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Easy As ABC

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Easy As ABC

Easy As ABC

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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. And I know your game. Maybe you've got the radio on but you're multitasking; folding laundry, reading the paper, making coffee. Well, it is time to focus, people, give us your undivided attention because it's time for the puzzle.


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

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.

MARTIN: So, you back home? I mean, you had a big trip. You were in Japan last time we spoke.

SHORTZ: Yeah, it was great. I spent a lot of time with Nikoli, the puzzle magazine company, and had interviews with two big Japanese newspapers. And I brought back a cute little puzzle, which I'll give as a challenge in a few minutes.

MARTIN: OK. We'll look forward to that. But first, refresh our memories. What was last week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yeah. Last week, I said to name a foreign make of automobile, cross out several letters in its name. I said 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 is the car and what is the food? Well, the answer is Mitsubishi. And if you cross out the M-I-T and the B-I, you're left with sushi. We had a couple of interesting alternate answers. Hidden inside the Indian carmaker Mahindra and Mahindra is naan, as in the Indian bread. If you take Maserati, that conceals the letters of Asti, the Italian wine, and inside Austin Healey is tea.

MARTIN: Wow. Who knew? So many other creative answers out there. More than 2,000 people sent in the correct answer for this puzzle. And our randomly selected winner is Lindsy Schwantes of Waite Park, Minnesota. She joins us on the line now. Congratulations, Lindsy.


MARTIN: And what do you do for a living in Waite Park?

SCHWANTES: I am a Spanish teacher.

MARTIN: Yeah, cool. And how long have you been playing the puzzle, Lindsy?

SCHWANTES: I think about four years.

MARTIN: And do I have my information right - did you just have a baby?

SCHWANTES: Yes, I did. She's 11 months, so we're planning her one-year-old birthday.

MARTIN: So, not a lot of spare time to be puzzling.

SCHWANTES: Oh, no. We make time for it in our house.


MARTIN: Well, great. So, are you ready to do this, Lindsy?


MARTIN: OK, Will. What's our challenge?

SHORTZ: Today's puzzle is as easy as ABC. Every answer is an anagram of a word that has the letters ABC in it. For example, if I said ABC plus he H-E, you'd rearrange those letters to make beach.


SHORTZ: All right. Number one is ABC plus is I-S.


SHORTZ: Basic is it. All right. ABC plus us U-S.


Scuba. Nice job. That's a tough one too. ABC plus one - and that's O-N-E. Your clue for this is part of a lighthouse. And it's the light of a lighthouse. What do you call that?

MARTIN: I don't know what that's called.

SCHWANTES: I don't either. What letter does it start with?

SHORTZ: Starts with a B.


SHORTZ: Beacon - there you go. ABC plus nor N-O-R. Think of a chemical element.


SHORTZ: Carbon is it. How about ABC plus fir F-I-R.


SHORTZ: Yeah. Starts with F.


SHORTZ: Fab is a good start.


SHORTZ: Fabric is it. ABC plus jet.


SHORTZ: Um-hum. And it might be a kind of apology.


SHORTZ: Abject is it. How about ABC plus mere M-E-R-E. And it's the synonym of to hug.




SHORTZ: Embrace is it. How about ABC plus pole P-O-L-E. This one starts with P as in Peter. And it might be something a scientist gives you if you're taking part in an experiment. OK. That's a tough one. I'm going to tell you. That's a placebo.

MARTIN: Oh, man.

SHORTZ: That's a hard one to see. And here's your last one: ABC plus only O-N-L-Y. And it might be something you would have if you were on the second floor or higher of a building.


SHORTZ: Balcony. Nice job.

MARTIN: Yay, Lindsy. That was good.

SCHWANTES: Oh, that was so fun.

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


MARTIN: In Collegeville, St. Cloud, Minnesota. Lindsy Schwantes of Waite Park, Minnesota, thanks so much for playing the puzzle, Lindsy.

SCHWANTES: Thank you.

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

SHORTZ: Yeah, it's a little logic puzzle I heard at the International Puzzle Party last week in Japan. And it was given to me by Dick Hess of Rancho Palos Verdes, California, and it's a twist on an old puzzle. So listen carefully: Nieces and nephews have I none, but that man's father is my father's son. What is the gender of the speaker? And who is the speaker referring to?

So again: Nieces and nephews have I none, but that man's father is my father's son. What is the gender of the speaker? And who is the speaker referring to?

MARTIN: When you have got the answer, go to our website, Click on the Submit Your Answer link and just one entry per person, please. Our deadline is Thursday, August 15th at 3 P.M. Eastern Time to get those entries in. And 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.

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