Building On Four-Letter Words There are three four-letter words. Think of three letters that can precede each of them to complete familiar seven-letter words. For example, for "each," "rove" and "lode," the answer is "IMP": impeach, improve and implode.
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Building On Four-Letter Words

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Building On Four-Letter Words

Building On Four-Letter Words

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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From NPR News, this is WEEKEND EDITION. I'm Alison Stewart.

Joining us is puzzlemaster Will Shortz. Hi, Will.

WILL SHORTZ: Hey, Alison.

STEWART: All right. Now, I heard the challenge last week when I was home in my living room, but let me hear it now that I'm here in the NPR studios.

SHORTZ: Yes, it was a straightforward challenge. I said, think of a word starting with T-E and another word starting with S-T that are synonyms. And as a hint, I said the T-E word has two syllables, the S-T word has one.

STEWART: So, Will, what's the answer?

SHORTZ: Answer is tempest and storm.

STEWART: Ah. We had over 1,500 entries this past week, and our lucky winner is Harley Cahen of University Park, Maryland. And since he's a local to the Washington area, well, he just jumped on the Metro and he's joining us here in the studio for today's puzzle. Hi, Harley, welcome.

Mr. HARLEY CAHEN: Hi, Alison.

STEWART: How long did it take you to solve that puzzle?

Mr. CAHEN: I got this one right away. We've had about a month of very stormy weather here in the Washington area, and it came to me. Right.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: How long have you been playing the puzzle, Harley?

Mr. CAHEN: I go back to the postcard days.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. CAHEN: My wife, who remembers most of my life for me, tells me that we've been listening since the inaugural show 20 years ago or so.


Mr. CAHEN: And we were in Ithaca, New York at the time.

STEWART: Okay, Will, meet Harley. Let's play.

SHORTZ: All right, Harley. I'm going to give you three four-letter words. Think of three letters that can precede each of these to complete familiar seven-letter words. For example, if I said each, rove R-O-V-E and lode, L-O-D-E, you would say I-M-P, which is impeach, improve and implode.

STEWART: Oh, my.

Mr. CAHEN: All righty.

SHORTZ: Not so bad. Here's number one: riot, R-I-O-T, lice, L-I-C-E, and grin, G-R-I-N.

Mr. CAHEN: Uh-oh. I'm stuck on two letters, police.

SHORTZ: What goes in front of riot?

Mr. CAHEN: Riot. It's not a laugh riot.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: Something you saw in the movie "Ben-Hur."

STEWART: Oh, of fire.

Mr. CAHEN: Chariot.

SHORTZ: Chariot.

Mr. CAHEN: Chalice, chagrin.

SHORTZ: That's it. Here's your next one: gain, G-A-I-N, rack, R-A-C-K and rage, R-A-G-E.

Mr. CAHEN: Oh, boy. It's not going to be: out. I am…

SHORTZ: And if you go for the gain word, if you go to a store, what would you look for?

Mr. CAHEN: A bargain

SHORTZ: A bargain.

Mr. CAHEN: Barrack, barrage.

SHORTZ: And barrage. Good. Mite, M-I-T-E, race, R-A-C-E, and mini, M-I-N-I.

Mr. CAHEN: Ter: termite, terrace, termini.

SHORTZ: That's correct. Roof, R-O-O-F, lace, L-A-C-E and tile, T-I-L-E.

Mr. CAHEN: Roof, lace, tile.

STEWART: Seven-letter words, right?

Mr. CAHEN: Yeah.



SHORTZ: And for the tile word, what's an alligator an example of?

STEWART: Reptile.

Mr. CAHEN: The reptile, reproof, replace.

SHORTZ: That's correct.

Mr. CAHEN: Oh, my gosh.

SHORTZ: And, that's it. That's it. Verb, V-E-R-B, pane, P-A-N-E and fuse, F-U-S-E.

Mr. CAHEN: Pro.

SHORTZ: That's it. And propane and profuse. Good.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: Soon, S-O-O-N, arch, A-R-C-H and eyed, E-Y-E-D.

