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Getting Thick In The Midsection

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Getting Thick In The Midsection

Getting Thick In The Midsection

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer. And with the dog days of August upon us, you better perk up because it is time for the puzzle. Joining me now is Will Shortz. He is, of course, the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master. Good morning, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Linda.

WERTHEIMER: And, Will, could you maybe refresh our memories about last week's puzzle challenge?

SHORTZ: Yes, it came from listener Ben Bass of Chicago. I said, take the name of a modern-day country, add an A and rearrange all the letters to name a group of people who used to live in the area of this country. Who are they?

WERTHEIMER: And the answer is?

SHORTZ: The answer is the Netherlands, and you add an A and rearrange, you get Neanderthals.

WERTHEIMER: (Laughter).

SHORTZ: Now, the Neanderthals lived in lots of places, but they had included the Netherlands area.

WERTHEIMER: We actually had about 350 correct answers, and our randomly selected winner is Molly Dobbins from Double Oak, Texas. Congratulations, Molly.


WERTHEIMER: So how did you figure this out?

DOBBINS: I was on my way to work, and it's a long drive. So I usually let my mind wander a little bit on my way down, and it just popped into my head as I was running through lists of countries.

WERTHEIMER: And what do you do for a living?

DOBBINS: I'm a nurse.

WERTHEIMER: Is a true, as - what I hear, that you have also appeared on "Jeopardy"?

DOBBINS: Yes, it is. Just a little under a month ago, I was on - didn't do quite as well as I'd hoped but had an amazing time. It was just an incredible experience.

WERTHEIMER: Well, this should be good practice for playing the puzzle with Will.

DOBBINS: (Laughter) Yeah, I can't wait.

SHORTZ: All right, Molly. First of all, I am very impressed that you solved this in your head.

DOBBINS: (Laughter).

SHORTZ: So I'm going to give you some four-letter words. For each one, insert two letters exactly in the middle to complete a common, uncapitalized, six-letter word. For example, if I said pace - P A C E - you would insert L A right in the middle to make palace.


SHORTZ: OK. Number one is chub - C H U B.

DOBBINS: Cherub.

SHORTZ: Cherub is right. Number two is poet - P O E T.

DOBBINS: Pocket.

SHORTZ: Pocket is right. Rain R A I N.

DOBBINS: Well...

SHORTZ: Something to eat.

DOBBINS: Oh, raisin.

WERTHEIMER: There you go.

SHORTZ: Reason is it.

DOBBINS: (Laughter).

SHORTZ: When - W H E N.

DOBBINS: No, that's not right - might need a little help on this one.

SHORTZ: Well, it will be a vowel and then a consonant, although you probably already figured that out. And it's something that you like to do some of your clothes or bedsheets.

DOBBINS: I'm sorry. I think I'm stumped.

SHORTZ: Do you know this one, Linda?

WERTHEIMER: No, I don't.

SHORTZ: Ah, it's whiten - W H I T E N.

WERTHEIMER: Oh, my gosh (laughter).


SHORTZ: Like, to whiten your sheets, depending on - assuming they start white.

DOBBINS: (Laughter).

WERTHEIMER: I was going to say, I think that's an old-fashioned notion, white sheets.

SHORTZ: That could be.

DOBBINS: (Laughter).

SHORTZ: That could be. All right. Try hose - H O S E. This time, you want to insert a vowel and then a consonant.


SHORTZ: Horse, nice. Show - S H O W. It's something that follows you around.

DOBBINS: Shadow.

SHORTZ: Shadow is it. Door - D O O R.

DOBBINS: Well, thought I had it, but no. Oh, no, that's not it either (laughter).

SHORTZ: And it's - I think it's somebody you work with actually.

DOBBINS: Oh, of course, a doctor.

SHORTZ: A doctor. How about toil - T O I L?

DOBBINS: I need a little hint on that one.

SHORTZ: It's part of the human body.

DOBBINS: Tonsil.

SHORTZ: Tonsil is it.

WERTHEIMER: (Laughter) Again this is right down your street.

DOBBINS: I know (laughter).

SHORTZ: How about joey - J O E Y.

DOBBINS: Jockey.

SHORTZ: That's it, and your last one is fish - F I S H.

DOBBINS: Finish.

SHORTZ: Finish, appropriately nice job.


WERTHEIMER: So, Molly, for playing our puzzle today, you get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, as well as puzzle books and games. And you can read all about that at Molly, what is your public radio station?

DOBBINS: KERA in Dallas-Fort Worth.

WERTHEIMER: So, Molly Dobbins of Double Oak, Texas, thank you very much for playing the puzzle.

DOBBINS: Thank you.

WERTHEIMER: And what is the challenge for next week, Will?

SHORTZ: Yes, name a well-known movie of the past - two words, seven letters in total. These seven letters can be rearranged to spell the name of an animal plus the sound it makes. What animal is it? So again, a well-known movie, two words, seven letters total, and these seven letters can be rearranged to spell the name of an animal and the sound this animal makes. What animal is it?

WERTHEIMER: So when you have the answer, go to our website,, and click on the Submit Your Answer link - just one entry per person please. Our deadline for entries is Thursday, August 14 at 3 p.m. Eastern. Please include a telephone number where we can reach you at about that time. And if you are the winner, we'll give you a call, and 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. Will, thank you.

SHORTZ: Thank you, Linda.

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