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LIANE HANSEN, host:

From NPR News, this is WEEKEND EDITION. I'm Liane Hansen.

And joining us is puzzlemaster Will Shortz.

Hi, Will.

WILL SHORTZ (Puzzlemaster): Hi, Liane.

HANSEN: Well, if it's almost summertime, it must be--What?--puzzle championship time of year. Is it?

SHORTZ: Yeah. Yeah...

HANSEN: Yeah?

SHORTZ: ...the US Puzzle Championship, which happens every time--every year--around this time. This year it's Saturday, June 18--next Saturday--and it's an event that's held online to select part of the US team for the World Puzzle Championship, which will be held this fall in Hungary. It goes two and a half hours. It starts this coming Saturday at--starting at 1 PM. And it contains about 25 puzzles, ranging from easy to hard. Contestants solve as many of them as they can and e-mail their answers in for judging. The event is free. It's open to everyone. You do have to register by Thursday. And there's instructions and information at wpc.puzzles.com.

HANSEN: All right, and I'll just remind people it's 1 PM Eastern time, right?

SHORTZ: That's right.

HANSEN: OK. Well, we have a challenge our listeners were working on all week. Would you repeat it?

SHORTZ: Yes, it came from listener Paul Deering(ph) of Rochester, New York. I said, `Name two fruits. Say their names out loud to produce a two-word phrase meaning "today." What is it?'

HANSEN: What is it?

SHORTZ: The fruits are currant, date.

HANSEN: Oh. Oh, how clever. We had about el--over, actually, 1,100 entries from people who solved the puzzle; and our winner, randomly selected from the correct answers, is Edward Galloway from Seattle, Washington.

Hi, Ed.

Mr. EDWARD GALLOWAY (Puzzle Winner; Seattle Resident): Hello, Liane.

HANSEN: So what do you do there in Seattle?

Mr. GALLOWAY: I'm a technical analyst for a professional services firm.

HANSEN: Really? Are you a puzzler, a puzzle player?

Mr. GALLOWAY: I'm relatively new to the puzzler, so I'm a neophyte at best.

HANSEN: Uh-huh, but you know the drill, right?

Mr. GALLOWAY: I do.

HANSEN: And you're ready to play. I can tell.

Mr. GALLOWAY: Yes.

HANSEN: All right. Well, Will, please meet Edward. Let's play.

SHORTZ: All right, Ed, I'm going to give you clues for two words. Add an O to the end of the word that answers the first clue, and phonetically you'll get a new word that answers the second clue. For example, if I said, `Elm or maple,' and your second clue's `small musical group,' you would say, `Tree and trio.' All right?

Number one is a form of precipitation. And your second clue is angel's headgear. What does an angel have on its head?

Mr. GALLOWAY: Halo.

SHORTZ: A halo. And that makes the precipitation hail. Very good. Number two is speed, and your second clue is a coin in Mexico.

Mr. GALLOWAY: Peso...

SHORTZ: That's right.

Mr. GALLOWAY: ...would be the coin. And...

SHORTZ: Take away the O-sound and you get?

Mr. GALLOWAY: Pace.

SHORTZ: Pace and peso. Excellent.

Mr. GALLOWAY: Pace.

SHORTZ: A German river and an African animal with a horn. What's a big, big ol' African animal with a horn? Big, thick hide.

HANSEN: Rhino.

SHORTZ: Rhino. There you go.

HANSEN: Oh.

Mr. GALLOWAY: Rhine.

SHORTZ: Then it's the Rhine.

Mr. GALLOWAY: Very good.

SHORTZ: OK. Your next one is a cheese from France and vivacity.

Mr. GALLOWAY: Would it be brio and brie?

SHORTZ: That would be exactly it. How about the meat part of a hamburger and place for a cookout. What do you throw on the grill?

Mr. GALLOWAY: A patty, or...

SHORTZ: That's it. Yeah, yeah.

HANSEN: And patio.

Mr. GALLOWAY: Patio!

SHORTZ: And patio. Good. Something you put on a hamburger and a small flute.

Mr. GALLOWAY: And a small flute?

SHORTZ: Uh-huh.

HANSEN: Is it pickle and piccolo?

SHORTZ: It's pickle and piccolo. Good job, Liane.

Mr. GALLOWAY: Thank you, Liane.

HANSEN: Anytime, Ed.

SHORTZ: Try this one. Unable to move and building material. If you're unable to move you are?

Mr. GALLOWAY: Stuck!

SHORTZ: Yes.

HANSEN: Oh...

Mr. GALLOWAY: Stucco.

HANSEN: Yeah.

SHORTZ: Stucco. Good, good.

Mr. GALLOWAY: Thank you.

SHORTZ: Someone who says `Semper Fi' and a breed of sheep.

Mr. GALLOWAY: All right, so a Marine...

SHORTZ: Yes.

Mr. GALLOWAY: ...says `Semper Fi.'

SHORTZ: Uh-huh.

Mr. GALLOWAY: And merino.

SHORTZ: Merino, yes. Good. Ironed, as clothes, and a magician's word.

Mr. GALLOWAY: Press and presto.

SHORTZ: Pressed and presto, good. A New York baseball team and a certain opera singer.

Mr. GALLOWAY: Mets and mezzo?

SHORTZ: And mezzo. Right. Uh-huh. And your last one is a spiny shrub of the western US, and your second clue is pesky insect.

HANSEN: Spiny shrub.

SHORTZ: Spiny shrub of the western US.

Mr. GALLOWAY: Mesquite and mosquito.

HANSEN: Oh!

SHORTZ: Mesquite and mosquito. Good job, Ed!

HANSEN: Very good. I couldn't get past, you know, cactus. What, what? So where was pest and pesto, you know? I mean--we could have done that.

Hey, Ed, nice job.

Mr. GALLOWAY: This has been a thrill.

HANSEN: Oh, it was fun for us, too. And for playing our puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION label pin, the 11th edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus, the Scrabble Deluxe Edition from Parker Brothers, "The Puzzlemaster Presents" from Random House, volume two, and "The New York Times Will Shortz's Favorite Sunday Crossword Puzzles" from St. Martin's Press.

Ed, what member station do you listen to?

Mr. GALLOWAY: I'm a proud member of KUOW, 94.9, in the heart of Seattle's university district.

HANSEN: Oh, my goodness. You're almost like a little testimonial for them.

Mr. GALLOWAY: Yes, I am.

HANSEN: But I do like that M-word: Member.

Mr. GALLOWAY: Yes.

HANSEN: Edward Galloway from Seattle, Washington. Thanks a lot for playing with us today.

Mr. GALLOWAY: Thank you so much.

HANSEN: All right, Will, what's the challenge for everyone to work on this coming week?

SHORTZ: Yes, it comes from an old friend and a clever puzzler, Mark Penchko(ph) of Warsaw, Poland. He gave it to me at last year's World Puzzle Championship in Croatia. And it takes just one sentence to ask: If the word finite--F-I-N-I-T-E--is represented by the number 5910, what six-letter word is represented by 0930? So again, if the word finite is represented by the number 5910, what six-letter word is represented by 0930? And here's a hint: There are only two common six-letter words in English that have this unusual property.

HANSEN: Well, good luck. And when you have the answer, e-mail us at puzzle@npr.org. Only one entry per person, please. Our deadline is Thursday, 3 PM Eastern Time. Please include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time. We'll call you if you're the winner, and you'll get to play puzzle on the air with the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzlemaster, Will Shortz. There's also information on our Web site at npr.org.

Will, thanks a lot.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane.

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