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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. And there are those for whom a puzzle is just a game, a thing to be solved. And then there are those for whom puzzling is a way of life. You know who you are.

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MARTIN: Joining me now is Will Shortz. He is, of course, the puzzle editor for the New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle-master. Good morning, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.

MARTIN: So I understand you have got a big challenge out today in the New York Times. Tell us about it.

SHORTZ: Yeah, it's a contest puzzle. There's a secret message in the crossword and anyone who gets the paper is invited to check it out. The deadline for entries is Tuesday at 6:00 P.M.

MARTIN: OK. And now onto our own puzzle challenge. Remind us what was the puzzle from last week?

SHORTZ: It came from listener and crossword constructer Dave Hanson of Mounds View, Minnesota. I said name a well-known person from the 20th century who held an important position. Said take the first and last letters of this person's last name, change each of them to the next letter of the alphabet, and you get the last name of another famous person who held the same position some time after the first one. Who is it?

Well, the answer is Ford, as in Gerald Ford, and you make that shift, you get Gore, as in Al Gore, and those were both vice presidents of the United States.

MARTIN: Very clever. So this week we received about 850 correct answers and a randomly selected winner is Lawrence Legard of Salinas, California. He joins us now on the line. Congratulations, Larry.

LAWRENCE LEGARD: Thanks very much.

MARTIN: So was this pretty easy to figure out?

LEGARD: Well, I happened upon it right away. I was illustrating last week's challenge to my son and I said, well, pick somebody like Henry Ford and then I changed the Ford to Gore and said thinking that it was the first name had to go with it and I go that's not right. There's no Henry Gore that ever succeeded Henry Ford as CEO of Ford.

Then I went back and I go, oh yes, Ford, Gore. Vice president.

MARTIN: And may I ask what you do for a living in Salinas, Larry?

LEGARD: Well, actually I work up at the Silicon Valley Lab and I'm a software engineer.

MARTIN: Does that mean you have a little bit of a commute?

LEGARD: Oh, 40 miles. Not too bad.

MARTIN: Not too bad. You have a little public radio to keep you company in the car.

LEGARD: Oh, yes, I do. Keep me going.

MARTIN: Well, Larry, are you ready to play the puzzle?

LEGARD: Ready to go.

MARTIN: Let's do it, Will.

SHORTZ: All right Larry. I'm going to give you two words. Think of a third word that can follow each of mine to complete a familiar two-word phrase. And here's a hint. Your word will rhyme with one of my two words.

LEGARD: OK.

SHORTZ: For example, if I said blame and bored, you would say game as in blame game and board game, and game rhymes with blame.

MARTIN: OK. I've got it. Do you have it, Larry?

LEGARD: Yeah, I do, I do.

MARTIN: All right. let's go for it.

SHORTZ: Number one is fan, F-A-N and snail.

LEGARD: That would be mail.

SHORTZ: That's right. Fan mail and snail mail. Chill, sleeping.

LEGARD: Chill, sleeping. Pill.

SHORTZ: That's it. Chill pill, sleeping pill. Poster, wild.

LEGARD: Child.

SHORTZ: That's it. Poster child, wild child. Fair, F-A-I-R and market. Fair and market.

LEGARD: Share.

SHORTZ: That's it.

MARTIN: Good.

SHORTZ: Grease, that's G-R-E-A-S-E, grease and stun.

LEGARD: Gun.

SHORTZ: That's it. Stun gun. Near, N-E-A-R and root, R-O-O-T. And for this one...

MARTIN: One of them is delicious and the other one is not delicious. Just my opinion.

SHORTZ: Rachel, I like that, yeah. I think that would be a universal opinion.

LEGARD: Oh, boy.

SHORTZ: Sometimes these hints are more confusing than they are helpful.

MARTIN: I know, right.

SHORTZ: Go ahead Rachel. What is it?

MARTIN: Beer. Near beer.

SHORTZ: That's it. Root beer and near beer.

LEGARD: Oh, beer, OK. Yeah.

SHORTZ: All right. Here's your next one. Flower, F-L-O-W-E-R and solar.

LEGARD: Power.

MARTIN: Yeah.

SHORTZ: That's it. Alley, A-L-L-E-Y and fat, F-A-T.

LEGARD: Cat.

MARTIN: Yes.

SHORTZ: There you go. Alley cat. And here's your last one. It's my favorite one. Brain storm. B-R-A-I-N, and storm. Those are your two words. I'll tell you, it rhymes with the first word.

LEGARD: Train...

SHORTZ: Near the - it's front of the alphabet.

LEGARD: Oh, drain.

MARTIN: Yes.

LEGARD: Drain.

SHORTZ: That's it...

MARTIN: Good.

SHORTZ: ...brain drain and storm drain.

MARTIN: Well, that was fun. Great job, Larry.

LEGARD: I enjoyed that.

MARTIN: Yeah, that was a good one. For playing our puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, puzzle books and games. You can read all about it at npr.org/puzzle. And, Larry, before we let you go, what is your public radio station?

LEGARD: Well, our primary one is KAZU in Seaside. But we're also members of KUSP in Santa Cruz and KQED FM in San Francisco.

MARTIN: Great. Larry Legard of Salinas, California. Thanks so much for playing the puzzle, Larry.

LEGARD: OK, thank you very much. Thank you, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks a lot.

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

SHORTZ: Yes, it comes from listener David Rosen of Bethesda, Maryland and it's a little tricky. The name of what character, familiar to everyone, contains each of the five vowels - A, E, I, O and U - exactly once. And the answer consists of two words; eight letters in the first word, four letters in the second.

So, again. The name of what character, familiar to everyone, contains each of the five vowels exactly once. Your numeration is eight/four, name the character.

MARTIN: When you've got the answer, go to our website, npr.org/puzzle. Click on the Submit Your Answer link - just one entry per person, please. And our deadline for entries is Thursday, September 26th 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, Mr. Will Shortz.

Thanks so much, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Rachel.

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