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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.

Mr. WILL SHORTZ (Puzzle Master): Hi, Liane. How was your Christmas?

HANSEN: Oh, it was very nice and quiet. You know, I had to work the day before, I had to work afterwards, but the day itself was really nice. I drove up to Philadelphia. My daughter made Christmas dinner.

Mr. SHORTZ: Excellent.

HANSEN: Yeah, it was real good. Meanwhile, I mean, I don't know if you get this in New York. But do you get Washingtonian Magazine, probably not?

Mr. SHORTZ: No.

HANSEN: OK, January 2009 Edition. It's the special inauguration issue. There is an article, Obama's A list. Guess who's on it?

Mr. SHORTZ: Who?

HANSEN: You.

Mr. SHORTZ: How is that?

HANSEN: Because it says that you regularly featured the crossword-friendly word Obama in your crossword puzzle, so it says that you might be coming to dinner. And all I've got to say is, you better call me.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. SHORTZ: I know who my date will be.

HANSEN: That's it, right there. And our puzzle player is listening before we bring her on, and she's going to be my witness to that.

Mr. SHORTZ: OK.

HANSEN: But before we do that, did you have a good Christmas too, I hope?

Mr. SHORTZ: It's was real nice. Thanks.

HANSEN: Good. All right, let's get playing. And that challenge that you left us with last week, what was it? Two things that Santa Claus carries?

Mr. SHORTZ: Right. And I said, put the things together, read them one after the other, and you'll name a musical instrument. What is it?

HANSEN: What is it?

Mr. SHORTZ: Well, Santa carries a bag and a pipe. And so that makes a bagpipe.

HANSEN: I'll tell you something. Our listeners sent a Santa's sack full of correct entries for this one. Three thousand people nearly had the correct answer.

Mr. SHORTZ: Ooh.

HANSEN: Yeah. And from those correct entries, we randomly selected Judy Hlawitschka of Westport, Connecticut to play the puzzle with us today. Hi, Judy.

Ms. JUDY HLAWITSCHKA (Caller): Hi, Liane. Hi, Will.

WILL: Hi.

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

MS. HLAWITSCHKA: Oh, it popped into my head right away.

HANSEN: Good for you. How long have you been playing puzzle on the radio?

MS. HLAWITSCHKA: Probably 10 years.

HANSEN: Really? Have you always sent in entries?

MS. HLAWITSCHKA: This was the very first time it ever even occurred to me to send in an entry.

Mr. SHORTZ: Man, oh man.

HANSEN: I think it's that 10 years of playing, and then the first entry, that's got to account for something, I think. All right, well, you sound like you're ready to play. Are you?

MS. HLAWITSCHKA: Yes, I am.

HANSEN: All right.

MS. HLAWITSCHKA: Ready as I'll ever be.

HANSEN: That's true. That's all you can be. Will, meet Judy. Judy, please meet Will. And let's play.

Mr. SHORTZ: All right, Judy and Liane. Every year around this time, I do a year-end names quiz. And here are the rules. I'm going to name some people you probably never heard of before 2008, but who sprang to national or international prominence during the past 12 months. You tell me who they are. And I'd like to thank Cathy Baker(ph) and Tim Goodman who are past contestants on my year-end quizzes, who contributed to this year's list. And we'll start with some easy ones. Number one is Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher.

MS. HLAWITSCHKA: Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher?

Mr. SHORTZ: Wurzelbacher is right.

MS. HLAWITSCHKA: Hmm. I have no idea.

HANSEN: Have anything to do with the campaign?

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes.

HANSEN: OK.

SHORTZ: I think about middle name. His middle name is Joseph.

MS. HLAWITSCHKA: Oh, Joe The Plumber.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. SHORTZ: Nice job. Try this one. Michael Phelps.

MS. HLAWITSCHKA: OK. The swimmer, Olympic gold winner.

HANSEN: You bet.

Mr. SHORTZ: That's correct. Rod Blagojevich.

MS. HLAWITSCHKA: Rod Blagojevich?

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes.

HANSEN: Think Chicago.

Mr. SHORTZ: Right.

MS. HLAWITSCHKA: The governor of Illinois?

HANSEN: That's it.

Mr. SHORTZ: That's the right - the one who's in hot water.

HANSEN: Yup.

Mr. SHORTZ: OK. Here's your next one. David Paterson.

MS. HLAWITSCHKA: David Paterson. Oh, governor of New York.

HANSEN: You bet.

Mr. SHORTZ: That's right. And he's the United States' first legally blind governor. Dmitry Medvedev.

HANSEN: What do you think?

MS. HLAWITSCHKA: The president of Russia?

HANSEN: He is.

Mr. SHORTZ: Yeah, he is the new elected president of Russia. Vladimir Putin's handpicked successor.

MS. HLAWITSCHKA: OK.

Mr. SHORTZ: All right. Try this one. Bernard Madoff.

MS. HLAWITSCHKA: Well, he was just implicated in that big financial scandal.

HANSEN: Yup.

Mr. SHORTZ: Right. Ponzi scheme. That's right.

HANSEN: Usain Bolt. U-S-A-I-N, last name is B-O-L-T.

MS. HLAWITSCHKA: Oh, the Olympic runner.

