An Hour Of Our Time Puzzle master Will Shortz quizzes one of our listeners, and has a challenge for everyone at home. (This week's winner is Albert Tumpson from Beverly Hills, California. He listens to Weekend Edition on member station KPCC in Pasadena, California.)
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An Hour Of Our Time

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An Hour Of Our Time

An Hour Of Our Time

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LIANE HANSEN, Host:

And joining us is puzzlemaster Will Shortz. Hi, Will.

WILL SHORTZ: Hi, Liane.

HANSEN: Are you aware you added another notch on your American popular culture belt this past week?

SHORTZ: Well, I heard about this. I don't watch "The Mentalist," but you tell me.

HANSEN: I do. I watched "The Mentalist" and at the very beginning of the program, the star, Simon Baker, sitting on a couch and he's holding this book. And I see O-R-T-Z. Ortz? And it turns out that he's doing one of your Sudoku puzzles in your Sudoku books. So it just elevated one of those prizes.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

HANSEN: I thought it was cool. I thought it was very cool.

SHORTZ: I like his choice. Also, on the David Letterman this past week, Christina Applegate was on talking about loving The New York Times crossword, which she does every day.

HANSEN: You're just too hot for words. You know what I'm saying? Whew. All right, before I break out into too much of a sweat, why don't you remind us of the challenge you had last week?

SHORTZ: Yes, I said take the letters I, L, R, T. If I ask you to insert a three-letter grouping twice into these letters to complete a familiar 10-letter word, you would add S, P, O twice to make spoilsport. And I said, now take these letters: R, F, E, R, insert a trigram twice somewhere in these to complete a familiar two-word phrase. What phrase is it?

HANSEN: And what phrase is it?

SHORTZ: Well, you insert I, N, G twice, you get ring finger.

HANSEN: We received just over 700 correct entries this past week. And from those we randomly selected listener Albert Tumpson of Beverly Hills, California to play the puzzle on the air with us today. Hi, Albert.

M: Hi, Liane. How are you?

HANSEN: Very well, thank you. How long did it take you to solve the puzzle?

M: Well, when I first heard it, it baffled me and I kept trying to figure out where to stick in the trigram. And then later that night, as I was about to fall asleep, it came to me.

HANSEN: Ah, I'm glad you were baffled, but then let it come to you. Isn't that true, Will, sometimes answers will come to you when you stop thinking about it?

SHORTZ: Well, especially, and especially as you're drifting off to sleep. That's a great time for solving problems.

HANSEN: What do you do in Beverly Hills?

M: I'm a lawyer.

HANSEN: Okay. Do you see many Hollywood stars?

M: Oh, they're walking down the streets constantly.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

HANSEN: So you're ready, right?

M: I am as ready as I'll ever be.

HANSEN: All right. Will, meet Albert, let's play.

SHORTZ: All right, Albert, I'm going to read you some sentences. Each sentence has two blanks. The word that goes in the first blank starts with an H. Drop the H, and you'll get a new word that goes in the second blank to complete the sentence. For example, if I said, with the current price of home fuel, the cost of blank my house is blank me alive. You'd say the cost of heating my house is eating me alive. Okay?

M: Okay.

SHORTZ: All right, number one, this old battlefield is blank ground, so camping on it is not blank.

M: Hallowed, allowed.

HANSEN: Right.

SHORTZ: That is right. Good. Number two: the pilot with the receding blank is the pilot in the whole blank.

M: Hairline and airline.

SHORTZ: Good. Any so-called expert who identifies a red striped fish as a blank is clearly blank.

M: Well, I was going to think of a hake, but that's the only...

HANSEN: Right. And all I can think of is halibut.

SHORTZ: Second letter is E.

M: Herring?

HANSEN: Herring.

SHORTZ: Herring, that's right.

HANSEN: Oh, erring. Oh dear.

SHORTZ: Erring, good. Erring or erring, good.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SHORTZ: Try this one. During the summer when temperatures are blank, you'll see an, blank, play on the bank of the stream.

M: All I can think of is high.

