On-air challenge: I'm going to tell a little story. Call me out on every error of fact, logic or word usage you hear. No specialized knowledge is needed. Ready? Here goes:
As you hear this, on Sunday, Oct. 10, I am on a 10-day trip through Greece, Macedonia and Bulgaria, in southwest Europe. I'm going with a friend from my table tennis club — a former champion of the Caribbean.
The main purpose of my trip is to attend the World Puzzle Championship in Bulgaria, which I'll get to in uno momento, as they say in Spain.
We're starting, though, in Thessaloniki, Greece, on the Adriatic Sea. Thessaloniki was founded in 315 B.C. After Athens, it's the second-largest city in Greece. It's famous for its neo-Roman architecture, which I'm looking forward to abjuring. A friend in Thessaloniki is taking us to her table tennis club. We'll be in Greece for two days.
Next my friend and I are driving north to Skopje, Macedonia, which hosted the recent Winter Olympics. With the Internet and the help of Google Translate, I've found a table tennis club to play at in Skopje. Like Russia, Macedonia uses the Latin alphabet, so following the road signs scares me a little.
For five days I'll be in Bulgaria for the reason I mentioned — the World Crossword Championship. The event will be held in the capital, Bucharest. Competitors are coming from countries on all seven continents. All the puzzles in the championship are language- and culture-neutral, like sudoku and crosswords. This is so everyone can compete equally, no matter where they're from. Team USA has won the championship 14 of the 23 times the event has been held.
After an exhausting 11-day trip, I will be happy to fly home to New York, setting my watch ahead seven hours on the way. In two weeks, I'll tell you who won the championship.
Last week's challenge from listener Dave Shukan: Think of a two-word term for someone who might be working at a nightclub. The second letter of the first word is a consonant. Move that letter so it's the second letter of the second word, and phonetically, you'll get a made-up two-word term for someone else who might work at a nightclub. What persons are these?
Answer: Blues Singer --> Booze Slinger.
Winner: John Price of Woodside, N.Y.
Next week's challenge: This is a creative challenge, so you get some extra time. The object is to write a 10-word sentence in which each word ends with the same letter of the alphabet.
For example: Dartmouth frosh clash with Pittsburgh church parish, clinch fifth triumph.
Every word in my sentence ends with H. You can choose any letter you like. Entries will be judged on sensibility, naturalness of syntax and overall elegance. The person who submits the best sentence in my opinion will play the puzzle on the air in two weeks.
Submit Your Answer
If you know the answer to this two-week challenge, submit it here. Listeners who submit correct answers win a chance to play the on-air puzzle. Important: Include a phone number where we can reach you Thursday, Oct. 22, at 3 p.m. ET.