Say Anything with S and A Puzzle master Will Shortz quizzes one of our listeners, and has a challenge for everyone at home. This week's winner is Bob Finch from Rochester, Minn. He listens to Weekend Edition on member station KZSE in Rochester.
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Say Anything with S and A

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Say Anything with S and A

Say Anything with S and A

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From NPR News, this is WEEKEND EDITION. I am Liane Hansen. And joining us from San Antonio, Texas this week is Puzzlemaster Will Shortz. Hey, Will.

Mr. WILL SHORTZ (Puzzlemaster): Hi, Liane. Welcome back to the show.

HANSEN: Thank you very much. I just want to say what a great time I had with you in Allentown this past week, raising a little bit of money for Lehigh Public Radio and the Civic Theatre in Allentown. It was great fun playing some puzzles between the yackos and the yinglings.

Mr. SHORTZ: That was a great time, yeah.

HANSEN: It was fun. Now, you're in San Antonio, Texas because?

Mr. SHORTZ: It's the 167th Convention of the National Puzzlers League, and I'm the program director, so there are puzzlers here, about 130 puzzlers here from all over the United States and Canada.

HANSEN: And, you know, pardon me asking, it's probably an obvious question, but what do you do there?

Mr. SHORTZ: It's like four days of straight puzzles and games. I'll tell you one cool game is called 50-50 Trivia. You play it with teams, each team writes a trivia question that they think exactly half the people in the group can answer correctly, and then - all the questions are collected. The next day everyone tries to answer them, you score a point for every answer you get right, then you score a point by predicting whether greater than or less than half will get it right, and then your team scores points for getting as close to 50 percent as possible. It's a great team game, you know, it's - I think it's a good party game. Ask 10 or 15 people over to your house to play it.

HANSEN: Yeah, that sounds good because then your trivia can't be too obscure, but then it can't be too easy either.

Mr. SHORTZ: Exactly.

HANSEN: Oh, fun. Well, the challenge you left us with last week was a lot of fun. Repeat that challenge.

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes, it came from listener Katherine Bryant of Cambridge, Massachusetts. She's a member of the National Puzzlers League and she's here in San Antonio. I said name something you might order in a bar, two words, three letters in the first word, five letters in the second. The second letter of the first word is a U, change that to an A and the result will be a new two-word phrase naming something you don't want to be seen in. What is it?

HANSEN: You know, for a while I couldn't get past the word rum. I think probably a lot of people did, but that wasn't the answer. What was the answer?

Mr. SHORTZ: It's Bud Light, change the U to an A, and you don't want to be seen in a bad light.

HANSEN: Absolutely. We had over 1,500 entries from people who tried to solve the puzzle and our winner randomly selected from those correct answers is Bob Finch, and he joins us from Rochester, Minnesota. Hi, Bob.

Mr. BOB FINCH (Caller): Hi.

HANSEN: Now, what do you do there in Rochester?

Mr. FINCH: I'm a retired professor of electrical engineering, but now I'm working as an engineer in Rochester.

HANSEN: Interesting. How long have you been playing the puzzle?

Mr. FINCH: Oh, at least ten years.

HANSEN: And this is - you've been sending in entries all that time?

Mr. FINCH: Yeah, intermittingly, pretty regularly.

HANSEN: Are you ready to play? You sound like you are.

Mr. FINCH: Well, I think so.

HANSEN: Okay. Will, meet Bob and let's play.

Mr. SHORTZ: All right, Bob and Liane, every answer today is a familiar two-word phrase with the initials S-A as in San Antonio. For example, if I gave you the clue a military raid made without warning, you might say surprise attack or sneak attack, either way. Here's number one, naval force defeated by England in 1588.

Mr. FINCH: Well, armada comes to mind, but I can't think of the S.

Mr. SHORTZ: Yeah, and who's armada was it?

Mr. FINCH: Spanish.

Mr. SHORTZ: That's right, Spanish armada. Number two, one calling a baseball or a football game for example.

Mr. FINCH: Sports announcer.

Mr. SHORTZ: Sports announcer is it, good. A figure made by a child in winter while lying on the ground.

Mr. FINCH: Snow angel.

Mr. SHORTZ: That's right. A spy.

Mr. FINCH: Secret agent.

Mr. SHORTZ: Good. The English Parliament passed it in 1765 helping precipitate the revolutionary war.

Mr. FINCH: The A must be Act.

Mr. SHORTZ: Right.

