RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. And that music means it's time to talk about the national budget deficit - I kid, I kid - it's time for the puzzle.
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MARTIN: Joining me now is WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle-master Will Shortz. Good morning, Will.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Morning, Rachel.
MARTIN: OK. Refresh our memories, what was last week's challenge?
SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Matt Jones of Portland, Oregon. And the challenge was to come up with a familiar six-word proverb that contains 11 of the first 12 letters of the alphabet - A through L. And the answer was birds of a feather flock together, which uses all the letters except J.
MARTIN: So, about 550 listeners had it right this week. And our randomly selected winner is Elle Milgram Stern of Los Gatos, California. She is on the line now. Congratulations, Elle.
ELLE MILGRAM STERN: Thank you so much, Rachel.
MARTIN: So, this was a tricky one. How did you figure it out?
STERN: Oh, goodness. It was the first time I entered and it was so easy. I Googled proverbs and came up with the 50 most prominent proverbs and I went through them carefully. It took about five to ten minutes.
MARTIN: And I understand you just celebrated a big day, Elle.
STERN: Oh, my 79th birthday.
MARTIN: Happy birthday.
STERN: Thank you. I'm pushing 80.
MARTIN: And you don't sound a day over 62.
STERN: Well, inside my head I'm actually 12.
MARTIN: And what do you live for a living in Los Gatos, Elle? Are you still working?
STERN: Actually, everyone thinks I work very hard but I'm not working for anyone. I manage a small estate, and I'm basically a troublemaker.
MARTIN: Ooh. I like the sounds of that. Well, do you have a question for Will Shortz, Elle?
STERN: I do. I find surnames very interesting. And I'd love to know the derivative of Shortz.
SHORTZ: Yeah, I'd like to know it too.
STERN: Well, is it German or is it Dutch?
SHORTZ: It does come from German and I honestly don't know.
MARTIN: Are you serious, Will. I feel like that's a puzzle of your own life that you would have figured that one out.
SHORTZ: If anyone can research this and find out, I'd love to hear.
MARTIN: All right. If anyone out there has the linguistic origin of Shortz let us know. OK. With all of that in mind, Elle, are you ready to play the puzzle?
STERN: More or less.
MARTIN: All right.
STERN: I'm sitting down.
MARTIN: That's good enough. That's a good start. OK, Will. What's the puzzle this week?
SHORTZ: All right, Elle. I like your attitude about life, by the way. And every answer today consists of two people, either real or fictional, whose last names are anagrams of each other. For example, if I gave you the clue comedian Mort and artist Franz, you would say Sahl and Hals - S-A-H-L and H-A-L-S.
MARTIN: I'm ready if you are, Elle.
MARTIN: Let's do it.
SHORTZ: Number one: former Cabinet member Janet and pianist Peter.
SHORTZ: Right. And the Cabinet member Janet would be?
SHORTZ: There you go - Janet Reno, good.
STERN: Yes, thank you.
SHORTZ: Merchant LL and diplomat and politician Abba.
SHORTZ: Bean and...
STERN: Abba Eban.
SHORTZ: That's it, Abba Eban from Israel. Novelist Sholem and singer Johnny.
STERN: Sholem Molehem(ph).
SHORTZ: No. It's four letters.
STERN: Oh, Sholem Asch.
SHORTZ: There you go. And singer Johnny...
MARTIN: (Singing) I went down in a burning ring of fire...
STERN: Cash. Johnny Cash.
SHORTZ: Johnny Cash it is. Musical interlude there from Rachel, good.
STERN: You know, the wheels on my train that joins my brain connections needs greasing.
MARTIN: It happens to all of us.
SHORTZ: Here's your next one: software developer Bill and TV host Bob.
SHORTZ: That's a good guess but it's only five letters. From Microsoft?
STERN: Oh, in Seattle.
STERN: Microsoft guy. On the tip of my tongue.
MARTIN: Big guy, famous guy.
STERN: I know. Wealthy guy. Ted would know this - my son. Well, anybody would know it actually. I just want a hint. Just the first letter of his name. Is it M?
SHORTZ: Good. The first letter is G.
STERN: Oh, G. Gates. Bill Gates.
SHORTZ: That's right - Bill Gates. And rearrange those letters to get TV host Bob.
MARTIN: Tell me if you want help on this.
STERN: Just the first letter.
STERN: S. I give up.
MARTIN: Bob Saget.
STERN: Oh, Saget. OK. Go ahead.
SHORTZ: Here's your next one: adventurer Robinson.
SHORTZ: There you go. And actress Lindsay.
STERN: Oh, Lindsay Crouse.
SHORTZ: There you go, man. And here's your last one: Advice columnist Ann.
SHORTZ: And comic actor: Adam.
STERN: Adam Sandler.
SHORTZ: Adam Sandler is it.
MARTIN: Ellie, that was fantastic. One of the most memorable puzzle experiences of my entire life.
STERN: Twenty-one gun salute.
STERN: All that anxiety for the last 24-hours for nothing.
MARTIN: Knocked it out of the park. That was fabulous.
STERN: Oh, that was really a Zen moment.
MARTIN: I think it is a Zen moment for Will and myself.
STERN: Having listened to you both and, of course, to Will for many, many, many years, this is absolutely a huge thrill for me. Thank you.
MARTIN: We were thrilled for having you playing the puzzle today, Ellie. You'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin and puzzle books and games. You can, of course, read all about it at our website, npr.org/puzzle.
And before we let you go, Ellie - which we don't want to do, but we need to - what is your public radio station?
STERN: Oh, I've been a member for 54 years-plus to KQED, San Francisco, which is I think the most outstanding NPR station in the country.
MARTIN: Ellie Milgrom Stern of Los Gatos, California, thank you so much for playing the puzzle, Ellie.
STERN: Oh, it was entirely my pleasure. Thank you so much.
MARTIN: Well, I don't know how we top that, Will, but what's the challenge for next week?
SHORTZ: We'll never top that.
SHORTZ: But it's a pretty easy challenge, I think. Name a famous performer whose last name has six letters. Move the first three letters to the end - without otherwise changing the order of the letters - add one more letter at the end and the result, in seven letters, will name a place where this person famously performed. Who is it and what's the place?
So again: famous performer, six letters. Move the first three letters to the end. Add one more letter at the end. In seven letters, this will name a place where this entertainer famously performed. Who is it and what's the place?
MARTIN: You know what to do. When you've got the answer, go to our website, npr.org/puzzle and click on the Submit Your Answer link - just one entry per person, please. And our deadline for entries is Thursday, May 9th at 3 P.M. Eastern.
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 will 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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