First And Last Rhymes Every answer is a familiar three-word phrase. The clues are two-word phrases. The first word of each phrase rhymes with the first word of the answer. The last word of the phrase rhymes with the last word of the answer. For example, if the clue is, "Split this," the answer would be, "Hit or miss."
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First And Last Rhymes

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First And Last Rhymes

First And Last Rhymes

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From NPR News, this is WEEKEND EDITION. I'm Liane Hansen.

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

WILL SHORTZ: Hey, Liane. Welcome back.

HANSEN: Thanks.

SHORTZ: How was your week off?

HANSEN: It was really nice. It was relaxing, it was restful. And I did listen to the show last week and I regretted I didn't get to meet a puzzle player in person.


HANSEN: I think that would've been so much fun. But I'm also glad I wasn't playing the on air puzzle, because it took me about five clues before I started getting the gist. So…

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: I don't have that luxury this week. But you have something to say about a contest that was recently held.

SHORTZ: Yeah. You know, two weeks ago, I mentioned the U.S. Puzzle Championship and our celebrity prize reader was Thomas Snyder, who had won the championship the last three years. Well, we had the event again last week and Thomas won again, fourth straight time.

HANSEN: Oh my. Dear. Fourth?

SHORTZ: And people can - fourth straight year. And people can still do the puzzles and it's free. Just go to

HANSEN: Okay. Well, they can do that after they hear this radio puzzle that we do every weekend. I don't remember it, but I should. Remind of us of the challenge you gave last week.

SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Henry Hook, who's one of the country's top crossword constructors. I said, take the name Kevin Kline, five-letter first and last names, and if you write this in capital letters, you'll note that each name consists of exactly 13 straight lines and no curves. And the challenge was, 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?

HANSEN: Who is it?

SHORTZ: Answer is Vanna White.

HANSEN: Ah. Well, we had over 1,100 people who didn't need to buy a vowel this week.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: They solved the puzzle. And from those entries we randomly selected Kathy Gurtowsky of Bristol, Connecticut to play with us today. Hi, Kathy.


HANSEN: Hi. How long did it take you to solve this puzzle?

Ms. GURTOWSKY: Oh, on and off, kind of about a half a day.

HANSEN: Really?


HANSEN: Oh, nice work. How long have you been playing our puzzle?

Ms. GURTOWSKY: I would say about five years.

HANSEN: Oh. And what do you do in Bristol?

Ms. GURTOWSKY: Well, I work in a hospital and I'm a medical transcriptionist.

HANSEN: Do you have to transcribe medicalese into English?

Ms. GURTOWSKY: I do puzzles all day.

HANSEN: Oh, I bet.

Ms. GURTOWSKY: (unintelligible) after saying.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: Well, it sounds like you'll be good at this one. Are you ready?

Ms. GURTOWSKY: I hope so.

HANSEN: All right, Kathy. We'll play together. Here we go. Will, meet Kathy and let's play.

SHORTZ: All right. Kathy, every answer today is a familiar three-word phrase in the form blank or blank. I'll give you a two-word phrase. The first word in my phrase rhymes with the first word of the answer. And the last word of my phrase rhymes with the last word of the answer. For example, if I said, split this, you would say, hit or miss.


SHORTZ: All right. Number one is tore dress. Tore dress, and a nice way to think of it is just sort of put in you mind, or…

Ms. GURTOWSKY: More or less.

HANSEN: Well, yeah. More or less. Well done.

SHORTZ: More or less. That's it. Just strip away those initial sounds. Here's number two: main line.

Ms. GURTOWSKY: Rain or shine.

SHORTZ: Rain or shine. Good. Brick street.

Ms. GURTOWSKY: Hmm, brick street.

SHORTZ: That's it.

HANSEN: Something you might do on Halloween?


Ms. GURTOWSKY: Trick or treat.

HANSEN: Yeah, trick or treat.

SHORTZ: Trick or treat is it. Prime season.

Ms. GURTOWSKY: Crime reason. Rhyme or reason.


SHORTZ: Rhyme or reason is it. Leather cot.

Ms. GURTOWSKY: Whether or not.

SHORTZ: That's it. Fight song.

Ms. GURTOWSKY: Right or wrong.


SHORTZ: Right or wrong, yes. Smash barge.


