Sunday Puzzle: 3rd & O NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro and Weekend Edition puzzlemaster Will Shortz play a puzzle with WVPM listener Joe Sallmen of Fairmont, W.Va.
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Sunday Puzzle: 3rd & O

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Sunday Puzzle: 3rd & O

Sunday Puzzle: 3rd & O

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  • Transcript


And it's time to play The Puzzle.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: Joining us is Will Shortz. He's puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master.

Good morning, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Lulu. You've been traveling.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I have been traveling. I have been down to Texas and back. I love Texas, by the way.

What was last week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yes, it came from listener David Edelheit. I said think of a word meaning a particular body of water. Change one letter in it to get a new word meaning a particular body of land. What words are these? Well, there was a clever answer, inlet to islet - I-S-L-E-T - kind of as a surprising answer. And then there was a less interesting answer but just as good. It's bay to cay - C-A-Y. So we accepted either one.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We received about 1,300 responses. And our winner this week is Joe Sallmen of Fairmont, W.Va.


JOE SALLMEN: Hey. Thanks.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So I understand you're software test engineer at NASA. But your friends call you Tiger Joe (laughter).

SALLMEN: Yeah. Yeah because I - well, tigers are a big passion of mine.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Cool. You like tigers.

SALLMEN: Yeah, yeah. When I was a kid, it used the lion. But since I was born under Virgo by a few days, I had to switch over to tigers.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Are you ready to play The Puzzle?


GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Let's go.


SHORTZ: All right. Tiger Joe, I'm going to read you two words. Think of a third word that can follow my first one and precede my second one in each case to complete a common two-word phrase. And as a help, each answer starts with the letter O. For example, if I said Grand and night, you would say opening to make grand opening and opening night.

SALLMEN: OK, the word goes in between.

SHORTZ: Yeah, that's right.


SHORTZ: Here we go. No. 1 is pecking - P-E-C-K-I-N-G - pecking and form.


SHORTZ: Pecking order and order form is right.

No. 2 is snake, well.

SALLMEN: Snake and well.

SHORTZ: It's a three-letter word.


SHORTZ: Snake oil, oil well is right.

Oval, hours - H-O-U-R-S.

SALLMEN: Oh, my goodness - hours, oval...

SHORTZ: Oval is probably the easier part, oval blank.

SALLMEN: Oval O - I mean...

SHORTZ: Where does the president work?

SALLMEN: Office (laughter).

SHORTZ: Oval Office, office hours is it.

Agent, juice.

SALLMEN: Juice as in orange juice?

SHORTZ: Uh-huh (laughter) - there, you got the answer - and Agent Orange. Good.


SHORTZ: That's exactly it.

SALLMEN: All right.

SHORTZ: Second - S-E-C-O-N-D - second and poll - P-O-L-L.

SALLMEN: Second observation - but that's probably not it.


SALLMEN: Second open and open poll?


GARCIA-NAVARRO: You get a lot of these during election seasons.

SHORTZ: That's the kind of poll. If you go to see a doctor and they say something, then you might get a second...

SALLMEN: Opinion.

SHORTZ: A second opinion and opinion poll is it.

Soap and house. Soap and house...

SALLMEN: Soap and house - soap opera?

SHORTZ: Soap opera, opera house is it.

House and grinder.

SALLMEN: Oh. OK. So this time, the word comes after house.

SHORTZ: And the easier one is blank grinder.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Little monkeys.

SALLMEN: Oh, organ.

SHORTZ: Organ grinder and house organ is it.

U.S., sesame.

SALLMEN: Sesame as in "Sesame Street"?

SHORTZ: Uh-huh.

SALLMEN: Open - U.S. Open.

SHORTZ: That's it. Green, rings.

SALLMEN: Green onion and onion rings.

SHORTZ: That's it.

Polar - P-O-L-A-R - polar and sex - S-E-X.

SALLMEN: Goodness. Of course I think it's polar bear, but that's obviously not it.



SALLMEN: Well, I've got to find a word that starts with O to link these two together. And...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So two things that are very - that are diametrically different.

SALLMEN: Opposite.


SHORTZ: There you go.

SALLMEN: Polar opposite. OK. There we go.

SHORTZ: Polar opposite, opposite sex.

And here's your last one - golden, knocks K-N-O-C-K-S.

SALLMEN: Golden...

SHORTZ: And knocks, K-N-O-C-K-S.

SALLMEN: Golden opportunity and opportunity knocks.

SHORTZ: You got it. Good job.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Good job. And I've got to tell you. That was a really fun puzzle. How do you feel?

SALLMEN: Well, it actually was pretty tough because there aren't that many words that begin with O when you think about it...


SHORTZ: That's true.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And certainly not that many words that begin with O that go with sex. So 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

And Joe, what member station do you listen to?

SALLMEN: I listen to WVPM in Morgantown.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Tiger Joe Sallmen of Fairmont, W.Va., thank you for playing The Puzzle.

SALLMEN: And Thanks. I had a lot of fun.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right, Will, tell us next week's challenge.

SHORTZ: Yes. It comes from listener Mathew Huffman. Name a well-known rock band in three words. Change the first and third letters to the first and third letters of the alphabet - that is, A and C - and you can rearrange the result to name another famous rock band in three words. What is it? So again - famous rock band, three words. Change the first letter of the name to an A and a third letter of the name to a C. And rearrange the result to name another famous rock band in three words. What bands are these?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: When you have the answer, go to our website, and click on the Submit Your Answer link. Remember - just one entry per person, please. Our deadline for entries is Valentine's Day, Thursday, February 14 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 a special Valentine to play on the air with the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master, Will Shortz.

Happy Valentine's Day, Will.

SHORTZ: Same to you, Lulu. Thank you.


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