J-Walking with a Crooked Letter Puzzle master Will Shortz quizzes one of our listeners, and has a challenge for everyone at home built around a movie director's name.
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J-Walking with a Crooked Letter

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J-Walking with a Crooked Letter


From NPR News, this is WEEKEND EDITION. I'm John Ydstie. And joining us is puzzle master Will Shortz. Hi, Will.

Mr. WILL SHORTZ (Puzzle Master): Hi, John, how are you?

YDSTIE: I'm doing very well, very well. Are you staying warm up there?

Mr. SHORTZ: You know, we got our - as you probably know, we got our first snow of the season this past week, which is pretty amazing. I think it snowed in Los Angeles before it snowed in New York.

YDSTIE: For those people who don't know, we should say you're in New York City, right?

Mr. SHORTZ: That's right.

YDSTIE: So no snow there until mid-January is a record, I guess.

Mr. SHORTZ: I think so.

YDSTIE: Remind us of the special two-week challenge you left with us a couple of weeks ago.

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes. I said arrange 16 different letters of the alphabet into a four-by-four square, so four common uncapitalized words read across and four common uncapitalized words read down. And as a start, I said the second word across is ruly, R-U-L-Y. All you had to do was come up with one such square.

YDSTIE: And the answer is?

Mr. SHORTZ: Well, I'm aware of two different answers. They are slight variations of each other. One of them starts with gash, G-A-S-H, then ruly, then item, and down, D-O-W-N. And reading down you get grid, auto, slew and hymn, H-Y-M-N. And the variation is to change grid to brig, B-R-I-G. That also works.

YDSTIE: And we had over 800 entries from people who tried to solve the puzzle, and our randomly selected winner is Robert Pettengill from Austin, Texas. Hi.

Mr. ROBERT PETTENGILL (Puzzle Winner): Hello, John. Hello, Will.

Mr. SHORTZ: Hi there.

YDSTIE: Robert, what do you do down there in Austin?

Mr. PETTENGILL: I've started my own consulting business, helping people customize search engines for Web sites and document archives.

YDSTIE: How long have you been playing the puzzle?

Mr. PETTENGILL: Boy, it must be at least eight or 10 years. We sort of wake up to it on Sunday mornings. But this maybe only the, oh, the second or third time I've sent in an entry to the challenge.

YDSTIE: Well, are you ready to play today?

Mr. PETTENGILL: Yes, I am.

YDSTIE: All right. Will, meet Robert.

Mr. SHORTZ: All right, Rob and John. Today we're going jaywalking. Every answer is a word starting with the letter J. You identify the words from their anagrams. For example, if I say J plus tuna, T-U-N-A, you might say jaunt or junta. Either answer would work. Number one is J plus into, I-N-T-O.

Mr. PETTENGILL: How about joint?

Mr. SHORTZ: Joint is right. Number two is J plus pule, P-U-L-E.


Mr. SHORTZ: It's something you would drink.

Mr. PETTENGILL: Oh, julep, mint julep.

Mr. SHORTZ: Julep is right. Excellent. J plus alack, A-L-A-C-K. This one's the name of an animal.

Mr. PETTENGILL: Ah, jackal.

Mr. SHORTZ: Jackal is right. Steer, S-T-E-E-R.


Mr. SHORTZ: Jester, excellent. Nigel, N-I-G-E-L. Something you might hear on the radio.

Mr. PETTENGILL: Oh, jingle.

Mr. SHORTZ: Jingle is right. J plus knute, K-N-U-T-E.

Mr. PETTENGILL: I guess knute would get you a junket.

Mr. SHORTZ: Junket is right. Okay, your next one. J plus viola, V-I-O-L-A.

Mr. PETTENGILL: Oh, jovial.

Mr. SHORTZ: Jovial, excellent. Ariel, A-R-I-E-L. This is a profession.


Mr. SHORTZ: Jailer, excellent. Groan, G-R-O-A-N.


Mr. SHORTZ: Nice. How about gurgle, G-U-R-G-L-E? This might be an unusual profession.

Mr. PETTENGILL: Juggler.

Mr. SHORTZ: Juggler, nice. Quinol, Q-U-I-N-O-L. You're looking for the name of a flower.

Mr. PETTENGILL: Is jonquil a flower?

YDSTIE: Yes, indeed.

Mr. SHORTZ: Yeah, jonquil is, that's good. How about inseam, I-N-S-E-A-M? And this is a kind of tea.

Mr. PETTENGILL: Jasmine.

Mr. SHORTZ: Jasmine is right. And your last one: elfishly, E-L-F-I-S-H-L-Y. And here you're looking for a creature you might find in the sea.

Mr. PETTENGILL: Jellyfish.

Mr. SHORTZ: Jellyfish is right.

YDSTIE: Great job. That was a fun puzzle.


YDSTIE: 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 Puzzle Master Presents" from Random House, Volume 2; and a set of Sudoku puzzle books presented by Will Shortz from St. Martin's Press; and in addition, one of Will Shortz's Puzzle Master Decks of Riddles and Challenges from Chronicle Books. Robert, what member station do you listen to?

Mr. PETTENGILL: I listen to KUT in Austin, John.

YDSTIE: That's a great member station, lots of good music there. Robert Pettengill from Austin, Texas, thanks for playing the puzzle with us.

Mr. PETTENGILL: Thank you John, and thank you very much, Will. It was a privilege.

Mr. SHORTZ: Thanks a lot, Rob.

YDSTIE: Now, Will, the challenge for next week, what have you got for us?

Mr. SHORTZ: Well, it comes from listener Mark Leeper of Old Bridge, New Jersey. Name a famous film director whose last name has two syllables. Phonetically, these two syllables sound like words that are opposites of each other. Who is the director?

So again a famous film director; last name has two syllables; phonetically these two syllables sound like words, and these two words are opposites of each other. What are the words and who is the director?

YDSTIE: And 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 if you are the winner, and 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.

Mr. SHORTZ: Thanks, John.

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