Mr. SHORTZ: That's right. He's the world record holder in the 100 and the 200 meter.

HANSEN: Good job.

Mr. SHORTZ: Nice job. How about Rob Pattinson? P-A-T-T-I-N-S-O-N.

Ms. HLAWITSCHKA: Oh, he's the star - he played the vampire in...

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes?

Ms. HLAWITSCHKA: "Twilight."

HANSEN: Oh, it's "Twilight."

Mr. SHORTZ: In "Twilight." Nice job. And I got two more. These are a little harder, so I'll give you a hint on each one. The first one is Kazuo Kawasaki, K-A-Z-U-O Kawasaki, and your hint is, glasses. He's from Japan, and he had something to do with glasses.

HANSEN: I'm thinking there was...

Mr. SHORTZ: Do you know this One, Liane?

HANSEN: There was only eyeglass story in the news this year.

Mr. SHORTZ: I think you got it.

HANSEN: The ones worn by the vice-presidential Republican candidate Sarah Palin.

Ms. HLAWITSCHKA: Oh, oh, Sarah Palin's glasses, yeah.

Mr. SHORTZ: That's right. He designs Sarah Palin's glasses. Good

HANSEN: Yeah.

Mr. SHORTZ: All right, here's your last one. Muntadar Al-Zeidi, that's M-U-N-T-A-D-A-R A-L-Z-E-I-D-I. And your hint is, shoes.

Ms. HLAWITSCHKA: Shoes?

Mr. SHORTZ: Yeah.

HANSEN: Shoes.

Mr. SHORTZ: All right, first of all, take a guess at what country Muntadar Al-Zeidi is from.

Ms. HLAWITSCHKA: Egypt?

HANSEN: Hmmm. I'm get...

Mr. SHORTZ: No. But it is in the Middle East.

HANSEN: How about Iraq?

Mr. SHORTZ: Iraq, yeah.

Ms. HLAWITSCHKA: Oh, oh. He -that's the person who threw the shoe at President Bush.

HANSEN: You bet.

Mr. SHORTZ: That's correct. Nice job.

HANSEN: The shoe guy.

Mr. SHORTZ: Two heads really do work together.

HANSEN: You know, Judy, this is the one that I get nervous every year. But...

Ms. HLAWITSCHKA: Yeah.

HANSEN: You knew your stuff. You were great. Well done. Well, it was interesting that Will included the designer of Sarah Palin's glasses in our puzzle today because we have a very stylish guest to tell you what you've won for playing our puzzle today. He's a fashion designer. He's someone who is one of the first to make style really affordable. And he's on our program later to tell us how. Here is the fabulous Isaac Mizrahi with your puzzle prizes.

Ms. HLAWITSCHKA: Wow.

HANSEN: Yeah.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. ISAAC MIZRAHI (Fashion Designer): For playing our puzzle today, you get all this stuff. You get a Weekend Edition lapel pin, which would look gorgeous on any of your cute outfits. You get an 11th edition of Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus, the Scrabble Deluxe Edition from Parker Brothers, a book called "The Puzzle Master Presents," which is this great book from Random House, Volume Two. You get Will Shortz' Little Black Book of Sudoku and The Black and White Book of Crosswords, from Saint Martin's Press. And one of Will Shortz' "Puzzle Master Decks of Riddles and Challenges," from Chronicle books.

Ms. HLAWITSCHKA: Wow.

Mr. MIZRAHI: Hooray for you.

HANSEN: Yeah, hooray for you.

Ms. HLAWITSCHKA: Oh, we have a lot to keep ourselves busy with for the rest of our break.

HANSEN: Absolutely. You know, it's funny, he was going down this list, and I expect to hear him go, and a little black dress from...

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. HLAWITSCHKA: I wish.

HANSEN: Don't we all.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: Oh, before we say goodbye, what member station do you listen to, Judy?

Ms. HLAWITSCHKA: WNYC in New York, and WFHU in Fairfield, Connecticut.

HANSEN: Excellent. Judy Hlawitschka of West Port, Connecticut. Thanks again for playing with us. Happy New Year.

Ms. HLAWITSCHKA: Thank you, and you too.

HANSEN: OK.

Ms. HLAWITSCHKA: OK.

HANSEN: All right. Will, our first challenge for 2009.

Mr. SHORTZ: That's right. Well, it comes from Ed Pegg, Jr., who runs Mathpuzzle.com and has contributed a lot of clever world teasers in the past. Take the phrase "counting down the days," remove four letters from this and rearrange the remaining letters to spell an appropriate number. What is it? So again, counting down the days, that has 19 letters, remove four of them, and rearrange the remaining letters to spell an appropriate number. What number is it?

HANSEN: When you have the answer, go to our website, npr.org/puzzle, and click on to Submit Your Answer link. Only one entry per person, please. Our deadline, because of the holiday this week, is Wednesday at 3 PM Eastern Time. Please include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time. We'll call if you're the winner, and you'll get to play puzzle on the air with the puzzle editor of the New York Times, Weekend Edition's puzzle master Will Shortz, and one of President-elect Obama's A-listers, Will Shortz. Will, thanks a lot. Happy New Year.

Mr. SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane. Happy New Year.

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