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Just Give It A Shot In The Dark

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Just Give It A Shot In The Dark

Just Give It A Shot In The Dark

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  • <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 Rachel Martin. Quick - do some brain stretches, because it is time for the puzzle.


MARTIN: And in case you need a reminder of last week's challenge, here's a recap from the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master, Will Shortz.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Think of a common three-letter word and five-letter word that together consist of eight different letters of the alphabet. Put the same pair of letters in front of each of these words, and you'll have the present and past-tense forms of the same verb. What words are these?

MARTIN: Well, about 800 of you figured out the answer. And our randomly selected winner this week is Mike Dickerson of Los Angeles. And he joins us now by smartphone app, so we have a nice clear line. Congratulations, Mike.


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

DICKERSON: The two common words were ink and ought. And you added a T-H to get think and thought.

MARTIN: OK. Sounds pretty straightforward. Did you have any help, any assistance on this?

DICKERSON: Yeah. My wife Sharon works with me on the puzzle every weekend.

MARTIN: So, we have to give her a little credit in this.

DICKERSON: Of course, yes. Sharon deserves a little credit.

MARTIN: And what do you do in L.A.?

DICKERSON: I'm a graduate student at the University of Southern California and I study sociology.

MARTIN: OK. Sociology - we'll see if that helps you in this week's puzzle. Before we continue, let us welcome the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master, Will Shortz. Good morning, Will. I understand you might be a little jetlagged, right? You're back from China.

SHORTZ: Just back from China, yeah, and in fact I am feeling jetlag. Anyway, it was a great - I was in Beijing. It was a fantastic trip. I was there for a Sudoku championship, you know, and it was won by a Japanese puzzler. And toured the Forbidden City, played table tennis eight straight days. Great time.

MARTIN: Great. Well, we're very happy to have you back with us. Will, say hello to Mike.

SHORTZ: Congratulations, Mike.

DICKERSON: Thanks. Hi, Will.

MARTIN: OK. So, with further ado, Mike, are you ready to play the puzzle?


MARTIN: All right. Will, take it away.

SHORTZ: All right. Mike and Rachel, every answer today is a phrase in the form blank in the blank. I'll give you rhymes for the first and last words; you tell me the phrases. For example, if I said word in the sand, you would say bird in the hand.

MARTIN: OK. I think I have it. You have it, Mike?

DICKERSON: I think I understand. I'll give it a try.

MARTIN: All right. Let's do this thing.

SHORTZ: All right. Number one is spot in the park.

DICKERSON: Shot in the dark.

SHORTZ: Shot in the dark is it. Number two: noise in the wood.

DICKERSON: Boys in the hood.

SHORTZ: Right. Stork in the load.

DICKERSON: Fork in the road.

SHORTZ: Good. Crack in the rocks.

DICKERSON: Jack in the box.

SHORTZ: Good. Log in the ranger.

DICKERSON: Sorry, can you repeat that?

SHORTZ: Yeah. Log in the ranger.

DICKERSON: Dog in the manger?

SHORTZ: That's it. Dog in the manger.

MARTIN: Really? Wow, that's a new one for me.

SHORTZ: Congratulations. It sounds like you'd never heard the phrase. Here's your next one: break in the class. This is something that you might call a despicable person.

MARTIN: Oh, despicable.

DICKERSON: Oh, a snake in the grass.

SHORTZ: Snake in the grass is it. Bran - that's B-R-A-N - Bran in the spoon.

DICKERSON: Man in the moon?

SHORTZ: Good. Coal in the shed. That's C-O-A-L.

MARTIN: Oh, man.

DICKERSON: Coal in the shed. I don't think I know this one.

SHORTZ: Yeah, you know this one. I'll give you a hint - it's the same consonant that goes at the start of each of those words.

MARTIN: Is want help, Mike?

SHORTZ: Go ahead, Rachel.

DICKERSON: I would love some help.

MARTIN: Is it hole in the head?

SHORTZ: Hole in the head is it. Good job.


SHORTZ: All right. How about cash in the can?

DICKERSON: Cash in the can.

SHORTZ: Someone who is a overnight success but then not for long would be this.

DICKERSON: Flash in the pan.

SHORTZ: Flash in the pan is it. Honey in the tank.

DICKERSON: Money in the bank.

SHORTZ: Right. Scratcher in the sky.

DICKERSON: "Catcher in the Rye."

SHORTZ: Right. Charmer in the well.

DICKERSON: Farmer in the dell?

SHORTZ: Good. Chain in the wreck.

DICKERSON: Pain in the neck.

SHORTZ: Right, good. And your last one is stick in the plants.

MARTIN: Stick in the plants.

DICKERSON: Stick in the plants.

SHORTZ: And this is what you might give someone who's a pain in the neck.

MARTIN: Or maybe if you needed a little motivation?

SHORTZ: Right.

DICKERSON: I don't think I know this one either.

MARTIN: A little aggressive encouragement. A little kick in the pants maybe.

SHORTZ: A kick in the pants is it.

DICKERSON: Oh, kick in the pants.


DICKERSON: There we go.

SHORTZ: Nice job.

MARTIN: Still, that was pretty darn good, Mike, congratulations. And for playing the puzzle today, you will get...

DICKERSON: Thanks for the assist.

MARTIN: You bet. You will get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, as well as puzzle books and games. And you can read all about it at And Mike, before you go let's give a quick shout-out to your public radio station. Where do you listen?

DICKERSON: I'm a listener of KPCC here in Los Angeles.

MARTIN: KPCC, great. Mike Dickerson of Los Angeles, Thanks so much for playing this puzzle this week, Mike.

DICKERSON: Thank you.

MARTIN: OK, great. Will, what do you have for us next week?

SHORTZ: Yes, this week's challenge comes from listener Jack Lechner. Name two different kinds of wool. Take the first five letters of one, followed by the last three letters of the other. The result will spell the name of a famous actor, first and last names. Who is it?

So again, two different kinds of wool, take the first five letters of one and the last three letters of the other to spell the name of a famous actor, first and last names. Who is it?

MARTIN: OK, when you have the answer, go to our website, and click on the Submit Your Answer link - just one entry per person, please. And our deadline for entries is next Thursday, May 31st 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.

Thanks so much, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Rachel.

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