Mr. CAHEN: It looks like mon.

SHORTZ: Yes, monsoon, monarch and moneyed. How about this one, loon, L-O-O-N, last, L-A-S-T and dish, D-I-S-H?

Mr. CAHEN: Oh, boy. Balloon, ballast and baldish?

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: Baldish, yeah. If you're losing your hair a little.

STEWART: Harley has a full head of hair, for the record.


STEWART: That's why he didn't (unintelligible).

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: That's why he didn't catch that one. Yeah. Dual, D-U-A-L, nite, N-I-T-E and sped, S-P-E-D.

Mr. CAHEN: Okay, that's G-R-A.

SHORTZ: That's it: gradual, granite and grasped. How about this: rice, R-I-C-E, size, S-I-Z-E and able, A-B-L-E?


Mr. CAHEN: Rice. Capsize.


Mr. CAHEN: Caprice, capable.

SHORTZ: That's it. And here's your last one: loin, L-O-I-N, suit, S-U-I-T and pose, P-O-S-E.


SHORTZ: That's it: purloin, pursuit and purpose. Nice job.

STEWART: That was an impressive finish.

Mr. CAHEN: Oh, thank you.

STEWART: Well, Harley, to tell you what you'll get for playing the puzzle today is the award-winning and multimillion record-selling recording artist, Rob Thomas. Let's give you a little reminder of one of his many hit songs, "Smooth," featuring Santana.

(Soundbite of song, "Smooth")

Mr. ROB THOMAS (Musician): (Singing) And just like the ocean under the moon, I'm feeling the emotion that I get from you. You got the kind of lovin' that can be so smooth, gimme your heart, make it real, or else forget about it.

For playing the puzzle today, you're going to get a WEEKEND EDITION label pin, oh no, that was a lapel pin. I'm sorry, I put the wrong emphasis on the wrong syllable. The 11th Edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus - and a thesaurus, that's right. Dictionary and a thesaurus, you can look up a word and then you can look up another word that has a lot of the same meanings to that word. The Scrabble Deluxe Edition from Parker Brothers. I have that, by the way, on my bus. The "Puzzlemaster Presents" from Random House Volume 2. I don't even know what that is, but now I want it.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. THOMAS: Will Shortz's latest book series, "Will Shortz Presents KenKen," Volumes 1 and 2 and 3 from St. Martin's Press. And, is if that's not enough, one of Will Shortz's "Puzzlemaster Decks of Riddles and Challenges" from Chronicle Books. So, take that, America.

STEWART: Harley, what do you think?

Mr. CAHEN: I think that's great.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. CAHEN: Looking forward to seeing it.

STEWART: All right. Well, thank you so much for coming down to the studio. We really appreciate that.

Mr. CAHEN: I had lots of fun.

STEWART: And if you missed any of my interview with Rob Thomas on yesterday's show, you can hear at He's equally as entertaining during the interview. And Harley, before you go, tell us what member station you listen to.

Mr. CAHEN: Well, we hear WEEKEND EDITION SUNDAY on WAMU here in Washington.

STEWART: Harley Cahen of University Park, Maryland. Thanks for playing the puzzle with us.

Mr. CAHEN: Thank you.

STEWART: All right, Will, you're going to leave us with a challenge for next week?

SHORTZ: Yes, it comes from listener Henry Hook, who's one of the country's top crossword constructors. His puzzles appear in the Sunday Boston Globe and other publications. Take the name Kevin Kline, five-letter first and last names - if you write this in capital letters, you'll note that each name consists of exactly 13 straight lines and no curves.

And here's the challenge: Name a well-known TV personality, five-letter first and last names in which each name contains exactly 14 straight lines and no curves. Who is it? So, again, a well-known TV personality, five-letter first and last names, each name contains exactly 14 straight lines and no curves. What celebrity is this?

STEWART: Harley, you just wrote that down. You can't play, you can't win again, just for the record, okay?

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Well, 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 p.m. Eastern Time. Please include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time and we'll call you if you are 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. Thanks a lot, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Alison.

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