Blank Rhymes with Blank NPR's Puzzlemaster Will Shortz quizzes one of our listeners, and has a challenge for everyone at home. (This week's winner is Carol Nolan from New Paltz, N.Y. She listens to Weekend Edition on NPR station WAMC in Albany, N.Y.)
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Blank Rhymes with Blank

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Blank Rhymes with Blank

Blank Rhymes with Blank

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

And joining us is Puzzlemaster Will Shortz. Hi, Will.

WILL SHORTZ (Puzzlemaster): Hi, Liane.

HANSEN: Do you know you're the subject of a contest that's going on on a blog? I believe it's

SHORTZ: This has been brought to my attention, yes.

HANSEN: Mm-hmm.

SHORTZ: And people are voting on their favorite New York Times person for his brain or his body.

HANSEN: That's right.

SHORTZ: And I'm in the brain category.

HANSEN: You are in the brain category. And the last time I looked, you were ahead. So it looks like you might end up to be a hottie. I love that word.

SHORTZ: That's so cool.

HANSEN: It is cool--in The New York Times.

All right. You left us a puzzle last week that had to do with the periodic table of which I am not as familiar as I should be. Would you repeat the challenge, please?

SHORTZ: Yes. There's a 10-letter word for a form of travel that consists of five consecutive symbols of chemical elements. What form of travel is that?

HANSEN: What's your answer?

SHORTZ: It is helicopter, which is the consecutive chemical symbols He, Li, Co, Pt and Er.

HANSEN: All right. Well, we had over 1,400 entries from people who solved the puzzle. And our winner, randomly selected from the correct answers, is Carol Nolan from New Paltz, New York.

Hi, Carol.


HANSEN: Now you not only solved the puzzle, but you ended up putting the puzzle solution in the lyrics to the song "Hush, Little Baby." That was pretty good.

Ms. NOLAN: I just couldn't resist.

HANSEN: So you're a fan of both poetry and songwriting and the periodic table. I think I would call you a Renaissance woman, but what do you do there in New Paltz?

Ms. NOLAN: I work for a computer company.

HANSEN: And how long have you been playing the puzzle?

Ms. NOLAN: Oh, I've been listening to the puzzle for years, since before you started doing e-mail answers. I sent in on and off.

HANSEN: My goodness. That is a long time ago. And so you know the drill then, what happens next.

Ms. NOLAN: I know the drill.

HANSEN: All right. Well, Carol, please meet Will. Will, meet Carol. Let's play.

Ms. NOLAN: Hello, Will.

SHORTZ: Hi, Carol.

I'm going to read you some sentences. Each sentence has two blanks. The word that goes in the first blank starts with D, as in dog. Change the D to T, and phonetically, you'll get a new word that goes in the second blank to complete the sentence. For example, if I gave you the sentence `At the thoroughbred race track, I would blank anything that that crazy blank says,' you would say doubt and tout, `I would doubt anything that tout says.'


SHORTZ: All right. Number one is, `Actress blank Day was so bullheaded, everyone thought she was a blank astrologically.'

Ms. NOLAN: Doris was a Taurus.

SHORTZ: Doris was a Taurus, good. Number two: `In playing tug of war, my son and blank made the rope much blank.'

Ms. NOLAN: Daughter made it tauter.

SHORTZ: Good. `In trying to get the perfect new blank for her windows, Helen had to blank around to fabric shops all over town.'

Ms. NOLAN: Drapes and traipse.

SHORTZ: Oh, you're good. `To attract business to his sandwich shop, the owner of the London blank installed a blank above the counter.'

Ms. NOLAN: Deli installed a telly.

SHORTZ: That's right. `For your average golf blank, the next hole is considerably blank than the last.'

Ms. NOLAN: Duffer, I think.


Ms. NOLAN: And it has to be tougher.

SHORTZ: It's tougher than the last one, good. `When ticket sales figures for the traveling company of actors start to blank, the blank should quickly move on.'

Ms. NOLAN: Start to droop, the troupe moves on.

SHORTZ: That's right. `The nobleman who ruled the old German blank was a little blank about his weight problem.'

Ms. NOLAN: Uh-oh. Old German duchy was touchy.

SHORTZ: Yes, he was a little touchy. Good job. `Before getting into bed for a light nap, all the blank removed their shirts and blank.'

Ms. NOLAN: Uh-oh. Drowsers, trousers.

SHORTZ: They removed their trousers, good.


Ms. NOLAN: Well, sometimes I can figure out one of the two words.

SHORTZ: That's all you need. `Larry quickly blank into the men's wear store to rent a blank for the wedding.'

Ms. NOLAN: Oh, dear. Well, I think he needs a tux.

SHORTZ: That's right. And Larry quickly...

Ms. NOLAN: Oh, ducks in. Ducks in.

SHORTZ: He ducks into that store. Right. And your last one: `The yearlong blank lowered the water table considerably, but surprisingly, the blank in local streams were hardly affected.'

Ms. NOLAN: Drought and trout.

SHORTZ: Carol, fantastic.

HANSEN: Outstanding. Once again, all of them.

Ms. NOLAN: Well, it turned out to be fun.


(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: And again, I mean, you--every single one of them, well done. Wow.

Well, for playing the 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.

Carol, what member station do you listen to?

Ms. NOLAN: I listen to and am a member of WAMC in Albany.

HANSEN: Excellent. Excellent. Thank you for that. Carol Nolan from New Paltz, New York, thanks again for playing the puzzle with us. You were fabulous.

Ms. NOLAN: I had a good time. Thank you.

HANSEN: Great.

That's the point, isn't it, Will, having a good time?


HANSEN: All right. Give us another good time. What's the challenge you have for us to work on this week?

SHORTZ: Yes. It comes from listener Henry Hook, who happens to be one of the country's top crossword constructors. Think of a word that completes the two-word phrase `blank jump,' remove the fourth letter, the remaining letters phonetically make a new word that completes the phrase `blank hop.' What is it? So again, `blank jump,' remove the fourth letter, the remaining letters phonetically make a new word that completes the phrase `blank hop.' What phrases are these?

HANSEN: When you have the answer, e-mail us at 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, and 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

Hey, Will, thanks a lot.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane.

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