Taking Two NPR's Puzzlemaster Will Shortz quizzes one of our listeners, and has a challenge for everyone at home. (This week's winner is Peter Caplan from Detroit, Mich. He listens to Weekend Edition on member station WDET in Detroit.)
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Taking Two

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Taking Two

Taking Two

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From NPR News, this is WEEKEND EDITION. I'm Liane Hansen.

And joining us is puzzlemaster Will Shortz.

Hey, Will.

WILL SHORTZ (Puzzlemaster): Hi, Liane. Welcome back from vacation.

HANSEN: Thank you very much. We had a...

SHORTZ: And how was it?

HANSEN: It was really good. I mean, we had--we were up in Massachusetts and we had three days of rain so I managed to spend a lot of time with, you know, books that I've wanted to read and I have become hopelessly addicted to Sudoku puzzles.


HANSEN: They're a lot of fun because it's just--it's not words. It's numbers.

SHORTZ: Yeah. Yeah. And they started in USA Today this past week so really they're popping up everywhere.

HANSEN: Well, we do mostly word puzzles here on our program, and remind us of the challenge that you left everyone with last week.

SHORTZ: Yes, it came from a member of the National Puzzlers League, Ed Pegg Jr. of Champaign, Illinois. And I said, `Start with the name of a masked crime-fighter who had a TV show.' I said, `Add the letters L-A and rearrange the result to get another masked crime-fighter who had a TV show. Who are these characters?'

HANSEN: Who are they?

SHORTZ: They are The Lone Ranger, drop the L-A and rearrange, and you get Green Hornet.

And, interestingly, those two characters, as one our listeners Tom Silki(ph) e-mailed us, those two characters were created by the same person and they also shared sidekicks and supporting music similarities, and it does make me wonder, could one of the names been derived from the other?

HANSEN: Interesting. Well, about 1,400 people wrote in with correct entries to the Puzzle and our winner, randomly selected from those correct answers, is Peter Caplan, and he joins us from Detroit, Michigan.

Hi, Peter.

Mr. PETER CAPLAN: Hi, Liane. Hi, Will.

SHORTZ: Hi, there.

HANSEN: Oh--What do you do there in Detroit?

Mr. CAPLAN: I'm an assistant US attorney. I work for the local US attorney's office.

HANSEN: How long have you been doing the Puzzle on this program?

Mr. CAPLAN: Well, I've been doing it in my head probably since you started. More recently I've been sending in a few more of my answers.

HANSEN: Ah, so you know the drill, huh? You know what happens next.

Mr. CAPLAN: Yeah, I know it's a lot easier listening than it is playing.

HANSEN: Yes, I know, it is.

All right, well, you're ready to play. We're ready to have a good time. So, Will, why don't you meet Peter, and let's play?

SHORTZ: All right, Peter, I'm going to give you some five-letter words. For each one insert a letter of the alphabet twice without rearranging the remaining letters, to complete a seven-letter word. For example, if I said, `Verge, V-E-R-G-E, plus two A's,' you would say, `Average.' And note the added letters will never be consecutive in the word.

Mr. CAPLAN: Got it.


SHORTZ: All right. Number one is alloy, A-L-L-O-Y, plus two B's. And this is someone you might see...

Mr. CAPLAN: Ballboy.

SHORTZ: Ballboy is right. Number two is raker, R-A-K-E-R, plus C.

Mr. CAPLAN: Cracker.

SHORTZ: Cracker. Good. Milan, M-I-L-A-N, plus D as in dog.

Mr. CAPLAN: Midland, a city in Michigan.

SHORTZ: Midland--yes, well, that's a regular old word, too. Aspin, A-S-P-I-N, plus G.

Mr. CAPLAN: Gasping.

SHORTZ: Yes. Chant, C-H-A-N-T, plus I.

Mr. CAPLAN: Chianti.

SHORTZ: Oh, good. Cosey, C-O-S-E-Y, plus L.

Mr. CAPLAN: Cosey?

SHORTZ: Uh-huh. C-O-S...

Mr. CAPLAN: Closely.

SHORTZ: Closely, yes. Axial, A-X-I-A-L, plus M.

Mr. CAPLAN: Maximal.

SHORTZ: Uh-huh. Covet, C-O-V-E-T, plus N.

Mr. CAPLAN: Convent.

SHORTZ: Yes. Later, L-A-T-E-R, plus N.

Mr. CAPLAN: Lantern.

SHORTZ: That's right. Minus, M-I-N-U-S, plus O.

Mr. CAPLAN: Ominous.

SHORTZ: Ominous is right. Bilgy, B-I-L-G-Y, plus O.

Mr. CAPLAN: B-I-L-G-Y, plus O.

SHORTZ: That's right.

Mr. CAPLAN: Biology.

SHORTZ: Biology is right. Egads, E-G-A-D-S, plus R.

Mr. CAPLAN: Regards.

SHORTZ: Uh-huh. Fogey, F-O-G-E-Y, plus R.

Mr. CAPLAN: Forgery.

SHORTZ: Uh-huh. Teton, T-E-T-O-N, plus S.

Mr. CAPLAN: Stetson.

SHORTZ: Uh-huh. Exile, E-X-I-L-E, plus T.

Mr. CAPLAN: Textile.

SHORTZ: Uh-huh. Arise, A-R-I-S-E, plus T.

Mr. CAPLAN: Artiste.

SHORTZ: Artiste is right. Sally, S-A-L-L-Y, plus U.

Mr. CAPLAN: Usually.

SHORTZ: Usually. And your last one, axing, A-X-I-N-G, plus W.

Mr. CAPLAN: Waxwing.

SHORTZ: Waxwing, the bird. Peter...


SHORTZ: ...bravo.

HANSEN: Ding! All of them. Well done. You were doing these in your head, I bet.

Mr. CAPLAN: No, I was writing them down.

HANSEN: You were? Because you were so fast. For playing our 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 from Parker Brothers, "The Puzzlemaster Presents" from Random House, volume two, and "The New York Times Will Shortz's Favorite Sunday Crossword Puzzles" from St. Martin's Press.

What member radio station do you listen to, Peter?

Mr. CAPLAN: Well, I have two, WDEP in Detroit, and we're also lucky enough to pull in WUOM from Ann Arbor.

HANSEN: Excellent.

Well, Peter Caplan from Detroit, Michigan, you were fabulous. I guess it was an all-star puzzle for you, in honor of the All-Star Game that was held in your city over the past week. And I want to thank you a lot for being our guest and for playing the Puzzle with us today.

Mr. CAPLAN: Thanks for having me, Liane. And thank you, Will.

SHORTZ: Thank you.


OK, Will, what's the challenge you have for everyone to work on this week?

SHORTZ: Well, a 10-letter word for a form of travel consists of five consecutive symbols of chemical elements. What is it? Now if automobile had been the answer, `AU' would represent gold, `MO' would represent molybdenum and `BI' would represent bismuth. Unfortunately, the remaining biograms, `TO' and `LE,' are not chemical symbols. So, again, a 10-letter word for a form of travel that consists of five consecutive symbols of the chemical elements. What is it?

HANSEN: Oh, one of these periodic table questions. Obviously...

SHORTZ: Your favorite.

HANSEN: ...my bete noir, as it were.

Well, when you have the answer, put it in an e-mail to us at puzzle@npr.org. Only one entry per person, please. And our deadline is Thursday, 3 PM 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. There's also information on our Web site at npr.org.

HANSEN: Hey, Will, thanks a lot.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane.

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