LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
And it's time to play The Puzzle.
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GARCIA-NAVARRO: Joining us is Will Shortz. He's puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION'S puzzlemaster.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Lulu.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: What's last week's challenge?
SHORTZ: Yeah, it came from listener Andy Blau. He's a magician who performs under the name Zoltan the Adequate.
SHORTZ: And - that's a great name.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: I'm going to laugh every time.
SHORTZ: (Laughter) And he describes the word bevy as alphabetically balanced. That is, the first letter, B, is second from the start of the alphabet. And the last letter, Y, is second from the end. And similarly, E and V are each fifth from the ends of the alphabet. And I ask, can you think of a six-letter word related to magic that is similarly balanced? And the answer is wizard.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That seems on point for Zoltan. We received 1,057 responses, and the winner this week is Tom Doskow (ph) of San Francisco, Calif. Congratulations.
TOM DOSKOW: Thank you.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: And how did you figure it out?
DOSKOW: Well, I wrote down A through M on one side and N through Z on the other side and tried to think of magic things. And I thought of a magic wand. And that led me to wizard.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: There you go. Are you a "Harry Potter" fan?
DOSKOW: I'm really unfamiliar with "Harry Potter."
GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) But I am told you are an entertainer.
DOSKOW: I am under the moniker Mad V. Dog. I am known as San Francisco's favorite singer and San Francisco's favorite burlesque emcee.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's fantastic, Mad V. Dog. That's what we're going to call you now. So are you ready to play The Puzzle?
GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Take it away, Will.
SHORTZ: All right, Tom, I'm going to read you some sentences. Each sentence has two blanks. The word that goes in the first blank starts GR. Change the GR to CR. And phonetically, you'll get a new word that goes in the second blank to complete the sentence.
For example, at brunch, I put blank jelly on top of my blank. You would say grape and crepe. I put grape jelly on top of my crepe. Number one, folding my bus ticket to Athens blank left a permanent blank on it.
DOSKOW: Greece and crease.
SHORTZ: That's it. At school, I always put off studying sentence structure until the last minute, so you might call me a blank blank.
DOSKOW: This is the one where I'm sitting at home going you know this.
SHORTZ: (Laughter) And in what class or a subject at school would you be studying sentence structure, starting GR?
DOSKOW: Oh, grammar crammer.
SHORTZ: Yeah, I'd call you a grammar crammer. My dad's dad always got pain in his legs when swimming, and we never found a way to prevent blank blank.
DOSKOW: Gramp's cramps.
SHORTZ: That's it. The baker would blank under his breath if her apple blank turned out bad.
DOSKOW: Groan and crone.
SHORTZ: No, but hold that thought. What - apple blank. Think of something you would in two syllables starting with CR that would be a dessert.
DOSKOW: I cannot - cobbler.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Close with a C.
SHORTZ: No (laughter). That's a tough one. Everybody - when I tested this puzzle on people, that was the one that gave them trouble. I'm just going to tell you. The baker would grumble under her breath if her apple crumble...
DOSKOW: Oh, oh. OK. OK, got it.
SHORTZ: ...Turned out bad.
DOSKOW: Yeah, yeah (laughter).
SHORTZ: All right, and here's your last one. The first asteroid left a big hole in the surface of the moon, but the second larger one produced an even blank blank.
DOSKOW: A greater crater.
SHORTZ: A greater crater, good job.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Good job. How do you feel?
DOSKOW: I feel like I've been rolled hard and put away wet.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) OK, then.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: 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. And, Tom, which member station do you listen to?
DOSKOW: I listen to KQED and also KALW, which is the San Francisco Unified School District Station.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's Tom Doskow of San Francisco, Calif., and he's our third KQED winner in three weeks in a row. I think San Francisco's representing. Thank you for playing The Puzzle.
DOSKOW: Thank you. Thank you both.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right, Will, what's next week's challenge?
SHORTZ: Yes, think of a two-letter and a five-letter word that are synonyms. The two-letter word and the last syllable of the five-letter word sound like new words that are antonyms. What words are these? So, again, a two-letter and a five-letter word that are synonyms. The two-letter word and the last syllable of a five-letter word sound like new words that are antonyms. What words are these?
GARCIA-NAVARRO: When you have the answer, go to our website npr.org/puzzle and click on the Submit Your Answer link. Remember, just one entry per person, please. Our deadline for entries is Thursday, August 8 at 3 p.m. Eastern. Include a phone number where we can reach you 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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