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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. In a world where one man, armed with nothing but a pencil and a paper, twists our minds in a plot to take over the galaxy. Amazing things can happen. It is time for the puzzle. Joining me now is our benevolent ruler Will Shortz. He is also the puzzle editor of the New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master. Good morning, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Morning, Rachel. Yes, I am benevolent and benevolent dictator.

MARTIN: Exactly. The kind dictator. So what was last week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yeah. It was a great one. It was a - it had an April Fool twist to it. It was from a listener Mike Reese (ph). And I said the film "Wild Wild West" had three W's as its initials. What prominent film of last year had two W's as its initials? Well, the answer was "The Wolf of Wall Street" because the initials of that are T-W-O-W-S, which spell two W's.

MARTIN: Oh, very clever. So we got more than 280 correct answers this week. Our randomly selected winner is Steve Heald (ph) of Santa Rosa, Calif. He joins us on the line now. Hey, Steve, congratulations.

STEVE HEALD: Thank you, Will and Rachel. Nice to talk to both of you.

MARTIN: Yeah. Happy to have you here. So did this come pretty quickly to you?

HEALD: It really did. I just about movies that had been popular in the past year. And then I ended up grabbing the newspaper and looking at the movie listings. And that was how I figured it out.

MARTIN: Bada boom, bada bing. So what do you do in Santa Rosa?

HEALD: I work in accounting for the county where I live.

MARTIN: Lot of numbers in your life.

HEALD: Absolutely.

MARTIN: Lot of puzzles in your life?

HEALD: Absolutely. I'm a big crossword and sudoku fan and jumble. And I do the puzzles regularly.

MARTIN: So, Steve, now's your big chance. Do you have a question for Will Shortz?

HEALD: I actually did. Will, what I wanted to ask you is do you think younger people are taking up puzzles in the same rate that people of our generation do?

MARTIN: Good question.

SHORTZ: I do. You know - and I'll say two things. First of all, there was an article in the Village Voice in 1977 when my predecessor, Eugene Maleska, took over at the Times. And you didn't think young people were starting puzzles. My experience is that young people are doing puzzles as much as older folks are. And I've published 29 teenagers in the New York Times, in my 20 years at the paper. So I think kids like puzzles as much as anybody.

MARTIN: It's catching on.

HEALD: That's great.

MARTIN: With that, are you ready to play the puzzle, Steve?

HEALD: I think so, yes.

MARTIN: OK. Will, let's do it.

SHORTZ: All right, Steve and Rachel. Today's puzzle is called Middle C. Every answer is a common, three-syllable word or name in which the middle syllable is pronounced C. For example, if I said coming immediately before, you would say preceding.

MARTIN: Aha. You got it, Steve?

HEALD: I think so.

MARTIN: OK, let's try.

SHORTZ: All right, number one - an establishment in Las Vegas or Atlantic City.

HEALD: Casino.

SHORTZ: That's it. Number two - a substance of no medical value given to a patient in an experiment.

HEALD: That would be a placebo.

SHORTZ: Good. Part of a stereo or a certain football player.

HEALD: Receiver.

MARTIN: Oh, good.

SHORTZ: Good. A person who intentionally misleads.

HEALD: Deceiver.

SHORTZ: That's it. Former Yankee pitcher Mike.

HEALD: Mike Mussina.

SHORTZ: That's it. Fashion designer Oleg.

HEALD: Cassini.

SHORTZ: That's it. Kind of hairline for men.

HEALD: Unfortunately, I have one - receding.

SHORTZ: Unfortunately, I do, too. Kind of acid that's the main component of vinegar.

HEALD: That'd be be acetic.

SHORTZ: Good. Fill-in the blank - St. Francis of...

HEALD: Assisi, near my hometown.

SHORTZ: That's it.

MARTIN: Oh, cool.

SHORTZ: Neighborhood in Los Angeles, part of the 1992 film title "blank Man."

HEALD: Encino.

SHORTZ: That's it. Made in jest, not to be taken seriously.

HEALD: Made in jest. Oh, I'm going to need a little help with this one.

MARTIN: F. Right?

SHORTZ: It does start with an F. Good. And a comment...

MARTIN: Think sarcastic kind of.

HEALD: Oh, facetious.

SHORTZ: Facetious is it. Russian for thank you.

HEALD: Oh, man. My grandparents are from Russia, and I don't know the language.

SHORTZ: All right. I'm going to tell you this one. It's spasibo.

MARTIN: Spasibo.

HEALD: I've never even heard that.

SHORTZ: Spasibo.

HEALD: Oh, wow.

MARTIN: OK.

SHORTZ: There you go. And your last one - a basic move in square dancing.

HEALD: Do-si-do.

SHORTZ: Do-si-do is it.

MARTIN: Do-si-do. Steve, that was pretty darn good.

HEALD: It was really fun.

MARTIN: Was it? I hope it was.

HEALD: It really was.

MARTIN: Good. So to mark the occasion, you will get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin that I hope you wear proudly. You will...

HEALD: I will.

MARTIN: ...Also receive puzzle books and games. You can read all about your prizes at NPR.org/puzzle. And before we let you go, Steve, where do you hear us? What's your public radio station?

HEALD: KRCB in Rohnert Park, Calif.

MARTIN: Great. Steve Heald of Santa Rosa, Calif. Thanks so much for playing the puzzle, Steve.

HEALD: Thanks, Will and Rachel. It was great talking with both of you.

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

SHORTZ: Yes. the challenge comes from Dan Pitt of Palo Alto, Calif. Split pea soup is something you might order in a diner, and the phrase contains each of the 5 vowels - A, E, I, O and U exactly once. Name something else you might order in a diner also three words, consisting of three, six and eight letters respectively that contains each of the six vowels A, E, I, O, U and Y exactly once. So, again, something you'd order in a diner, has all six vowels A, E, I, O, U and Y, numeration 3, 6, 8 - what is it?

MARTIN: Wow, OK. When you've got the answer, go to our website, NPR .org/puzzle, click on that submit your answer link. Limit yourself to one entry per person, please. Our deadline for entries is Thursday April 10, at 3 p.m. Eastern. Don't forget to include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time because if you're the winner, we give you a call. And then you 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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