A Pox On You Each answer is a familiar word, name or phrase that begins with the letter P and ends in X. For example, if the clue is "showy flower," the answer would be "phlox."
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A Pox On You

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A Pox On You

A Pox On You

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From NPR News, this is Weekend Edition. I'm Alison Stewart. And joining us is puzzle master Will Shortz. Hi, Will.

WILL SHORTZ: Hi, Alison.

STEWART: So what's doing on the puzzle frontier this weekend?

SHORTZ: Well, I'm in Philadelphia this weekend hosting the second Sudoku National Championship. We have almost a thousand Sudoku solvers from all over the country. We have 27 age categories this year, so there are lots of chances to win a prize.

STEWART: What is the lowest age category? Tell me it's above five.

SHORTZ: It is, I think, eight and under.

STEWART: Oh, wow.

SHORTZ: And last year we had, like, a six or seven-year-old solver.

STEWART: Well, that's amazing. It sounds like a lot of fun. I do want to get to the task at hand. We need you to remind us of the challenge you left us with last week.

SHORTZ: Yes. I said name a famous actress, four letters in her first name, five letters in her last. Drop the last letter of her first name, and drop the last two letters of her last name. The remaining letters in order will name a well-known world capital. What is it?

STEWART: Well, Will, what is it? Who is it?

SHORTZ: The answer is Lisa Bonet. And drop those letters, you get Lisbon.

STEWART: Well, Will, either our listeners watched a lot of "The Cosby Show" or they like that new show she's on, "Life On Mars." Weekend Edition received more than 2,000 correct entries this time. And from those entries, we randomly selected Kevin Miller of Eugene, Oregon, to play the puzzle with us today. Kevin's on the line. Hi, Kevin.

Mr. KEVIN MILLER (Retired Schoolteacher; Competition Winner): Hi there.

STEWART: So I understand you're a longtime listener, first-time winner. How long have you been playing the puzzle?

Mr. MILLER: Oh, I've been playing for at least 12 years.

STEWART: How long did it take you to solve this particular puzzle?

Mr. MILLER: Actually, it only took me about 60 seconds because it seemed pretty basic to me. It was a six-letter capital, and the first three letters were - I just needed another letter to make a girl's name. And Dublin didn't work, but Lisbon did.

STEWART: So, Will, I think we have somebody who might be up for the test today. What do you think?

SHORTZ: This sounds good. That's the sort of solver I like to hear about.

STEWART: Now, Kevin, just for the record, what do you do there in Eugene, Oregon?

Mr. MILLER: I'm actually - I'm a retired school teacher. I've been retired for four years after 32 years of teaching, and life is good.

STEWART: Well, Kevin, to the pleasure of some of your former students, we are putting you to the test today; a fun one, of course. Let's get to the puzzle. Are you ready?

Mr. MILLER: I hope so.

STEWART: Will, meet Kevin. Let's play.

SHORTZ: All right, Kevin. Today's puzzle is called P-X. Every answer is a familiar word, name, or phrase that begins with the letter P and ends in X. For example, if I said showy flower, you would say phlox. Here's number one. Capital of Arizona.

Mr. MILLER: The capital of Arizona is Phoenix.

SHORTZ: That's correct. Number two, Aunt Jemima product.

Mr. MILLER: Let's see...

SHORTZ: It can be a phrase remember? Two-word phrase.

STEWART: Good for a Sunday morning brunch.

Mr. MILLER: Pancake mix.

SHORTZ: Pancake mix is it. Good. Your next one. Where hockey players sit after an infraction.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. MILLER: In the penalty box.

SHORTZ: That's correct. Castor's brother in Greek myth.

Mr. MILLER: Oh, Pollux.

SHORTZ: Castor and Pollux. Good.

STEWART: Well done.

SHORTZ: Source of much funding for public schools.

Mr. MILLER: School tax.

SHORTZ: What kind of tax starting with a P? If you have land, this would...

Mr. MILLER: Property tax, obviously.

SHORTZ: Property tax is right. A body of troops in close array.

Mr. MILLER: Oh, is it phalanx?

SHORTZ: That's it, phalanx. Good. Maker of Cross Your Heart undergarments.

STEWART: I'm a lady. I know this one.

Mr. MILLER: It's something in latex or - oh, Playtex.

STEWART: There you go.

SHORTZ: Playtex is it. Statistic on the average cost of goods. They call it the consumer...

Mr. MILLER: Index. Let's see, something index. The...

SHORTZ: That's right, the consumer blank index.

Mr. MILLER: Consumer blank, OK. Consumer price index.

SHORTZ: Consumer price index is right. How about this one? What super is in super-intelligent?

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: I knew being an English major would come in handy one day. And this is the day.

Mr. MILLER: OK. It's yours, Alison.

STEWART: Prefix.

SHORTZ: Prefix is it. And here's your last one. The feeling that people are always picking on you.

Mr. MILLER: Is it inferiority complex or paranoia complex?

SHORTZ: That's close.

Mr. MILLER: Alison?

STEWART: Oh, wow.

SHORTZ: Oh, man.

STEWART: I guess we're both extraordinarily secure that we - this doesn't even come to our minds.

Mr. MILLER: Like I can't...

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: I'll give you a half credit for that. The answer I was going for was persecution complex.


SHORTZ: Anyway, nice job.

STEWART: Hey, Kevin, you did great. Who knew there were that many words that started with P and ended with X? Well, Kevin, as an educator, you will especially appreciate the very special guest to tell you about the prizes you get for playing our puzzle today. Now, some say he's a little monster because, well, he is.

GROVER (Character, "Sesame Street"): For playing our puzzle today, you'll get a cute Weekend Edition lapel pin, 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.

STEWART: That was Grover from "Sesame Street," of course. What do you think, Kevin?

Mr. MILLER: That sounds great to me. He's a great character.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Kevin, what member station do you listen to?

Mr. MILLER: KLCC, Eugene, Oregon.

STEWART: Kevin Miller of Eugene, Oregon, thanks for playing the puzzle with us.

Mr. MILLER: OK. Well, thank you.

STEWART: Now, Will, what's the challenge for next week?

SHORTZ: Yes. It comes from Ed Pegg, Jr., who's contributed a number of great puzzles. He runs the Web site Mathpuzzle.com. The phrase "Non-classical analysis" contains eight different letters. Two of them occur once, two of them occur twice, two of them are occur three times, and two of them occur four times each. The name of what sports team has this same property? So again, "Non-classical analysis" has eight different letters, two of them once, two twice, two three times, and two four times each. The name of what sports team has this same property?

STEWART: 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. 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. Have a great time at the Sudoku Championships this weekend. You have to tell Liane all about it next week.

SHORTZ: Will do. Thanks a lot, Alison.

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