Letters: Summer Fun, Citizen Journalism, Cindy McCain Listeners weigh in on our Summer Adventure series, our segment about citizen journalists and essayist Diane Roberts' description of Cindy McCain, wife of Sen. John McCain, as a "frat boy's dream."
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Letters: Summer Fun, Citizen Journalism, Cindy McCain

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Letters: Summer Fun, Citizen Journalism, Cindy McCain

Letters: Summer Fun, Citizen Journalism, Cindy McCain

Letters: Summer Fun, Citizen Journalism, Cindy McCain

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/92008345/92008314" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Listeners weigh in on our Summer Adventure series, our segment about citizen journalists and essayist Diane Roberts' description of Cindy McCain, wife of Sen. John McCain, as a "frat boy's dream."

LIANE HANSEN, host:

From NPR News this is Weekend Edition. I'm Liane Hansen. And joining us is puzzle master Will Shortz. Hey, Will.

WILL SHORTZ: Hi, Liane.

HANSEN: How's your summer going?

SHORTZ: Oh, it's hot and sticky. But actually, it's going great.

HANSEN: Great.

SHORTZ: How about you?

HANSEN: Oh, it's fine. Hot and sticky. You don't have any summer adventures planned this summer, do you?

SHORTZ: Well, in a week I'm going to Denver for the National Puzzlers' League convention. So I'm excited about that.

HANSEN: Of course you are. All your adventures are about puzzles. They sure are. All right, we had an interesting puzzle. And I just find it curious because it almost in many ways related to the puzzle we had the week before. The answer certainly did. Why don't you repeat the challenge and who sent it to us?

SHORTZ: Yes, it came from listener Lisa Johnson of Earlysville, Virginia. I said, think of a famous TV personality whose last name has six letters, drop the last letter, reverse the order of the remaining five letters, and you'll get the last name of another famous TV personality. And as a hint I said the first one is seen daily, and the second one until recently was seen weekly. Who are these people?

HANSEN: Who are they?

SHORTZ: Well, the first is Trebek, as in Alex Trebek, host of "Jeopardy." And do that change with the letters, and you get Roger Ebert, film critic.

HANSEN: Absolutely. And our randomly-selected winner is Sue Welsh from Mountlake Terrace, Washington. Hey, Sue.

Ms. SUE WELSH (Caller): Hi!

HANSEN: Hi! Where's Mountlake Terrace?

Ms. WELSH: It's just north of Seattle.

HANSEN: OK. And what do you there?

Ms. WELSH: I'm a spiritual care provider for a hospice program.

HANSEN: And how long have you been playing the puzzle?

Ms. WELSH: Yeah, almost since the beginning. And I forget to send in answers on the computer. But you know, since way back in the '80s.

HANSEN: So you were there in the days when we actually accepted entries through the mail.

Ms. WELSH: Right, but I didn't do that.

HANSEN: Yes. But you did send in an entry, and we picked it. And so you know what happens next, right? All right. Well, Will please meet Sue. Sue, meet Will. Let's play.

SHORTZ: All right, Sue. Nowadays, the letters IT stand for information technology, but they're also the initials of some other familiar two-word phrases and names. You name them from the clues. Here's your first one. Two children developed from the same egg.

Ms. WELSH: Twins.

SHORTZ: What kind?

Ms. WELSH: Identical twins.

SHORTZ: Identical twins is correct. Number two. The IRS collects it. It's not a sales tax.

Ms. WELSH: Income tax.

SHORTZ: Income tax is right. You're doing great. Summer drink often served with a mint leaf.

Ms. WELSH: Iced tea.

SHORTZ: Good. Cause of pain at the end of the foot.

Ms. WELSH: Ingrown toenail?

SHORTZ: Ingrown toenail is right. Stanford-Binet is the most famous one.

HANSEN: It's a kind of test, right?

SHORTZ: Yes.

Ms WELSH: IQ test?

SHORTZ: IQ test, intelligence test, either way. Modern crime that may involve your social security number.

Ms. WELSH: Identity theft.

SHORTZ: That's right. Twelve-time NBA All Star who went on to coach the Pacers and Knicks.

HANSEN: Are you a sports fan, Sue?

Ms. WELSH: Yes, I am. But I'm drawing a blank though.

SHORTZ: Do you know, Liane?

HANSEN: I think Isiah Thomas.

Ms. WELSH: Oh, yes.

SHORTZ: Isiah Thomas is it. It slants to the right.

Ms. WELSH: I was thinking italic.

SHORTZ: Yes. Italic what?

Ms. WELSH: Italic...let's see.

HANSEN: Type?

SHORTZ: Italic type. That's it.

HANSEN: No.

SHORTZ: Did you have a different answer, Liane?

