Finding The Answers Within This week's on-air challenge clues are the winners and runners up from the two-week creative challenge. Spoiler alert: The answers for the on-air challenge are given away on this week's puzzle page.
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Finding The Answers Within

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Finding The Answers Within

Finding The Answers Within

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This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Lynn Neary. Now I feel like there's somewhere I'm supposed to be right now. Rachel mentioned something about...

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Lynn, Lynn. It's Will Shortz.

NEARY: Will Shortz.

NEARY: It's time to play the puzzle.

NEARY: Of course it is. Now as everybody knows, Will Shortz is the puzzle editor of the New York Times, and of course, WEEKEND EDITION's one and only puzzle master. So good to talk with you again, Will.

SHORTZ: Good morning, Lynn. Great to have you back.

NEARY: Now we're at the end, I understand, of a two-week challenge. So remind us what it was.

SHORTZ: Yeah. It was a creative challenge. I asked you to write a clue for a word of six or more letters in which the clue both defines or describes the answer and contains the answer in consecutive letters.

NEARY: That seems like a tough one to me. We got about 450 submissions. Will, why don't you tell us about the winner.

SHORTZ: My favorite entry came from Mike Strong of Mechanicsburg, Pa. And his clue was in cold weather, most attempt to keep this set low. And the answer is thermostat, which is something you try to keep low in the winter to save on energy bill.

And those letters are actually hidden inside "weather most attempt." Thought that was great. I loved the simplicity of it and the length of the answer - 10 letters.

NEARY: I think that's kind of a brilliant answer, actually (Laughter) I must say. And Mike joins us on the line now. Congratulations, Mike.

MIKE STRONG: Well, thank you, Lynn. Hi.

NEARY: So how did you come up with that?

STRONG: Well, for a few days after Will posed that problem, everything I read, I would evaluate all the words on the basis of whether they seemed to contain other words. So after a few days of that, it slowed down my reading so much that I figured I better go with the best answers that I had.

NEARY: Tell us about Mechanicsburg. What do you do there, Mike?

STRONG: I'm an engineer. I design software that other engineers use to determine whether their designs perform the way that they intend.

NEARY: That sounds like good practice for puzzling.

STRONG: Well, it's good practice for mathematical puzzling, but not so much the nice kind of word puzzles that Will poses.

NEARY: Well, let's go ahead and play the puzzle now.


SHORTZ: Well, as I mentioned the last two weeks, today's on-air puzzle will involve some of the runners-up in the two-week challenge. And here's your first one, Mike. Its members are chosen at elections every six years.

STRONG: Senate.

SHORTZ: Senate is right because that is true of the U.S. Senate. And the letters of Senate are hidden inside "chosen at elections." That's brilliant. That came from Steve Stein of Highland Park, N.J. Here's your next one. The electric light bulb he developed is only one of his many inventions.

STRONG: Edison.

SHORTZ: That's right. From Nick Marritz of Washington, D.C. And that's hidden inside "developed is only." No doubt about it, an iceberg sank her.

STRONG: Titanic.

SHORTZ: That's it. From Dan Axtell of Westminster, Vt. A place to hear the fire crackle. It actually contains six - exactly six letters. A place to hear the fire crackle.

STRONG: Hearth.

SHORTZ: Hearth is it. That's from William Pahle of Chicago. Not Mercury, but the other messenger of the gods. The Greek God of...

NEARY: I can't remember who it is. I can't remember the name.

STRONG: Hermes.

SHORTZ: Hermes is it.

NEARY: Hermes. That's right.

SHORTZ: That's from William Sittig of Washington, D.C. She said love, honor and obey once to Jay-Z.

STRONG: Beyonce.

SHORTZ: That's it from John Byrne of Dorchester, Mass. On a wedding band, I am on display.

STRONG: I am on display.

SHORTZ: Yeah, what's the most common thing on a...

STRONG: Diamond.

SHORTZ: Diamond. Right, from Holly Ashworth of Oak Park, Ill. Worth one's trust.

NEARY: This is such a visual puzzle, wow.

SHORTZ: Yeah you have to see these in your brain. And the answer spans all three words.

STRONG: Wow, OK so T-H.

NEARY: Oh, I think I just...

STRONG: Honest. Honest.

SHORTZ: Honest is it.

NEARY: Yeah.

SHORTZ: Good. From - that's just brilliant - from Steve Woronoa of Montpelier, Vt. Here's another short one. Internet wit, tersely.

NEARY: (Laughter).

SHORTZ: Go ahead, Lynn, jump in.

NEARY: Twitter.

SHORTZ: It's Twitter.

STRONG: Oh, excellent. Yeah.

SHORTZ: It spans all three words.

STRONG: Thanks, Lynn.

SHORTZ: That's from Andy Sfeir of Portland, Ore. And here's the last one. As puzzle fans, we're always seeking this.

STRONG: (Laughter) Answers.

SHORTZ: Answer, and that's from Tom Shieber of Cooperstown, N.Y. And you can find some honorable mention entries that were my favorites as well as all the runners-up that you heard on the air on the NPR website.

NEARY: Well, great job, Mike. That was really hard.

STRONG: Thanks. It is easier to read them.

NEARY: And for playing our puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin as well as puzzle books and games. You can read all about it at And before you we let you go, tell us what your public radio station is.

STRONG: My wife and I are members of WITF in Harrisburg, Pa.

NEARY: Well, that's great. We're so glad you're members, and we're so glad you listen. That was Mike Strong of Mechanicsburg, Pa. Thanks, Mike, for playing our puzzle.

STRONG: Thank you for having me.

NEARY: Will, what do you have to puzzle us for next week?

SHORTZ: Yeah. Short and sweet. Name a famous actress of the past whose last name has two syllables, reverse the syllables phonetically and the result will name an ailment. What is it? So again, famous actress of the past, last name has two syllables, reverse the syllables phonetically, and the result will name an ailment. What is it?

NEARY: Well, when you have the answer, go to our website, and click on the submit your answer link. Just one entry per person, please. The deadline for entries is Thursday, May 22 at 3 p.m. EDT. Please include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time.

And 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 a lot, Lynn.

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