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First Names First

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First Names First

First Names First

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. You know what they say: seven days without puzzle makes one week. But don't worry - here it comes.


MARTIN: Joining us now is WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle-master Will Shortz. Good morning, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.

MARTIN: And good morning might not be quite accurate, because you are joining us from Japan this week. How is it going over there?

SHORTZ: Well, it is great. I'm attending this event called the International Puzzle Party, which is for collectors and inventors of mechanical puzzles. But I've never been to Japan, and so that's part of the reason for coming. I'm playing table tennis every day, and I'm visiting Nikoli, which is one of the world's top puzzle magazine companies. They're the ones who first popularized sudoku.

MARTIN: Very cool. And could you remind us what last week's puzzle challenge was?

SHORTZ: Yes. Last week's challenge was: in three words, name a product sold mainly to women that has the initial NPR. And I said the answer is a common phrase. And the answer was nail polish remover.

MARTIN: OK. There you go. Well, we got over 2,500 correct answers this week. We also got a very unique incorrect answer - a hand-posted submission. It was written on a piece of a box of Ziploc baggies and it landed in our mail pile. It's from the crew of the fishing vessel Espresso in the Ugashik River off of Bristol Bay in Alaska. Unfortunately, it is a few weeks late - no slight to the Postal Service. It's also not quite right, the responses. But we wanted to give them a shout-out. Thank you so much listening. Points for creativity with that makeshift postcard and keep trying. So, onto the business at hand: our randomly selected correct answer this week came from Ernie Scosseria of Berkeley, California. He is on the line now. Congratulations, Ernie.

ERNIE SCOSSERIA: Oh, thank you. I feel great about this. I've been trying to answer questions for years.

MARTIN: Oh, well, we're so pleased that you can be on the program and be on the puzzle this week. How did you figure it out? Did it come to you quickly?

SCOSSERIA: It did. It just popped into my head. I don't know where it came from.

MARTIN: So, Berkeley, California is a nice place to live. For people who may not have traveled to Berkeley, what's your favorite thing about the Bay Area and Berkeley in particular?

SCOSSERIA: In Berkeley in particular, it's the weather. I grew up in San Francisco and I actually hate the fog. It's much warmer in Berkeley and it's always interesting over here with all the zaniness.


MARTIN: Definitely a dynamic place. So, Ernie, without further ado, are you ready to play the puzzle?

SCOSSERIA: Oh, my friend Helen said I was born ready for this. I hope she was right.

MARTIN: I like Helen, and I bet she was right. OK, Will, as they say in Japan, (Foreign language spoken). Let's do it.

SHORTZ: Nice, nice. OK. Ernie, you sound like you're going to be good. This week's puzzle is called What's in a Name. Every answer consists of the names of two famous people. The last name of the first person is an anagram of the first name of the last person. Given the non-anagram parts of the names, you identify the people. For example, if I said Madeleine and Aaron, you would say Kahn and Hank, as in Madeleine Kahn, the actress, and Hank Aaron, the baseball star.

MARTIN: OK. Ernie, you got it?

SCOSSERIA: I think so.

MARTIN: OK. Let's try it together. Let's do it.

SHORTZ: All right. We'll start with four-letter answers. The first one is Jay J-A-Y and coward. Jay blank and blank Coward. And for Jay blank, think of a late-night host.

SCOSSERIA: Oh, Leno and Noel.

SHORTZ: That's it. Jay Leno and Noel Coward. Number two is Janet and Wolfe W-O-L-F-E. I'll tell you the second name is fictional.


SHORTZ: That's correct.

SCOSSERIA: ...Wolfe.

SHORTZ: Nero Wolfe and who's that Janet?

SCOSSERIA: Janet Reno.

SHORTZ: That's it. Yogi and McIntyre. And this time, the first name is fictional - Yogi blank...


SHORTZ: That's it. And blank McIntyre.


SHORTZ: Reba McIntyre is it. Now, we're onto five-letter names. And your first one is Bob and Carter. And for Bob blank, you're looking for a famous singer, popular since the 1960s.


SHORTZ: That's it. And blank Carter, who played Wonder Woman.


SHORTZ: Lynda is it, with a Y. Roger and Montague, and the second name is fictional. And for that, think Shakespeare.

SCOSSERIA: Oh, right. Romeo.

SHORTZ: Romeo and Roger blank.


SHORTZ: Moore is it. And now we have a couple of six-letter answers. Lily and Berle B-E-R-L-E.

SCOSSERIA: OK. Milton Berle and Lily Tomlin.

MARTIN: That's it.


SHORTZ: And here's your last one: Benedict and Reagan.

SCOSSERIA: Arnold and Ronald.

SHORTZ: Good job.

MARTIN: Ernie, that was really excellent. Well done.

SCOSSERIA: Oh, thank you. You guys really helped out a lot.

MARTIN: I helped out zero. You did excellent.

SCOSSERIA: I think you did.


MARTIN: And For playing the puzzle today, you get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, puzzle books and games. You can read all about it at And before we let you go, Ernie, what is your public radio station?

SCOSSERIA: KQED, in San Francisco.

MARTIN: Ernie Scosseria of Berkeley, California. Ernie, thanks so much. It was really fun to have you.

SCOSSERIA: It was fun for me. Thank you so much.

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

SHORTZ: Yeah, this is something I actually thought of in bed last week. Name a foreign make of automobile that is a non-American make. Cross out several letters in its name. And the remaining letters, reading in order from left to right, will spell a food that comes from the country where the car is made. What's the country and what's the food?

So again, a foreign make of automobile. Cross out some of the letters. The remaining letters in order, left to right, will name a food that comes from the country where the car is made. What's the country and what is the food?

MARTIN: When you've got the answer go to our website, Click on the Submit Your Answer link. Just one entry per person, please and our deadline is Thursday, August 8th at 3 P.M. Eastern Time. So, postcards from Ugashik might be a little slow.

Please include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time. And if you're the winner we will give you a call, and you'll get to play on the air with the puzzle editor of The New York Times, and he is, of course, WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle-master, Will Shortz.

Thanks so much, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Rachel.


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