'P___' of What? Puzzle master Will Shortz quizzes one of our listeners, and has a two-week challenge for everyone at home. (This week's winner is Dr. Laurie Abbott from Las Cruces, N.M. She listens to Weekend Edition on member station KRWG in Las Cruces.)
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'P___' of What?

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'P___' of What?

'P___' of What?

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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: Now we're going to give people a heads-up. We've got a two-week challenge coming at the end of our puzzle segment today. And I don't know whether it's going to involve pencil and paper, but we've got something cooking and we'll get to it when we finish with our on-air challenge today. OK?

SHORTZ: Right.

HANSEN: I know you've got--You're ready for that, right?

SHORTZ: Uh-huh.

HANSEN: All right. Well, first of all, let's start with that challenge you gave everyone to work on last week. Interesting. Would you repeat it?

SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Tom Silke(ph) of Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin. I said take a familiar brand name seen along roads and highways in the United States; I said it has five letters, two syllables. The first syllable phonetically is a word that is the opposite of the word spelled by the second syllable. What is the brand name?

HANSEN: What's the brand name?

SHORTZ: It is Citgo, making `sit' and `go.'

HANSEN: You know, that's almost an iconic sign over Boston's Fenway Park.

SHORTZ: That's right.

HANSEN: Whenever they're playing baseball, you'll see it over the park. Well, we had a thousand entries--over a thousand, actually--from people who solved the puzzle. And our winner, not from Boston but randomly selected from the correct answers is Dr. Laurie Abbott, and she joins us from Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Hi, Laurie.

Dr. LAURIE ABBOTT (Listener): Hi, Liane.

HANSEN: Now what do you do there?

Dr. ABBOTT: I'm a professor in the animal and range sciences department. I'm a professor of rangeland ecology.

HANSEN: Oh. And are you a puzzle person? Have you been playing this puzzle for a long time?

Dr. ABBOTT: Yes. I've been playing this puzzle for easily over 10 years now.

HANSEN: Oh! It's actually nice to meet someone who's been playing for a while. We get a lot of folks who say, `Oh, no, this was my first time.'

Dr. ABBOTT: I know, and that always kills me as a listener.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: Well, you get your comeuppance now because you're going to play. Are you ready?

Dr. ABBOTT: I am.

HANSEN: All right. Will, what do you have for Laurie? Let's play.

SHORTZ: All right, Laurie. Every answer today is a familiar phrase in the form of `blank of blank,' where the first word starts with P, as in Peter. I'll give you the word or words that follow the `of,' you tell me the word starting with P that starts the phrase. For example, if I said `flesh,' you would say, `pound,' as in `pound of flesh.' All right. Number one is worship.

Dr. ABBOTT: Place of worship.

SHORTZ: Place of worship is right. Try this one: call, C-A-L-L.

Dr. ABBOTT: Port of call.

SHORTZ: Port of call is right. The litter.

Dr. ABBOTT: Oh, pick of the litter.

SHORTZ: Pick of the litter is right. Attorney.

Dr. ABBOTT: Power, power of attorney.

SHORTZ: Power of attorney is right.

Dr. ABBOTT: Yeah.

SHORTZ: Salt, S-A-L-T.

Dr. ABBOTT: Salt. Salt...

SHORTZ: Actually, two answers here, two possible answers.

HANSEN: Really?

Dr. ABBOTT: Oh, dear. This is hard, but it's so much fun.

HANSEN: Yeah. It's hard--you know, he said salt, and I want to go `salt of the earth,' until I realize we're doing a completely different puzzle here. Are you thinking of pinch?

SHORTZ: Pinch of salt is good. Also, pillar of salt...

HANSEN: Oh, pillar.

Dr. ABBOTT: Yeah.

SHORTZ: ...as in Lot's wife. All right, try this one: eight, E-I-G-H-T.

Dr. ABBOTT: Pieces of eight.

HANSEN: Pieces of eight.

SHORTZ: Pieces of eight--that was fast. Wisdom.

Dr. ABBOTT: Wisdom. A pillar of wisdom.

HANSEN: Ooh, I like that. But...

SHORTZ: Yeah? Is that a phrase?

Dr. ABBOTT: Well, it is in my house, but...

HANSEN: We just made it one. We've just given it the imprimatur.

SHORTZ: OK, I'll give you that. I was going for pearls of wisdom.

HANSEN: Oh, yeah, yeah.


HANSEN: Of course.


SHORTZ: Try this one: Penzance.

