'A' Test Of Islands For each word given, add the letter "a" and rearrange all the letters to name a well-known island. For example, if the clue is "trees," add an "a" to get the answer: Easter.
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'A' Test Of Islands

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'A' Test Of Islands

'A' Test Of Islands

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LIANE HANSEN, host:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Liane Hansen, and joining us is puzzlemaster Will Shortz. Hi, Will.

WILL SHORTZ: Hi, Liane.

HANSEN: What you been up to?

SHORTZ: I had a great week the last week. I did a table tennis road trip through the Midwest: Indiana, Ohio and Illinois, and just visited my sister in Indiana. So, it was a great time.

HANSEN: How nice. How'd you do playing table tennis?

SHORTZ: I did really well. I won most of my matches.

HANSEN: Uh-oh. I smell Olympics. Wouldn't that be great, you know? We had a great challenge last week. Remind us of it.

SHORTZ: Yes. I said name a famous leader in world history, the name by which this person's usually known. Change the first letter of the leader's name to the previous letter of the alphabet, rearrange the result and you'll name what this person was the leader of. Who is it and where was this person the leader?

HANSEN: What's the answer?

SHORTZ: Answer is Nero and Rome.

HANSEN: That's great. I mean, you didn't give us the number of letters because I think that probably would've been too easy, huh?

SHORTZ: Right. Right.

HANSEN: Well, it was fun. We received about 1,000 entries this week. And from the correct entries, our randomly selected winner is Robert Van Peer of Fort Bragg, California. Hi, Robert.

Mr. ROBERT VAN PEER: Hi, and Will.

SHORTZ: Hey there.

HANSEN: How long did it take you to solve the puzzle?

Mr. VAN PEER: This one was pretty quick. This one was, I'd say, 10 minutes.

HANSEN: Wow. How long have you been playing?

Mr. VAN PEER: I first sent in a postcard 20 years ago.

HANSEN: Well, then you've been with us since the beginning of having listener participation on the show - you and me both, 20 years.

Mr. VAN PEER: Yeah. In fact, I don't know how many correct answers I've sent in, but I send you a lot of answers.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: That's great. What do you do in Fort Bragg?

Mr. VAN PEER: I'm a general contract and consultant.

HANSEN: But are you doing well in this economy?

Mr. VAN PEER: No.

HANSEN: No.

Mr. VAN PEER: We're all getting by, you know. We're all getting by.

HANSEN: Yeah. I think that's…

Mr. VAN PEER: That's what it's like everywhere, I think.

HANSEN: Well, let's have some fun then. What do you say? You ready to play?

Mr. VAN PEER: I'm as ready as I'm going to be after 20 years of being nervous.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: All right. Well…

Mr. VAN PEER: (unintelligible) in 24 hours.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: Well, Robert, you've already said hi to Will and Will has said hi to you, so let's play this game.

SHORTZ: All right, Robert and Liane, today's puzzle is called A: Test of Islands. I'm going to give you some words, for each one add the letter A and rearrange all the letters to name a well-known island. For example, if I said trees, T-R-E-E-S, you would add an A to make Easter. Okay, here's number one: mug, M-U-G.

HANSEN: A U.S. protectorate?

SHORTZ: Yes, it is.

Mr. VAN PEER: Guam.

HANSEN: Yes.

SHORTZ: Guam is right. Number two is kew, K-E-W, plus A.

Mr. VAN PEER: Wake.

SHORTZ: Wake Island is it. Amos: A-M-O-S.

Mr. VAN PEER: Samoa.

SHORTZ: Samoa. Good. Crip: C-R-I-P, as in the gang member.

Mr. VAN PEER: Capri.

HANSEN: Yes.

SHORTZ: Capri is it. Wonderful place to visit. Here's your next one: gobot, G-O-B-O-T.

Mr. VAN PEER: G-O-B-O-T. Oh. Tobago.

HANSEN: Yup.

