A Merchant, A King And A Shrew Walk Into A Bar ... Every clue is an anagram for the name of a Shakespeare character. For example, given, "real," the answer would be "Lear."
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A Merchant, A King And A Shrew Walk Into A Bar ...

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A Merchant, A King And A Shrew Walk Into A Bar ...

A Merchant, A King And A Shrew Walk Into A Bar ...

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This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

Joining us now from the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in the beautiful borough of Brooklyn, New York is puzzlemaster Will Shortz. Hello, Will. How are you?

Mr. WILL SHORTZ (Puzzlemaster): Hi, Scott. I'm doing great.

SIMON: Yeah, well, you are. You got all the answers.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: It's the rest of us who have nightmares. You know, there's this story I've been meaning to tell you.

Mr. SHORTZ: Yeah?

SIMON: Meaning, I mean, you know, thinking, dreading that one day I would be in this position having to do the puzzle with you. Last summer, I was getting some eye surgery. And just as the surgeon, you know, with local anesthetic, was about to begin the procedure, which doesn't use knives these days, but lasers, he said to me, did you see, Mr. Simon?

You were a clue in the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle. And I said, oh, that's wonderful to note, doctor. Just make certain I'm not in the obituaries next week.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. SHORTZ: Nice. There is a lady who wrote me once. She was going into brain surgery.

SIMON: Yeah?

Mr. SHORTZ: And when she came out, the first thing she did was the New York Times crossword. And when she was able to do it she knew that the surgery had been successful.

SIMON: All right. Well, okay. So speaking of brain surgery, remind us of the challenge you left us with last week.

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes, it came from listener Rich Silvestri of Valley Stream, New York. Name an item often found on an office desk. It's a hyphenated word. Add an S to the beginning of each part to get two synonyms. What is the item?

SIMON: Am I supposed to give the answer?

Mr. SHORTZ: Well, I'll give the answer.

SIMON: Yeah, okay. Actually, they prompted me with that. So can I look smart for a moment?

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes.

SIMON: In-tray, sin-stray.

Mr. SHORTZ: That is right. In-tray and you put the S in front, you get sin and stray, which are two synonyms.

SIMON: Oh, okay. All right, well, now this week, Will, we only received just over 750 correct entries. And we selected Jeremy Sicking of Cincinnati, Ohio to play the puzzle over the air with us today. Jeremy, may I call you Jeremy?


SIMON: Nice to talk to you. How are you?

Mr. SICKING: All right.

SIMON: What do you do there in Cincinnati?

Mr. SICKING: Right now I just got a job grading standardized tests.

SIMON: Oh, whoa. Okay, I think we have a ringer here.

Mr. SHORTZ: Good.

SIMON: Before we go any further, how do you like your four-way chili?

Mr. SICKING: I like the five-way chili, which includes both the onions and the beans.

SIMON: Oh, okay. Will, that's a local specialty there in Cincinnati.

Mr. SHORTZ: Uh-huh.

SIMON: Gold Star chili, right?

Mr. SICKING: Well, I…

SIMON: Or Skyline.

Mr. SICKING: I prefer the Skyline.

SIMON: I prefer Skyline. Yeah, well, you sound like just the man to play the possible today. You ready?

Mr. SICKING: All right.

SIMON: Okay.

Mr. SHORTZ: All right, Jeremy and Scott, every answer today is the name of a character in Shakespeare. I'll give you anagrams, you name the characters.

SIMON: Okay.

Mr. SHORTZ: For example, if I said real, R-E-A-L, you would say Lear, as in King Lear.

SIMON: I was just going to say that.

Mr. SHORTZ: Excellent.

SIMON: All right, yeah.

Mr. SHORTZ: Number one is Moore, M-O-O-R-E. Rearrange the letters of M-O-O-R-E.

SIMON: Now, can I go ahead?

Mr. SICKING: Let's see.

SIMON: Where for art thou?

Mr. SICKING: Romeo.

Mr. SHORTZ: Romeo is right. Good job. Number two is pairs, P-A-I-R-S.

Mr. SICKING: Spell it again.

Mr. SHORTZ: Pairs, as in pairs competition, P-A-I-R-S.

Mr. SICKING: Paris.

Mr. SHORTZ: Paris is right. Your next one is ailer, A-I-L-E-R. And I give you a hint here. The answer starts with A, so an anagram of A-I-L-E-R.

Mr. SICKING: Ariel.

Mr. SHORTZ: Ariel, good. Try this one: anger, A-N-G-E-R. And if you're familiar with King Lear, you may be familiar with one of his daughters.

Mr. SICKING: Regan.

Mr. SHORTZ: Regan is right.

