RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. The Oscars are tonight. Hollywood is rolling out the red carpet, and the world's biggest stars are prepping for hair and makeup, practicing graceful acceptance speeches. And, of course, they are playing the puzzle.
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MARTIN: Joining me now is leading man Will Shortz. What, did I just say that? He's puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master. Hi, Will.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.
MARTIN: Are you a big fan of watching the Oscars?
SHORTZ: I am. I am. I've seen half of the best picture nominees this year.
MARTIN: That's pretty good.
SHORTZ: I've - my favorites are "The Martian" and "Spotlight." How about you?
MARTIN: Did you see "Room"?
SHORTZ: No, that's the sort of movie I would love, too.
MARTIN: It's so good, yeah. That is definitely my pick for best, best picture. And Brie Larson was awesome in that. But of course, "The Martian" is great too. And there's some other good ones. But yeah, I love watching the Oscars. OK, remind us. What was last week's challenge?
SHORTZ: Yes, it came from listener Alan Christenson of Seattle. I said think of three eight-letter words that are identical in spelling, except for the fourth letter. And each word contains a G that is pronounced differently in all three words. What words are they? Well, the answer is stranger, stringer and stronger. Stranger has a soft G sound. Stringer has a hard G. And stronger actually has two G sounds, stronger.
MARTIN: OK, we got over 170 correct answers this week. And our randomly selected winner is Barbara Haven. She lives in Folsom, Calif., and she join us on the line now. Barbara, congratulations.
BARBARA HAVEN: Thank you, Rachel. Thank you. Hi, Will.
MARTIN: So how'd you figure it out?
HAVEN: I thought about the words. And it didn't come to me for a while. And then I heard the word stranger in conversation and recognized that as an unusual G and realized there were two other words with only one letter different.
MARTIN: Nice. So of course, Folsom, very famous for that Johnny Cash song. Do you get sick of people asking you about that when you tell them you're from Folsom? But I can't help myself.
HAVEN: We have a bike trail named after Johnny Cash too.
MARTIN: Do you listen to a lot of - are you a Johnny Cash fan?
HAVEN: No, not really.
MARTIN: Not really (laughter).
MARTIN: So are you ready to play the puzzle, Barbara?
HAVEN: Yes, I'm ready.
MARTIN: Take it away, Will.
SHORTZ: All right, Barbara and Rachel. Every answer today is the name of a movie that has won in one of the top four categories at the Oscars - best picture, best director, best actor or actress. Every answer is a solid word or name. And identify the movies from their anagrams. For example, if I said, go asunder, you would say "Dangerous," 1935 movie for which Bette Davis won best actress. And I gave you that 'cause that's the hardest one.
MARTIN: OK good...
SHORTZ: So put that behind you.
MARTIN: Because that was hard.
SHORTZ: Number one is USA made, U-S-A-M-A-D-E. Rearrange those the seven letters to name a movie. It was 1984's best picture.
HAVEN: I don't think I was watching any movies in '84. But...
SHORTZ: And it's the middle name of a famous composer.
MARTIN: Yeah, there you go.
SHORTZ: "Amadeus" is correct.
SHORTZ: There you go. Number two is on a plot, O-N-A-P-L-O-T. It's a 1986 movie, won best picture and best director. It was a war movie. How's that for a hint?
MARTIN: Oh, good job.
SHORTZ: "Platoon" is correct. In attic, I-N-A-T-T-I-C.
SHORTZ: Best picture, best director.
HAVEN: I'm kind of wondering about those two T's staying together and not coming up with anything. Rachel, do you have an idea?
MARTIN: Yeah, I think it's "Titanic."
SHORTZ: It is "Titanic."
HAVEN: "Titanic," oh.
MARTIN: That little film.
SHORTZ: That little film.
SHORTZ: Here's your next one. Not apt. You're looking for a name, a last name.
HAVEN: "Patton," the general.
MARTIN: Great. I did not see that. Good.
SHORTZ: There you go. Toecap, T-O-E-C-A-P. It's 2005. And it got the award for best actor.
HAVEN: I almost said Capone, but it isn't Capone. "Capote."
MARTIN: Yes, "Capote."
SHORTZ: "Capote" is it. Good. And here's your last one, Gold tiara, 2000 best picture. And it was also the movie for which Russell Crowe won best actor. It starts with a G.
MARTIN: Oh, good job.
SHORTZ: "Gladiator" is it.
MARTIN: I did not see that one. Barbara, well done.
HAVEN: Oh, what fun.
MARTIN: So for playing the puzzle today, you get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin and puzzle books and games. You can check out your prizes at npr.org/puzzle. And Barbara, where do you listen to us?
HAVEN: I listen to you on KXJZ FM. That's Capital Public Radio.
MARTIN: Barbara Haven of Folsom, Calif.. Thanks so much for playing the puzzle, Barbara.
HAVEN: Thank you very much. I enjoyed it.
MARTIN: OK, Will, what's up for next week?
SHORTZ: What two eight-letter terms in math are anagrams of each other? One word is from geometry, and the other is from calculus. What words are they? So again, two eight-letter terms in math that are anagrams of each other, one of them from geometry, one from calculus. What words are these?
MARTIN: OK, you know what to do. When you've got the answer, fo to npr.org/puzzle. Find that submit your answer link. And then you click on it. Limit yourself to one entry per person, please. And our deadline for those entries is Thursday, March 3 at 3 p.m. Eastern. Don't forget to include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time. And if you're the winner, then we'll give you a call. And then you get to play on the air with the puzzle editor of The New York Times. And he is WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master, Mr. Will Shortz. Thanks so much, Will.
SHORTZ: Thanks, Rachel.