LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
February is the shortest month of the year, and it's already almost over. But no matter how quick the days fly by, there's always time for The Puzzle.
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GARCIA-NAVARRO: Will Shortz is the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzlemaster.
Will, good morning.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Lulu.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So you've been making radio with us for many, many years. But I hear that you've got a cool new TV project in the works, too. You are famous. You're doing everything now.
SHORTZ: Yeah. Well, "CBS Sunday Morning" has done a piece about me and table tennis, which is going to air this morning. And it's been in the works for a while. They filmed me in Austria and Slovakia last fall, and it should be a good piece.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah. For our listeners who follow you very closely, they do know that you are a Ping-Pong master (laughter).
SHORTZ: Fanatical - fanatic is more the word.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Fanatic, OK. I'll make sure to check it out. Remind us of last week's challenge.
SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Michael Shteyman of Odenton, Md. I said, name some things commonly seen on a kitchen table. Switch the positions of the fifth and sixth letters and read the result backward. You'll name two things commonly seen in a kitchen. What are they? And the answer is napkins. You do that switch, you get sink and pan.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: We received - wait for it - 1,500 correct responses. And the winner is Heidi Deethardt of Mishawaka, Ind.
HEIDI DEETHARDT: Thank you very much. This is an honor.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah. Some of our, I think, longtime puzzlers are going to be pretty jealous when they hear this. Apparently, this is the very first time you ever submitted a solution to The Puzzle.
DEETHARDT: It is, yes. I was very surprised.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Will, I mean, that - there are people who have been playing this for many years and have never won, right?
SHORTZ: And they are screaming at their radios right now.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right, let's put your luck to the test again.
Heidi, are you ready to play The Puzzle?
DEETHARDT: I'm ready.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Take it away.
SHORTZ: All right, Heidi and Lulu, I'm going to give you a word plus a category. Change one letter in the word to name something in the category, then change a different letter in the word to name something else in the category. For example, if I said pale - P-A-L-E - with a category university, you would say Yale, changing the P, and Pace, changing the L.
DEETHARDT: OK, so I change both letters - I change two letters to get the correct answer.
SHORTZ: That's correct. And it's a different letter each time.
SHORTZ: All right, number one is house - H-O-U-S-E - and an animal.
SHORTZ: Change the middle letter.
SHORTZ: Mouse and horse is right.
SHORTZ: Number two is bulk - B-U-L-K.
SHORTZ: I'm looking for a male animal.
SHORTZ: Yes. And? Change the L this time.
DEETHARDT: Buck, yeah, yeah.
SHORTZ: There you go.
SHORTZ: Good job. Here's your next one - heard - H-E-A-R-D.
SHORTZ: And part of a human body.
DEETHARDT: Change the D to a T would be heart.
SHORTZ: That's right.
DEETHARDT: And this might be a stretch - change the H to a B for beard.
SHORTZ: No stretch. Yep, that's the answer.
SHORTZ: Not everyone has a beard but some people. OK, here's your next one - grain.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: You're doing great.
DEETHARDT: Oh, thank you.
SHORTZ: You're doing great. Grain - G-R-A-I-N - another part of the body.
DEETHARDT: Grain, part of the body. Oh, brain. That one was obvious.
SHORTZ: Brain, what you're using right now, yeah. And?
DEETHARDT: Yeah, trying anyway. And...
SHORTZ: Change the A.
DEETHARDT: Lulu, any ideas? What? What was your clue?
SHORTZ: Change the A.
DEETHARDT: Change the A - groin.
SHORTZ: Groin is it.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Can we say that on air? No (laughter).
SHORTZ: Sure, we can say groin. And here's your last one.
SHORTZ: Lacers - L-A-C-E-R-S.
SHORTZ: And a...
DEETHARDT: What's the word?
SHORTZ: E - lacers, as in people who lace their shoes up, lacers.
DEETHARDT: Oh, OK.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: I don't know, lacers.
SHORTZ: That's a nice answer. And you're looking for an NBA team - NBA team.
DEETHARDT: NBA - OK, well, the Pacers.
DEETHARDT: And then the C, Lakers
SHORTZ: That's it. Bingo.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah. Great job.
DEETHARDT: Thank you. It was fun. Thank you.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: For playing our puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, as well as puzzle books and games. You can read all about it at npr.org/puzzle.
Heidi, what member station do you listen to?
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Heidi Deethardt of Mishawaka, Ind., thank you so much for playing The Puzzle.
DEETHARDT: Thank you. You made my day.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) All right, Will. What is the challenge for next week?
SHORTZ: Yeah, it's a spinoff of my on-air puzzle. Think of an article of apparel in five letters. Change one letter in it to name another article of apparel, change one letter in that to name a third article of apparel and then change one letter in that to name a fourth article of apparel. And the positions of the letters you change are different each time. What articles are these?
So again, name an article of apparel in five letters. Change one letter in it to name another article, one letter in that to name a third and one letter in that to name a fourth. And the positions of the letters you change are different each time. What articles are these?
GARCIA-NAVARRO: When you have the answer, go to our website, npr.org/puzzle and click on the Submit Your Answer link. Just one entry per person, please. Our deadline for entries is Thursday, February 23, 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'll get to play on the air with the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzlemaster, Will Shortz.
Thanks so much, Will.
SHORTZ: Thanks, Lulu.
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