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AUDIE CORNISH, host:

From NPR News, this is WEEKEND EDITION. I'm Audie Cornish.

And joining us is puzzlemaster Will Shortz. Hi, Will.

WILL SHORTZ: Hi, Audie.

CORNISH: Now, after last week and, you know, my sort of death spiral in terms of dealing with the puzzle, I hear that there are going to be people who are good at puzzles gathering for the Google U.S. Puzzle Championship.

SHORTZ: That's right. It's actually - they don't gather; it's done online. It's a two-and-a-half-hour test and it starts this coming Saturday, June 14, starting at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time. It's free - anybody can take part - and the winner of the test gets to be on the U.S. team that goes to the World Puzzle Championship in Europe this fall. Anybody who's interested in trying out can go the Web site, wpc.puzzles.com.

CORNISH: All right. Cool. Well, it sounds like a lot of fun but, of course, if you wanted to just stick with us and our puzzle...

(Soundbite of laughter)

CORNISH: ...Will, can you remind us what the challenge was that you left us last week.

SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Lou Scott Bretzke of Barnhart, Missouri. I said name a famous male movie star, first and last names. Change the first letter of his first name to a G and change the last letter of his last name to a T. The result will be two words that are synonyms. Who's the movie star and what are the words?

CORNISH: And what was the answer?

SHORTZ: Well, the star is Harrison Ford, as in the Indiana Jones movies, and change those letters; you get Garrison and Fort.

CORNISH: Well, I'm going to assume thanks to massive amounts of advertising by the movie folks with Indiana Jones that that sort of jogged everyone's brains. 'Cause this week we had over 1,600 correct entries. Our randomly selected winner is Dileep Rao from Los Angeles, California.

Mr. DILEEP RAO: Hey there.

CORNISH: Hey, Dileep. What do you do in Los Angeles?

Mr. RAO: I am an actor.

CORNISH: So, this was pretty easy for you.

Mr. RAO: Ish, ish.

(Soundbite of laughter)

CORNISH: Now, can we see you and your work anywhere? Are you in any film or TV?

Mr. RAO: You will. I will be in a couple of really gigantic films actually. This year has been kind of nuts for me. I'm in the new James Cameron movie and I'm in the new Sam Raimi movie, which I'm shooting right now. I just got off at 6:00 a.m. this morning.

CORNISH: What are the names of these films? What's the new James Cameron?

Mr. RAO: The James Cameron movie is called "Avatar." It comes out December 18, 2009, as of right now. And I'm in the new Sam Raimi movie. It's called "Drag Me to Hell."

(Soundbite of laughter)

CORNISH: Now, how long have you been playing the puzzle?

Mr. RAO: Oh, I mean, infinity years, I guess.

CORNISH: Good. So, that would make you how old?

Mr. RAO: Infinity.

CORNISH: Right.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. RAO: Right.

CORNISH: Now, are you ready to play?

Mr. RAO: As ready as I'll ever be. Go for it.

SHORTZ: All right, Dileep and Audie. Every answer today is a word or a familiar phrase of no more than 12 letters that contains at least four Ts. For example, if I said German city where the philosopher Hegel lived, you'd say Stuttgart.

Number one is a snitch; someone who snitches.

Mr. RAO: What is a rat...

SHORTZ: No. Starts with a T.

Mr. RAO: A traitor.

SHORTZ: Traitorous rat. Do you know, Audie?

CORNISH: I'm better this week. Is it a tattletale.

SHORTZ: A tattletale.

Mr. RAO: Oh...

CORNISH: Yes.

SHORTZ: Good job.

CORNISH: I have earned my place.

Mr. RAO: Oh, right, right.

CORNISH: That may be all you get, Dileep.

Mr. RAO: That's fine.

SHORTZ: Here's number two: a Coke versus Pepsi competition, for example.

Mr. RAO: Taste test.

SHORTZ: Good. Number three is an Oscar award.

Mr. RAO: A statuette.

SHORTZ: A statuette, good. How about this one: stuff put in the bottom of a cat box to absorb odors.

Mr. RAO: Oh, kitty litter.

SHORTZ: Right. Ice cream containing many kinds of fruit.

Mr. RAO: Tutti Frutti.

SHORTZ: That's right. One of a native people of Namibia, noted for their fierceness.

Mr. RAO: Good Lord, man.

CORNISH: Not as easy as Tutti Frutti.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. RAO: Yeah. The...

SHORTZ: It starts with an H.

Mr. RAO: The hut...

SHORTZ: Yes.

Mr. RAO: That's as far as I'm going, man. I have...

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: That's as far as that's going. You're just making stuff up. It's a Hottentot.

Mr. RAO: Oh, the Hottentots, right. Like the Venus Hottentot. That's good. All right.

SHORTZ: There you go. Ready for some action, as on a date.

Mr. RAO: Oh, hot to trot.

SHORTZ: Hot to trot is right. One-named Venetian painter of the Italian Renaissance.

Mr. RAO: Oh, Botticelli, no.

SHORTZ: No. Starts with a T.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: Sounds like I caught you on this. Do you know, Audie?

CORNISH: No. You had me at tater tot.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: Okay. We go from low culture to high in this puzzle.

CORNISH: Right, exactly. This is very impressive.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: This is Tintoretto.

CORNISH: Ah.

SHORTZ: Tintoretto. How about...

Mr. RAO: Three hundred thousand years ago; is that good?

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: Image once seen on TV after a station went off the air.

Mr. RAO: Test pattern.

SHORTZ: Test pattern, excellent. Perfect vision.

Mr. RAO: Twenty-twenty.

SHORTZ: That's right. And your last one is a see-saw.

Mr. RAO: What is a teeter-totter.

SHORTZ: Teeter-totter, good job.

CORNISH: Yeah, Dileep, that was great.

Mr. RAO: Thank you.

CORNISH: Well, Dileep, coming up after today's puzzle, we'll be hearing from a gifted politician/musician, who this week joined us in our famous Studio 4A for a slightly different sort of performance chat. But, more on that later. Right now you're going to hear from that person, Tennessee Republican Senator Lamar Alexander, who's going to tell you what you've won for playing the puzzle.

(Soundbite of music)

Senator LAMAR ALEXANDER (Republican, Tennessee): For playing our puzzle today, you will 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.

(Soundbite of music)

CORNISH: So, that is to fill your bookshelf, Dileep, and...

Mr. RAO: Thank you.

CORNISH: Tell us what member station do you listen to?

Mr. RAO: KPCC in fabulous Pasadena, California.

CORNISH: Dileep Rao from Los Angeles, California, thanks for playing the puzzle with us.

Mr. RAO: Thanks so much, Audie.

CORNISH: Now, Will, can you tell us what is the challenge for next week.

SHORTZ: Yes. It comes from Serhiy Grabarchuk, Peter Grabarchuk and Serhiy Grabarchuk Jr., who are a family of puzzle makers in Ukraine. And they have a terrific new book out called "The Simple Book of Not-So-Simple Puzzles." Here's one of my favorites from it: A calculator displays a five-digit number. The first four digits are 8735. These digits form a logical sequence. What is the fifth number in the series?

It's a simple, elegant answer. So, again: A calculator displays a five-digit number, starting 8735. These digits form a logical sequence. What's the fifth number in the series?

CORNISH: All right. And 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 at 3 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 puzzlemaster Will Shortz. Thanks a lot, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Audie.

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