not Ithaca, obviously.

SHORTZ: And here's a big hint: it's also the name of a toothpaste.

DUKE: Oh, Colgate.

SHORTZ: Colgate is it. How about TO MEANDER? That's T-O M-E-A-N-D-E-R. And I'll tell you it's a two-word name.

DUKE: Let me see...two.

CORNISH: So, you need both.

DUKE: Tender... Audie?

SHORTZ: So, it's a two-word name and I'll give you a hint. It's a school with a powerful football team.

DUKE: Oh. Our Lady Notre Dame.

SHORTZ: Notre Dame, good. Lead up, L-E-A-D U-P.

DUKE: Lead up...DePaul.

SHORTZ: DePaul, that was fast. Dialect, D-I-A-L-E-C-T. And I'll give you a hint. The school name is usually preceded with the.

DUKE: The Citadel.

SHORTZ: The Citadel. That was fast. Here's a tough one: Water scenes, W-A-T-E-R S-C-E-N-E-S. It's a two-word name.

DUKE: Water scene, did you say?

SHORTZ: Scenes, plural. You're looking for a two-word name. The school's in the Midwest.

DUKE: Oh, I'm in the Midwest. I should know this.

CORNISH: This is a hard one.

SHORTZ: The school's in Ohio to be precise. I'll tell you, the school is in Cleveland, Ohio to be precise.

CORNISH: Well, then, now we're feeling really guilty 'cause you're giving us such specific clues.

DUKE: I know. Waters...I don't know.

SHORTZ: And I'll tell you the initials are C.W.

CORNISH: Oh, man. You're going to get me in so much trouble, Dan.

SHORTZ: Well, there is a faint chance you don't know the school, so I'm just going to tell you. It's Case Western.

CORNISH: Oh.

DUKE: Oh yes. I actually have heard of that.

CORNISH: Maybe I needed a basketball hint there.

SHORTZ: OK. There's one more. It's my favorite - earthworms, E-A-R-T-H-W-O-R-M-S, earthworms. It's a school in Pennsylvania.

DUKE: OK.

CORNISH: Oh, I think I have this.

DUKE: Swarthmore.

CORNISH: Yeah.

SHORTZ: Swarthmore. Good job.

CORNISH: Yay. Great work, Dan.

DUKE: Oh, thanks.

CORNISH: And, you know, I feel with today's puzzle I should ask you what school you went to.

DUKE: I went to Northwestern University, University of Texas and LSU. Frankly, I'm kind of glad they weren't in the quiz 'cause I would have been really embarrassed to miss those.

CORNISH: Well, for playing our puzzle today, you are going to get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin as well as puzzle books and games that you can read about at NPR.org/Puzzle. Dan, which member station do you listen to?

DUKE: KNOW, Minnesota Public Radio.

CORNISH: Dan Duke of St. Paul, Minnesota, thanks for playing the puzzle this week.

DUKE: Well, thank you so much. It's been a great thrill.

CORNISH: So, Will, what's the challenge for next week?

SHORTZ: Yes. Name a well-known university in two words. Switch two letters in the respective words - that is, take a letter from the first word, put it in place of a letter in the second word and put that letter where the first letter was. The result will name something you might take on a camping trip. What is it? So, again, a well-known university - two words - interchange two letters in the respective words. The result will name something you might take on a camping trip. What's the university and what's the thing?

CORNISH: OK. Well, when you have the answer, go to our website, NPR.org/Puzzle and click on the Submit Your Answer link. Just one entry per person, please. And our deadline for entries is Thursday, September 22nd at 3 p.m. Eastern Time. Include your phone number where we can reach you at about that time, and if you're the winner we'll give you a call and you'll get to play on the air with the puzzle editor of the New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master Will Shortz. Will, thank you so much.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Audie.

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