Dr. ABBOTT: Penzance? "Pirates of Penzance."

SHORTZ: "Pirates of Penzance." Allegiance.

Dr. ABBOTT: Allegiance. Pledge of Allegiance.

SHORTZ: Uh-huh. Least resistance.

Dr. ABBOTT: The point of least resistance, or the--That's not it, is it?


HANSEN: String out many points.

SHORTZ: Yeah, you follow the...

Dr. ABBOTT: Path.

SHORTZ and Dr. ABBOTT: (In unison) Path of least resistance.

Dr. ABBOTT: Thank you.

SHORTZ: Paris. Paris, P-A-R-I-S.

Dr. ABBOTT: Plaster of Paris.

SHORTZ: What was that?

Dr. ABBOTT: Plaster of Paris.

SHORTZ: Plaster of Paris, good. Gold, G-O-L-D.

Dr. ABBOTT: Pieces of gold.


Dr. ABBOTT: No, that's pieces of eight.

HANSEN: Leprechauns.

SHORTZ: Think of a rainbow.

Dr. ABBOTT: Oh, the pot of gold.

SHORTZ: Pot of gold is right. Try this one: war, W-A-R.

Dr. ABBOTT: Powers of war.

SHORTZ: No, I'm not buying that one.

Dr. ABBOTT: That's not it. OK. Blank of war.

SHORTZ: Uh-huh.

HANSEN: Something of war.

Dr. ABBOTT: I want--man of war...

HANSEN: Dogs of war. No. Puppies of war.

SHORTZ: Someone who's held captive.


Dr. ABBOTT: Prisoner of war.

HANSEN: ...yeah.

SHORTZ: Prisoner of war. Peace, P-E-A-C-E.


SHORTZ: The opposite of war, peace.

Dr. ABBOTT: Oh, peace. The peace plan. Let's see, of peace.

HANSEN: Prince of peace.

SHORTZ: There you go. Prince of peace.

HANSEN: Really? Prince of peace? OK.

SHORTZ: Prince of peace. And here's your last one, and it consists of two words starting with P that go before the `of' and your clue is Hamelin.

Dr. ABBOTT: Oh, the Pied Piper of Hamelin.

SHORTZ: Pied Piper of Hamelin is right.

HANSEN: Nice work. Very good. Nice work. 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 Bros., "The Puzzle Master Presents" from Random House, volume two, and a set of Sudoku puzzle books presented by Will Shortz from St. Martin's Press.

Laurie, what's your public radio station?

Dr. ABBOTT: I listen to KRWG-FM of Las Cruces, and we're members.

HANSEN: Excellent. Dr. Laurie Abbott from Las Cruces, New Mexico, you were a terrific contestant. Thanks a lot for playing with us today.

Dr. ABBOTT: Well, thank you, and thanks for all your help. It was a lot of fun.

HANSEN: Oh, yeah, it was. It was. Take care.

All right, Will, now we have that special puzzle segment. We're going to have a special guest here in the studio, someone who's used to doing puzzles and somebody who people know, being associated with me. He's host of "Talk of the Nation," Neal Conan. So anyway, we've got something cooking Thanksgiving week, so to accommodate that, you've prepared a two-week challenge for everybody listening. Right?

SHORTZ: That's right. Well, write down these four chemical symbols. On the first line, write L-I for lithium and F-E for iron. Underneath, write N-E for neon and A-R for argon. Reading across, you get the four-letter words: life and near, and reading down, you get line and fear, completing a miniature word square composed of only chemical symbols. The object is to create a three-by-three square composed of nine chemical symbols in which each of the three rows across and each of the three columns down spells a word. You may either use one-letter or two-letter chemical symbols, but the object is to use as many two-letter ones as possible. One uncapitalized words are allowed. Our source for acceptable words will be Merriam-Webster's 11th Collegiate Dictionary. So again, make a three-by-three word square composed entirely of chemical symbols using as many two-letter symbols as possible.

HANSEN: This is a real diabolical Sudoku puzzle, isn't it?

SHORTZ: Uh-huh.

HANSEN: Not only words, chemical symbols in the nine squares. Unbelievable. So you have two weeks to work on this, and when you have the answer, e-mail us at puzzle@npr.org. Only one entry per person, please, and our deadline for this two-week challenge will be Wednesday, November 23rd at 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. And again, next week, Neal Conan, special guest, will join us to play the puzzle.

So--oh, boy, can't wait. Thanks a lot, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane.

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