Sunday Puzzle: Fame Game NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro plays the puzzle with The New York Times crossword editor Will Shortz and this week's winner: Trudy Nixon of Nashville, Tenn.
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Sunday Puzzle: Fame Game

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Sunday Puzzle: Fame Game

Sunday Puzzle: Fame Game

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • 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 puzzlemaster.

Hey, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Lulu.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. What was last week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yeah. It came from listener Daniel Nathan of Washington, D.C. I said think of a common greeting in another country. You can rearrange its letters to get the capital of a country that neighbors the country where this greeting is commonly spoken. What greeting is it? Well, the answer is nihao - N-I-H-A-O. It means hello in Mandarin Chinese. And you can rearrange those letters to get Hanoi, which is the capital of Vietnam.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We received over 700 correct responses. And our winner this week is Trudy Nixon of Nashville, Tenn.

Welcome to the program.

TRUDY NIXON: Thank you.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: How do you figure it out?

NIXON: Well, a while back, I was living in a very small town in Alabama. I was busy working. And I got a lot of Chinese takeout. I got to know the girls who worked there. And I felt silly talking to them in English all the time. And I asked them a few things like, how do you say thank you and hello? And so I thought, well, I wonder if the Chinese is - and I was thinking, what was it now? Nihao. Nihao. That was it. Nihao. I thought about the letters. And I went, oh my gosh. It's Hanoi (laughter).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I love this story. You reaching out to - you know, in a different language to, you know, to make friends led you to The Puzzle so many years later. It is a great, great story. I love it. Are you ready to play?

NIXON: I am.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Take it away.

SHORTZ: All right, Trudy. Every answer today is the name of a famous person with only one name.


SHORTZ: It's either because they literally had only one name or because they chose to go by one name in show business. I'll give you anagrams. You name the people.


SHORTZ: For example, if I said, boron - B-O-R-O-N - minus R, for a singer, you would say Bono, the lead singer of U2. All right. Number one is perch - P-E-R-C-H minus P. And it's a singer-actress.

NIXON: Cher.

SHORTZ: Cher. That was fast. Number two is yearn - Y-E...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Are we going to make her sing some of the songs or no?

SHORTZ: (Laughter) No. We won't require that.

NIXON: No, please don't.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: I'm just kidding.

SHORTZ: Yearn - Y-E-A-R-N minus R - a singer - and in particular, a new-age singer.

NIXON: Oh, dear. I'm in trouble. I'm old.

SHORTZ: What if I told you it starts with any E?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Singing) Sail away. Sail away. Sail away.

SHORTZ: Oh, very good, Lulu.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) Someone's got to sing.

NIXON: That doesn't help me a bit.

SHORTZ: All right. I'll tell you the answer. That's Enya. Do you know Enya?

NIXON: No, I don't.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: It's a hard one...


GARCIA-NAVARRO: ...To be honest.

SHORTZ: That makes it harder if you don't know it. All right. Here's your next one. You know this one - sleep - S-L-E-E-P - minus S - a soccer player.

NIXON: Pele.

SHORTZ: Pele is right. Operas - O-P-E-R-A-S - minus R - a writer of fables.

NIXON: Aesop.

SHORTZ: Nice - cupular - C-U-P-U-L-A-R - minus C - and it's a drag queen TV personality.

NIXON: Oh, RuPaul.

SHORTZ: RuPaul - nice.

SHORTZ: Porcine - P-O-R-C-I-N-E - minus O - and it a singer-musician.

NIXON: Prince.

SHORTZ: Oh, yes.

NIXON: (Laughter).

SHORTZ: Immense - I-M-M-E-N-S-E - minus S - a rapper.

NIXON: Oh, great. Wait a minute - I-M-M-E-N-C-E, you said.

NIXON: E-N-S-E but you drop the S, so it doesn't matter.

NIXON: Oh, OK. So I drop the S. OK.

SHORTZ: That's right.

NIXON: Eminem.

SHORTZ: Eminem - yes - nice.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I was to bust out into song again, so you saved everybody.

SHORTZ: (Laughter).

NIXON: Well, that wouldn't have helped. But...


NIXON: I know the name. You've given me such new-age stuff.

SHORTZ: (Laughter) Try this one - monologs - M-O-N-O-L-O-G-S - minus G. And it's a king.

NIXON: A king.

SHORTZ: Yeah, from the Bible.

NIXON: Solomon.

SHORTZ: Solomon's good - ergonomic - E-R-G-O-N-O-M-I-C - minus C. And it's an Indian chief.

NIXON: Minus C.

SHORTZ: That's right.

NIXON: Geronimo.

SHORTZ: Geronimo, yes. And here's your last one. Brace-like - B-R-A-C-E-L-I-K-E - minus K. And it's a pianist.

NIXON: Liberace.

SHORTZ: Oh, yeah - good job.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yay. You did great. How do you feel?

NIXON: Relieved.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) Fair enough - but you did really well. 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 Trudy, which member station do you listen to?

NIXON: I listen online to WPLN in Nashville.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Trudy Nixon of Nashville, Tenn., thank you for playing The Puzzle.

NIXON: Oh, thank you. I've been trying to get that lapel pin for 30 years.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) Well, it's finally coming your way. All right, Will. What's next week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yes. It comes from listener Joseph Young of St. Cloud, Minn., who conducts the blog Puzzleria! Think of a familiar three-word phrase with and in the middle - blank and blank. Move the first letter of the third word to the start of the first word, and you'll form two means of transportation. What are they? - so again, familiar three-word phrase, blank and blank. Move the first letter of the third word to the start of the first word. And you'll name two means of transportation. What means of transportation are they?

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 Thursday, May 2 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: Thanks, Lulu.


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