Think They Rhyme? Think Again Every answer is a made up two-word phrase in which the two words look like they should rhyme, but they don't. For example, given the clue "desires trousers," the answer would be "wants pants."
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Think They Rhyme? Think Again

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Think They Rhyme? Think Again

Think They Rhyme? Think Again

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Liane Hansen.

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


HANSEN: Can I say something about the challenge you gave last week?


HANSEN: It was hard. It was so hard - we'll let you repeat it and then we'll actually tell you how many entries we got. Repeat the challenge.

SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Mark Leeper of Matawan, New Jersey. I said take a plural noun - it ends in the letter S - insert a space somewhere in the word. The result will be a two-word phrase that has the same meaning as the original word except in the singular. What words are these?

HANSEN: And your answer?

SHORTZ: Well, the original word is ayes A-Y-E-S, and if you put a space between the A and the Y, you get a yes, which is the singular form of ayes.

HANSEN: We received fewer than 200 entries, but we did pick a player who did get the answer right. It's Isaac Moses of Chesterfield, Missouri. Hi, Isaac.

Mr. ISAAC MOSES: Hi, Liane.

HANSEN: What do you do in Chesterfield?

Mr. MOSES: I work for the St. Louis Metro. I do technology stuff to support the public transit.

HANSEN: And have you been playing our puzzle for a long time?

Mr. MOSES: I go all the way back to the podcast days, actually.

HANSEN: Good for you. That was, I think, one of our more recent delivery systems of our puzzle segment. But you are ready to play on the radio, aren't you?

Mr. MOSES: Absolutely.

HANSEN: I can tell. Will, meet Isaac. Let's play.

SHORTZ: All right, Isaac. Every answer today is a made-up two-word phrase in which the two words look like they should rhyme but they don't. For example, if I gave you the clue: desire's trousers, you would say want's pants.


SHORTZ: Number one is listens to grizzlies.

Mr. MOSES: Hears bears.

SHORTZ: Hears bears is right. Number two: exhibits cattle.

Mr. MOSES: Shows cows.


SHORTZ: That's it. Holds stinging insects.

HANSEN: Holds.

SHORTZ: Holds tightly stinging insects.

HANSEN: I'm going for wasp.


HANSEN: Is that right?

SHORTZ: Um-hum.


SHORTZ: Holds, holds, stinging insects.

Mr. MOSES: Clasps wasps.

HANSEN: Clasps.

SHORTZ: Clasps wasps, good. That's tough to say.

HANSEN: It is.

SHORTZ: Try this one: provides mates for husbands.

Mr. MOSES: Mates for husbands.

SHORTZ: Well, what are mates for husbands?

Mr. MOSES: Wives. Oh, OK.

SHORTZ: Yes, um-hum.

HANSEN: Gives.

SHORTZ: There you go. Gives wives. Good one.

Mr. MOSES: Sure.

SHORTZ: All right. How about this: outlaws graceful birds.

Mr. MOSES: Prohibit, proscribe.

SHORTZ: In one syllable.


SHORTZ: There you go. Graceful birds.

Mr. MOSES: Ban swan.

SHORTZ: Bans swans, good. Try this one: wheels out Barbies.

Mr. MOSES: Rolls dolls.

SHORTZ: Rolls dolls. That was fast. Good. Injures hunting dogs. Injures hunting dogs.

Mr. MOSES: Wounds hounds.


SHORTZ: Oh, that's good. Cuts plumbing items in two.

Mr. MOSES: So, that'd be pipes?


HANSEN: That's what I had.

SHORTZ: OK. What is cuts in two?

HANSEN: Halves.


HANSEN: Oh really?

SHORTZ: Um-hum.

Mr. MOSES: Valves.

HANSEN: Valves.

SHORTZ: There you go.

HANSEN: Oh, Isaac. Nice.

SHORTZ: Halves valves, good. Takes the rough edges off magicians' sticks.

Mr. MOSES: Sands wands.

SHORTZ: Good. Interrupts series of wins - that's W-I-N-S. Interrupts series of wins.

Mr. MOSES: A streak.

SHORTZ: Streaks, yes. Um-hum. Interrupts?

Mr. MOSES: Break?


SHORTZ: Break streak. Good. And your last one is a pedicurist.

HANSEN: Foot something?

SHORTZ: And it's not foot. What part of the foot?

HANSEN: Pedicurist, toes.

SHORTZ: Yes. Toes is right. What's the verb that goes with that? Is a pedicurist?

HANSEN: I hate these ones that don't rhyme, 'cause you never can think of them. Are you really saying does toes?

SHORTZ: Does toes, that's it.

HANSEN: Isaac.

Mr. MOSES: Thanks for helping.

HANSEN: Hey, yeah, you bet. Thank you. I think we really made a good team here. We really made a good team. Well, to tell you what you're going to get for playing our puzzle today, Isaac, we have a very, very, very funny man. He's the creator of the hit television show, "The Office." Next week, he's the host of the Golden Globe Awards. And here's Golden Globe winner himself Ricky Gervais.

Mr. RICKY GERVAIS (Comedian, Actor): Thanks, Liane. For playing our puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, the "Scrabble Deluxe Edition" from Parker Brothers, the book series "Will Shortz Presents KenKen" Volumes 1, 2 and 3 -

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. GERVAIS: from St. Martin's Press - in case you wondered who published that - one of Will Shortz's "Puzzlemaster Decks of Riddles and Challenges" from Chronicle Books - guess St. Martins Press wasnt interested - and a CD compilation of NPR's Sunday Puzzles. Wow. Ho-ho-ho.

HANSEN: I just hear his voice and it makes me laugh. Are you familiar with his work, Isaac?

Mr. MOSES: Oh, yeah. He's a funny guy.

HANSEN: He certainly is. And you know what? You can hear the interview I did with Ricky Gervais next week, when the Golden Globes are going to be awarded. And I have to say, I was almost crying during the entire interview.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: Before I let you go, Isaac, tell us your member station.

Mr. MOSES: That would be KWMU 90.7 in St. Louis.

HANSEN: Oh, boy. You know everything about it. Isaac Moses of Chesterfield, Missouri, thanks a lot for playing the puzzle with us today. It was great to have you own my team.

Mr. MOSES: Thanks a lot, Liane. And, Will, that was fun.


Mr. SHORTZ: Thank you.

HANSEN: All right, Will, you have something fun for next week?

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes. Name an article of apparel in the plural form, ending in the letter S. Rearrange the letters to name an article of apparel in the singular form. What things to wear are these?

So again, an article of apparel in the plural form, ending in the letter S. Rearrange the letters to name an article of apparel in the single form. What things to wear are these?

HANSEN: When you have the answer go to our website, and click on the Submit Your Answer link. Only one entry per person, please. Our deadline is Thursday at 3 P.M. Eastern Time. Please include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time, because we will call if youre the winner. And you'll get to play on the air with the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzlemaster, Will Shortz.

Thanks a lot, Will.

Mr. SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane.

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