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A Puzzle for Crows

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A Puzzle for Crows

A Puzzle for Crows

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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From NPR News, this is WEEKEND EDITION. I'm Liane Hansen.

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

WILL SHORTZ: Hi, Liane. Welcome back.

HANSEN: Thank you very much. I have to tell you, when my family and I were in the Netherlands, I ended up watching a Dutch game show on TV, and it was all vocabulary, and they had to do like ladder-words, and it was just - I was riveted. I knew no Dutch, so I had no idea what the answers were going to be...


HANSEN: ...but I found, you know, give me a word game in any language, and I'll watch it, you know what I'm saying? But I thought you would be interested in it because it created word ladders, and they'd leave out different vowels, and they'd - oh, it was tic-tac-toe and all of this stuff. So I thought of you while I was on vacation.

SHORTZ: Yeah, I think I'd enjoy that.

HANSEN: Yeah, you had fun with Ari?

SHORTZ: Ari was great, yes.

HANSEN: Yeah, he's fun. Well, I don't remember the challenge that you left with everyone last week, so for everybody's sake and mine, particularly, repeat the challenge, please.

SHORTZ: Yes, it came from listener Ed Pegg Jr., who runs the Web site Using the middle row of letters on a typewriter or a computer keyboard, name something that has eight stars. As a hint I said the answer is spelled in 10 letters. What is it?

HANSEN: What is it?

SHORTZ: The answer is Alaska flag, and that's because, you know, Alaska's the northernmost state, and their flag has the Big Dipper and the North Star on it.

HANSEN: Wow, and on the - I mean, the minute you say typewriter keyboard, I think QWERTY. That is about as far as I can go. We had over 2,200 entries from people who solved the puzzle, and our randomly selected winner is Valerie Shuman from Tacoma, Washington. Hi, Valerie.


HANSEN: What do you do in Tacoma?

SHUMAN: I'm an attorney.

HANSEN: Ah, how long have you been playing the puzzle?

SHUMAN: About two years, off and on.

HANSEN: How long did it take you to come up with this answer?

SHUMAN: It was sort of a joint effort between my ex-husband and my daughter and myself on a walk. We all sort of worked together in maybe 20 minutes.

HANSEN: Really, how old is your daughter?

SHUMAN: She's 12. She's not quite old enough to play.

HANSEN: No, but she loves puzzles.

SHUMAN: She does.

HANSEN: Oh, wait until she hears mom on the radio. Are you ready to play?


HANSEN: All right. Well, Will, meet Valerie, Valerie, meet Will, and let's play.

SHORTZ: All right, Valerie, this - today is puzzle for crows. Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase in which the first word starts with CA, and the second word starts with W. For example, if I said a glass opening in a wall that is attached by hinges, you would say casement window.


SHORTZ: Okay. Number one is it melts and drips from a flame.

SHUMAN: Candle wax.

SHORTZ: Right. Number two, covering for a Snickers bar or M&Ms.

SHUMAN: Candy wrapper.

SHORTZ: Uh-huh. Number three, what a moat surrounds.

SHUMAN: Castle walls.

SHORTZ: Uh-huh. Cabernet or other product from Napa Valley.

SHUMAN: Case of Wine?

SHORTZ: Wine is right. Where's Napa Valley?

SHUMAN: California.

SHORTZ: California wine is right. Person making a large floor covering.

SHUMAN: Carpet worker?

SHORTZ: Carpet is right, and how do you make a carpet?

SHUMAN: Carpet weaver?

SHORTZ: Carpet weaver is right. Removal of money from a bank.

SHUMAN: Cash withdrawal.

SHORTZ: Uh-huh. Part of a surrey or brome that rolls.

SHUMAN: Car wheel?

SHORTZ: Well, what's a surrey or brome? Wheel is correct.

SHUMAN: Carriage?

SHORTZ: Carriage wheel is right. Seltzer.

SHUMAN: Carbonated water.

SHORTZ: Uh-huh. Luxury timepiece originally made by a 19th-century French jeweler.

SHUMAN: Cartier watch?

SHORTZ: That's right. T-shirt, shorts and sandals, for example.

SHUMAN: Casual wear.

SHORTZ: Uh-huh. One who might try to get you to take three balls for a dollar.

SHUMAN: Carnival worker?

SHORTZ: Yes. In a classic quote, one who must be above suspicion. It's historical, and it was a quote from Shakespeare.

HANSEN: Something wife?

SHORTZ: Yes, wife. Who's wife? From Ancient Rome.

SHUMAN: Caesar's wife.

SHORTZ: Caesar's wife had to be above suspicion. Good. Telephone feature allowing you to talk to one person while another person is on hold.

SHUMAN: Call waiting.

SHORTZ: Uh-huh. Business with soap and big brushes.

SHUMAN: Car wash.

SHORTZ: Uh-huh, and your last one, cry of eagerness regarding a future event.

SHUMAN: Can't wait.

SHORTZ: Can't wait, good job.

HANSEN: Valerie, on a roll. How do you feel?

SHUMAN: Happy that it's over.


HANSEN: But you did so well.

SHUMAN: Thank you.

HANSEN: Right away. Yeah, your brain was really wired for this, I think.

SHUMAN: Thank you.

HANSEN: Yeah, well done. And we have some things for you for playing our puzzle today. You'll get the WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, the "11th Edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus," the Scrabble Deluxe Edition from Parker Brothers, "The Puzzle Master Presents" from Random House Volume 2, "Will Shortz' Little Black Book of Sudoku," and "Black and White Book of Crosswords" from St. Martin's Press, and one of "Will Shortz' Puzzle Master Decks of Riddles and Challenges" from Chronicle Books. So there's a load of stuff you can share with your daughter. Tell us what station you listen to, Valerie.

SHUMAN: KUOW in Seattle.

HANSEN: KUOW. Valerie Shuman from Tacoma, Washington. Thanks so much, you were a wonderful player today.

SHUMAN: Thank you very much.

HANSEN: Okay. Will, a challenge for everyone for next week?

SHORTZ: Yes, it comes from listener Dan Asimov of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Name a well-known historical figure in six letters with a one- word name. The first and fourth letters are the same, the second and fifth letters are the same, and the third letter is one letter before the sixth, alphabetically. Who is it?

So, again, a well-known historical figure, one-word name, six letters, the first and fourth letters are the same, the second and fifth letters are the same, and the third letter is one letter before the sixth letter, alphabetically. Who is this famous person?

HANSEN: When you have the answer, go to our Web site,, and click on the Submit Your Answer link. Only one entry per person, please. Our deadline this week is Thursday, 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Please include a phone number where we can call you at that time because we will 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 puzzle master, Will Shortz.

Will, thanks a lot, and Happy Easter.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane. Happy Easter.

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