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SOFIA Choices

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SOFIA Choices

SOFIA Choices

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From NPR News, this is WEEKEND EDITION. I'm Andrea Seabrook sitting in for Liane Hansen. And joining us is puzzle master Will Shortz. Hi, Will.

Mr. WILL SHORTZ (Puzzle Master): Hi, Andrea.

SEABROOK: We should explain to people, though, Will, that even as they're hearing this, you're in Bulgaria.

Mr. SHORTZ: That's right. It's the World Puzzle Championship, and I'm spending two days in Sofia first, the capital, and then we're going to a mountain resort called Borovets for about six days of puzzling.

SEABROOK: Oh, that sounds fantastic.

Mr. SHORTZ: It should be a good time.

SEABROOK: Let's bring in today's player, who was chosen from having submitted a correct answer to our last challenge, September 24. We have on the line Julia Daugherty from Iowa City. How are you?

Ms. JULIA DAUGHERTY (Caller): I'm good. Nervous, but good.

SEABROOK: Oh, you'll be fine. What do you do in Iowa City?

Ms. DAUGHERTY: I'm an editor. I work for a testing company.

SEABROOK: And how long have you been playing the puzzle?

Ms. DAUGHERTY: Oh gosh, 10 or 15 years.

SEABROOK: Are you ready to play?


Mr. SHORTZ: All right, Julia - and Andrea - and this is a good two person puzzle. I've brought a game of categories using the word Sofia, as in the capital of Bulgaria.

SEABROOK: And my daughter's name.

Mr. SHORTZ: How about that? I'm going to give you some categories. For each one, name something in that category beginning with each of the letters S-O-F-I-A. For example, if the category were chemical elements, you might say sodium, oxygen, fluorine, iron and aluminum. And you can give the answers in any order.

Your first category is U.S. states.

SEABROOK: Go Julia, go Julia, go.

Ms. DAUGHERTY: Arizona.

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes.

Ms. DAUGHERTY: Iowa, Oregon.

Mr. SHORTZ: Oregon, uh-huh. S and F.

SEABROOK: Let's see. There's the northern ones, and there's south.

Ms. DAUGHERTY: Oh, South Dakota, okay, two-word ones.

Mr. SHORTZ: Right. And F. There's just one F.

SEABROOK: Oh, contested race in 2000, the battle.

Ms. DAUGHERTY: Oh, Florida.

Mr. SHORTZ: Florida is right.

SEABROOK: Good job.

Mr. SHORTZ: Category number two is birds.


SEABROOK: Are you a bird person, Julia?

Ms. DAUGHERTY: Not really.

SEABROOK: Oh, I'm a bird person.

Ms. DAUGHERTY: Oriole?

Mr. SHORTZ: Oriole, good.

SEABROOK: How about the S? How about - these live around chimneys.

Ms. DAUGHERTY: Oh, storks.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. SHORTZ: Or swallows.

SEABROOK: Or swifts. I was thinking swifts.

Mr. SHORTZ: Or swifts, how about that. There's lots of them: sparrows, swans. F.

SEABROOK: Pink. They lift up one leg. I have a couple in my front yard.

Ms. DAUGHERTY: Oh, flamingo.

Mr. SHORTZ: You got it. Flamingo, yes, all right.


Ms. DAUGHERTY: I don't know.



Mr. SHORTZ: Okay, and you need an A. There's two big birds found around the sea.

SEABROOK: Big long wingspan. Also a big blunder.

Ms. DAUGHERTY: There's no sea in Iowa.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. SHORTZ: Go ahead, Andrea.

SEABROOK: Albatross.

Mr. SHORTZ: That's good. Albatross, auk and abisette(ph) would also work. Okay, how about musical compositions, kinds of musical compositions?

Ms. DAUGHERTY: Oh gosh, like classical music or something?

Mr. SHORTZ: Perhaps, any kind.

Ms. DAUGHERTY: Oh, any kind.

SEABROOK: There's something you dance to.



Mr. SHORTZ: Okay, I was going for symphonies, sonata, any of those.

SEABROOK: Sonata was what I was thinking.

Mr. SHORTZ: Okay, and O? There's one labeled William Tell.

Ms. DAUGHERTY: Oh, overture?

