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Ode (Owed?) to Ma

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Ode (Owed?) to Ma

Ode (Owed?) to Ma

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LIANE HANSEN, host:

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. Happy Mother's Day.

HANSEN: Oh, thank you very, very much. I'm sure you have something in your back pocket to celebrate Mother's Day with a puzzle. But before we get to that, I want to talk future first and I want to talk about Tuesday and the New York Times crossword puzzle. What's going on?

SHORTZ: Yes. The youngest puzzle maker I have ever published in the Times. He's 15 years, three months old and a real fine puzzle.

HANSEN: Okay. That's the future. The past - you were at Indiana University last week, and you gave the commencement address. And I can't believe it - you started with an anagram of graduation that could be rearranged to spell no drag at I.U. How long did that take you? A nanosecond?

SHORTZ: It didn't take long but I can't tell you how many things I tried 'til I found that perfect anagram. How many other bases I tried.

HANSEN: Right. There were puzzles in the program, there were puzzles during the presentation. And I also loved that you talked about some people who were graduates of your school. Hoagy Carmichael, which is very, very cool, and Jerry Taylor, who was on the "Star Trek" series, a writer.

SHORTZ: Yeah.

HANSEN: Nice. All right. Do puzzles, right. We do them every week here. You had a challenge last week for all of our listeners. Would you please repeat it.

SHORTZ: Yes. I said rearrange the letters of Assembly Hall, which is where I delivered the commencement address, rearrange the 12 letters of Assembly Hall to spell three loud sounds. What are they?

HANSEN: Well, you wouldn't accept blam, but there were three others. What were they?

SHORTZ: Slam, bash, yell.

HANSEN: All right. We had over 1,800 correct answers from our listeners. Our randomly selected winner is Jill Reynolds from Sacramento, California. Hi, Jill.

Ms. JILL REYNOLDS (Caller): Hi, Liane.

HANSEN: Happy Mother's Day.

Ms. REYNOLDS: Oh, thank you so much. Happy Mother's Day to you too.

HANSEN: I understand you are a full-time mother out there in Sacramento, California.

Ms. REYNOLDS: I am. I am a full-time mother, three kids. I have a son who is 11, and two stepdaughters, 12 and 14.

HANSEN: Wow. How long have you been playing this puzzle?

Ms. REYNOLDS: Oh my goodness. I've been playing for at least 15 years.

HANSEN: Oh my goodness. And you were raising those three kids at exactly the same time. They'll hear you this Sunday. That'll be cool.

Ms. REYNOLDS: It will be great. This will be one of the few Sundays where they know they don't have to be absolutely quiet during the puzzle.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: Okay. Well, Will, please meet Jill. Ooh, I like it already. Let's play.

SHORTZ: All right, Jill. Today's puzzle is for mothers. I'm going to give you clues for some six-letter words, each containing the consecutive letters M-A. Remove the M-A and the remaining letters in order will spell a four-letter word answering the second clue. For example: if I said to stay and part of a bridle, you would say remain and rain.

Here we go. Number one: a French city with an annual auto race and part of a telescope. And think of a French city with an annual 24-hour race.

Ms. REYNOLDS: Liane?

HANSEN: Oh dear. Lemans.

SHORTZ: Lemans, right.

HANSEN: Lemans, L-E-M-A-N-S. Take out the ma and we got a lens for telescope.

SHORTZ: Excellent. Here's your next one: a sheriff and something to be mowed.

Ms. REYNOLDS: Well, it's going to be lawn.

SHORTZ: Right.

Ms. REYNOLDS: But the first one...

SHORTZ: A sheriff or a Marshall.

Ms. REYNOLDS: Lawman.

SHORTZ: Lawman.

HANSEN: Lawman.

SHORTZ: Good one. Okay. Here's your next one: a frequent hamburger topper and the dog in the "Wizard of Oz."

Ms. REYNOLDS: I was going to say Toto.

HANSEN: You got it.

