NPR logo

A Geography Quiz With A Spelling Twist

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
A Geography Quiz With A Spelling Twist

A Geography Quiz With A Spelling Twist

  • Download
  • <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. And I'm just going to say it - it's time for the puzzle.


MARTIN: Joining me now is WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master, Will Shortz, who joins us from Austin, Texas, today. Hey, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.

MARTIN: What's going on in Austin? What brings you there?

SHORTZ: Well, it is the National Puzzlers' League convention, and I've been the program director every year since 1976. There's about 170 word-puzzle freaks here from all over the U.S. and...

MARTIN: We mean that in the most endearing way, of course.

SHORTZ: Always endearing, yeah. It's four days of word puzzles and games. It's always a good time. Next year's convention will be in Portland, Maine, and there's information at

MARTIN: Very cool, OK. So remind us, what was last week's challenge, Will?

SHORTZ: Yes, last week's challenge was to rearrange the letters of India plus Belarus to name two other countries. And the answer was Liberia and Sudan.

MARTIN: So this week, we got almost 2,000 correct answers. And our randomly selected winner is Eddy Chandler(ph), from Piedmont, Calif. She joins us on the line now. Congratulations, Eddy.

EDDY CHANDLER: Oh, my heavens. Thank you so much. It's like winning a lottery.


MARTIN: Oh, I'm so pleased. Is Eddy a nickname?

CHANDLER: Yes, it is.

MARTIN: And what does it stand for?

CHANDLER: Oh, it' short for Ednette. My mother wanted an Edward but this, you know, didn't happen that way.

MARTIN: So, I guess Ednette is close enough.

CHANDLER: Yes it is. All my friends just called me Eddy Girl, as they do in Hawaii.

MARTIN: Ah, and you're from Hawaii originally?


MARTIN: And now you live in California, so you didn't stray too far from the sunshine.

CHANDLER: No, not too far.

MARTIN: OK. Well, Eddy, it's the big moment. Are you ready to play the puzzle?

CHANDLER: Oh, yes. As ready as I'll ever be, I guess.

MARTIN: All right. I will be alongside you to help when needed, and let's do it. Will, take it away.

SHORTZ: All right, Eddy and Rachel. This is a good two-person puzzle. Every answer today is the name of a U.S. state capital. And we'll start with an easy one. What state capital is hidden inside the word "exhausting"?

MARTIN: Got to write this down -oh.

SHORTZ: So write out the world "exhausting," and what state capital is hidden in...

CHANDLER: Is Austin.

SHORTZ: It is Austin. That's right.

MARTIN: Austin, speak of the devil.

SHORTZ: Number 2: What state capital starts with the name of a month? And there are two answers.

MARTIN: Starts...

CHANDLER: June, June - Juno.

SHORTZ: Juno is it. And what's the other answer?

CHANDLER: Augustine.

SHORTZ: Not Augustine. There's St. Augustine in Florida.

MARTIN: Oh, Augusta.

Augusta. Yeah.

SHORTZ: Augusta, Maine, is it.


SHORTZ: What state capital has three pairs of double letters?

MARTIN: Three sets of double letters. We need a hint, Will.

SHORTZ: Yes. Think of the Sunshine State.

CHANDLER: Tallahassee?

SHORTZ: Tallahassee, Fla., good. All right. What state capital has a three-word name; each word of which has the same number of letters, and its state's name has the same number of letters as in each of the words? What capital is that? So it has a three-word name; each of those three words has the same number of letters.

CHANDLER: How about Salt Lake City.

SHORTZ: Excellent.


SHORTZ: And Utah has the same number of letters, too. All right. What state capital is an anagram of "most arcane"?

CHANDLER: Oh, gosh.

SHORTZ: And this one is near and dear to you.

CHANDLER: Sacramento.

SHORTZ: That's Sacramento. That's it. OK. Which state capital goes from two syllables to one by changing the first letter from B, as in boy; to P, as in Peter?

CHANDLER: Boise, Idaho? Boise?

SHORTZ: That's it. Boise to poise.

MARTIN: Excellent.

SHORTZ: Nice job. What state capital is the name of a dance in 10 letters? Ten letters. I'll tell you, it starts with the letter C. And it's the name of a dance.

CHANDLER: Charleston.

MARTIN: Charleston.

SHORTZ: Charleston. Nice job. That was fast.

MARTIN: That was a strong finish, Eddy. And for playing the puzzle today, you - of course - get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, and puzzle books and games. You can read all about at And Eddy, before we let you go, what is your public radio station?

CHANDLER: KQED in San Francisco.

MARTIN: Shout-out to KQED. Eddy Chaplin(ph) from Piedmont, Calif. Thanks so much for playing the puzzle, Eddy.

CHANDLER: Thank you so much, and aloha.

MARTIN: Aloha. OK, Will. What's our challenge for next week?

SHORTZ: Yes, it's something I heard at the bar Thursday night, and it was given to me by two National Puzzlers' League members, Patrick Berry and Todd McClary...

MARTIN: That sounds like the beginning to a joke. Two puzzlers walk into a bar...


SHORTZ: It's a great puzzle, though. It's - take the phrase "clothes closet," which describes a place to keep your clothes. What's interesting about the phrase is that all the letters of the second word are found inside the first one. Now, think of another two-word phrase that names a place to keep clothes, in which all the letters of the second word are found inside the first. And the first word, I'll tell you, has nine letters; the second word has six. What common phrase is this?

So, nine-six, a place to keep clothes, and all six letters of the second word are found inside the first word. What phrase is this?

MARTIN: OK, you know what to do. When you've got 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 Thursday, July 18th, at 3 p.m. Eastern Time. Please include a 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 will 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.


Copyright © 2013 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.