SHORTZ: Smash barge.

Ms. GURTOWSKY: Large. Something or large.

SHORTZ: Something you might be asked by a clerk in a store at checkout.

Ms. GURTOWSKY: Cash or charge.

HANSEN: That's it.

SHORTZ: Cash or charge is it. Guess so.

Ms. GURTOWSKY: Yes or no?

SHORTZ: Uh-huh. Pink gym.

Ms. GURTOWSKY: Sink or swim.

SHORTZ: Yes. Fred's scales.

Ms. GURTOWSKY: Oh, heads or tails.

SHORTZ: Heads or tails is it.


SHORTZ: Least salmon.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: Like that's the least salmon ever came up the river.

HANSEN: Yeah. Actually, it kind of fits into the answer. How you doing, Kathy?

Ms. GURTOWSKY: I'm hanging in there. I could - least salmon, right?

HANSEN: Right.

SHORTZ: Right.

Ms. GURTOWSKY: Salmon?

HANSEN: Salmon, I know.


SHORTZ: Not many rhymes for salmon. Yeah?

Ms. GURTOWSKY: Oh, feast or famine.

HANSEN: Famine, I know.

SHORTZ: Feast or famine is it. Good.

Ms. GURTOWSKY: I was thinking of the spelling.

HANSEN: Yeah, the spelling. That's it, exactly.

Ms. GURTOWSKY: That's it.

SHORTZ: How about this one: bus Linus.

Ms. GURTOWSKY: Oh, boy.

HANSEN: That's getting into mathematical puzzles.



Ms. GURTOWSKY: Plus or minus.


SHORTZ: Good. Tooth scare.

Ms. GURTOWSKY: Okay. Truth or dare.

SHORTZ: Truth or dare is it. Soxers chiefs. Soxers as in bobbysoxers, chiefs as in Indian chiefs.


SHORTZ: Soxers chiefs.

Ms. GURTOWSKY: Boxers or briefs.

SHORTZ: Boxers or briefs.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: And your last one is lunar crater.

Ms. GURTOWSKY: Sooner or later.

HANSEN: Sooner or later.

SHORTZ: Sooner or later. Nice job.


HANSEN: We'll figure out the answers to this puzzle. Kathy, you were great.

Ms. GURTOWSKY: Oh, thank you, Liane, you were helpful.

HANSEN: Yeah, we worked as a team. It was - this was fun.


HANSEN: I liked this one. This was a lot of fun. Well, you get some things for playing the puzzle with us today. And as you know, this past week one of pop music's biggest icon's passed away. So, as a tribute to Michael Jackson, we asked E. Ethelbert Miller to write an essay about him. Ethelbert is a poet and director of the African-American Resources Center at Howard University. And you can read his essay on our blog But Ethelbert also the took the time, Kathy, to read you puzzle prizes.


Mr. E. ETHELBERT MILLER (Poet; Director, African-American Resource Center, Howard University): For playing our 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 "Little Black Book of Sudoku" and "Black (And White) Book of Crosswords" from St. Martin's Press. And one of Will Shortz's "Puzzlemaster Decks of Riddles and Challenges" from Chronicle Books.

HANSEN: Oh boy, a list of prizes that sounds like poetry. Kathy, what did you think?

Ms. GURTOWSKY: Beautiful.

HANSEN: Yeah. He has such a great voice in a way of, I mean, it really was poetry. Well, before we let you go, ma'am, tell us what member station you listen to.


HANSEN: WNPR in Connecticut. Kathy Gurtowsky of Bristol, Connecticut. Thank you so much for being our guest today.

Ms. GURTOWSKY: Oh, thanks for having me.

HANSEN: Oh, it was a pleasure. All right, Will, we get to do this again next week. What do you got?

SHORTZ: Well, take tire and exhaust - they're both things the car has, but as verbs in a non-car sense, they're synonyms. And here's the challenge: Name two articles of apparel - things to wear - each with four letters, and as verbs in a non-apparel sense, the two words are synonyms. What are they?

So, again, two articles of apparel, each with four letters in their names and as verbs in a non-apparel sense, the two words are synonyms. What words are they?

HANSEN: Sounds like fun. When you have the answer, go to our Web site 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, and 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. Thanks a lot, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane.

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