Who Are They? Puzzle master Will Shortz quizzes one of our listeners on names in the news in 2006, from Barbaro and Jill Carroll to Harry Whittington and Zinedine Zidane.
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Who Are They?

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Who Are They?

Who Are They?

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From NPR News, this is WEEKEND EDITION. I'm Andrea Seabrook. And joining us is - da-da-da-da! Puzzle master Will Shortz. Hi, Will.

WILL SHORTZ: Hi, Andrea. Happy New Year.

SEABROOK: Happy New Year to you, too. A few hours left in this waning year.

SHORTZ: That's right.

SEABROOK: Remind us of the challenge you left us with last week.

SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Stuart Parker of Durham, New Hampshire. I said think of two words, one starting with O, the other starting with R. Both end in I-N-G, and they have the same number of letters. In one sense, the words are synonyms. In another sense, they're opposites. What words are these?


SHORTZ: The answer is outgoing and retiring. It's kind of funny. They can be both opposites, or they can mean the same thing in one sense.

SEABROOK: That is so interesting. We had over 200 entries from people who tried to solve the puzzle, and our randomly selected winner is - Marilyn Pollack from San Antonio, Texas.

MARILYN POLLACK: Hi, Andrea. Hi, Will.

SHORTZ: Hey there.

SEABROOK: What do you do in Texas down there, in San Antonio?

POLLACK: Well, I'm on the faculty at the medical center here, and my specialty is transplant compatibility testing.

SEABROOK: How long have you been playing the puzzle?

POLLACK: Oh, for many, many, many years.

SEABROOK: So Will, meet Marilyn. Let's play.

SHORTZ: Number one is Nouri Kamal al-Maliki. Who is he?

POLLACK: He's the president of Iraq.

SHORTZ: Excellent. The premier of Iraq. Number two is Alexander Litvenenko. This was news within the last month or so.

POLLACK: That one is not familiar.

SEABROOK: I'll give you a hint. I could just say polonium-210.

SHORTZ: Polonium-210. Yes, you know, he's the Russian dissident, former spy who was poisoned.

POLLACK: He died from receiving that - some poisoning that contained the polonium-210.

SEABROOK: Yeah, you got it.

SHORTZ: That's right.


SHORTZ: Try this one. Jill Carroll. Jill Carroll, C-A-R-R-O-L-L.

POLLACK: Another hint?

SHORTZ: She's a journalist. Okay, Andrea, do you know this one?

SEABROOK: She's an independent journalist working for the Christian Science Monitor and got kidnapped in Iraq.

SHORTZ: Exactly, and later released. Good.


SHORTZ: Try this one. John Mark Carr, John Mark Carr. He confessed to something.

POLLACK: Oh, did he confess to the killing of the little girl in Colorado?

SHORTZ: That's right, confessed to killing JonBenet Ramsey, and later the charges were dropped.


SHORTZ: Very good. Try this one. Zinedine Zidane. Zinedine Zidane, Z-I-D-A-N-E. This one's sports-related.

SEABROOK: Yeah, I have no idea.


POLLACK: Well, I think he's a soccer player, but...

SHORTZ: Yes. He's the French soccer player at the World Cup who was ejected from the final game after head-butting a player from Italy.

SEABROOK: Oh, that's right, that's right.

SHORTZ: All right, here's your next one. Harry Whittington. Who is Harry Whittington? Here's a hint for you. He's a Texas lawyer, but he's not known primarily for law.

POLLACK: Well, was he the one that was shot?

SHORTZ: He was shot by Vice President Dick Cheney in the hunting accident. Excellent. Here's your next one. Ehud Olmert, O-L-M-E-R-T. Ehud Olmert.

POLLACK: Oh, he's the Israeli prime minister.

SHORTZ: That's right.

SEABROOK: Nice job.

POLLACK: Succeeding Ariel Sharon. Nice job. Here's your next one. Ban Ki-Moon. First name is B-A-N, then K-I, hyphen, M-O-O-N. This is somebody who will be much more in the news starting January 1. Sounds like I stumped you. Do you know, Andrea?

SEABROOK: New U.N. secretary-general?

SHORTZ: That's right. He starts January 1.

POLLACK: Of course.

SHORTZ: Here's a tough one, as if the others aren't. Isabelle Dinoire, Isabelle Dinoire, D-I-N-O-I-R-E. I'll give you a hint. It's a French woman, and she is the first person in the world to receive a blank blank.

POLLACK: Help, Andrea?

SEABROOK: I have no idea, Marilyn. This is actually very...

SHORTZ: She was the first person in the world to get a face transplant.


SEABROOK: Oh yeah, I remember that.

POLLACK: And I should know that one.

SEABROOK: Yeah, you should know that one, Marilyn.


SHORTZ: Here's your last one. Barbaro. This is not a person. Barbaro, B-A-R-B-A-R-O. This is sports, and it's an animal, name of an animal, and specifically a horse.

POLLACK: Well, it must've been a horse that won one of the derbies, maybe the Kentucky Derby.

SHORTZ: Yes, winner of the Kentucky Derby, and it was injured in the Preakness, and just from the latest news is recovering nicely.

SEABROOK: Marilyn, that wasn't so bad.

POLLACK: Well, thank you for that.

SEABROOK: Marilyn, for playing our puzzle today you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin; the 11th Edition of a Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus; the Scrabble Deluxe Edition from Parker Brothers; "The Puzzle Master Presents" from Random House, Volume 2; a set of Sudoku puzzle books presented by Will Shortz from St. Martin's Press; and one of Will Shortz's Puzzle Master decks of riddles and challenges from Chronicle Books. Marilyn, what member station do you listen to?

POLLACK: KSTX in San Antonio.

SEABROOK: Marilyn, thank you so much.

POLLACK: Thank you.

SEABROOK: Will, what's the challenge for next week?

SHORTZ: Well, think of a familiar two-word phrase in the form blank-oil and another familiar two-word phrase in the form oil-blank, in which the two words in the blanks are anagrams of each other. And here's a hint. Each of the anagrams is a regular four-letter word. So again, blank-oil and oil-blank. Each is a common two-word phrase. The missing words are anagrams containing four letters each. What phrases are these?

SEABROOK: When you have the answer, go to our Web site, npr.org 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. We'll call you if you're the winner, and like Marilyn you'll get to play Puzzle on the Air with the puzzle editor of the New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master, Will Shortz. Thanks a lot, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Andrea, Happy New Year.

SEABROOK: Happy New Year.

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