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JOHN YDSTIE, host:

From NPR News, this is WEEKEND EDITION. I'm John Ydstie.

And joining us is puzzle master Will Shortz. Hi, Will.

Mr. WILL SHORTZ (Puzzle Master): Hi John. How are you?

YDSTIE: I'm well. And before we begin the puzzle today, I'd like to just acknowledge that WEEKEND EDITION SUNDAY is celebrating its 20th anniversary. It debuted on the air on January 18th, 1987. And you, Will, we're on that very first show. Do you remember it?

Mr. SHORTZ: I certainly remember that was with Susan Stamberg. And who would imagine we'd still be doing puzzles 20 years later?

YDSTIE: Well, we'd like to start off this special anniversary puzzle with a special guest player. And who better to join us than Liane Hansen, the regular host of WEEKEND EDITION SUNDAY, who's been on sabbatical.

Liane, welcome.

LIANE HANSEN: Thank you, John.

YDSTIE: It's great to have you here.

HANSEN: It's great to be here. I just want to let you know that I now understand the butterflies that the nearly 1,000 people who have been in the same position over the last 20 years have been. I'm actually really nervous.

YDSTIE: You're a little nervous?

HANSEN: I am. I am. My brain's kind of been out commission. I've been doing crossword puzzles and visited WGLT, and been walking the beach, and you know, keep my mind moving just a little bit. But I tell you - sabbatical's been wonderful. Don't you want to know what I'm wearing?

YDSTIE: Yes, I do. What are you wearing?

HANSEN: Well, I'm recovering from a cold. So I'll just preface it, but I'm wearing my comfy blue bathrobe and my polka dots flannels -

YDSTIE: Oh, your jammies.

HANSEN: My warm socks. Yup. I just wanted say - Neal is right behind me. He's doing the crossword puzzle. And I found myself wanting to do what countless people in my position as being a puzzle player on the air have I wanted to do, like put a lifeline in the room and repeat the clue out loud and, you know, get some kind of hint, but I'm not going to - no, I realize now, no, that's cheating.

Mr. SHORTZ: We don't allow that.

HANSEN: Don't allow that.

YDSTIE: We should just make clear that that Neal sitting behind you is Neal Conan, your husband.

HANSEN: Yes. My husband.

YDSTIE: Who is the host of NPR's TALK OF THE NATION.

HANSEN: Yup. You bet. And being on sabbatical, having, you know, being able to be with him on a Sunday morning and actually, I will admit, listen to WEEKEND EDITION SUNDAY and play the puzzle along with everyone else, it's been kind of nice to be a consumer.

YDSTIE: Well, are you ready to play?

HANSEN: I am and I'm going to do it on my own.

YDSTIE: All right. Will? Liane, let's go.

Mr. SHORTZ: Okay. Well, today I brought a game of categories using the letters of your name, L-I-A-N-E. You know the rules. For each category I give, you name something in it, beginning with each of these letters. For example, if the category were chemical elements, which I know is one of your very favorites -

(Soundbite of laughter)

YDSTIE: Oh you devil.

HANSEN: Johnny, you're there for me, aren't you?

YDSTIE: I'm here.

Mr. SHORTZ: You might say lead, iron, argon, nitrogen and erbium.

HANSEN: The erbium I would have had right away.

Mr. SHORTZ: John, feel free to jump in any time. This is a good puzzle for two people. Your first category is flowers.

HANSEN: Okay. Lilac?

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes.

HANSEN: Iris.

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes.

HANSEN: Anemone.

Mr. SHORTZ: Excellent.

HANSEN: Narcissus.

Mr. SHORTZ: Good. And for E, think Switzerland.

HANSEN: Oh, idelweiss.

Mr. SHORTZ: Edelweiss is right.

HANSEN: Edelweiss. Idelweiss is an airport in New York, okay. Oh, sorry, that's Idlewild. Okay.

Mr. SHORTZ: Nice job. Number two is annual celebrations.

HANSEN: Labor Day.

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes.

HANSEN: Independence Day.

Mr. SHORTZ: Excellent.

HANSEN: Arbor Day.

Mr. SHORTZ: Uh-huh.

HANSEN: And John, this is where I call on -

Mr. SHORTZ: And N's - we just celebrated it.

HANSEN: New Year. Happy New Year, everybody.

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes.

HANSEN: Oh, and Easter.

Mr. SHORTZ: And Easter. Excellent. Nice job. Beatles hits. Hits by the Beatles, ignore any articles at the start of the titles.

HANSEN: Oh come on, that's not fair.

Mr. SHORTZ: You love the Beatles.

HANSEN: Yeah, I do, very much. "Love Me Do".

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes.

HANSEN: All right.

Mr. SHORTZ: Think of their very first hits.

YDSTIE: Oh yeah.

HANSEN: John, that's your cue too -

YDSTIE: "I Want to Hold Your Hand," Liane.

Mr. SHORTZ: "I Want to Hold Your Hand," yes.

HANSEN: Oh, I want to hold yours. Now I know what its like to have every piece of information completely - that memory file has just died. It's in the trash and been deleted. All right. "Act Naturally." Come on. You have to - that's Ringo.

