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.

HANSEN: Loved your character on "The Simpsons" last week, very funny.

SHORTZ: Thanks a lot. Wasn't that fun?

HANSEN: It was fun. Really, you and Merl Reagle fighting, is that taken from real life?

SHORTZ: No. We're good friends. We would never fight.

HANSEN: Of course not. Not over, no, this clue's better. No, that clue's better.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: So anything new with you?

SHORTZ: Well, yeah. Let me mention, I'm going to be a guest expert on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" Monday through Wednesday this week. They have a new lifeline where players can call somebody who's supposedly an expert.

HANSEN: You know, you would always have been my lifeline if I ever had a chance to play because you're just the font of all trivial knowledge, I swear.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: And other knowledge as well. Well, anyway, you're still the star of our - of this segment of our program, so remind us of the challenge that you gave everyone last week to solve.

SHORTZ: Yes. I said name a famous author whose last name starts with the letter C. Cross out four letters in it. The remaining letters, in order, will name another famous author, also starting with C. Who are these two writers?

HANSEN: And who are these two writers?

SHORTZ: They are Miguel de Cervantes, and drop four letters, you get Stephen Crane.

HANSEN: That was difficult. We only had about 700 correct entries this time. And from those correct entries, we randomly selected Mark Wegner of Austin, Texas, to play our puzzle on the air today. Hi, Mark.

Mr. MARK WEGNER (Competition Winner): Hi.

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

Mr. WEGNER: It took me about 15 minutes.

HANSEN: Really? That's pretty good.

Mr. WEGNER: I must admit, I had some help on the Internet.

HANSEN: How long have you been playing our radio puzzle?

Mr. WEGNER: For about four and a half years.

HANSEN: I heard from a bird that you actually went to, oh, this little crossword tournament that used to be held in Connecticut, but is now held in Brooklyn, New York.

Mr. WEGNER: Yes.

HANSEN: You did?

Mr. WEGNER: And I've been playing the puzzle ever since.

HANSEN: All right. Now you know what happens. You submitted a correct entry, we gave you a ring, and you get a chance to play a puzzle with Will again. Are you ready?

Mr. WEGNER: I am.

HANSEN: I am. I'm about as ready as you are. Will, meet Mark. Let's play.

SHORTZ: All right, Mark. I'm going to give you some words. For each one, think of a word that can follow mine to complete a familiar two-word phrase. And the first two letters of your word must be the first and last letters of mine. For example, if I said, pool, P-O-O-L, you would say player, because the first and last letters of pool are P and L, and P-L starts the second word of the phrase.

HANSEN: OK.

SHORTZ: All right?

Mr. WEGNER: Right.

SHORTZ: Here's number one. Pepperoni.

Mr. WEGNER: Pizza.

SHORTZ: Pepperoni pizza is right. Number two is advertising.

Mr. WEGNER: Agent.

SHORTZ: Yes. Agent or agency, either way. Varicose.

Mr. WEGNER: Veins.

SHORTZ: Varicose veins is right. Little.

Mr. WEGNER: League.

SHORTZ: Little league, good job. Balance.

Mr. WEGNER: Beam.

SHORTZ: That was fast. Balance beam. You got it. Nice job. Political.

Mr. WEGNER: Political...

SHORTZ: Do you know, Liane?

HANSEN: I'm thinking poll. But that's not...

SHORTZ: No. It's got to start P-L.

HANSEN: P-L...

SHORTZ: It's something that...

HANSEN: Political...

SHORTZ: It's going to be something that would be established at a convention. It's...

HANSEN: Platform.

SHORTZ: Political platform. Good job.

HANSEN: Yeah.

SHORTZ: Try this one. Picture.

Mr. WEGNER: Perfect.

SHORTZ: Picture perfect. Good. China.

Mr. WEGNER: China cabinet.

SHORTZ: China cabinet. Nice one. Short, S-H-O-R-T.

Mr. WEGNER: Short staff.

SHORTZ: Short staff, I'll give you that. I guess a restaurant could have...

Mr. WEGNER: Or short stick.

HANSEN: Short stick.

SHORTZ: Short stick, yeah. I was actually going for short story.

HANSEN: Oh, I'm going for short stack. I'm thinking pancakes.

SHORTZ: OK. There you go. So a lot of answers to that. Try this one. Crystal.

Mr. WEGNER: Clear.

SHORTZ: Crystal clear, aha. Love.

Mr. WEGNER: Letter.

SHORTZ: Love letter, aha. Ascorbic.

Mr. WEGNER: Acid.

SHORTZ: Ascorbic acid, good. Peer, P-E-E-R.

Mr. WEGNER: Peer...

SHORTZ: Something you might be subjected to in high school.

Mr. WEGNER: Pressure. Peer pressure.

SHORTZ: Peer pressure is right. And here's your last one, my personal favorite. Table.

Mr. WEGNER: Table tennis.

SHORTZ: Table tennis. Nice job, Mark.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: Did you...

Mr. WEGNER: Thanks.

HANSEN: Did you know, Mark, that Will was a big table tennis buff?

Mr. WEGNER: I did.

HANSEN: Yeah, I bet. Hey, Mark, you were fabulous.

Mr. WEGNER: Thank you.

HANSEN: Nice work. Nice work. Well, as you know, we have a special guest to tell you what you're going to take home for playing our puzzle today. Some people know him because of his roundhouse kicks and action flicks. But most recently he co-starred in Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign.

(Soundbite of Mike Huckabee presidential campaign ad)

Mr. MIKE HUCKABEE (Former Republican Governor of Arkansas): My plan to secure the border? Two words: Chuck Norris.

Mr. CHUCK NORRIS (Martial Artist; Action Star; Actor): Hi. This is Chuck Norris. For playing our puzzle today, you'll get a 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.

HANSEN: Mark, what do you think? We brought in some big muscle for you.

Mr. WEGNER: Sounds awesome.

HANSEN: It is awesome. Well, you get a lot of gifts, and you get to hear Chuck Norris, too. So he didn't say what member station he listens to, but what member station do you listen to?

Mr. WEGNER: I listen to KUT in Austin.

HANSEN: All right. Mark Wegner of Austin, Texas, thanks for playing with us today. You were great.

Mr. WEGNER: All right. Thanks, Liane.

HANSEN: OK.

SHORTZ: Thanks a lot, Mark.

HANSEN: Will, what challenge do you have for everyone to work on for next week?

SHORTZ: Yes. This challenge comes from listener Joshua Saks of Morristown, New Jersey. Name a famous singer from the past - five letters in the first name, six letters in the last. Rearrange the letters of the last name, plus the last letter of the first name - so that's seven letters in all - to name a place where this singer famously performed. Who is it, and what's the place?

So, again, a famous singer - five, six. Rearrange the letters of the last name, plus the last letter of the first name - seven letters in all - to name a place where this singer famously performed. Who is this singer, and what is the place?

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 because of the holiday is Wednesday 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. Will, happy Thanksgiving. Thanks a lot.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane. Happy Thanksgiving.

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