Keep It Short Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase, in which each word has a short "A" vowel sound. For example, given the clue "A pest weed in lawns," the answer would be "crab grass."
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Keep It Short

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Keep It Short

Keep It Short

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From NPR News, this is WEEKEND EDITION. I'm Linda Wertheimer sitting in for Liane Hansen. And joining me is the puzzlemaster Will Shortz. Hi, Will.


WERTHEIMER: I'm wondering what's new in the world of puzzles.

SHORTZ: Well, let's see. I don't know. I was on "Jeopardy" last Wednesday.

WERTHEIMER: Oh, you're kidding. Really?

SHORTZ: Fortunately, not as a contestant. But I was reading clues for a category.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: It was from The New York Times Crossword. It was - I did video clues. It was fun.

WERTHEIMER: Well, now we have a challenge, you left it with us last week. You want to go over that?

SHORTZ: Yes. It was a great one from listener Louis Sergeant of Portland, Oregon. I said name a country, insert a Z somewhere in its name, the result can be broken up 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.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: What country is it?

WERTHEIMER: Thank goodness I didn't have to do it. So what's the country?

SHORTZ: The answer is Madagascar, and you can break that up into: Mazda, gas and car.

(Soundbite of laughter)

WERTHEIMER: The idea of inserting a Z is a - I mean that's a great idea. That is great. So anyway, we had a phenomenal week. There were more than 2,000 entries and from those entries we randomly selected, as we always do, one listener. And her name is Gay Engelhaupt from Madison, Alabama.

Gay, are you there?


WERTHEIMER: How long did it take you to solve Madagascar?

Ms. ENGELHAUPT: Well, it probably took a little over an hour because it wasn't until I came upon Madagascar that everything fell into place.

WERTHEIMER: So what were you doing, pouring over the atlas or something?

Ms. ENGELHAUPT: No. Well, yeah. I had a globe.

(Soundbite of laughter)

WERTHEIMER: Even better.

Ms. ENGELHAUPT: But unfortunately my globe is so old that some of the countries have changed.


Ms. ENGELHAUPT: But, yeah, once I got Madagascar, then it was easy to put in the Z.

WERTHEIMER: So you are retired from teaching ceramics?


WERTHEIMER: So what do you do now in your spare time?

Ms. ENGELHAUPT: Well, anything I can think of. I belong to a red hat group, and we go out and have lunch.

WERTHEIMER: That's ladies of a certain age.

Ms. ENGELHAUPT: Yeah. And we do have one pink-hatter. She's under 50.

WERTHEIMER: So it sounds like you're having a big time in Madison, Alabama.

Ms. ENGELHAUPT: We are. I mean, really, we're having a good time.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. ENGELHAUPT: Being retired has been a lot of fun. I didn't think it would be. I thought, who in the world would retire? Why would they retire? And now that I am retired, I think, why didn't I do it sooner?

(Soundbite of laughter)

WERTHEIMER: Well, are you ready to play a game?

Ms. ENGELHAUPT: I'm going to try.

WERTHEIMER: Okay. So, Will, meet Gay - and play.

SHORTZ: All right. Gay and Linda, every answer today is a familiar two-word phrase in which each word has a short "A" vowel sound. For example, if I gave the clue, a pest weed in lawns, you would say, crab grass.

WERTHEIMER: Not dandelion?

SHORTZ: Nope, got to be two-word phrase.

WERTHEIMER: Got to be two words, okay.

SHORTZ: And a short "A." Here's number one, a product of Hefty.

Ms. ENGELHAUPT: Trash bag.

SHORTZ: Yes, trash bag. Excellent.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: Number two, a group of sheets of paper on which you doodle or write notes.


Ms. ENGELHAUPT: Memo pad.

SHORTZ: A pad is right. What kind of pad with a short "A" sound?

Ms. ENGELHAUPT: I don't know.

WERTHEIMER: Think of cats and what they do to furniture.

SHORTZ: Right.

Ms. ENGELHAUPT: Scratch. Scratch pad.

