Sunday Puzzle: Initial Clues Listener Brad Humphreys plays the puzzle with puzzlemaster Will Shortz and NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro.

Sunday Puzzle: Initial Clues

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


And it is 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. Hi, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Lulu.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Remind us of last week's challenge

SHORTZ: Yeah, it came from Joseph Young of St. Cloud, Minn. I said take the name of a flower that has a common girl's name in consecutive letters inside it. Remove that name, and the remaining letters in order sound like another girl's name. What flower is it? Well, the answer is amaryllis. That has the letters of Mary inside it. Remove that, and you're left with A-L-L-I-S, which sounds like Alice.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We received over 1,500 correct responses. And the winner this week is Brad Humphreys of Morgantown, W.Va. Congratulations.

BRAD HUMPHREYS: Thanks very much, Lulu.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: How did you figure it out?

HUMPHREYS: Oh, it was a pretty simple matter of looking through a list of flowers. And since it started with A, parsing it to look for women's names, and it didn't take very long.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And how long have you been playing The Puzzle?

HUMPHREYS: I've been playing and submitting answers basically since the start of the pandemic. I would sort of play along and not submit answers for a long time back into the '90s.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Wow. Well, we're glad to have you back. And what do you do when you're not playing The Puzzle?

HUMPHREYS: I like to garden. My wife and I have a garden. And before the pandemic, we liked to travel quite a bit.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah. Yeah (laughter), me too. What's your favorite flower?

HUMPHREYS: (Laughter) Oh, gosh, I don't have one.

SHORTZ: Well, now it's the amaryllis.

HUMPHREYS: I suppose it is.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) All right, Brad, you ready to play?


GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Take it away, Will.

SHORTZ: All right, Brad, I'm going to give you some categories in two words. You name something in each category, starting with each initial in the category. For example, if I said foreign languages, you might say French and Lithuanian. Any answer that works is fine. Here's number one. Zoo animals.

HUMPHREYS: Zebra, ape.

SHORTZ: Ape, good. Aardvark, anteater, antelope also work. Domestic airlines.

HUMPHREYS: Domestic airline. Delta and American.

SHORTZ: There you go. Clue weapons, as in weapons in the game Clue.

HUMPHREYS: Oh, boy. Weapons. Weapons?

SHORTZ: Yeah, one of them is something that you would use if your room was dark.

HUMPHREYS: Candlestick.

SHORTZ: Candlestick is it. And the W is something that a plumber might use.


SHORTZ: A wrench, yes. Your next one is fruit trees.


SHORTZ: Fig, good.


SHORTZ: There's one for a citrus fruit.

HUMPHREYS: Tangerine.

SHORTZ: Tangerine is it. American poets.


SHORTZ: Poe is good, yes. And we need an A.


SHORTZ: Auden, good. I was going for Angelou. Your answer works, too. Your next one is mixed drinks.


SHORTZ: Excellent.

HUMPHREYS: Daiquiri.

SHORTZ: There you go. African nations.

HUMPHREYS: Angola, Nigeria.

SHORTZ: Whoa. Australian cities.

HUMPHREYS: Adelaide.


HUMPHREYS: And Canberra.

SHORTZ: Oh, man, look at you go. Your next one is chess pieces.



HUMPHREYS: And goodness, C.

SHORTZ: uh-huh.

HUMPHREYS: Not king, not queen, knight, bishop, rook, pawn.

SHORTZ: Oh, and what do they also call the rook?


SHORTZ: The castle, yes. And your last one is card games.

HUMPHREYS: Canasta, gin.

SHORTZ: Oh, man. Boom, boom, boom. Brad, that's brilliant.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: You did really, really well. How do you feel?

HUMPHREYS: I feel great.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah, you did really, really, 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, Brad, which member station do you listen to?

HUMPHREYS: I'm a sustaining member of West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Brad Humphreys of Morgantown, W.Va., thank you so much for playing The Puzzle.

HUMPHREYS: Thanks. I really enjoyed it.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right, Will. What is next week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yes, it comes from the puzzlemaker and editor Peter Gordon. Think of a word for a competitor in a particular Olympic sport. It's a compound word with a hyphen in the middle. Remove the hyphen, and what remains are two words from a different Olympic sport. What words are these? So again, a word for a competitor in a particular Olympic sport. It's a compound word with a hyphen. Drop the hyphen. And what remains are two words from a different Olympic sport. What words 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 Thursday, July 29 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 very own puzzlemaster, Will Shortz.

Thanks so much, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Lulu.


Copyright © 2021 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.