YDSTIE: Oh yeah, that's Ringo.

Mr. SHORTZ: That's the title. All right. I was going for "Ain't She Sweet," "And I Love Her," "All You Need is Love."

YDSTIE: "All You Need is Love" - oh my gosh.

HANSEN: That's sad. I can't believe I didn't remember that. All right. And an E, John, we're on a roll here.

YDSTIE: Oh, an E.

HANSEN: Not getting any.

Mr. SHORTZ: There's two great ones for E. One of them is a woman's name. The E is the first name.

YDSTIE: Eleanor -

HANSEN: Oh, "Eleanor Rigby."

Mr. SHORTZ: "Eleanor Rigby." Could have also said "Eight Days a Week."

HANSEN: Right.

Mr. SHORTZ: And for N, I know of just one well-known N. It's seven letters in the first word. Three in the second.

YDSTIE: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. We got actually a couple of other N's too.

Mr. SHORTZ: Yeah.

YDSTIE: "Nowhere Man."

Mr. SHORTZ: "Nowhere Man" is what I'm going for.

HANSEN: Go, that's - yes.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. SHORTZ: Nice job. Nice job.

HANSEN: Nice job, John.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. SHORTZ: Okay, try this one. Place names ending in land, L-A-N-D. Place names ending in land.

HANSEN: Okay. England.

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes.

HANSEN: Lapland. Iceland.

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes.

HANSEN: Neverland.

Mr. SHORTZ: Neverland. Good. Newfoundland or New Zealand would have worked. And how about an A?

YDSTIE: A?

Mr. SHORTZ: I know of several for this.

HANSEN: Okay.

YDSTIE: What hemisphere?

Mr. SHORTZ: Well, let's see. There's a city in Kentucky. There's a city in New Zealand.

YDSTIE: Oh.

HANSEN: Auckland.

YDSTIE: Yeah.

Mr. SHORTZ: Auckland. Ashland, Kentucky. Adelieland and Adventureland if you're -

YDSTIE: Adventureland. Disneyland.

HANSEN: Absolutely.

Mr. SHORTZ: And you're last category, things or people seen in a hospital.

YDSTIE: Hmm.

HANSEN: Lab -

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes.

HANSEN: - ratory

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes.

HANSEN: Intensive care or intern.

Mr. SHORTZ: Good. Aha.

HANSEN: Emergency room.

Mr. SHORTZ: Yeah. Just A and N left.

HANSEN: Nurse.

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes. Just an A left.

HANSEN: Ambulance.

Mr. SHORTZ: Ambulance. Anesthesia. Aspirin. Artificial limb. Liane, fantastic.

HANSEN: Oh, that was - you know what, I have to admit that I feel exactly the way that nearly a thousand people have felt. That was a really fun. I enjoyed that. And John, it was a real pleasure to play with you, because -

Mr. SHORTZ: Likewise.

HANSEN: What do I get?

YDSTIE: Well, Liane, I think you know the list of prizes. But today, you don't get anything.

HANSEN: Maybe I should give some everybody kind of an early Valentine and just let everybody know that I'm indeed coming back and I'll be back on Sunday, February 11th. Okay?

Mr. SHORTZ: All right.

Mr. SHORTZ: All right. That's wonderful to hear.

HANSEN: You want to know about my radio stations before you give the clue for next week?

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes, what radio stations do you listen to, Liane?

HANSEN: Well, I want to acknowledge our longtime home on WETA-FM in Washington, D.C., and I want to give a shout out to WSDL, which is in Ocean City, Maryland, and I'm a proud member of that station when I'm in lower Delaware. So - what fun. And WGLT, that I didn't get to mention, in normal Peoria, Illinois. I played Peoria on my sabbatical, where I visited. And they said, oh, you're not going to mention us in Puzzle because you're on sabbatical, so I figured I'll do it now. But thanks.

Thanks a lot for calling me. This was fun. I'm glad I was home.

YDSTIE: Now, Will, remind us of the special two-week challenge you gave our listeners last week.

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes. I'm now aware of two different answers to this, but all you need to do is send in one. The object is to arrange 16 different letters of the alphabet into a 4-by-4 square. So four common uncapitalized words, read across, and four common, uncapitalized words, read down. And I'll give you a start. The second word across is ruly, R-U-L-Y. This is the only slightly unusual word in the square. Every other word in it is one that any school child would know.

So again, arrange 16 different letters of the alphabet into a 4-by-4 square to make four common uncapitalized words reading across and down. Can you do it?

YDSTIE: And when you have the answer, go to our Web site, npr.org, and click on the Submit Your Answer link on the Sunday Puzzle page, only one entry per person, please. Our deadline this week is Thursday at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time. And please include a phone number where we can reach you at about 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 for 20 years, Will Shortz. Thanks, Will.

Mr. SHORTZ: Thanks a lot, John.

YDSTIE: And Liane, thanks so much for joining us on this special anniversary.

HANSEN: What a pleasure. You're welcome, John.

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