From NPR News, this is Weekend Edition. I'm Liane Hansen. And joining us is puzzle master Will Shortz. Hey, Will.


HANSEN: Did you have a good time at the Puzzler's League Convention where you were last week?

SHORTZ: It was terrific. I was going to tell you one funny story about the convention. At the end of the business meeting, the people who were making a presentation for next year's convention in Baltimore handed out a sheet of paper with sites to see. But if you read the initial letters of these sites, it spelled "Hidden contest, draw two names." So the first person to discover this came to the front of the room, drew two names out of a hat. It looked like random, but they were actually two pre-selected names. And it was a guy and his girlfriend who came to the front. The guy got down on his knee and proposed to his girlfriend, and she said yes. She was crying, they kissed, it was just wonderful.

HANSEN: Wow! I'm glad she said yes. I mean, you know, you always wonder when it goes up on the scoreboard or something.

SHORTZ: That's right.

HANSEN: What a great story. Now, I imagine you had quite a few interesting puzzles being played while you were there, too.

SHORTZ: Yes. I've got one more coming up as our challenge in a few minutes.

HANSEN: All right. Well, before we can get there, you have to repeat the challenge you gave us last week. What was it?

SHORTZ: Yes. It came from Adam Cohen at the National Puzzler's League Convention. I said name a famous person in early American history with five letters in the first name and five letters in the last. Just six letters of the alphabet are used in this name, some of them repeated. And these same six letters make up the name of another famous person in early American history whose first and last names have six and four letters respectively. Who are these two people?

HANSEN: Who are they?

SHORTZ: They're Ethan Allen and Nathan Hale.

HANSEN: And either our listeners are getting smarter, or maybe the puzzle was not as hard as I thought it was, because we had nearly 2,000 correct answers. And from those right answers, we have a randomly chosen winner, Dave Voltmer from Terre Haute, Indiana, which I guess is about 60 miles from where you grew up, right, Will?

SHORTZ: Something like that, yeah.

HANSEN: Something like that? Hey, Dave.

Mr. DAVE VOLTMER (Caller): Hello, Liane.

HANSEN: How are you?

Mr. VOLTMER: Just fine. Thank you.

HANSEN: So what do you do for work in Indiana?

Mr. VOLTMER: Well, I teach at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Design and problem solving, that sort of thing.

HANSEN: Do you ever use our puzzles?

Mr. VOLTMER: Occasionally, I've tried the students to solve these. Usually, I have the answer.

HANSEN: How long have you been playing the puzzle?

Mr. VOLTMER: I bet it's 15 years.


Mr. VOLTMER: I don't know. It's been a long time.

HANSEN: Well, all right. Finally, we've got you on the program.

Mr. VOLTMER: I'm so pleased.

HANSEN: Are you ready to play?


HANSEN: All right, Dave, meet Will. Will, meet Dave. Let's play.

SHORTZ: All right, Dave. I'm going to give you two words. Move a letter from one word to the other to make two new words that complete a familiar phrase in the form "blank and blank." For example, if I said liven, l-i-v-e-n, and Lear, L-e-a-r, you would say, live and learn, moving the n from the first word to the second. All the other letters will stay in their same order. And I'll give you a hint, the letter that's to be moved can come from either word.

Mr. VOLTMER: That seems deceptively simple.


SHORTZ: All right. Number one is wear, w-e-a-r, and pace, p-a-c-e.

Mr. VOLTMER: It's harder on the air.

HANSEN: Always.

SHORTZ: Move a letter from that first word to the second.

HANSEN: Dave, move the e.

Mr. VOLTMER: Peace. Yes, war and peace.

SHORTZ: War and peace is correct. There you go. Now, you're off and running. Number two is bridge, b-r-i-d-g-e, and room, r-o-o-m.

Mr. VOLTMER: Bride and groom.

SHORTZ: That's fast. Shard, s-h-a-r-d, and fat, f-a-t.

Mr. VOLTMER: Hard and fast.

SHORTZ: Hard and fast. Good. Stick, s-t-i-c-k, and ired, i-r-e-d.

Mr. VOLTMER: Sick and tired.

SHORTZ: Sick and tired. Strop, s-t-r-o-p, and stat, s-t-a-t.

Mr. VOLTMER: Stop and start.


Mr. VOLTMER: Or start and stop. I don't know which order you want it.

SHORTZ: You got it. And here's your last one, stares, s-t-a-r-e-s, and strips, s-t-r-i-p-s.

Mr. VOLTMER: Woh, another hard one!

HANSEN: Think of a patriotic piece of music.

SHORTZ: There you go.

Mr. VOLTMER: Stars and stripes.

HANSEN: There you go.

SHORTZ: Stars and stripes. Nice job.

Mr. VOLTMER: All it takes is a little help from my friends.

HANSEN: Yes, we all need a little help from our friends on this one. And we have a friend actually who we called on to help us tell you what you are going to be taking home for playing our puzzle today. Hang on, Dave, because here is TV host and a very funny comedian, Bob Saget.

Mr. BOB SAGET (TV Host; Comedian): For playing our puzzle today, you're going to get a Weekend Edition lapel pin. Isn't that awesome? I want one. And you're going to get the Eleventh Edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus, the Scrabble Deluxe Edition from Parker Brothers, "The Puzzlemaster Presents" from Random House, Volume Two, 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 Puzzlemaster Decks of Riddles and Challenges from Chronicle Books. You're going to get all that.

HANSEN: Ha, ha! And you don't have to be part of "America's Funniest Home Videos" there, Dave.

Mr. VOLTMER: Good.

HANSEN: Tell us what member station you listen to.

Mr. VOLTMER: WILL AM 580 in Champaign.

HANSEN: That's Will Shortz's favorite station, you know.

SHORTZ: That's my favorite call letters, yes.


(Soundbite of laughing)

HANSEN: Dave Voltmer, you were a fabulous player from Terre Haute, Indiana. Thanks a lot for being our guest today.

Mr. VOLTMER: I had a great time. Thank you.

HANSEN: Good, so did we. I did too. That was a great challenge, Will. And I imagine...

SHORTZ: Thanks a lot.

HANSEN: Yeah, it was great fun. And I imagine you do have one just like it for next week.

SHORTZ: Well, one more puzzle from last week's National Puzzlers League Convention, and it comes from Trip Payne of Boca Raton, Florida. Think of a six-letter word than ends in a silent letter. Remove that letter, and you'll be left with a five-letter word that ends in two silent letters. What words are these? So again, a six-letter word that ends in a silent letter. Remove that silent letter, and you'll be left with a new five-letter word that ends in two silent letters. What words are these?

HANSEN: And that's wordplay co-starring crossword puzzle champion Trip Payne, right?

SHORTZ: That's right?

HANSEN: All right. Well, when you have the answer to his challenge, go to our 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 p.m. Eastern Time. Please include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time. 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. Will, thanks a lot.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from