RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. I feel like I'm forgetting something right now, like I'm supposed to be doing something - oh wait, it's time to play the puzzle.
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MARTIN: Joining me now is Will Shortz. He is of course the puzzle editor of the New York Times, WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle -aster as well. Good morning, Will.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.
MARTIN: How's it going?
SHORTZ: Everything's good. Last weekend, I did something cool. I direct an annual weekend on words at Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York. And I was on a puzzle treasure hunt team with Melissa Block.
MARTIN: A puzzle treasure hunt team. That's exciting. Did you guys win?
SHORTZ: I'm afraid - I'd love to be able to report yes, we won. No, we did not, but we had a good time. I still think we were pretty good.
MARTIN: So, with that, you want to refresh our memories? What was last week's challenge?
SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Steve Baggish of Arlington, Massachusetts. And I said think of a word meaning quarrel in which several of the letters appear more than once. Remove exactly two occurrences of every repeated letter, and the remaining letters can be rearranged to spell a new word meaning quarrel. What are the words? And the answers were misunderstanding and argument.
MARTIN: OK. So, we got about 300 correct answers this week. And our randomly selected winner this week is Maureen Finnegan of Wahiawa, Hawaii. She joins us now on the line. Congratulations, Maureen.
MAUREEN FINNEGAN: Thank you, Rachel.
MARTIN: So, did this take a while for you to figure out or did it come pretty quickly to you?
FINNEGAN: Well, the first time I went online looking for synonyms, I didn't have much success. But then the second batch of words I got, I was able to come up with it pretty quickly.
MARTIN: Very good. So, Hawaii. I mean, I'm a little jealous. Have you lived there for a long time?
FINNEGAN: Well, I guess about 31 years now. I am blessed, yes.
MARTIN: That is a long time. And do you have a lot of time to play puzzles in your life?
FINNEGAN: I do have time and I enjoy Scrabble so much that I even play Scrabble games by myself frequently, so.
MARTIN: Do you win those?
FINNEGAN: If I get to 500 points, I consider that I've won.
MARTIN: Sounds pretty good. And Will Shortz is on the line. Do you have a question for him?
FINNEGAN: Yes. Will, I just wonder: with all the kinds of puzzles that you play yourself, is there one particular kind that you enjoy the most?
SHORTZ: I enjoy just about any kind of puzzle but my very favorite would be the cryptic crossword in the British style.
MARTIN: I don't even know what that is.
SHORTZ: We'll talk about those sometime.
MARTIN: OK. To be continued. OK, Maureen, are you ready to play the puzzle?
MARTIN: You sound a little hesitant. Let's try again - Maureen, are you ready to play the puzzle?
FINNEGAN: Yes, Rachel. I'm going to do the best I can.
MARTIN: All right. Let's try. Let's do it, Will.
SHORTZ: All right. Maureen and Rachel, every answer today is the name of a tree, which I'd like you to identify from its anagram. For example, if I said has H-A-S, you would say ash.
SHORTZ: Number one is mel M-E-L.
SHORTZ: That is right. Number two is wye W-Y-E.
SHORTZ: Good. Reap R-E-A-P.
SHORTZ: That's it. Ample A-M-P-L-E.
SHORTZ: That's it. Panes P-A-N-E-S. For some reason, this stumps everyone and it's a kind of tree everyone knows. And there's a city in Colorado with the same name.
FINNEGAN: Can you tell me what letter it starts with?
SHORTZ: Go ahead, Rachel.
MARTIN: I think it starts with an A, right?
SHORTZ: It starts with an A - that's it.
SHORTZ: Aspen is it. Raced R-A-C-E-D.
SHORTZ: This is a kind of tree whose wood is used for chests and closets.
SHORTZ: Cedar is it. How about among A-M-O-N-G? This is a fruit tree that we don't have in this part of the U.S. but you might have in Hawaii.
SHORTZ: Mango. Allure A-L-L-U-R-E. And this one starts with an L.
FINNEGAN: Oh boy. That one's really hard.
MARTIN: It ends with an L too.
SHORTZ: It starts and ends with an L, good.
SHORTZ: Laurel is it.
SHORTZ: Your last one is main goal M-A-I-N G-O-A-L.
SHORTZ: Magnolia. No hint needed. Nice job.
MARTIN: Maureen, that was so good. Congratulations.
FINNEGAN: Thank you, and thank you for your help and clues.
MARTIN: Oh, very, very rarely. You did most of the work yourself. And for playing the puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin and puzzle books and games. You can read all about it at npr.org/puzzle.
And before we let you go, Maureen, tell us your public radio station.
FINNEGAN: I listen to KHPR FM in Honolulu, Hawaii.
MARTIN: Maureen Finnegan, of Wahiawa, Hawaii, thanks so much for playing the puzzle, Maureen.
FINNEGAN: Thank you very much, Rachel and Will. Aloha.
MARTIN: OK, Will. What do you have for next week?
SHORTZ: Yes, a spin-off of my on-air puzzle. Name a tree whose letters can be rearranged to spell two herbs or spices. What are they? And just to be clear, combine the names of the two herbs or spices and together the letters can be rearranged to spell the name of a tree. And here's a hint - the tree has a two-word name. What are the herbs or spices and what tree is it?
MARTIN: OK, you know what to do. When you've got the answer, go to our website, npr.org/puzzle and click on that Submit Your Answer link - just one entry per person, please. And next Thursday is Thanksgiving, so our deadline Wednesday November 27th at 3 P.M. Eastern Time.
Don't forget to include a phone number where you can reach you at about that time. Because if you're the winner we'll give you a call and you'll 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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