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What Is that Old Saying?

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What Is that Old Saying?

What Is that Old Saying?

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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.

Mr. WILL SHORTZ (Crossword Editor, New York Times): Hi, Liane.

HANSEN: Next weekend, big deal, huh?

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes, the 30th Annual Crossword Championship in Stanford, and that's actually our last one in Stanford because we've just outgrown the hotel there. We're having a record crowd. Almost 700 puzzlers signed up.

HANSEN: Any celebrities?

Mr. SHORTZ: Well, just a little bit ago I learned that Phil Donahue was a huge crossword fan, and he's going to come and compete. How cool is that?

HANSEN: It's real cool, but he doesn't get any kind of handicap for being a celebrity, does he?

Mr. SHORTZ: No handicap, and no help either.

HANSEN: All right, good enough. Remind us of the challenge you left us with last week.

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes, it came from listener Henry Hook, who's one of the country's top crossword-makers. I said take a six-letter word used in a certain sport. Add the letter I, re-arrange the resulting seven letters to get the first name of a famous actress. This actress's last name identifies the place where the sport is played. Who is the actress and what's the sports term?

HANSEN: And your answer?

Mr. SHORTZ: Well, the word is strike, as in bowling. Add the letter I, re-arrange, you get Kirstie, K-I-R-S-T-I-E. Her last name is Alley, and you bowl in an alley.

HANSEN: Excellent. We had over 900 entries from people who solved the puzzle, and our randomly selected winner is Joseph DeVincentis from Salem, Massachusetts. Hi, Joseph.

Mr. JOSEPH DeVINCENTIS (Puzzle Winner): Hi.

HANSEN: What do you do in Salem?

Mr. DeVINCENTIS: I'm technical writer.

HANSEN: How long have you been playing the puzzle?

Mr. DeVINCENTIS: Six or seven years.

HANSEN: All right. Well, are you ready to play today?

Mr. DeVINCENTIS: Yes, I am.

HANSEN: Will, meet Joe, and let's play.

Mr. SHORTZ: All right, Joe, I'm going to give you two words. Rearrange the letters of the first word to get a new word, and that new word and the second word are both parts of a familiar proverb or saying. For example, if I said words, W-O-R-D-S, and pen, P-E-N, you'd re-arrange the letters of words to make sword, and you'd say the pen is mightier than the sword.


Mr. SHORTZ: All right. Number one is shore, S-H-O-R-E, and water. Re-arrange the letters of shore to make a...


Mr. SHORTZ: That's right. And what proverb...

Mr. DeVINCENTIS: - water, but you can't make him drink.

Mr. SHORTZ: Excellent. Number two, epics, E-P-I-C-S, and life, L-I-F-E.

Mr. DeVINCENTIS: Variety is the spice of life.

Mr. SHORTZ: That's right. Super, S-U-P-E-R, and ear, E-A-R.

Mr. DeVINCENTIS: Oh, purse.

Mr. SHORTZ: Uh-huh, that's right.

Mr. DeVINCENTIS: Yeah, there's something - there's some proverb about a purse and a sow's ear, but I don't remember it.

HANSEN: You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, is that it?

Mr. SHORTZ: Nice job, that's it. More, M-O-R-E, roads, R-O-A-D-S.

Mr. DeVINCENTIS: All roads lead to Rome.

Mr. SHORTZ: That's right. Least, L-E-A-S-T, and dead, D-E-A-D.

Mr. DeVINCENTIS: Dead men tell no tales.

Mr. SHORTZ: Good job. Earth, E-A-R-T-H, and home, H-O-M-E.


Mr. SHORTZ: Yeah.

Mr. DeVINCENTIS: Home is where the heart is.

Mr. SHORTZ: That's right. Hated, H-A-T-E-D, and taxes.

Mr. DeVINCENTIS: That's death. The only things that are guaranteed in life are death and taxes.

Mr. SHORTZ: That's right. Deaf, D-E-A-F, and soldiers.

Mr. DeVINCENTIS: Old soldiers never die. They just fade away.

Mr. SHORTZ: Good job. Runt, R-U-N-T, and another.

Mr. DeVINCENTIS: One good turn deserves another.

Mr. SHORTZ: Excellent. Shade, S-H-A-D-E, and one, O-N-E.

Mr. DeVINCENTIS: Two heads are better than one.

Mr. SHORTZ: Good job. Vile, V-I-L-E, and money.

Mr. DeVINCENTIS: Money is the root of all evil.

Mr. SHORTZ: Right, or also the love of money is the root of all evil, either way. Evil, E-V-I-L, and stones.

HANSEN: So evil, I mean you can't do too many things with it. So live?

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes.

Mr. DeVINCENTIS: It's probably live, but I can't think of any - live and stones in it.

HANSEN: People who live in glass houses...

Mr. DeVINCENTIS: Oh, people who live in glass houses...

HANSEN: Shouldn't throw stones.

Mr. SHORTZ: That's it, good job. Try this one: pears, P-E-A-R-S, and spoil, S-P-O-I-L.

Mr. DeVINCENTIS: Spare the rod and spoil the child.

Mr. SHORTZ: That's right. Relay, R-E-L-A-Y, and healthy.

Mr. DeVINCENTIS: Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.

Mr. SHORTZ: Good job, and here's your last one: directions, D-I-R-E-C-T-I-O-N-S, and better. And I'll give you a hint. The anagram of directions starts with D-I.

Mr. DeVINCENTIS: Discretion is the better part of valor.

Mr. SHORTZ: Good job. Great job.

HANSEN: Joseph, man. You're so quick. You weren't writing these down, were you?

Mr. DeVINCENTIS: I was writing these down, although in at least one case I came up with the answer before I got the word written down.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: Well, you were terrific, and for playing our puzzle today you'll get a 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; 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. So Joe, how do you listen to the show?

Mr. DeVINCENTIS: On the Web.

HANSEN: Oh, all right, so one of our online streamers here, huh?


HANSEN: Excellent. Well, Joseph DeVincentis from Salem, Massachusetts, thanks a lot for playing the puzzle with us today.

Mr. DeVINCENTIS: You're welcome.

HANSEN: Okay, Will, what's the challenge you have for everyone this week?

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes, think of a well known two-word motto. Say it quickly and it will sound like a different two-word phrase for the result of some auto garage work. What is it?

So again, a well known motto in two words. Say it quickly, and it will sound like a different two-word phrase for the result of some auto garage work. What is it?

HANSEN: When you have the answer, go to our Web site,, 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, 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Please include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time, and 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 puzzle master, Will Shortz. Thanks a lot, Will.

Mr. SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane.

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