LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
Here it comes from the National Public Radio headquarters in Washington D.C., it's this week's puzzle.
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GARCIA-NAVARRO: Joining me as always is Will Shortz. He's puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzlemaster. Will, Good morning.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Lulu. Welcome back.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Thank you. It was good to be back. And normally, this is when I tell you to remind our listeners of last week's challenge. But last week you provided a two-week challenge, which I'm sure there's still plenty busy with, so we are now going to bring on our special celebrity guest. You may know him as the host of the game shows "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" and "The Price Is Right." Before that, he had his very own sitcom. Yes, it is Drew Carey, and he joins us via Skype. Hey, good morning.
DREW CAREY: Hey, good morning. How are you? Hi, Lulu. Hi, Will.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Hey, I grew up loving "The Price Is Right." I just want you to know that. I watched it when I was a kid. I loved it. It still has the same music today. Except the last one I saw, the people were guessing the price of a ping pong table, which is very different from when I was a kid.
CAREY: (Laughter) We have ping pong tables on a lot lately. I don't know why.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Really? Yeah, it was pretty funny actually. But what keeps the show going for so long? I mean, what is it about that show that keeps people getting so excited?
CAREY: I always say that the people on the show are the stars of the show. I actually - we changed the introduction. It used to be, here is the star of the show. After a couple of years, we changed it. And now we just go - he just says, here's your host, because as far as I'm concerned, the people on the show are the stars of the show because that's - you want to like relate to somebody that you're watching.
They're average people just like you. And you want to - like, there's always somebody - there's such a cross-section of America on that show. You'll always find somebody that you can root for and relate to and play along with as if they were you. And that's the whole key to everything. I think that's the whole key to the show.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah, I know. I mean, the thing that I love is like everyone's like, oh, my God, oh, my God. I get to - you know, it gets so excited. And that energy - how do you deal with that energy, just that burst of energy from all the contestants?
CAREY: Oh, are you kidding me? I just soak it up. It's like the best. I love going to work. It's like the best thing ever. It's such a joy to be there. It's like the vibe there is so great. It's like it's in the woodwork. You know, there's been so many happy people in there and so many great things happening that it's the whole place vibes. Like, it just has this great vibe when you walk in.
As soon as I get to work, I'm like the happiest guy when I get on stage. It's just like I'm in a flow of joy and happiness. There's no other way to explain it. I just feel so good when I'm there with everybody around me being like - having the best day of their life.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Well, this is like me when I play The Puzzle actually.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Are you a fan of word challenges? Do you listen to The Puzzle?
CAREY: Yes, I do the jumble all the time in the paper. I like crossword puzzles. I like Scrabble. I like all this stuff, so I'm really looking forward to doing this.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right, Drew, are you ready to play The Puzzle?
GARCIA-NAVARRO: OK. Here we go. Take it away.
SHORTZ: All right, Drew, I'm going to read you some sentences. Each sentence has two blanks. Put two five-letter homophones in the blanks to complete the sentence. For example, if I said, criminals went to a Pittsburgh factory late at night to blank blank, you'd say they went there to steal steel.
CAREY: Got it.
SHORTZ: So the homophones are always five letters long. Here's number one - because I never took a class in penmanship, I never learned to blank blank.
CAREY: Write right.
SHORTZ: That's it. Number two - the driver jammed his foot on the pedal so hard he made the blank blank.
CAREY: He made the...
SHORTZ: It wasn't the gas pedal. It was the other one. He jammed his foot on the pedal so hard he made the...
CAREY: He made the break break.
SHORTZ: He made the break break is right. One of the Shakespeare characters messed up the line, double double toil and trouble, but I couldn't identify blank blank.
CAREY: Which was which.
SHORTZ: Which witch is right. The increase in car rental rates really hits the pocketbook hard. So that latest charge from blank blank.
CAREY: Hertz hurts.
SHORTZ: That's it, and here's your last one.
CAREY: I was going to blurt it out before I hit the buzzer.
CAREY: That was a good one.
SHORTZ: Here's your last one. It's a tough one. The host of "The Price is Right" is bringing in boxes from his car, but how many can blank blank?
CAREY: Carey carry (laughter).
GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) I love that one. You did really well, Drew. Now this is the part when I usually tell our guests about all the prizes they win for playing The Puzzle, but I'm afraid they don't quite match the stuff you give away and "The Price Is Right" unless you want a weekend...
CAREY: Is it a ping pong table?
GARCIA-NAVARRO: No, it's not a ping pong table. You can get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, which I demand that you wear the next time you are on "The Price Is Right."
CAREY: Yes. No, that's awesome. I'll put it on my Instagram.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Awesome. Do you still do late night? I mean, do you still do like - not late night, but do you still do stand up?
CAREY: Once in a while. I'm going to start up this summer again. So you can look for me at the local clubs in Hollywood (laughter).
GARCIA-NAVARRO: We will do that. We will do that. Drew Carey - he joined us via Skype. You can find him at the local clubs in Hollywood this summer and, actually, obviously, on "The Price Is Right." Thanks so much for playing.
CAREY: Thanks for having me.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: OK, Will, remind our listeners of our two-week challenge.
SHORTZ: Yeah, the object is to mash up the titles of past No.1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart to tell a story. For example, here's a runner up entry submitted this past week from listener Greg Nast (ph) of Baltimore - "Sugar Sugar," "I Heard It Through The Grapevine," "You're Having My Baby," "I Got A Feeling," "It Wasn't Me," "The Stripper."
Now, Wikipedia has a list of the Billboard No.1 singles from the Hot 100 era 1958 to present, which you can use for the contest. Your story can include up to seven song titles. Entries will be judged on cleverness, naturalness of reading, memorableness (ph) of the songs and overall elegance. You can send up to three entries. And the person who submits the best one, in my opinion, will play Puzzle on the air next week.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Elegance, all right. Submit your answers at our website npr.org/puzzle and click on the submit your answer link. Our deadline for entries is Thursday, May 4, at 3 p.m. Eastern. So include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time. And if Will likes your song submissions, anything so elegant, 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, our very own Will Shortz. Thanks so much, Will.
SHORTZ: Thank you, Lulu.
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