HANSEN: You know - and I'm probably wrong. But the first thing that came to my mind was isosceles triangle.

SHORTZ: Yes, but that would have - no, it doesn't slant.

HANSEN: No, it doesn't slant.

SHORTZ: That has two sides equal.

HANSEN: Right.

SHORTZ: Yes.

HANSEN: Oh, my math teacher is going to just have my head. OK. Forget I said it.

SHORTZ: I should have thought of that answer though. OK. Here's your next one. Court game often played during the winter under artificial light.

Ms. WELSH: Indoor tennis.

SHORTZ: Yes. And your last one. It might end, or else.

HANSEN: I - you know, I can't get past...

Ms. WELSH: I give up.

HANSEN: I do, too.

SHORTZ: It's an idle threat.

HANSEN: Oh! An idle threat.

Ms. WELSH: Oh!

HANSEN: Hey, Sue.

Ms WELSH: Yes.

HANSEN: You did real well.

Ms WELSH: It was fun.

HANSEN: It was fun. It was a real team effort.

Ms. WELSH: And it was a real honor to be on the show. I love this show.

HANSEN: Oh, I'm so glad. Well, listen. We do have a surprise for you. Before we tell you what you're getting for playing the puzzle today, many of our listeners will remember that the answer to the previous week's puzzle was Gene Shalit. And I don't know what was going through my mind, and it's interesting that Roger Ebert was part of the puzzle today, but whether I was thinking of Joel Siegel or I was thinking of Gene Siskel, but I referred to Gene Shalit as the late great Gene Shalit - well, great still applies. But...

Ms. WELSH: It's not late though.

HANSEN: No, my report of his demise was greatly exaggerated. So joining us now is NBC's arts editor and critic, Gene Shalit. Hi, Gene.

Mr. GENE SHALIT (Arts Editor & Critic, "Today," NBC News): How are you all?

HANSEN: I am fine, and I guess you are, too?

Mr. SHALIT: I feel good.

HANSEN: Good. I'm glad to hear that. I am really sorry that I, you know, kicked you off before your time had come.

Mr. SHALIT: Well, that's OK, because as several people apparently heard it who knew I was around, and it's nice to know that there's some people who know I'm still around.

HANSEN: And so are we! And we're really happy you joined us. Were you playing along with Sue as we were playing the game?

Mr. SHALIT: I was just now.

HANSEN: How did you do?

Mr. SHALIT: I did really well. And of all the things, I could not think of Isiah Thomas.

HANSEN: No kidding.

Mr. SHALIT: Because I thought isosceles triangle was the coach of the Knicks.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. SHALIT: Actually, isosceles triangle is the coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. The Los Angeles triangle offense.

HANSEN: Yeah, been doing really well, too. Well, not really...

Mr. SHALIT: Until they bumped into the Celtics.

HANSEN: Yeah, exactly.

Mr. SHALIT: But we digress.

HANSEN: We digress because you are here actually to tell Sue Welsh what she'll get for playing puzzle today. So take it away, Gene Shalit.

Mr. SHALIT: And Sue, here's the prizes you're going to get. First and foremost, the Weekend Edition lapel pin, so you may have to change your wardrobe so you have a lapel. The Eleventh Edition of Webster's Dictionary and Thesaurus, the Black and White crosswords book, and Will Shortz's Puzzlemaster Deck of Riddles and Challenges from Chronicle Books. Now wasn't that worth winning just to get those prizes.

Ms. WELSH: Yes, it was.

Mr. SHALIT: Congratulations, Sue.

HANSEN: Yeah, congratulations. Gene Shalit, thank you so much for joining us.

Mr. SHALIT: Thank you for having me.

HANSEN: All right. And Sue Welsh from Mountlake Terrace, Washington, again, thanks for playing the puzzle with us.

Ms. WELSH: OK, thanks again.

HANSEN: All right. And Will, all this excitement!

SHORTZ: Yeah.

HANSEN: And we still need the challenge for next week.

SHORTZ: Yes, this week's challenge comes from a 19th century advertising trade card that I recently bought on eBay. It advertises Bassetts Horehound Troches, which are called the best remedy in the world for coughs, colds, hoarseness, etcetera. Now a man buys 20 pencils for 20 cents and gets three kinds of pencils in return. Some of the pencils cost four cents each, some are two for a penny, and the rest are four for a penny. How many pencils of each type does the man get? So again, 20 pencils for 20 cents. You get three kinds of pencils. Some cost 4 cents each, some are two for a penny and some are four for a penny. How many pencils of each type does the man get?

HANSEN: When you have the answer to our puzzle, 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, 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 are 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. Hey Will, great puzzle, thanks a lot.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane.

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