SHORTZ: Yes.

Ms. REYNOLDS: And the...

SHORTZ: But the...

Ms. REYNOLDS: And the hamburger topper is...

SHORTZ: Right.

Ms. REYNOLDS: ...a tomato.

SHORTZ: That's correct. A city in Washington and a fried Mexican dish.

Ms. REYNOLDS: A city in Washington...

SHORTZ: Right. I'll give you a hint: the M-A comes at the end.

Ms. REYNOLDS: Tacoma...

SHORTZ: Right.

Ms. REYNOLDS: Liane...

HANSEN: Cut off the ma.

Ms. REYNOLDS: ...go ahead.

HANSEN: Go ahead. Cut off the ma from Tacoma, what do you get?

Ms. REYNOLDS: And you get a taco.

HANSEN: You betcha.

SHORTZ: That's right. Try this one: a steamed Mexican dish and a story.

HANSEN: Steamed.

Ms. REYNOLDS: Is it a tale for the story?

SHORTZ: Yes.

Ms. REYNOLDS: Liane?

HANSEN: Oh, honey, you already got that one. You add the ma and it's a...

Ms. REYNOLDS: A tamale.

HANSEN: Aha.

SHORTZ: A tamale is right, good.

HANSEN: Ooh, you're handing off to me. I love it.

Ms. REYNOLDS: I am.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: You're next one is...

Ms. REYNOLDS: We have to do this as a team.

HANSEN: That's right, that's right. And I'll do it. We can tag it. We're ready, Will. What's the next one?

SHORTZ: Illness and a proper woman. An illness, and M-A comes at the start. Any illness.

Ms. REYNOLDS: A malady and a lady.

SHORTZ: Yes.

HANSEN: You got it.

SHORTZ: That's correct. And here's your last one: a class for expectant mothers and to take things easy.

Ms. REYNOLDS: A class for expectant mothers would be a Lamaze.

HANSEN: Um-hum.

SHORTZ: Yes. And to take things easy?

Ms. REYNOLDS: Is to laze.

HANSEN: You bet.

SHORTZ: I hope, which I hope you do today.

HANSEN: Me too.

Ms. REYNOLDS: Thank you so much, Will.

HANSEN: We both will.

Ms. REYNOLDS: We both will.

HANSEN: We both will, Will.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: And, Jill, we have a surprise for you. To tell you what you get for playing our puzzle today, we have NPR's veteran broadcaster, Carl Kasell.

Ms. REYNOLDS: Oh, wonderful.

CARL KASELL: 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, Will Shortz's Little Black Book of Sudoku and Black and White Book of Crosswords from St. Martin's Press, and one of Will Shortz's Puzzle Master Decks of Riddles and Challenges from Chronicle Books.

HANSEN: One of the best voices in public radio, don't you think?

Ms. REYNOLDS: No doubt about it.

HANSEN: No doubt. Tell us what member station you listen to, Jill.

Ms. REYNOLDS: We are members of Capital Public Radio, KXJZ, that's 90.9 on the FM dial.

HANSEN: Ooh, knock it out of the park. Jill Reynolds from Sacramento, California. Thanks so much. Happy Mother's Day.

Ms. REYNOLDS: Oh, thank you, Liane. Thank you, Will. And Happy Mother's Day, Liane.

HANSEN: Okay. Thanks again.

Ms. REYNOLDS: Thank you.

HANSEN: All right, Will. I need a puzzle to work on for the next week and others do too. What do you have?

SHORTZ: Yes. It comes from listener Leonette Morrison of Marin County, California. Think of a seven-letter word meaning entrance, switch the second and fourth letters and you'll get another seven-letter word meaning exit. What words are these? So, again, a seven-letter meaning entrance. Switch the second and fourth letters and you'll get another seven-letter word meaning exit. What words are these?

HANSEN: When you have the answer, go to our Web site, NPR.org/Puzzle, 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 reach you at about time because we will be calling 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.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane.

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