Sunday Puzzle: Categorically Speaking In this week's challenge, each clue is a thing that belongs to two categories. Name something that's in both.
NPR logo

Sunday Puzzle: Categorically Speaking

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Sunday Puzzle: Categorically Speaking

Sunday Puzzle: Categorically Speaking

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


Now, if you didn't win last week's three quarters of a billion dollar jackpot in the Powerball, do not worry. Here's another chance to play and feel like a winner. It's The Puzzle.


MARTINEZ: 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, A. I have to ask you, if you won three quarters of a billion dollars, what would you do?

MARTINEZ: You wouldn't be talking to me right now, Will.

SHORTZ: (Laughter).

MARTINEZ: Or we'd have to set up some kind of connection from an island far, far away.

SHORTZ: That sounds good.

MARTINEZ: What about you, Will?

SHORTZ: I don't know. I don't think that would make my life any better.

MARTINEZ: You could make the greatest puzzle of all time, I think.

SHORTZ: Oh, man.

MARTINEZ: All right. So Will, remind us of last week's challenge.

SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Steve Baggish of Arlington, Mass. I said, think of two synonyms, one in five letters, the other in four. The five-letter word starts with S. The four-letter word contains an S. And I said, change one of the S's to an A. You can rearrange the result to name a group of people that ideally have those two adjectives describe them. What group is it? Well, the adjectives are swift and fast. And you make that change, rearrange the letters, you get waitstaff.

MARTINEZ: That was a hard one actually (laughter). And this week, we only received a little over 250 correct responses. And our randomly selected winner is Vicki Magaw of Iron River, Wis. Congratulations, Vicki.

VICKI MAGAW: Thank you.

MARTINEZ: How'd you figure this one out?

MAGAW: Well, my husband and I go to breakfast every Sunday morning. And we listen to The Puzzle on the way to breakfast, and then we try to figure it out while we're eating. This particular week, we heard it, and we were just trying to think up five-letter words that started with S that had a synonym. And once we actually got to the restaurant and started writing them down, as soon as I saw swift and fast in print, I just saw it. And probably the fact that we were being waited on at the time had something to do with it.


MARTINEZ: I was going to say, I mean, it seemed like the answer was right there all around you.

MAGAW: (Laughter) Yep.

MARTINEZ: What do you do for a living there in Iron River?

MAGAW: I am a self-employed, all-natural soap and soy candle maker.

MARTINEZ: Oh. What's your best-seller?

MAGAW: I make a lavender and patchouli soap with oatmeal and honey.

MARTINEZ: I wish I had guessed lavender because I knew it was going to be lavender. I absolutely knew it.

MAGAW: It's got to be something with lavender (laughter).

MARTINEZ: Always - always lavender. All right, so are you ready for The Puzzle?

MAGAW: Oh, golly, probably not - but it's time.

MARTINEZ: All right, Will, so let's play.

SHORTZ: All right, Vicki and A, I'm going to name two categories of things. You name something that's in both of them. For example, if I said a U.S. city that's also a large mammal, you would say Buffalo.


SHORTZ: OK. Here's number one...


SHORTZ: ...A country that's also a large bird.

MARTINEZ: Country that's a large bird.

SHORTZ: And it's a foul.

MAGAW: Turkey.

SHORTZ: Turkey is it. Good. Number two, a country that's a popular wedding gift.

MARTINEZ: China - oh.

MAGAW: Thank you. Thank you.

SHORTZ: There you go. Yeah, A got it.

MARTINEZ: I've got to remember not to blurt.

SHORTZ: Try this - a university that's also a color.

MARTINEZ: Come on, Vicki. You can do it.

MAGAW: Crimson.

SHORTZ: No, that would be the Crimson Tide. That would be a nickname. I'm looking for the actual university.

MAGAW: Oh, that's right. OK. Golly, I don't know. I need help.

SHORTZ: Go ahead, A.

MARTINEZ: How about this? Brown.

SHORTZ: Brown works.

MAGAW: Brown, OK.

SHORTZ: Also, Auburn - Auburn would have worked.


SHORTZ: All right, here's your next one, an insect that's also a sport.

MAGAW: Cricket.

SHORTZ: There you go. A card game that's also a construction project.

MAGAW: Bridge.

MARTINEZ: Oh, wow. Good job, Vicki.

SHORTZ: A vice president that's also foreign money.

MARTINEZ: Oh, I think I got this one. Go ahead, Vicki. Give it a try, but I think...

MAGAW: I don't know.

MARTINEZ: How about Pence?

SHORTZ: How about Pence? That works.


SHORTZ: A fruit that's also a company on the Dow index.

MAGAW: Apple.

SHORTZ: That's it. A comic strip that's also a snack food.

MAGAW: Peanuts.

SHORTZ: Uh-huh. A breed of dog that's also an athlete in a particular. It's an athlete in a particular Olympic sport.

MAGAW: A boxer.

SHORTZ: Boxer is it. Good.

MARTINEZ: Nice, Vicki. Wow. That's awesome.

SHORTZ: An alcoholic drink that's also a tool.

MARTINEZ: Oh, I think I know this one - not because I drink it but...

MAGAW: Screwdriver.

SHORTZ: Screwdriver, yes. The last one has two answers - a planet that's also a bygone make of automobile.

MAGAW: Jupiter and Saturn.


MAGAW: Nope?

SHORTZ: Saturn works. I don't know a Jupiter car. Try...

MAGAW: (Laughter).

SHORTZ: Try one of the other planets closer to the sun.

MAGAW: No - oh, Mercury, yeah.

SHORTZ: Mercury is it. Good job.

MARTINEZ: All right, Vicki. That was good. Actually, I was able to help this time.

MAGAW: It's much easier listening to it on the radio in the car (laughter).

MARTINEZ: I'm sure it must be - no pressure or anything in the car. All right, Vicki, for playing our puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin as well as puzzle books and games. And you can read all about it at Vicki, what member station do you listen to?

MAGAW: WOJB out of Reserve, Wis.

MARTINEZ: Nice. Vicki Magaw of Iron River, Wis., thank you very much for playing The Puzzle.

MAGAW: Thank you.

MARTINEZ: All right, Will, so what's next week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yes, think of a common two-word expression in eight letters that uses all five vowels, A, E, I, O and U. It has only three consonants, one of which is repeated. The first word in the expression has two letters, and the second has six letters. What common expression is it? So again, a common two-word expression - two, six - that uses all five vowels, has only three consonants, one of which is repeated. What expression is it?

MARTINEZ: When you have the answer, go to our website,, and then click on the Submit Your Answer link. Just one entry per person, please. Our deadline for entries is Thursday, August 31 at 3 p.m. Eastern. Include a phone number where we can reach you right 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 puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzlemaster Will Shortz. Will, thanks a lot.

SHORTZ: Thanks a lot, A.


Copyright © 2017 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.