Mr. FINCH: That would be...

Mr. SHORTZ: Act is correct, which one, what kind of act? They charged a duty on something.

Mr. FINCH: I keep thinking of tea, but...

HANSEN: That's where they put the stamp.

Mr. FINCH: Oh, the Stamp Act.

HANSEN: The Stamp Act.

Mr. SHORTZ: The Stamp Act, good. The line just below the name on an envelope.

Mr. FINCH: Address...

Mr. SHORTZ: Which - what part of the address?

Mr. FINCH: Street address.

Mr. SHORTZ: Street address is right. One studying computer operations.

Mr. FINCH: I'm drawing a blank on that one.

HANSEN: This one...

Mr. SHORTZ: Do you know that one, Liane?

HANSEN: ...I'm surprised I actually - is it systems analyst?

Mr. SHORTZ: Systems analyst, good job. A sedentary marine animal with tentacles. And the S part is a body of water.


Mr. SHORTZ: A sea, right. And a sea blank, a marine animal with tentacles.

Mr. FINCH: Is it sea anemone?

Mr. SHORTZ: Sea anemone, yes, it is.

HANSEN: Oh, good.

Mr. SHORTZ: Good one. Where Mecca is?

Mr. FINCH: Saudi Arabia.

Mr. SHORTZ: Right. Where Cape Town is?

Mr. FINCH: South Africa.

Mr. SHORTZ: Good. Where money earns interest in a bank?

Mr. FINCH: Savings account.

Mr. SHORTZ: Excellent. A wisecracker.

Mr. FINCH: Smart aleck.

Mr. SHORTZ: Smart aleck, yes. Vice president after Hubert Humphrey?

Mr. FINCH: Spiro Agnew.

Mr. SHORTZ: Spiro Agnew is right. Group seen collecting money around Christmas.

Mr. FINCH: Salvation Army.

Mr. SHORTZ: Mm-hm, colorless corrosive liquid, H2 SO4?

Mr. FINCH: Sulphuric acid.

Mr. SHORTZ: Right. Period that began with the launch of Sputnik.

Mr. FINCH: Space age.

Mr. SHORTZ: Space age is right, and your last one, event celebrated after 25 years.

Mr. FINCH: Silver anniversary.

Mr. SHORTZ: Nice job.

HANSEN: Bob, nice work.

Mr. FINCH: Thank you.

HANSEN: Now, you're going to go back and read your Revolutionary history, Revolutionary War history about that Stamp Act.

Mr. FINCH: That's right.

HANSEN: Yeah, coming from Rochester, Minnesota, I'm sure you're very familiar with snow angels.

Mr. FINCH: Oh, yes.

HANSEN: Well, you did a great job, Bob. And 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, Word Play, the official companion book to the movie featuring Will Shortz from St. Martin's Press, and one of Will Shortz's Puzzlemaster decks of Riddles and Challenges from Chronicle Books. Quite a load there. Bob, what's your member station? What station do you listen to?

Mr. FINCH: KZSE in Rochester.

HANSEN: All right, well, Bob Finch from Rochester, Minnesota. You were great. Thanks a lot for playing our puzzle with us today.

Mr. FINCH: Thank you.

HANSEN: All right, Will, I hesitate to ask when you're in a group of puzzlers, but what's the challenge you are going to leave us with for the next week?

Mr. SHORTZ: Well, it comes from listener Doug Heller, who is also a member of the National Puzzlers League. Take the last name of a well-known 20th century world leader, seven letters. Write these letters in a circle, reading clockwise. Then, starting with the fourth letter of the name and reading counter-clockwise, you'll name an important period in human history. What is it? So, again, seven-letter last name of a well-known 20th century world leader, write the letters in a circle, reading clockwise. Start with the fourth letter and read counter-clockwise, you'll name an important period in human history. What is it?

HANSEN: Ladies and gentlemen start your pencils. When you have the answer, go to our Web site,, and click on the Submit Your Answer link on the Sunday Puzzle Page. Only one entry per person, please. Our deadline this week is Thursday at 3:00 p.m. Eastern time. Please include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time because we will call you if you're a 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, who this week joined us from the National Puzzlers League Convention in San Antonio, Texas. Will, have fun, thanks a lot.

Mr. SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane.

HANSEN: And just a reminder, our puzzle segment is available as a podcast. If you're worried about missing your weekly dose of Will's puzzle, just go to our Web site and click on the NPR Podcasts link and subscribe.

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