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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. And it is time for the puzzle.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MARTIN: Let us begin, as we do, with last week's challenge from the puzzle editor of the New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master Will Shortz.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: I'm thinking of something that has a two-word name. Inside are the consecutive letters I-L-E-H. Get rid of those four letters. The remaining letters in order will name something commonly found inside the original thing. What is it?

MARTIN: Well, almost 570 of you figured out the answer. And our randomly selected winner this week is Stan Chervin of Encino, California. And he joins us via smartphone app. So, we have a nice clear line. Congratulations, Stan.

STAN CHERVIN: Oh, thank you.

MARTIN: So, tell us what was the answer to last week's challenge.

CHERVIN: The first thing Will was thinking of was a file holder, and when you remove the I-L-E-H in sequence, you get a folder, which goes inside a file holder.

MARTIN: Nicely done. So, do you identify as a puzzler or are you more of a fair-weather player?

CHERVIN: Yeah. I sort of build my Sunday around Will Shortz. It's kind of embarrassing. I listen to the puzzle in the morning, I spend the morning thinking about it and then at the end of the day I do The New York Times crossword puzzle. And I'm as close to a stalker as he'll ever get.

MARTIN: Wow. Well, on that note, Stan meet Will Shortz. Will, meet your stalker, Stan.

SHORTZ: Stan, congratulations.

CHERVIN: Thank you, thank you.

MARTIN: And I understand, Stan, you are a screenplay writer and you happened to have worked on a little film called "Moneyball" starring Brad Pitt, right?

CHERVIN: I did, I did. I was the first writer and then the movie got produced and I shared an Academy Award nomination with my fellow writers Aaron Sorkin and Steve Zaillian, which was very exciting.

MARTIN: Wow. Well, I am sure the only thing that could top winning an Oscar nomination is getting to play the WEEKEND EDITION puzzle.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

MARTIN: So, things are going your way, Stan. So, without further ado, Will, let's do this thing. Let's play the puzzle.

SHORTZ: All right, Stan. I'm going to give you a category. You name something in the category such that the last two letters of the category's name are the first two letters of your answer. For example, if I said U.S. state, you could state Texas or Tennessee, 'cause state ends in T-E and Texas and Tennessee start T-E. Here's number one: state capital.

CHERVIN: Albany...

SHORTZ: What state capital...Albany, that was fast. Number two is color.

CHERVIN: Orange.

SHORTZ: Um-hum. Make of automobile.

CHERVIN: A Lexus.

SHORTZ: Good. Metal.

CHERVIN: Aluminum.

SHORTZ: Good. Car rental.

CHERVIN: Alamo.

SHORTZ: Um-hum. Book of the bible.

CHERVIN: Oh, boy. Leviticus.

SHORTZ: That's it.

MARTIN: You faked like you were hesitating. You're doing this so fast.

CHERVIN: I was really living in fear of any New Testament or Old Testament questions, I got to admit, so.

MARTIN: You nailed it, you nailed it. OK. Keep going.

SHORTZ: English monarch.

CHERVIN: Monarch ends in C-H. Charles? Any of the Charles?

SHORTZ: Yes, Charles I or II, either one. Portrait artist.

CHERVIN: Portrait artist ends in S-T. Oh, boy. Portrait artist.

SHORTZ: Made a famous...

CHERVIN: Rachel?

MARTIN: Now you call on me.

SHORTZ: Made a famous painting of George Washington.

MARTIN: I got nothing for you on this one, Stan.

SHORTZ: First name is Gilbert.

CHERVIN: Stansboro(ph), no.

SHORTZ: No. I'll tell you: Gilbert Stewart.

MARTIN: Gilbert Stewart.

SHORTZ: OK. Try this one: salad green.

CHERVIN: Endive.

SHORTZ: That's it. How about NCAA basketball tournament winning college.

MARTIN: College.

CHERVIN: Georgetown.

SHORTZ: That's it. Woman in Shakespeare.

CHERVIN: Shakespeare ends in R-E. Oh, I should know this. A woman...

SHORTZ: Can I give you a hint? It's one of the daughters of Lear.

CHERVIN: Oh, Regan.

SHORTZ: Regan is it. And your last one is breakfast cereal.

CHERVIN: Cereal.

SHORTZ: I have two answers for this.

CHERVIN: Well, there's All-Bran, I know that.

MARTIN: Yeah.

SHORTZ: All-Bran works. And my very favorite cereal - and I'm serious about this - is Alpha Bits. Either one works.

MARTIN: Alpha Bits? Learning a little bit more about Will Shortz today, ladies and gentlemen.

CHERVIN: Yeah, a little bit too much, I think.

MARTIN: OK. That was amazing. Stan, great job. And for playing our puzzle today, you will get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin as well as puzzle books and games. And you can read all about it at NPR.org/Puzzle. And we know you didn't win the Oscar this year, but we want to give you a chance for a special Sunday Puzzle acceptance speech. Who do you want to thank for winning this week's puzzle. It's your big moment, Stan.

CHERVIN: Oh boy. You know, I have to thank my wife, because...

MARTIN: Great call.

CHERVIN: ...every Sunday when she comes out, I say to her: Do you want to hear this week's puzzle? And she says she can tell by how I ask the question whether or not I've answered it or not.

MARTIN: And, of course, you want to thank you public radio station, which is?

CHERVIN: Yes. I am a member of KCRW and also KPCC.

MARTIN: Both in California, a double member, which we also love to hear. Stan Chervin, thank you so much for playing the puzzle this week. It's been great.

CHERVIN: Oh, thank you. It was a real thrill.

MARTIN: OK. So, Will, what's up for next week? What challenge did you cook up for us?

SHORTZ: Yes, it comes from the Emmy-winning TV comedy writer Mike Reiss. Take the phrase no sweat, N-O S-W-E-A-T. Using only these seven letters, and repeating them as often as necessary, can you make a familiar four-word phrase? Its 15 letters long, what is it?

So again, no sweat, using only these seven letters, and repeating them as often as necessary, make a familiar four-word phrase, 15 letters. What is it?

MARTIN: OK, 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, March 22nd, at 3 P.M. Eastern Time.

Please include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time. And if you are 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.

And, Will, before you go, we have an extra challenge for you and our listeners this weekend. We'll be hearing a lot from the Supreme Court in the next couple of weeks. So we have put together a special crossword puzzle, inspired by NPR's very own Supreme Court correspondent Nina Totenberg. You can find that puzzle on NPR.org.

So, Will, make sure to do your Supreme Court homework - you don't want Nina Totenberg to show you up.

SHORTZ: No, you don't. No, I'll watch for that. Thanks.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

MARTIN: OK, great. Thanks, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Rachel.

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