Categorically SMART Puzzle master Will Shortz quizzes one of our listeners, and has a challenge for everyone at home. (This week's winner is Lola Spritzer from Pittsboro, N.C. She listens to Weekend Edition on member station WUNC in Chapel Hill.)
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Categorically SMART

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Categorically SMART

Categorically SMART

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From NPR News, this is WEEKEND EDITION. I'm Liane Hansen. And joining us is Puzzlemaster Will Shortz. Hi, Will. I have to tell everybody I'm looking at you today. You're not in New York.

Mr. WILL SHORTZ (Puzzlemaster, New York Times): We are in the same studio together.

HANSEN: Tell everybody why you're in Washington.

Mr. SHORTZ: Well, I'm here for Book Expo America to promote Sodoku books.

HANSEN: So now I have to assure everybody that I won't be cheating on the on-air puzzle because I cannot see anything that Will has written.

Mr. SHORTZ: I'm hiding my notes.

HANSEN: But before we begin, tell us, remind us the challenge you had last week.

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes, I said, draw a five-by-three square rectangle, five squares wide by three squares high. Fill it with the letters Happy Mother's Day. Top line has HAPPY, middle line will has M-O-T-H-E, and the bottom line has R-S-D-A-Y. And the object was to spell the longest common word in the grid, following the rules of the game Boggle. That is, proceed from letter to letter, following connecting squares horizontally, vertically and diagonally. And ask what's the longest common word you can spell following these rules.

HANSEN: And there's more than one answer, right?

Mr. SHORTZ: That's right. I found three myself, potheads, hotheads and matadors. And listeners found one more that I missed, hopheads. Anyone of those answers was counted correct.

HANSEN: Well, we had over 500 entries from people who tried to solve the puzzle today and our winner randomly selected from the correct answers is Lola Spritzer. She joins us from Pittsboro, North Carolina. Hi, Lola.

Ms. LOLA SPRITZER (Caller): Hi, Liane.

HANSEN: How long you've been playing the puzzle?

Ms. SPRITZER: As long as I've been able to send it in by email.

HANSEN: But you also sound ready to play. Are you?


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

Ms. SPRITZER: Hi, Will.

Mr. SHORTZ: Hi, Lola. And Liane, this is a great puzzle for two people because it's a game of categories, and maybe you know the rules. I'm going to give you some categories. Your letters are S-M-A-R-T as in smart, and the object is to name something in the category starting with each of those letters. For example, if the category were girls' names, you might say, Sara, Marcia, Amy, Rebecca, and Theresa. First category is fruits.

Ms. SPRITZER: Apple.

Mr. SHORTZ: Apple, good.

Ms. SPRITZER: Do we count a tomato as a fruit?

Mr. SHORTZ: It technically is. Also tangerine, yeah.

Ms. SPRITZER: Okay, a mango.

Mr. SHORTZ: Mango, excellent. S and R.

HANSEN: I was going to say raisin.

Mr. SHORTZ: Raisin, I'll give you that. Raspberry.

Ms. SPRITZER: Oh, that's good, that's good.

Mr. SHORTZ: And how about an S?


Mr. SHORTZ: There's a good ten-letter one that ends in the same five letters as your last answer. It's a juicy red fruit. You might put it on top of an ice cream sundae.

HANSEN: Oh, gosh, strawberry.

Mr. SHORTZ: Strawberry, there you go.

Ms. SPRITZER: Strawberry, oh, gracious.

HANSEN: The most obvious, right?

Ms. SPRITZER: Yeah, right.

Mr. SHORTZ: Okay, category number two, places to visit in and around Washington, D.C.

Ms. SPRITZER: Arlington.

Mr. SHORTZ: Arlington Cemetery, good.

Ms. SPRITZER: Monticello.

Mr. SHORTZ: Monticello? I guess.

HANSEN: That's about a three-hour drive.

Ms. SPRITZER: Oh, well, you can...

Mr. SHORTZ: Taking the word around loosely.

HANSEN: Tell you what, I'll give you Mt. Vernon for that.

Mr. SHORTZ: Mt. Vernon's better...

HANSEN: It's a little closer.

Mr. SHORTZ: ...and you could've said the Mall right here...

HANSEN: I was going to use the Mall for T, but you...


Ms. SPRITZER: These are hard categories.

HANSEN: They are, especially if you haven't been in Washington. I'm going to say Title Basin.

Mr. SHORTZ: Title Basin, excellent.


Mr. SHORTZ: Yeah. Okay, you need S and R. There's several important buildings here in Washington starting with S.

Ms. SPRITZER: Oh, you can, Supreme Court.

