NPR's Puzzlemaster Will Shortz quizzes one of our listeners, and has a challenge for everyone at home.
Challenge from May 15
Take the animal puma: the last two letters of its name, "m," "a," start mandrill, which is a large baboon. The last two letters of "mandrill," ll, start llama, and the last two letters of llama, start marmot. So, the result is a chain of four animals, with two letter links, puma, mandrill, llama, marmot. Can you form a similar chain of animal names linking, hippo to ermine? And the number of links in the chain is for you to determine. Every animal has to be either a mammal or a reptile. Only the general terms for animals are allowed, not the names male, female, young, breeds, nicknames, etc.
Answer: HIPPO, PORPOISE, SEAL, ALLIGATOR, ORANGUTAN, ANTEATER, ERMINE
This week's winner: Judy Kessler from Lexington, Mass. She listens to Weekend Edition on member station WGBH in Boston.
Challenge from May 22
This week's challenge is from Ed Pegg, Jr., from Champaign, Ill. Take the word "plantation" — it contains the consecutive letters of the movie Patton reading from left to right, although not consecutively. What familiar word contains the letters of Star Wars, reading from left to right, and not necessarily consecutively?