Mr. SHORTZ: Overture, octet, opus and opera all would work. How about an F? This is a classical music piece, shorter than a symphony.

SEABROOK: I was also thinking of a kind of music from Spain where you use...

Ms. DAUGHERTY: Flamenco?

Mr. SHORTZ: Oh good. I missed that one.

SEABROOK: Flamenco. Yeah, I think Julia just said it.

Mr. SHORTZ: And also a fugue.

SEABROOK: Oh, and we're thinking of compositions. Flamenco doesn't quite work then.

Mr. SHORTZ: How about an I? That's a tougher one. I have two answers. They both start with inter.


Mr. SHORTZ: Intermezzo, yes. And also interlude.


Mr. SHORTZ: And how about an A? And for this, think part of an opera.


Mr. SHORTZ: Aria is right. Arabesque and an anthem would have worked. And your last category is blank house. Fill in the house. Blank house.


SEABROOK: Ooh, I grew up in an S house.

Ms. DAUGHERTY: I don't know. All I can think of is steakhouse.

Mr. SHORTZ: Steakhouse, sure.

SEABROOK: That works.

Mr. SHORTZ: What was yours, Andrea?

Mr. SHORTZ: Stucco house. Okay. Schoolhouse, smokehouse, storehouse, slaughterhouse, all of those. How about an O?

Ms. DAUGHERTY: Do they still call them opera houses?

Mr. SHORTZ: Opera house, good.

SEABROOK: Outhouse.

Mr. SHORTZ: And outhouse, good. And F?

SEABROOK: Oh, think Animal House.

Ms. DAUGHERTY: Oh, a fraternity house?

SEABROOK: A frat house, yes.

Mr. SHORTZ: There you go. Well, Andrea, you just gave an A.


(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. SHORTZ: And so we're down to an I. The last one is an I house. Something you might use in the winter.

SEABROOK: To go fishing. Come one, you're from Iowa.

Ms. DAUGHERTY: An ice house?

Mr. SHORTZ: Ice house is correct. Nice job.

SEABROOK: Julia Daugherty. Great job, though.

Ms. DAUGHERTY: It's so much easier when I'm listening at home, so much easier.

SEABROOK: But even just for playing our puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin; the 11th Edition of a Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus; the Scrabble Deluxe Edition from Parker Brothers; The Puzzle Master Presents from Random House, Volume 2; a set of Sudoku puzzle books presented by Will Shortz from St. Martin's Press; and one of Will Shortz's Puzzle Master Decks of Riddles and Challenges from Chronicle Books.

Ms. DAUGHERTY: Oh, good. I can go those at home in my own time.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SEABROOK: Julia, what member station do you listen to?

Ms. DAUGHERTY: KUNI in Cedar Falls.

SEABROOK: Julia Daugherty from Iowa City, Iowa. Thanks for playing the puzzle with us today.

Ms. DAUGHERTY: Thank you very much.

SEABROOK: And now, Will, would you please repeat the special two-week challenge you gave last week?

Mr. SHORTZ: Right. It's a creative challenge called chain sentences. The object is to write a sentence or other bit of writing in which the last two letters of each word are the first two letters of the next. For example: You outdid identification on onion skin index. Or: Type penguin into Topeka, Kansas astrological almanac.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. SHORTZ: So send us your best sentences.

SEABROOK: How is that a sentence? Does it have to make sense?

Mr. SHORTZ: Well, I'm hoping that people can do better than this. So you can submit up to three entries. They'll be judged on meaning, naturalness of syntax, originality and overall elegance. Longer sentences are more elegant than shorter ones, but only if they make sense and read smoothly. The person who sends what we consider to be the best chain sentence will play Puzzle on the Air next week.

SEABROOK: And they have another week to do it. When you have your answer, go to out Web site,, and click on the submit your answer link on the Sunday puzzle page. Remember, three entries per person this time. Our deadline is this Thursday at 3 p.m. Eastern Time. Please include a phone number where we can reach you at that time. We'll call 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 puzzle master, Will Shortz. Thank you so much, Will, and have a fantastic time at the Puzzle Championship in Bulgaria.

Mr. SHORTZ: Thanks a lot, Andrea.

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