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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. You're traveling to another dimension, a dimension not only of words and numbers, but of mind; a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of the imagination. That's the signpost up ahead, your next stop: the puzzle.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.

MARTIN: So I understand a pretty big day in the history of puzzles coming up this week, right?

SHORTZ: That is correct. This coming Saturday is the 100th anniversary of the crossword. The first one appeared in the New York World, an old newspaper, on December 21, 1913. And I have the world's only known copy in private hands of that first puzzle.

MARTIN: Do you really?

SHORTZ: I do. And there's two things I want to mention. I'm going to be on "CBS Sunday Morning" this morning. They do a nice segment on crosswords. And on Wednesday, December 18, I'll be on "CBS This Morning" with an interview with Mo Rocca. It was very funny when we did it.

MARTIN: Great. OK. Well, refresh our memories. What was last week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yeah, it was a tough one. It came from listener Pete Collins of Ann Arbor, Michigan. And the challenge was: name a U.S. city in nine letters. Shift the third letter six places later in the alphabet. Then shift the last letter seven places later in the alphabet. And the result was a family name featured in the title of a famous work of fiction. What's the city, and what's the family name? Well, the city is Kalamazoo, Michigan. And shift those letters - you get Karamazov, as in, "The Brothers Karamazov," by Dostoyevsky.

MARTIN: So, this one was kind of tough. We got just over 200 correct answers this week. And our randomly selected winner is Nicole Heron of New York City. She joins us now on the line. Hey, Nicole, congratulations.

NICOLE HERON: Hey, Rachel. Thanks so much.

MARTIN: This was hard. So, did this come pretty easily to you or did you have to struggle with it?

HERON: You know, I heard it very late this week. You have the podcast till Wednesday night. And I couldn't get it on my way home but I was walking to the subway Thursday thinking about some friends who are from Michigan and said, oh my God, Kalamazoo, Karamazov.

MARTIN: Perfect.

HERON: Yeah. So, it worked out.

MARTIN: And do you do a puzzle a lot? Are you a puzzler in general?

HERON: Yes, I love the puzzle. I've probably only been solving for about 10 years ago - not a postcard...

MARTIN: Not a postcard (unintelligible).

HERON: Yeah, my mom, my brother and I, we have a little family email, we've been drawing every week.

MARTIN: Oh, nice. Well, they will be a little envious, I imagine then.

HERON: They will be.

(LAUGHTER)

MARTIN: OK. Will Shortz is on the line, Nicole. If you have a question for him?

HERON: Good morning, Will.

SHORTZ: Hey there.

HERON: Yeah, nice to meet you. I do actually. So, we are big puzzlers, I guess, in our family, and I wondering what kind of puzzle traditions you grew up with that turned you into your puzzle-master?

SHORTZ: That's good. I really developed myself. Nobody in my family did puzzles.

HERON: Oh, no way.

MARTIN: Really?

HERON: How surprising.

SHORTZ: Yeah. I think I picked up puzzles just as a way to procrastinate from schoolwork.

(LAUGHTER)

MARTIN: But school was important, right, Will?

SHORTZ: Yeah, it was important.

MARTIN: Kids should stay in school, yeah. Well, Nicole, are you ready to do this?

HERON: I think so.

MARTIN: Let's go for it, Will.

SHORTZ: All right, Nicole and Rachel. Every answer today is a five-letter word. I'm going to give you a clue for the word. And besides giving you a direct hint to the answer, the clue will also contain the answer in consecutive letters. For example, if I said push over hard, you would say shove, because push over hard means shove and the letters of shove are inside push over.

MARTIN: OK. Do you have it, Nicole?

HERON: Yep, I got it.

MARTIN: All right. Let's give it a go.

SHORTZ: Number one: it's taken to kill a vampire.

HERON: Stake.

SHORTZ: Stake, good, which is hidden inside it's taken. Title for Theresa in the Catholic Church.

HERON: Saint.

SHORTZ: Saint. Man, that's fast. Using shorter sentences, say.

HERON: Terse.

SHORTZ: Nice. Animal with much impish behavior.

HERON: Chimp.

SHORTZ: Chimp, inside much impish, good. Beverage put on ice with gin.

HERON: Tonic.

SHORTZ: Excellent. It can lead rains away from a house.

HERON: Rains? How do you spell that?

SHORTZ: Yeah, rains R-A-I-N-S. It can lead rains away from a house.

HERON: Drain.

SHORTZ: Drain is it. One of the places to rent in a mall.

HERON: Store?

SHORTZ: That's it. It might be built with big, loose blocks of ice.

HERON: Igloo.

SHORTZ: That's it. Kellogg's All brand, Drano or Twinkies.

(LAUGHTER)

HERON: It's a brand.

MARTIN: Odd combination - oh, brand.

SHORTZ: Brand, each of those is a brand. Good one. Home of Dali, Velasquez and other famous painters.

HERON: Spain.

SHORTZ: Spain is it. Song that worships all-mighty God.

HERON: Hymn.

SHORTZ: No, it's got to be letters.

HERON: No, sorry.

SHORTZ: Song that worships all-mighty God.

HERON: Psalm.

SHORTZ: Psalm is it.

MARTIN: Psalm, good.

SHORTZ: Pleasant annual visitor.

HERON: Santa.

SHORTZ: Santa is it.

MARTIN: Oh, Nicole. That was awesome.

(LAUGHTER)

MARTIN: You did so well.

HERON: I was so nervous.

MARTIN: Oh, my gosh. We couldn't tell. That was fabulous.

HERON: Oh, thank you so much.

MARTIN: And you know that for playing our puzzle today, you do 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, what is your Public Radio station?

HERON: Ninety-three point nine, WNYC.

MARTIN: Nicole Heron, of New York City, thanks so much for playing the puzzle, Nicole.

HERON: Thanks so much, guys.

MARTIN: OK, Will, what's up for next week?

SHORTZ: Yes. A fairly easy one, I think. Name an island in which some of the letters appear more than once. Drop exactly two instances of each repeated letter. And the remaining letters can be rearranged to name something to eat. What is it?

So again. An island, some of the letters in it appear more than once. Drop exactly two instances of each repeated letter. And the remaining letters can be rearranged to name something to eat. What is it?

MARTIN: 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. Our deadline for entries is Thursday December 19th at 3 P.M. Eastern Time. Please include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time, because 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 WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle-master, Mr. Will Shortz.

Thanks so much, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Rachel.

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