SHORTZ: Tobago is it. Tobago, either way. Crisco, as in the shortening: C-R-I-S-C-O.

Mr. VAN PEER: Liane?

HANSEN: Would Napoleon help?

SHORTZ: Yes.

HANSEN: As a clue. Oh, I'll help you out, Robert.

SHORTZ: Go ahead, Liane.

HANSEN: Corsica.

Mr. VAN PEER: Oh.

SHORTZ: Corsica is where he was born. Good. Danger: D-A-N-G-E-R.

HANSEN: Hmm.

Mr. VAN PEER: Grenada.

HANSEN: Yup.

SHORTZ: That's it. Grenada, actually, I believe.

Mr. VAN PEER: Yes, right. Thank you.

SHORTZ: All right, try this one: stamina, S-T-A-M-I-N-A.

HANSEN: You know, he's doing my worst category. I mean, I don't mind mixing words, but geography is not my strong suit.

SHORTZ: Well, at least it's not chemical elements.

HANSEN: Yeah, that's true.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: Okay, this island is off the coast of Australia.

Mr. VAN PEER: Tasmania.

HANSEN: Yeah.

SHORTZ: Tasmania is right. And your last one is reposing, R-E-P-O-S-I-N-G, reposing.

Mr. VAN PEER: Reposing.

SHORTZ: I'll give you a hint. This island is off the coast of Southeast Asia and it's a country all by itself.

Mr. VAN PEER: Oh, well.

SHORTZ: Specifically, it's off the Malay Peninsula. The first letter is S.

Mr. VAN PEER: Singapore.

HANSEN: Yay.

SHORTZ: Singapore is it. Good work.

HANSEN: Robert, your nerves calm down a little bit?

Mr. VAN PEER: No. Well, now.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: No, you did well. You did well. We have someone to tell you what you'll get for playing today's puzzle. He's a former field producer for "The Daily Show." His name is Michael Rubens. And he's just written his first novel called "The Sheriff of," you will love this word: Yrnameer, Y-R-N-A-M-E-E-R, Yrnameer. It's a very strange name, but you can hear about the weird book and at times wacky plot. We have an interview later in the show. But, first, here's Michael Rubens to tell you what you'll get.

Mr. MICHAEL RUBENS (Author, "The Sheriff of Yrnameer"): 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 of Parker Brothers. The "Puzzlemaster Presents" from Random House Volume 2, Will Shortz's latest book series, "Will Shortz Presents KenKen," Volumes 1 and 2 and 3 from St. Martin's Press. And one of Will Shortz's "Puzzlemaster Decks of Riddles and Challenges" from Chronicle Books.

HANSEN: What do you think, Robert?

Mr. VAN PEER: I think it's wonderful. And I appreciate your letting me be on the show.

HANSEN: Sure. I'll give you a hint. This place, Yrnameer, if you say it really slowly, it actually is your name here.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: Before we let you go, tell us what member station you listen to, Robert.

Mr. VAN PEER: KZYX & Z out of Philo, California. And I'm a member.

HANSEN: Oh, well done. Good word. Robert Van Peer of Fort Bragg, California. Thanks so much for playing with us.

Mr. VAN PEER: Oh, thank you.

HANSEN: All right. Will, I know you have a challenge for next week.

SHORTZ: Yes. It was made with the help of Ed Pegg, Jr. Take the names of the first nine elements of the periodic table: hydrogen, helium, lithium, beryllium, boron, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and fluorine. Select one letter from each of these names in order to spell a familiar nine-letter word. What is it? And here's a hint: It's a word used in math.

So, again, the names of the first nine elements of the periodic table: hydrogen, helium, lithium, beryllium, boron, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and fluorine. Select one letter from each of these in order to spell a familiar nine-letter word. It's a word used in math. What word is it?

HANSEN: When you have the answer, 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'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. And Will, this coming week, I'm going on a reporting trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. So Lynn Neary will be here in my stead. So, I'll get to talk to you in two weeks' time. So, thanks a lot Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane.

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