RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. Scared you, didn't I? Don't worry. It's time for the puzzle. Joining me now is Will Shortz. He is the puzzle editor of the New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master. Hey there, Will. Good morning.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.
MARTIN: All right. What was last week's challenge?
SHORTZ: Well, I thought it wasn't too hard. I said name certain trees, also name something that trees have. And I said rearrange all the letters to get the brand name of a product you might buy at a grocery or a drug store. What is it? Well, if you take the word firs, which are trees, and leaves, which are something trees have, you can rearrange the letters to get Life Savers.
MARTIN: Very clever. So, I mean, this was harder than you thought it was because only 45 listeners got the correct answer. I wonder if that's a record. Our randomly selected winner this week is Nils Thingvall of Lafayette, Colo. He joins us on the line now. Hey, Nils, congratulations.
NIL THINGVALL: Thank you.
MARTIN: So you were part of a very elite group who got the answer right this past week. How'd you figure it out?
THINGVALL: It didn't come to me for quite a while. It took me three or four days, and I just was thinking that it had to be something that was either over the counter medicine or candy since the drugstore was in there. And it had to have a couple of S's in there. And I thought about the V in leaves, and it just sort of popped into my head right as I was stepping out of the shower.
MARTIN: OK. You do a lot of puzzling in your life in general?
THINGVALL: I do, yes.
MARTIN: And so this is your big moment as a puzzler. Do you have a question for Mr. Will Shortz?
THINGVALL: Yeah, I do. I was wondering if you have any particular video games or board games, sort of like Settlers of Catan, that you enjoy playing or have played?
SHORTZ: I don't play video games, don't have a lot of time for that. I think growing up, my favorite games maybe were Risk. I think my favorite game now, fortunately, is a word game, Boggle. I could play Boggle all day long.
MARTIN: Yeah. Boggle's a good one. Nils, with that, are you ready to play the puzzle?
THINGVALL: I am.
MARTIN: OK. Let's do it, Will.
SHORTZ: All right, Nils and Rachel, I'm going to give you some words. For each one, you give me a word that can follow mine to complete a familiar two-word phrase. And the first two letters of my word should be the last two letters of yours. For example, if I said red, you might say square, as in red square. And the first two letters of red are the last two letters of square.
MARTIN: Aha. OK. Nils, you got it?
THINGVALL: I got it.
MARTIN: All right, let's do it.
SHORTZ: OK. We're starting with three letter answers. And your first one is armored.
SHORTZ: Armored car is right. Electric.
SHORTZ: Uh huh. Unearned.
SHORTZ: Think baseball.
SHORTZ: Unearned run is it. Four letter answers now. Ski.
THINGVALL: Ski. I should know this. I'm in Colorado.
SHORTZ: There you go. What do you wear?
SHORTZ: Ski mask is it. Second.
THINGVALL: Second base.
SHORTZ: That's it. Neutral.
THINGVALL: Neutral zone?
SHORTZ: Uh huh. Stress.
THINGVALL: Stress test.
SHORTZ: That's it.
THINGVALL: Insert coin. That's a little more the games I'm familiar with.
SHORTZ: That's it. It's up your line? Now we have five letter answers. Centrifugal.
SHORTZ: That's it. Organ.
SHORTZ: Uh huh. Tectonic.
THINGVALL: Plates or plate.
SHORTZ: Uh huh. Plate is it. Legal.
THINGVALL: Legal eagle?
SHORTZ: Legal eagle, also legal title. Either way. Chess.
SHORTZ: That's it. Three towed.
SHORTZ: That's it. And now six letters. Old.
THINGVALL: Old. Six letters ending in O-L.
SHORTZ: Yeah. And it's a one syllable answer.
MARTIN: I don't know.
SHORTZ: Yeah. Some are - that's a tough one. I'll tell you. It's old school.
THINGVALL: Oh, old school. OK.
SHORTZ: OK. How about shoe? S H O E.
THINGVALL: Shoe polish.
SHORTZ: Shoe polish. Shoe fetish also works. How about Iran-contra.
SHORTZ: That's it. And your final two are more than six letters. Leafy.
SHORTZ: Uh huh.
THINGVALL: Leafy, let's see. Greens. Suburbs.
SHORTZ: And like, lettuce and spinach are examples.
SHORTZ: Yeah. Something ending in...
THINGVALL: Leafy vegetable.
SHORTZ: Leafy vegetable.
SHORTZ: And your last one is general.
THINGVALL: General outrage.
SHORTZ: (Laughter) Interesting. OK. I'll give you that. I was going with general knowledge. We'll take outrage, though.
MARTIN: Yeah. Points for creativity. Nils, that was great.
THINGVALL: Well, thank you.
MARTIN: For playing the puzzle today, you get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin and puzzle books and games. You can read all about your prizes at NPR.org/puzzle. And Nils, where do you hear us? What's your public radio station?
THINGVALL: It is KCFR here in Denver.
MARTIN: Great. Nils Thingvall of Lafayette, Colo. Thanks so much for playing the puzzle, Nils. It was great to talk with you.
THINGVALL: All right. Thank you guys so much.
MARTIN: OK, Will, what's up for next week?
SHORTZ: Yes. The challenge comes from Mike Reiss, who's a writer for the Simpsons. And he's the one who created that April Fool's challenge a few weeks ago. There's nothing tricky about this one. Name of famous actor or actress who's last name ends in a double letter. Drop that double letter, then insert an R somewhere inside the first name. And the result will be a common two word phrase. What is it? So a famous actor or actress who's last name ends in a double letter. Drop that double letter, insert an R somewhere inside the first name in order to get a common two word phrase. What phrase is it?
MARTIN: All right. When you've figured out the answer, go to our website which is NPR.org/puzzle, and click on that submit your answer link. Just one entry per person, please. And our deadline for entries is Thursday, May 1 at 3 p.m. ET. 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 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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