Sunday Puzzle: A Task Of 8 Cities Andrew Ragsdale of Gainesville, Fla., plays the puzzle with Puzzlemaster Will Shortz, who was recently spotlighted by the New York Times.
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Sunday Puzzle: A Task Of 8 Cities

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Sunday Puzzle: A Task Of 8 Cities

Sunday Puzzle: A Task Of 8 Cities

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Today is National Wiggle Your Toes Day. Did you know that? I bet you didn't. But want to know what really gets our toes wiggling? It's The Puzzle.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Joining me as always is Will Shortz. He's puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzlemaster. Hello, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Lulu.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: There was this profile of you in The New York Times. Dude, it was amazing.

SHORTZ: They did a great job at - and lots of photos around my house.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah. Was that weird?

SHORTZ: No, not at all. It was fun. It was a really nice writer. He's a former writer for The Paris Review. He just did a great job. They even had me turn up an eighth grade paper I wrote on...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah. I loved it.

SHORTZ: ...Puzzles as a profession. I was - in the eighth grade, I wanted to be a professional puzzle maker.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: You are an inspiration to us all. But I cannot believe that that teacher only gave you a B-plus (laughter).

SHORTZ: I know, but (laughter) - it sounds weird, but I reread the paper, of course, and I think it's worth about a B-plus.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right, all right. Everyone should check it out if you haven't. It was in The New York Times. And it gives you a real insight into Will Shortz, so do read that. Will, remind us of last week's challenge.

SHORTZ: Yeah. It came from listener Joe Krozel of Creve Coeur, Mo. And I said, there's a city somewhere in the United States with a population of about 24,000. I said change the last letter of the name of the state. And if you read the name of the city plus the altered name of the state together, the result is a palindrome - it reads backward and forward the same. What city is it? Well, the city is Zion, Ill. If you change the S of Illinois to a Z, Zion, Ill., reads backward and forward the same.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: This week we got more than 500 correct answers. And our randomly selected winner is Andrew Ragsdale of Gainesville, Fla. Congratulations, Andrew.

ANDREW RAGSDALE: Thank you very much. It's a pleasure to be here.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: How did you figure it out because I don't think that you're anywhere near that part of the country?

RAGSDALE: I'm not. And it took some sleuthing. I had to eventually resort to the census and look at cities with sizes about 24,000.

SHORTZ: (Laughter).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Wow (laughter). Oh, my gosh, it must've really taken you a while. Andrew, what do you do in Gainesville?

RAGSDALE: I work for the University of Florida Health System. I am a development officer, so I raise funds for the hospital and for the college of medicine here at the university.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: How awesome. Do you have any questions for Will?

RAGSDALE: Well, I thought about that. I most closely associate you with the perky piano riff. But what is the most recent musical acquisition or experience you had? What is your music?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah. What is your music, Will? What is your music?

SHORTZ: Wow, music. My music is garage rock. I subscribe to Sirius XM radio, so I can listen to Little Steven's Underground Garage. It's my music of choice.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I would not have thought that at all.

SHORTZ: Everyone thinks I'm an opera guy, but no.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter). All right, Andrew, are you ready to play The Puzzle?

RAGSDALE: Yeah, let's do this.

SHORTZ: All right, Andrew, every answer today is the name of a well-known U.S. city in six letters. I'm going to give you a word or phrase that contains those letters in left to right order but not consecutively. You name the city. For example, if I said Praetorian, which is P-R-A-E-T-O-R-I-A-N, and said city in Illinois, you would say Peoria. Number one is Brownstone, Mass.

RAGSDALE: Boston.

SHORTZ: Boston is correct.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Where there are many brownstones.

SHORTZ: Also has a great marathon.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Indeed.

SHORTZ: Number two is Junior League, Alaska.

RAGSDALE: Juneau.

SHORTZ: That is correct. Touchstone, Ariz.

RAGSDALE: Tucson.

SHORTZ: That is it. Craftsperson, Wyo.

RAGSDALE: Casper.

SHORTZ: That is it.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Oh.

SHORTZ: Good job. Paleobotany, N.Y.

RAGSDALE: That's a longer word than I would expect.

SHORTZ: The study of ancient botany.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah.

RAGSDALE: The capital of New York. I'm just blanking right this minute.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: It starts with an A.

RAGSDALE: Yes.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Followed by an L.

SHORTZ: There you go. So Lulu's helped you there. First two letters are A-L.

RAGSDALE: That's great. Can Lulu help me out the rest of the way?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: It's Albany.

SHORTZ: Albany is right. Good job. Acquisition, Texas.

RAGSDALE: Acquisition? Austin.

SHORTZ: That's it. There you go. Austin, Texas is right. Try this one - Double Dutch, Minn.

RAGSDALE: Duluth.

SHORTZ: There you go. And your last one is Resurgence, Ore.

RAGSDALE: That's Eugene.

SHORTZ: Nice job, Andrew.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Nice job, Andrew. Are you feeling good?

RAGSDALE: It was a great time. Thank you for helping me out. I appreciate that.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Not at all. That's what I'm here for. 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. Andrew, what member station do you listen to?

RAGSDALE: WUFT-FM.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: In Gainesville, Fla. Andrew Ragsdale, thank you so much for playing The Puzzle.

RAGSDALE: Thank you for having me. And good morning, America.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) Will, what's next week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yeah, it's not too hard a one, I think. The word inauguration contains the letters of gnu, G-N-U, and a goat, iguana and agouti, A-G-O-U-T-I, which are all animals. The name of what nine-letter animal can be spelled from the letters of inauguration? So that's all it is. The name of what nine-letter animal can be spelled from the letters of inauguration?

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. Our deadline for entries is Thursday, August 10 at 3 p.m. Eastern. 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. Will, thanks so much.

SHORTZ: Thanks a lot, Lulu.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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