SIMON: Jeremy, you - you've come to play, man.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. SHORTZ: Your next one is Thelma, T-H-E-L-M-A.

Mr. SICKING: Hamlet.

Mr. SHORTZ: Hamlet, that was first. Your next one is Ascare, A-S-C-A-R-E.

Mr. SICKING: Caesar.

Mr. SHORTZ: Caesar is right. Tropia, T-R-O-P-I-A.

SIMON: Oh, yeah.

Mr. SHORTZ: This one's a female character. Sounds like, Scott, you have this.

SIMON: Yes, who's right down there at the bottom of public opinion polls with used car salesmen and journalists?

Mr. SICKING: That would be lawyer. So it's Portia.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. SHORTZ: Portia. That's good. Now they're getting longer. Stealer, S-T-E-A-L-E-R. And I give you a hint, the first letter is L.

Mr. SICKING: Laertes.

Mr. SHORTZ: Laertes, good. All right, try this one: proposer, P-R-O-P-O-S-E-R. And the first letter is P as in proposer.

Mr. SICKING: Prospero.

Mr. SHORTZ: Prospero, good. And here's your last one, ancestral, A-N-C-E-S-T-R-A-L, ancestral. The first letter of the answer is L.

Mr. SICKING: Lancaster.

Mr. SHORTZ: Lancaster is correct. Nice job.

SIMON: Jeremy, that was terrific.

Mr. SICKING: Thanks.

SIMON: Will actually liked it.

Mr. SHORTZ: I'm impressed, yeah.

SIMON: It was fun. There's one more riddle to figure out before we go and that is who's going to be this week's prize reader? Judson Laipply, his evolution of dance video has been viewed over 114 million times on YouTube, making one of the highest watched videos on the web. He dances to a montage of music and here he is to tell you what you'll get for playing the puzzle, Jeremy.

Mr. SICKING: All right.

(Soundbite of song, "Hound Dog")

Mr. ELVIS PRESLEY (Musician): (Singing) …you ain't no friend of mine. You ain't nothin' but a hound dog.

Mr. JUDSON LAIPPLY (Evolution of Dance Web Video): For playing our puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, the Eleventh Edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus. But wait, that's not all. Also, the Scrabble Deluxe Edition from Parker Brothers and yet there's still more. You will get "The Puzzlemaster Presents" from Random House, Volume Two.

Will Shortz's latest book series, "Will Shortz Presents KenKen" Volumes One, Two and Three from St. Martin's Press. But wait, we're not finished yet. You will finally also receive one of Will Shortz's "Puzzlemaster Decks of Riddles and Challenges" from Chronicle Books - a true prize package worthy of playing our puzzle today.

(Soundbite of song, "Thriller")

Mr. MICHAEL JACKSON (Musician): (Singing) 'Cause this is thriller, thriller night. And no one's going to save you…

SIMON: Yeah, I kept expecting him to add the Showtime Rotisserie, you know, just set it and forget it. But I guess it wasn't there. Music, of course, by Elvis and Michael Jackson. And, by the way, if you want to see Judson's moves, you can go to WEEKEND EDITION'S YouTube channel. The address is youtube.com/weekendedition. Jeremy, what's your local station there?

Mr. SICKING: My local station my dad and I are members of WBXU in Cincinnati.

SIMON: They're good friend of ours, a great station there in that market. Very glad you could join us, Jeremy Sicking of Cincinnati.

Mr. SICKING: Thank you.

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

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes, it comes from our old pal, Merle Regal - the crossword constructor, who is a judge here this weekend at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. And interestingly, he gave me this puzzle a year ago, and I told him just a little while ago that I would be using it this weekend. He couldn't solve it himself. His wife had to figure it out for him. So, anyway, take the phrase…

SIMON: That's true of all the great puzzles in life in my experience with it, yes.

Mr. SHORTZ: Take the phrase, atlas of the world, change the E to an R and rearrange all the letters to name two cities that are closely related. What are they? So, again, the phrase, atlas of the world, change the E to an R, rearrange all the letters to name two cities that are closely related. What cities are they?

SIMON: Okay. When you have the answer, go to our Web site npr.org/puzzle and click on the Submit Your Answer link. Only one entry per person, please. And employees of National Public Radio and their families…

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: You have to say that, right? Our deadline this week is Thursday at 3:00 PM Eastern Time and please include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time. We will call if you're 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 own puzzlemaster, Will Shortz. Will, nice working with you.

Mr. SHORTZ: Thank a lot Scott. It was fun.

SIMON: And by the way, I've just been handed a note that I incorrectly pronounced the name of our puzzle prize winner. His name is Judson Laipply.

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