HANSEN: Yeah, and I was thinking hot, but...

SHORTZ: But make it comparative, yeah.

M: Hotter and otter.

HANSEN: Yeah.

SHORTZ: Hotter and otter, good. Seemingly, every horse was in blank in the old James blank western I saw last night.

HANSEN: Do you know gun...

M: Harness and Arness.

HANSEN: Yay.

SHORTZ: Oh, you do know "Gunsmoke," good.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SHORTZ: Appropriately, a ship carrying thousands of seedlings arrived in the blank on blank day.

M: Harbor and Arbor.

SHORTZ: Good. Before putting new tiles on the roof, the roofer removes and blank the old ones over the blank. Before putting new tiles on the roof, the roofer removes and blank the old ones over the blank.

M: Heaves and eaves.

SHORTZ: Ah, good. In exploring the colonial site, archeologists discovered a stone blank buried in the blank.

M: Hearth and earth.

HANSEN: Oh, nice.

SHORTZ: That's good. Buried in the earth, good. In the photograph of the woman at her dressing table, if her blank is distracting, blank it out. Can you think of starting - something starting with H that a woman might have at her dressing table?

M: Hair.

SHORTZ: But it starts with hair. Hair what?

HANSEN: Oh, hairbrush.

SHORTZ: Hairbrush.

M: Oh, hairbrush and airbrush.

HANSEN: Airbrush.

SHORTZ: Airbrush it out, good. And here's your last one. The girl in the blank top must blank her attire before class.

M: Halter and alter.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SHORTZ: Nice job.

HANSEN: Albert, good job.

M: Whoa, that was tough.

HANSEN: It was. I mean, especially with the hair and air. I totally forgot brush and I'm going, air her out?

M: Oh no, you nailed that one, Liane.

HANSEN: Oh yeah, well, you nailed so many, as well, Albert. I think we made a good team. Are you a fan of rock and roll music?

M: I am indeed.

HANSEN: All right. Well, I want to tell you something. To read your puzzle prizes today, we have a woman that is about to be inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame. Her name is Wanda Jackson, and before she reads your prizes, let's listen to a little of her 1960 recording of "Hard Headed Woman."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HARD HEADED WOMAN")

M: (Singing) Well, a hard headed woman, a soft hearted man, been the cause of trouble ever since the world began, Oh yeah.

HANSEN: And here she is to tell you what you are taking home for playing our puzzle today, Albert.

M: For playing our puzzle today, you're going to receive a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, the 11th Edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus, also, the Scrabble Deluxe Edition from Parker Brothers, "The Puzzlemaster Presents" from Random House Volume 2, Will Shortz's latest book series, "Will Shortz Presents KenKen," Volumes 1, 2 and 3 from St. Martin's Press. And one of Will Shortz's "Puzzlemaster Decks of Riddles and Challenges" from Chronicle Books.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HARD HEADED WOMAN")

M: (Singing) Oh yeah.

HANSEN: Oh yeah, what do you think, Albert?

M: Oh, I'm very happy. And let me just say I was honored to be with you and Will today.

HANSEN: Oh, well, we were honored to have you, too. Tell us before you go, Albert, what member station you listen to?

M: I listen to KPCC, and I am a member.

HANSEN: All right. KPCC in Pasadena, California. Albert comes in in Beverly Hills, California. Thanks for playing the puzzle with us today. It was great fun.

M: And for me.

HANSEN: Okay. All right, Will, we have a challenge for next week, or you do anyway, right?

SHORTZ: So, again, a country somewhere in the world, insert a Z. The result can be broken into three consecutive words. The first word is a popular brand name, the second word is something this product uses and the third word is the kind of product it is. What's the country and what are the words?

HANSEN: All right ladies and gentlemen, start your pencils and when you have the answer, go to our Web site npr.org/puzzle. Click on the Submit Your Answer link. Only one entry per person, please. Our deadline this week is Thursday, 3 PM 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 puzzlemaster Will Shortz. Will, thanks a lot.

SHORTZ: Thanks Liane.

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