LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
A week into January, some of us have already given up on our New Year's resolutions. But if your plan is to give your brain a good workout, this is one resolution that cannot fail because it's time for The Puzzle.
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GARCIA-NAVARRO: Joining me 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, Lulu. Welcome back.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Thank you. Any New Year's resolutions for you?
SHORTZ: No, I don't make resolutions. I try to improve myself year long.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: There you go. All right, remind us of last week's challenge.
SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Patrick Berry of Jasper, Ala. I said name a famous singer - three letters in the first name, five letters in the last. Drop the middle letter of the last name and rearrange the result to name a variety of singing group. What is it? And the singer is Bob Dylan. You do that, and you get boy band.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: We received almost a thousand correct responses. And our randomly selected winner is James Wilhoit of Renton, Wash. Congratulations.
JAMES WILHOIT: Thank you.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Are you a boy band or Bob Dylan fan?
WILHOIT: Not either one particularly.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: I hear you've been active in local theater?
WILHOIT: I have. I was in a production of "Mary Poppins," the stage musical in 2016.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Nice. And who did you play?
WILHOIT: I played the admiral and the bank chairman.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) OK. I just showed that film for the first time to my daughter, and she loved it. Do you have a question for Will?
WILHOIT: I guess my main question is, how do you keep coming up with puzzles?
SHORTZ: Well, sometimes, I don't know. It's been 31 years. That is a lot of puzzles. I heard once that if you ever get tired of writing, you're tired of life. And I feel the same way about puzzles. If you're ever tired of puzzles, you're tired of life. And I'm not tired.
WILHOIT: I agree.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Words to live by. James, are you ready to play The Puzzle?
GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right, Will, take it away.
SHORTZ: All right, James, I'm going to give you three five-letter words. You give me a fourth five-letter word that can precede each of mine to complete a compound word or a familiar two-word phrase. For example, if I said slide, tower and melon, you would say water as in waterslide, water tower and watermelon.
WILHOIT: OK, got it.
SHORTZ: Got it. Number one is - alley, trust, faith.
SHORTZ: Blind alley, blind trust, blind faith. Good job. Whale, noise, pages.
WILHOIT: Whale, W-H-A-L-E?
SHORTZ: That's right. That might be a harder one.
SHORTZ: And noise. What goes...
WILHOIT: Pages. White?
SHORTZ: What goes - white. Yeah, white whale, white noise and white pages. Good. Alarm, teeth, front.
SHORTZ: False. Good job. Speed, opera, touch.
WILHOIT: What was the first one?
SHORTZ: Speed - S-P-E-E-D.
SHORTZ: Light speed. Good. Light opera and light touch. Child, piano, total.
WILHOIT: Child, piano and total.
SHORTZ: Total, yeah.
WILHOIT: Let's see. I can't - that's something from way back, I guess.
SHORTZ: I'll give you a hint. First of all, do you have any children?
WILHOIT: I have a daughter, yes.
SHORTZ: And does your daughter have any children?
WILHOIT: Oh, a grandchild and a grand piano and a grand total, OK.
SHORTZ: That's it. Good job. How about charm, guess, stiff?
SHORTZ: There you go. Story, order, bread.
WILHOIT: Bread is the last one?
SHORTZ: Right. That might be a harder one to get from. What kind of story has five letters?
WILHOIT: Short story, short bread - yeah, OK.
SHORTZ: And short order, good. How about robin, dance, table.
SHORTZ: Good job.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: You did great. How was it?
WILHOIT: Well, I appreciate that. It was - that was fun.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Good. 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. James, what member station do you listen to?
WILHOIT: It's KUOW, 94.9. It's the University of Washington station in Seattle.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Wonderful. James Wilhoit of Renton, Wash. Thank you for playing The Puzzle.
WILHOIT: Thank you.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right, Will, what's next week's challenge?
SHORTZ: Yes. It comes from listener Neville Fogarty of Newport News, Va. Take the first and last names of a journalist well-known to NPR listeners. Remove the first letter of the last name, and the remaining letters can be rearranged to spell two modes of transport. And here's a hint - the modes of transport have the same number of wheels. Who is the journalist, and what are the modes of transport?
So again, first and last names of a journalist well-known to NPR listeners. Remove the first letter of the last name. The remaining letters can be rearranged to spell two modes of transport, which have the same number of wheels. Who's the journalist? And what are the modes of transport?
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, please. Our deadline for entries is Thursday, January 11 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. Thanks so much, Will.
SHORTZ: Thank you, Lulu.
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