Mr. SHORTZ: Supreme Court.

HANSEN: That's good.

Mr. SHORTZ: You need an R.

HANSEN: I would say Rotunda.

Mr. SHORTZ: Rotunda, yes.

HANSEN: Really? Because I would've thought that had to be Capitol Rotunda, but no...

Mr. SHORTZ: Rotunda, Roosevelt Memorial, reflecting pool all work.

HANSEN: All right.

Mr. SHORTZ: Next category, team names in pro baseball, basketball and football.

Ms. SPRITZER: Okay, yeah, well, Tigers.

Mr. SHORTZ: Tigers is a good T, yes.


Mr. SHORTZ: Mets, excellent.

Ms. SPRITZER: The A's.

Mr. SHORTZ: The A's, the Oakland A's, excellent. S and R.

Ms. SPRITZER: Back to the S and R's again.

HANSEN: Well, I'm going to give up Redskins...

Mr. SHORTZ: Redskins, yes.

HANSEN: ...for Washington. The Sonics?

Mr. SHORTZ: The Sonics...

Ms. SPRITZER: Oh, very good.

Mr. SHORTZ: ...Supersonics, actually.

HANSEN: Supersonics.

Mr. SHORTZ: Also the Suns, Spurs, Saints, Steelers and Seahawks. Okay. Your next category is famous artists, famous artists.

Ms. SPRITZER: Monet.

Mr. SHORTZ: Monet, good.

HANSEN: Any...

Ms. SPRITZER: All my art courses have just gone down the drain.

HANSEN: I'll give you Rembrandt.

Mr. SHORTZ: Rembrandt, yes.

Ms. SPRITZER: Rembrandt, right. Titian.

Mr. SHORTZ: Titian, good. For A there's a, well, several answers, but one of them is a famous artist of birds and wildlife.

HANSEN: A, I think you're looking for Audubon.

Mr. SHORTZ: Audubon...

Ms. SPRITZER: Audubon, right.

Mr. SHORTZ: ...I was going for. Also Fra Angelico and Hans Arp you could've said. And how about an S? Several answers here, but a famous one who was a pointillist. Oh, I see, Liane has the answer. She circled it on her page.

Ms. SPRITZER: Uh-oh.

HANSEN: I was going to get Sunday in the Park with George.

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes.

HANSEN: Only because there's Sunday in there, do I know this. It's Seurat.

Mr. SHORTZ: Seurat, excellent.

Ms. SPRITZER: Seurat, yes.

Mr. SHORTZ: And your last category is uncapitalized words containing the letter J. Any word that has the letter J.

Ms. SPRITZER: Oh, like sojourn?

Mr. SHORTZ: Sojourn, excellent.

Ms. SPRITZER: Majesty.

Mr. SHORTZ: Good.

HANSEN: Adjacent.

Mr. SHORTZ: Adjacent, yes.

Ms. SPRITZER: Adjacent, okay.

Mr. SHORTZ: There's several answers starting R-E-J.

Ms. SPRITZER: Right. Rejoice.

Mr. SHORTZ: Rejoice, good. All you need is a T. Think of what a missile has, what you would...

Ms. SPRITZER: Projectory.

Mr. SHORTZ: Projectory, good job.

HANSEN: Lola, you did so well today. 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 Brothers, the Puzzlemaster Presents from Random House, Volume Two, a set of Sodoku puzzle books presented by Will Shortz from St. Martin's Press, and one of Will Shortz's Puzzlemaster Decks of Riddles and Challenges from Chronicle Books. Lola, what's your member station?

Ms. SPRITZER: WUNC, which is in Chapel Hill.

HANSEN: All right, Lola Spritzer from Pittsboro, North Carolina. You were fabulous. Thanks a lot for playing with us today.

Ms. SPRITZER: Thank you.

HANSEN: All right. Will, something for everyone to ponder.

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes, this week's challenge comes from listener , Jo Marie Privitera from Marietta, Georgia. Think of a five-letter name of a company that is often seen while driving on the highway. You can drop the first letter, and re-arrange the four remaining letters to name a dance. Or you can go back to the company's name and drop the second letter, rearrange the four remaining letters to name an event where the dance may be performed. What is it? So again, a five-letter company name seen while driving, drop the first letter and scramble, you'll name a dance. Drop the second letter and scramble, you'll name an event where the dance may be performed. What is it?

HANSEN: When you have the answer, go to our Web site,, click on the Submit your Answer link on the Sunday Puzzle Page. Only one entry per person, please. Our deadline this week is Thursday, 3:00 p.m. 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. Will, it's great to see you again. Thanks a lot.

Mr. SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane.

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