LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
Football season is back in full force, but you know what's even better than watching the home team score a touchdown? It is The Puzzle.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
WERTHEIMER: Joining me as always is Will Shortz. He is puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION'S puzzle master. Will, good morning.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Linda. Welcome back.
WERTHEIMER: Thank you. Thank you. So, Will, can you remind us of last week's challenge?
SHORTZ: Yeah, it was on the easy side but very pretty. It came from listener Patrick Berry of Jasper, Ala. And I said rearrange the 15 letters of cool hit fare - F-A-R-E - in LA to name a famous song that's appropriate to the given phrase. And the answer is "Hotel California" by The Eagles.
WERTHEIMER: So we received this week - I guess you must have struck some sort of chord - 1,450 correct responses. Our randomly selected winner is Steven Reisman of Afton, Minn. Congratulations, Steven.
STEVEN REISMAN: Well, thanks, Linda. Thanks, Will.
WERTHEIMER: So I understand, Steven, that you have been playing the puzzle since its very first broadcast, which, I guess, is about - what? - 1987?
REISMAN: Well, about 30 years. I was listening to the inaugural broadcasts of Weekend Sunday and Weekend Saturday. And yeah, I played with postcards - an unknown number of postcards and I've got to...
REISMAN: I've saved all copies of my email and web submissions. And it looks like I have about 390 email and web submissions.
WERTHEIMER: Oh, my goodness. Well, I am told that in all of that, one particular puzzle stands out for you. What was it?
REISMAN: Well, it was June 11 of '95. Will, you remember back then the puzzle was, given the 26 letters of the alphabet, form two words using as many letters as possible without duplication. And there were only four of us who came up with the answer.
WERTHEIMER: (Laughter) What was the answer?
REISMAN: The answer was blacksmith and gunpowdery. And I was called and told that I was an honorable mention.
WERTHEIMER: (Laughter) So are you ready to try it again? Play the puzzle?
REISMAN: I'm ready.
WERTHEIMER: OK. Will, let's play.
SHORTZ: All right. Steven, sounds like you are really ready after 30 years. I'm going to give you some words. For each one, change one letter in it to name something to drink. For example, if I said later - L-A-T-E-R - you could say either water or lager. Either one would work.
SHORTZ: Here's number one, coffer - C-O-F-F-E-R.
SHORTZ: That's right. Number two is topic - T-O-P-I-C.
SHORTZ: Wider - W-I-D-E-R.
SHORTZ: That's it.
WERTHEIMER: Very good.
SHORTZ: Whisker - W-H-I-S-K-E-R.
SHORTZ: Pinch - P-I-N-C-H.
SHORTZ: That's it. Scorch - S-C-O-R-C-H.
SHORTZ: Martins - M-A-R-T-I-N-S.
SHORTZ: Mild - M-I-L-D.
SHORTZ: Bear - B-E-A-R.
SHORTZ: Lead - L-E-A-D. Something that people don't drink much nowadays, but they did maybe five, seven hundred years ago.
REISMAN: Oh, mead.
SHORTZ: Mead is it, good.
REISMAN: It's honey...
WERTHEIMER: Back when they were drinking porter.
SHORTZ: That's right. Wink - W-I-N-K.
SHORTZ: Cold - C-O-L-D.
REISMAN: Well, I can think of Colt 45, but...
SHORTZ: Colt, yeah. No, brand names here though.
SHORTZ: Cola, is it?
SHORTZ: Lake - L-A-K-E. It's a tricky one because the answer is in two syllables.
REISMAN: Oh, sake.
SHORTZ: That's it. And here's your last one, so long - S-O-L-O-N-G.
WERTHEIMER: I'm not getting it.
REISMAN: No, I'm not seeing that offhand.
SHORTZ: Yeah, change the first letter.
REISMAN: Oh, oolong.
WERTHEIMER: Oh, tea. It's tea.
REISMAN: Oolong tea. Good job.
WERTHEIMER: Very good. So, Steven, you're obviously up on your booze.
REISMAN: (Laughter) I'm not a drinker, but I'm up on it.
WERTHEIMER: Well, thank you very much 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. dot org slash puzzle. Steven Reisman of Afton, Minn., thank you very much for playing The Puzzle.
REISMAN: Well, thanks, Will. Thanks, Linda.
WERTHEIMER: So, Will, do you have a challenge for next week?
SHORTZ: Yes, I do. And it comes from (laughter) not surprisingly - and it comes from listener Al Gori (ph) of Cozy Lake, N.J. Think of a famous quotation with eight words. The initial letters of the first four words themselves spell a word, and the initial letters of the last four words spell another word. And both words rhyme with jab. What quotation is it? So again - famous quotation, eight words. The initials of the first four words spell a word, and the initials of the last four words spell a word. And both of those words rhyme with jab - J-A-B. What quotation is it?
WERTHEIMER: When you have the answer, good luck with that. Go to our website, npr.org/puzzle. Click on the Submit Your Answer link - just one entry per person, please. Our deadline for entries is Thursday, Sept. 14 at 3 p.m. EST. Include a telephone number where we can reach you at about that time. 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 puzzle master, Will Shortz.
Will, thank you.
SHORTZ: Thank you, Linda.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
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.