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LIANE HANSEN, host:

From NPR News, this is WEEKEND EDITION. I'm Liane Hansen.

And joining us is puzzle master Will Shortz. Hey, Will.

WILL SHORTZ: Hi, Liane. Welcome back.

HANSEN: Thank you very much.

SHORTZ: How was your trip?

HANSEN: My trip was great. We were in Venice and it's the most remarkable city. The food was wonderful and the people were very nice. And we were there, we got a little bit of what they called the aqua alta, which is the high water. So…

SHORTZ: Right.

HANSEN: …it came up to our knees a couple of times. But…

SHORTZ: Wow.

HANSEN: Well, we walked around. You find the little ways to get from one place to another. It was an exciting trip for me. But you have an exciting weekend.

SHORTZ: Yeah. It's the First National Sudoku Championship, which is being sponsored by The Philadelphia Inquirer. And I'm directing it this weekend where you and I are talking before the championship. There's a $10,000 grand prize and should be a great weekend.

HANSEN: Right. And the magic number is nine, all the time, right? Nine.

SHORTZ: That's right, one to nine.

HANSEN: One to nine. I did not hear the show last week and - but lots of people did. So remind us of the challenge that you left everyone with.

SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Steve Dobinspeck(ph) of Harleysville, Pennsylvania. I said name a country in 11 letters that contains an R in its name. Change the R to a K and rearrange all the letters to name three makers of automobiles. What are they?

HANSEN: What are they?

SHORTZ: They are Kia, Saab and Audi.

HANSEN: Wow. Saudi Arabia. Kia, Saab and Audi, nice, nice. We have over 2,000 entries from people who solved the puzzle. Our randomly selected winner is Tim Hermanson, and he joins us from Stoughton, Wisconsin. Hi, Tim.

Mr. TIM HERMANSON (Puzzle Winner; Resident, Stoughton, Wisconsin): Hi, Liane.

HANSEN: I know Stoughton. That's a nice old town. What do you do there?

Mr. HERMANSON: I'm a database analyst at a local credit union.

HANSEN: Okay. Are you a longtime Wisconsin person?

Mr. HERMANSON: I lived here all my life, so 30 years now.

HANSEN: How long have you been playing the puzzle?

Mr. HERMANSON: Well, I've been listening for a couple of months but this is actually the first time I've played.

HANSEN: No kidding.

Mr. HERMANSON: Yes.

HANSEN: Oh, you're not nervous at all, are you?

Mr. HERMANSON: No.

HANSEN: No, good. Glad to hear it. Sounds like you're ready to play. So Will, meet Tim. Let's play.

SHORTZ: All right. Tim and Liane, this is a good two-person puzzle. Every answer today is a word starting with the letter V as in victory. I'll give you an anagram of it, you tell me the word. For example, if I said serve, S-E-R-V-E, you would say verse. All right. Number one is rival, R-I-V-A-L.

Mr. HERMANSON: Viral.

HANSEN: Mm-hmm.

SHORTZ: Viral. Good. Lovely, L-O-V-E-L-Y.

Mr. HERMANSON: Volley?

SHORTZ: Volley, yes. Caveat, C-A-V-E-A-T. And it means to leave or depart.

Mr. HERMANSON: Vacate.

SHORTZ: Vacate is right. Devote, D-E-V-O-T-E. This one is a past tense verb ending in ed.

HANSEN: All right.

SHORTZ: It's what the president did to a bill.

Mr. HERMANSON: Vetoed.

SHORTZ: Vetoed is right.

HANSEN: Yeah.

SHORTZ: Irving, I-R-V-I-N-G. It's a name of an airline and it's also blank islands.

Mr. HERMANSON: Virgin.

SHORTZ: Virgin is right. Livery, L-I-V-E-R-Y. And this is a word that feels biblical to me. I think it comes up in the Bible and it ends in a Y.

HANSEN: Hmm.

Mr. HERMANSON: Vilery(ph)?

HANSEN: Verily?

Mr. HERMANSON: Verily.

SHORTZ: Verily is it. Try this one, selves, S-E-L-V-E-S.

Mr. HERMANSON: Elves.

SHORTZ: Not quite. First of all, it has to start with a V.

Mr. HERMANSON: Oh, right. That's right.

SHORTZ: Think of a ship, a general word for a ship.

Mr. HERMANSON: Vessel.

SHORTZ: Vessel is it. Latvian, L-A-T-V-I-A-N. And this is an adjective that would describe a knight.

HANSEN: Or a prince. You know, the comic strip.

Mr. HERMANSON: Hmm, I guess I'm…

SHORTZ: You know Hal Foster's comic strip, Prince…

Mr. HERMANSON: Valiant?

HANSEN: Yeah.

SHORTZ: "Prince Valiant" is it. Saviour, S-A-V-I-O-U-R.

Mr. HERMANSON: Various.

SHORTZ: Various. Ooh, that was fast.

Mr. HERMANSON: It was a word from last week, Will.

SHORTZ: Okay.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: Well done, Tim.

SHORTZ: Nice. Observe, O-B-S-E-R-V-E. And this is an adjective for some of…

Mr. HERMANSON: Verbose.

SHORTZ: Verbose, you don't need a hint. Good. Octavian, O-C-T-A-V-I-A-N. This is something you might go on in the summer.

Mr. HERMANSON: Vacation.

SHORTZ: Vacation - just what Liane came back from - is right. Dovetail, D-O-V-E-T-A-I-L.

HANSEN: Hmm.

SHORTZ: This is past tense verb and it means broke as a law.

Mr. HERMANSON: Violated.

SHORTZ: Violated is it. And here's your last one. Levantine, L-E-V-A-N-T-I-N-E. Levantine.

Mr. HERMANSON: Valentine.

HANSEN: Yeah.

SHORTZ: Valentine, nice job.

HANSEN: Well done, Tim.

Mr. HERMANSON: Thank you.

HANSEN: I thought it was great that you refer to last week's - good job. Good job.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: Nice work. And for playing our puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, the "11th Edition of Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus," the "Scrabble Deluxe Edition" from Parker Brother's, "The Puzzle Master Presents" from Random House volume 2, Will Shortz's "Little Black Book of Sudoku" and the "Black and White Book of Crosswords" from St. Martin's Press, and one of Will Shortz's "Puzzle Master Decks of Riddles and Challenges" from Chronicle Books. Whew. Lots of stuff.

So, Tim, what member station do you listen to?

Mr. HERMANSON: WERN.

HANSEN: In Madison. All right. Well, Tim Hermanson from Stoughton, Wisconsin, thanks a lot for playing the puzzle with us. You're great.

Mr. HERMANSON: Thank you.

HANSEN: All right, Will, we need a challenge for next week. What is it?

SHORTZ: Yes. It comes from listener Jeffrey Harris of Nashville, Tennessee. Think of a word can follow the word peanut to form a familiar two-word phrase. If you take the first letter and move it to the next-to-the-last position, you get another word that can also follow peanut to form a familiar two-word phrase. What are the words?

So, again, a word that can follow the word peanut to form a familiar two-word phrase. Take the first letter and move it to the next-to-the-last position. The result will be another word that can follow peanut to form another familiar two-word phrase. What words are these?

HANSEN: Mm-hmm. When you have your answer, go to our Web site, npr.org, and click on the Submit Your Answer link on the Sunday Puzzle page - only one entry per person please. Our deadline this week is Thursday, 3 p.m., Eastern Time. Please include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time. We'll call you if you are the winner and you'll get to play puzzle on the air with the puzzle editor of the New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION'S puzzle master, Will Shortz.

Thanks a lot, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane.

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