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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. It is Super Bowl Sunday, But before you watch the big game, you got to play the puzzle.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel. You have a favorite team for tonight?

MARTIN: I don't know. It's tough. I used to live in Seattle, I have family that live in the Denver area. But I got to pull for Peyton Manning. I'm pulling for the Broncos. How about you?

SHORTZ: I guess Denver for no really good reason.

(LAUGHTER)

MARTIN: All right. Whatever. You want a good game. It's an excuse to eat some good food, hang out with friends. Works for me.

SHORTZ: That's it. That's it.

MARTIN: OK. With that, Will, we got to play the puzzle first. Remind us what was last week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yes. Last week I asked: What word containing two consecutive S's becomes its own synonym if you drop those S's? And the answer was blossom. If you the drop the two S's, it becomes bloom. There was one other answer that almost worked. If you take the caress, drop the two S's at the end, you get care. I wasn't sure those two words were exact synonyms though.

MARTIN: OK. We got about 300 correct answers this week. And our randomly selected winner is Trey Moody of Fort Hood, Texas. He joins us on the line. Hey, Trey, congratulations.

TREY MOODY: Thank you.

MARTIN: This come pretty easily to you? How did you figure it out?

MOODY: I stewed over it for a little bit and then looked at some lists of words that had double S's and scanned over until it just popped into my head.

MARTIN: Serendipity a little bit. So, what do you do in Fort Hood?

MOODY: I work in the microbiology lab here at the Army hospital in Fort Hood.

MARTIN: What does that mean? Are you a microbiologist?

MOODY: I work as a microbiology technician. I grow the bacteria, find out what kills it and give that to the doctors to treat infections.

MARTIN: OK. So, how long have you been playing the puzzle?

MOODY: I would say probably about seven or eight years now.

MARTIN: All right. You're pretty good at it?

MOODY: I get it sometimes and sometimes I don't.

MARTIN: Well, that's a very reasonable answer, Trey. Let's see if you can apply that reason to this week's puzzle. Are you ready to do it?

MOODY: Let's do this.

MARTIN: OK, Will.

SHORTZ: All right, Trey and Rachel. Today, I brought some numerical anagrams. If I asked you to rearrange the words of zero plus F to spell a word, you'd say froze. What words do the following combinations make? And your first one is one plus X. It's funny - everyone I've given this to - it's a common word everyone knows but so many people have trouble with it.

MARTIN: With just those letters, Will?

SHORTZ: Yeah, yeah.

MOODY: Oxen.

SHORTZ: Oxen. I don't know why that's so hard.

MARTIN: Oh, it's hard to see, yeah.

SHORTZ: Number two is two plus N, as in Nancy.

MOODY: Won't.

SHORTZ: Uh-huh. And there's a more common word that doesn't have an apostrophe.

MOODY: Town.

SHORTZ: Town, there you go. Three plus I.

MOODY: Either.

SHORTZ: Either, good. Four plus M, as in Mary. And I'll you it starts with a F. In fact, there's not a whole lot of rearranging involved in this one.

MARTIN: Thank you. Thank you for making me feel bad about myself.

SHORTZ: Second letter is O.

MOODY: Forum.

MARTIN: Oh, you got it.

SHORTZ: Forum, there you go. Good, good. Five plus R and Y - had to add two letters to this one. Five plus R and Y.

MARTIN: I have it.

SHORTZ: Go for it, Rachel.

MOODY: Verify.

SHORTZ: Verify, yeah. You know, Rachel, here's the secret. All you have to do is say I have it and then Trey's going to get it.

MARTIN: Good job, Trey.

SHORTZ: Try this: six plus A.

MOODY: Axis.

SHORTZ: That's it. Seven plus U. Seven plus U.

MOODY: Venus?

SHORTZ: Yeah, and all you had to do is insert an E inside your answer. You said Venus V-E-N - go ahead, Rachel.

MARTIN: OK. I've got it. Trey, do you have it yet? No. I think it's venues.

SHORTZ: Venues is it. How about eight plus O. And for some reason this one's tough too. It starts with an H.

MOODY: Hogtie.

SHORTZ: Hogtie. Nine plus L. Something you might bring out if you have a fancy dinner.

MARTIN: Wrinkles easily.

SHORTZ: It wrinkles.

MOODY: Linen.

MARTIN: Yeah.

SHORTZ: Linen is it. Ten plus X.

MOODY: Next.

SHORTZ: Next. And your last one is 11 plus O and P, as in Peter.

MARTIN: Hmm. man. Oh.

SHORTZ: I think Rachel has got it. It starts with an E.

MOODY: Envelop.

MARTIN: Yep.

SHORTZ: Envelop, there it is. Good job.

MARTIN: There you go. Trey, very well done. And for playing our puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin and puzzle books and games. Go to our website, npr.org/puzzle, to read all about your prizes. And before we let you go, Trey, what's your public radio station?

MOODY: I listen to it on podcast.

MARTIN: Cool, great way to listen to the NPR WEEKEND EDITION puzzle. Trey Moody, of Fort Hood, Texas, thanks so much for playing the puzzle.

MOODY: Thank you.

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

SHORTZ: Yes, the challenge comes from listener Sam Williamson of Charlevoix, Michigan. And it's a two-part question. Where in most homes will you see the words she, S-H-E, and his, H-I-S? And what word will you see right after his?

So, again. Where in most homes will you see the words she and his? And what word will you see right after his?

MARTIN: You know what to do. When you've got the answer, go to our website, npr.org/puzzle, and click on the Submit Your Answer link. Limit yourself to just one entry per person, please. And our deadline for entries is Thursday, February 6th at 3 P.M. Eastern Time.

Make sure to include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time, because if you're the winner we'll give you a call. And then 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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