SHORTZ: Scratch pad is good. Here's your next one, an annoying thing that accompanies a sitcom.

Ms. ENGELHAUPT: Commercials?

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: Yeah, those are annoying. But if someone tells a joke, what follows that joke?

Ms. ENGELHAUPT: Laugh track.

WERTHEIMER: There you go.

SHORTZ: Laugh track is right. Good. Try this one, medical image of inside the body.


SHORTZ: CAT scan is right. Try this one, protection from poison in the air. What you would…

Ms. ENGELHAUPT: Gas mask.

SHORTZ: Gas mask is right. Where you might hang your chapeau.

Ms. ENGELHAUPT: Hat rack.

SHORTZ: That's right.

(Soundbite of laughter)

WERTHEIMER: You're on a roll.

SHORTZ: Group that included Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr.

Ms. ENGELHAUPT: The Rat Pack.

SHORTZ: Rat Pack is right. Activity for Sammy Davis, Jr. and Gregory Hines.

Ms. ENGELHAUPT: Tap dance.

SHORTZ: Good. What you might get at a club to allow re-entry.

WERTHEIMER: Now, I don't know what this is.

Ms. ENGELHAUPT: Stamp. It's a stamp.

SHORTZ: Yeah, what kind of stamp? Where do they put it?

Ms. ENGELHAUPT: Hand stamp.

SHORTZ: Hand stamp is it. Something that prevents you from slipping in the shower.


SHORTZ: Yeah, what kind?

Ms. ENGELHAUPT: Bath mat.

SHORTZ: Bath mat is it. According to superstition, it brings bad luck if it runs in front of you.

Ms. ENGELHAUPT: Black cat.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: That's right. And here's your last one, winner of all the tricks in a bridge hand.

Ms. ENGELHAUPT: Oh, I don't play bridge.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. ENGELHAUPT: Grand slam?

SHORTZ: Grand slam, you got it.

(Soundbite of laughter)

WERTHEIMER: Spoken like a - do you play bridge?

Ms. ENGELHAUPT: No, not at all.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. ENGELHAUPT: That's the only thing I remember about bridge.

WERTHEIMER: Okay, Gay, the person who is going to tell you what you've won for playing today is our garlic maven, Chester Aaron, who's been busy judging our Easter garlic recipe contest.

Mr. CHESTER AARON (Garlic Maven): For playing the puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, the 11th Edition of "Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus," 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. Is that it?

WERTHEIMER: That's it. That was our garlic guy, Chester Aaron. So, does it sound like something the red hat ladies could use?



Ms. ENGELHAUPT: I'm excited about that.

(Soundbite of laughter)

WERTHEIMER: So, Gay, what member station do you listen to us on?

Ms. ENGELHAUPT: WLRH on the campus of University of Alabama in Huntsville.

WERTHEIMER: Gay, thank you very much. Gay Engelhaupt of Madison, Alabama. Thanks very much for playing the puzzle.

Ms. ENGELHAUPT: Thank you. It was wonderful.

WERTHEIMER: Will, what's the challenge for next week?

SHORTZ: Yes, think of a four-letter word with a short "A" sound, and specifically, the "A" is the second letter. Switch the third and fourth letters and you'll get a new word also with a short "A" sound. And the two words go together to make a phrase that names something that existed from 1982 to 2000. What is it? Now, this is something that still exists in some places today, but the most famous version of this existed from 1982 to 2000.

So, again, a four-letter word, short "A" sound, the "A" is in the second spot. Switch the third and fourth letters, you'll get a new word and the two words go together to make a phrase that names something that existed from 1982 to 2000. What is it?

WERTHEIMER: Oh, goodness. Okay. When you have the answer, go to our Web site and click on the Submit Your Answer link. Only one entry per person, please. Our deadline this week is Thursday at 3 PM Eastern Time. Please include a telephone 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 and WEEKEND EDITION'S Puzzlemaster Will Shortz. Will, thank you so much.

SHORTZ: Thanks a lot, Linda.

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