SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

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

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

STAMBERG: We'll start with last week's challenge from Will Shortz. He is the puzzle editor of The New York Times and also WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Take the phrase no sweat N-O S-W-E-A-T. Using only these seven letters and repeating them as often as necessary, make a familiar four-word phrase, 15 letters. What is it?

STAMBERG: Well, most impressively, more than 1,600 of you figured out the answer. And our randomly selected winner this week is Alison Haskins of Oxford, Ohio. Congratulations, Alison.

ALISON HASKINS: Thank you very much, Susan.

STAMBERG: What is the answer to that challenge?

HASKINS: Waste not want not.

STAMBERG: Waste not want not. How long did it take you to figure that out?

HASKINS: My husband and I work on these together, and it wasn't until late Wednesday evening that we finally came up with the answer.

STAMBERG: Lengthy teamwork. Sounds like you really worked it. Tell us what you do in Ohio.

HASKINS: I'm a civil engineer for the City of Hamilton Public Works Department.

STAMBERG: Oh, terrific. Do you deal with any waste not want not on that job?

HASKINS: All the time.

STAMBERG: Yeah. I understand that playing the puzzle on air has been on your bucket list for a while. Is that true?

HASKINS: I've been playing since postcard days, probably when you were doing it originally.

STAMBERG: Oh, my goodness. Well, good for you. Listen, before we go on, let us welcome the puzzle editor of The New York Times and our puzzle master Will Shortz. Morning, Will.

SHORTZ: Morning, Susan. Great to play puzzle with you on the air again.

STAMBERG: Thank you.

SHORTZ: And, Alison, congratulations.

HASKINS: Thank you very much.

STAMBERG: Will, is there any puzzle-related item on your bucket list, or maybe you've just taken care of all of the feats that there are in puzzledom.

SHORTZ: Well, I'll tell you my current obsession. I've now played table tennis for 90 consecutive days. And my new goal is to play every single day this year.

STAMBERG: Oh, you're amazing. Are you ambidextrous or right arm only, or what?

SHORTZ: Oh, I'm right arm.

STAMBERG: Well, let's play a different game right now. You ready, Alison?

HASKINS: I am.

STAMBERG: OK. Will, go.

SHORTZ: All right, Alison and Susan. Every answer today is a word or phrase containing the consecutive letters A-X. I'll give you clues and anagrams to the answers. You tell me the answers. For example, if I said new N-E-W, plus ax to make smooth and malleable, you would you say waxen.

STAMBERG: Right. Oh, sure, right? Yeah.

HASKINS: Sure.

STAMBERG: Oh, do go on.

SHORTZ: All right. Number one: moi, M-O-I, plus ax equals a self-evident truth.

HASKINS: Axiom.

STAMBERG: Oh...

SHORTZ: That's right.

STAMBERG: ...my. So quick.

SHORTZ: Number two is Roth, R-O-T-H, plus ax equals part of the body between the neck and the abdomen.

HASKINS: Thorax.

SHORTZ: That's it. Mince, M-I-N-C-E, plus ax to make a premium cable channel.

HASKINS: Cinemax.

SHORTZ: That's it.

STAMBERG: You are a whiz.

SHORTZ: Your next one is roles, R-O-L-E-S, plus ax to make the lead singer for Guns N' Roses. It's a two word-answer.

HASKINS: Oh, gosh.

STAMBERG: A flower figures into this.

SHORTZ: The last name is a flower.

HASKINS: Oh, you better tell me, Susan.

STAMBERG: I think it's Axel Rose.

SHORTZ: Axel Rose is it.

HASKINS: Of course.

SHORTZ: Good. Amber, A-M-B-E-R, plus ax equals a 1930s heavyweight boxing champ. Two-word name for first and last name.

STAMBERG: Oh.

HASKINS: Oh, Max Bear.

STAMBERG: Good.

SHORTZ: Max Bear. Good job. Maine chef - that's M-A-I-N-E C-H-E-F - plus ax equals an office item for sending documents long distance.

HASKINS: Fax machine.

SHORTZ: That's it. Your next one is silage, S-I-L-A-G-E, plus ax to make the Milky Way and others.

HASKINS: Galaxies.

SHORTZ: That's it. And your last one is others, O-T-H-E-R-S, plus ax to make a creator of big practical jokes.

HASKINS: Well, I guess that's not my husband. Big practical jokes.

SHORTZ: Well, what is a - in four letters - what is a big practical joke or a fraud?

HASKINS: Hoaxster, hoaxster.

SHORTZ: Hoaxster is it.

STAMBERG: Oh, nice. That was a good one. And, you know, Alison, you are a whiz. I love being on your team. For playing this puzzle today, you will get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel and also some puzzle books and games. And you can read all about it at NPR.org/Puzzle. And, Alison, what is your public radio station?

HASKINS: I listen to two: WMUB in Oxford and also VXU in Cincinnati, which are both part of the Cincinnati Public Radio Network.

STAMBERG: Terrific. Well, thanks for being such a loyal listener and thanks for playing the puzzle this week.

HASKINS: Thank you, Susan and Will.

STAMBERG: OK, Will, what is the challenge for next week when Rachel mercifully returns to this microphone?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SHORTZ: Yes, it comes from listener Doug Heller of Flourtown, Pennsylvania. Think of a much-discussed subject in the news, two words: five letters in the first, six letters in the last. The letters of the five-letter word can be rearranged to get the first five letters of the six-letter word. And the six-letter word ends in a Y. What's the subject?

So again, a much-discussed subject in the news: two words, 5/6. The letters of the five-letter word can be rearranged to get the first five letters of the six-letter word. And the six-letter word ends in a Y. What's the subject?

STAMBERG: When you have the answer - and listeners, we're counting on you - 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 29th at 3 P.M. Eastern Time. And please include your phone number, a place where we can reach you at around that time.

And if you're the winner we will give you a ring, and you will get to play on the air with the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle-master, Will Shortz.

Thank you, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Susan.

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