Dear Mr. President, What's Your Name? In honor of Presidents Day, every answer is the last name of a U.S. president. You will be given a word or phrase that is a president's last name with two letters changed. You name the president. For example, given "Carpet," the answer would be "Carter."
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Dear Mr. President, What's Your Name?

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Dear Mr. President, What's Your Name?

Dear Mr. President, What's Your Name?

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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 Rachel Martin. Got pencil? Check. Paper? Check. Person in your family who always get the answers before you? Check. Let's play the puzzle.


MARTIN: Joining me now is WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle-master Will Shortz. Good morning, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.

MARTIN: So, remind us what was last week's challenge, Will.

SHORTZ: Yes. The challenge was to take the last name of a former president of a foreign country - someone well-known - change the last letter of this name to an O and rearrange the result. You'll get the last name of someone who wanted to be president of the United States. Who are these two people? Well, the first person was Nelson Mandela. Change the last A to an O, and scramble. You get Mondale, as in Walter Mondale, who ran for president here in the 1984.

MARTIN: Lost to Ronald Reagan. OK. Very tricky. I understand you have another sort of presidential name scramble that could have worked, right?

SHORTZ: Well, didn't quite work, but it's ingenious from Henry Hook, who writes crosswords for the Boston Globe. He pointed out that if you take Romney, who ran for president in 2008 and in 2012, change the last letter to an O and scramble, you get Monroe, who was U.S. president.

MARTIN: Which is very clever and very appropriate on this Presidents Day weekend. OK. So, more than 600 listeners sent in correct answers this week. And our randomly selected winner is Jane Meyer of Oakland, California. And she joins us on the phone. Congratulations, Jane.

JANE MEYER: Thank you.

MARTIN: So, how did you figure this one out? Any particular strategy?

MEYER: Well, I just started thinking about recent candidates and Mondale just hit me. And I worked with that for a few minutes and came up with Mandela.

MARTIN: Very good. And how long have you been doing the puzzle? A long time?

MEYER: Oh, yeah. At least 10 years, probably longer.

MARTIN: And do you submit an answer every week?

MEYER: Almost every week. I sometimes can't get it, but 90 percent of the time.

MARTIN: Ninety percent is pretty good. It's a pretty good average. Jane, do you have a question for Will?

MEYER: Sure, I do. Will, what is your favorite board or card game?

SHORTZ: My favorite game - does this count - Boggle?


MEYER: Sure, sure. Yeah.

MARTIN: That makes sense.

MEYER: Yeah, that's fun.

SHORTZ: I love Boggle. I could play that all day.

MEYER: Cool, cool.

SHORTZ: Some days I have.

MARTIN: OK. Well, we won't keep you waiting any longer. Are you ready for the puzzle on the air?

MEYER: You bet.

MARTIN: OK, Will. Let's do it.

SHORTZ: In honor of President's Day tomorrow, every answer today is the last name of a U.S. president. I'm going to give you a word or phrase that is a president's last name with two letters changed. You name the president. For example, if I said carpet C-A-R-P-E-T, you would say Carter, which changes the P and the T of carpet. OK. Number one is Klingon K-L-I-N-G-O-N.

MEYER: Reagan, no.

SHORTZ: No. Klingon K-L-I-N-G-O-N. And it's a relatively recent president.

MEYER: Clinton.

SHORTZ: Clinton is it, changing the K and the G. Number two is hurling H-U-R-L-I-N-G.


SHORTZ: And this is during the first half of the 20th century.

MEYER: Oh. Harding.

SHORTZ: Harding is it, good. Joins in J-O-I-N-S I-N.

MEYER: Johnson.

SHORTZ: Johnson, yeah. One of two. Sad iron S-A-D I-R-O-N.

MEYER: Sad iron. Wow. Oh, wow. Madison.

SHORTZ: Madison, good. Hennery H-E-N-N-E-R-Y.

MEYER: Hennery.

SHORTZ: Which I think is a hen house.

MEYER: Right, right.

SHORTZ: One of the letters you want to change is the H.

MEYER: OK. Wow, wow. Second half of the 20th century.

MARTIN: Those two Ns stay right where they are.

SHORTZ: The two Ns stay, yes.

MEYER: Totally blanking out.

MARTIN: John...

SHORTZ: You want to jump in, Rachel?

MEYER: Yeah, go ahead, Rachel.

MARTIN: Kennedy.

MEYER: Oh, wow.

SHORTZ: Kennedy is it.

MEYER: That is so good.

SHORTZ: So hard to see for some reason. Here's your next one: toucan T-O-U-C-A-N.

MEYER: T-O-U-C-A-N - boy, these are really hard. Truman.

SHORTZ: Truman. Reason R-E-A-S-O-N.

MEYER: Reagan.

MARTIN: That was quick.

SHORTZ: Yes. Parlor P-A-R-L-O-R.

MEYER: Taylor.

SHORTZ: Good. That's a tough one too. You nailed it. Pile on P-I-L-E O-N.

MEYER: Pile...Milton. We didn't have a president named Milton.

SHORTZ: But you're right on keeping the O-N. Keep those two letters.


SHORTZ: Just change the P and the E.

MEYER: Wilson, Wilson.

SHORTZ: Wilson is it, good.

MARTIN: You saved us, Jane.

SHORTZ: And you've got one more. Your last one is adios A-D-I-O-S.

MEYER: Adios. Adams.

SHORTZ: Adams is it. John or John Quincy. Nice job.

MARTIN: That was so well-done. That was a fun one. Great job, Jane.

MEYER: That was excellent. That was really good, Will. That was so hard.

SHORTZ: Thank you.

MARTIN: That was good. And for playing the puzzle today, Jane, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, and puzzle books and games. You can, of course, read all about it at

And before we let you go, Jane, what public radio station do you listen to?

MEYER: I'm a longtime member of KQED in San Francisco.

MARTIN: Glad to hear it. Jane Meyer of Oakland, California. Jane, thanks so much for playing the puzzle.

MEYER: Thank you.

MARTIN: OK, Will, what's up for the next week?

SHORTZ: Yes, the challenge comes from listener Gary Alvstad of Tustin, California. Name a well-known movie in two words with a total of 13 letters. Each of the two words contains the letter C. Drop both Cs. The letters that remain in the second word of the title will be in alphabetical order. And the letters that remain in the first word will be in reverse alphabetical order. What movie is it?

So again: a well-known movie, two words, 13 letters. Each word has a C. Drop the Cs. The letters in the second word that remain will be in alphabetical order. And the letters in the first word will be in reverse alphabetical order. What movie is it?

MARTIN: When you have the answer, go to our website, and click on the Submit Your Answer link - just one entry per person, please. And our deadline for entries is Thursday, February 21st at 3 P.M. Eastern Time.

Please include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time. And if you're the winner we'll give you a call, and you'll get to play on the air with the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle-master, Will Shortz.

Thanks so much, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Rachel.


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