Flush The Birds Change one letter in each of two words of a sentence to name birds. For example: "Is actor Dennis Quaid afraid of the dark?" The answer: Quail and Lark (Change the "d" in "quaid" to make "quail" and change the "d" in "dark" to make "lark."). It's always the same letter of the alphabet that changes — twice for each sentence, and the letter it changes to is also the same.
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Flush The Birds

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Flush The Birds

Flush The Birds

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From NPR News, this is WEEKEND EDITION. I'm Liane Hansen.

And joining us is puzzlemaster Will Shortz. Hey, Will.


HANSEN: What's new?

SHORTZ: I can't think of anything.


SHORTZ: Things are good here. How about you?

HANSEN: I got nothing.

(Soundbite of laughter)


HANSEN: We have an interesting person who'll be reading the puzzle prizes today. That's about all I can say right now. But we'll save it until after the game is over.


HANSEN: And to begin, remind of the challenge you gave us last week.

SHORTZ: Yes. It was a tough one. It came from listener David Hill of New York City. I said, take these equations: 5 = 4, 7 = 17, 9 = 25 and 35 = 2. And I asked, what does 14 equal?

HANSEN: Even with a clue I didn't have a clue. What was the answer?

SHORTZ: Well, the answer is 32. It had nothing to do with math and had all to do with presidents. The fifth president was named James Monroe and the fourth was James Madison, so they share first names, James. The seventh and 17th presidents were both Andrew: Jackson and Johnson. Ninth and 25th were both William: Henry Harrison and McKinley. And 35th and second were both Johns: Kennedy and Adams. So the 14th president was Franklin Pierce, shares a first name with the 32nd president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

HANSEN: And I swore it was one of those math SAT problems to solve.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: Well, it was really tough. I mean, really tough. So tough, we only received about 200 correct entries this week. And from those entries we randomly selected Charlie Carroll of St. Paul, Minnesota to play on the air with us today.

Hi, Charlie.

Mr. CHARLIE CARROLL: Hello, Liane.

HANSEN: How did you solve this?

Mr. CARROLL: Well, this one took a long time. And I might've given up, except on Tuesday or so, my brother sent me an email gloating that he had it. So I knew I had to (unintelligible).

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. CARROLL: Eventually he did give me one small hint - that it had nothing to do with a dead end I was going down. But...

HANSEN: The math end, right?

Mr. CARROLL: I was trying to - playing off two weeks ago - spelling out the numbers and it didn't happen.

HANSEN: Oh, oh, oh.

Mr. CARROLL: But I think he got help from his 14-year-old son, Matthew.

HANSEN: Hey. It's...

Mr. CARROLL: So it took a lot of the Carroll family to get it, but we eventually did.

HANSEN: Oh, that's nice, you know, the family that does puzzles together, you know, good deal.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: How long have you been playing our puzzle?

Mr. CARROLL: Well, somewhere between the first-timers you get every once in a while and the postcard people - a few years.

HANSEN: Oh, a few years and have you been sending in entries all that time?

Mr. CARROLL: When I get them, yes.

HANSEN: You're a puzzle person?

Mr. CARROLL: I am. I love puzzles.

HANSEN: Yeah, I read here you used to compete in Scrabble tournaments.

Mr. CARROLL: I did. Back in the dinosaur age I played a lot of tournament Scrabble.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: Cool. Well, it sounds like you'll be great at our puzzle. You ready?

Mr. CARROLL: Go for it.

HANSEN: All right. Will, meet Charlie. Let's play.

SHORTZ: All right, Charlie, I'm going to read you some sentences. In each sentence, change one letter in each of two words to name birds. For example, is actor Dennis Quaid afraid of the dark? You would change the D in Quaid to an L to make quail and the D in dark to an L to make lark. And note, it's always the same letter of the alphabet that's changed twice in each sentence. And the letter you change to is also the same.

HANSEN: Oh, okay.

SHORTZ: So it's D's in Quaid and dark you change, and L's in the result, quail and lark. All right, here's number one. At Lake Huron, turn left.

Mr. CARROLL: That one must be heron and...


Mr. CARROLL: Oh, and tern.

SHORTZ: Heron and tern. Excellent. Number two, Israel's Yitzhak Rabin exhibited great candor.

Mr. CARROLL: Robin and condor.

SHORTZ: Oh, good. Tell me when you've had enough chow. Tell me when you've had enough chow.

Mr. CARROLL: Tell me when you've had enough chow. So it seems like chow is the word that doesn't belong.

SHORTZ: Right.

Mr. CARROLL: Oh, crow.

SHORTZ: Yes. And find another H and change that to an R.

Mr. CARROLL: Tell me. Oh, wren.


SHORTZ: Wren is good. The toner cartridge ran out of ink before I could print Bugs Bunny's carrot.

Mr. CARROLL: Parrot and partridge.

SHORTZ: Parrot and partridge. Good.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: The water is lapping at the river's shore under the bridge span.

Mr. CARROLL: Is a lapwing a bird?

SHORTZ: The lapwing is indeed a bird.

Mr. CARROLL: So, I'm sorry, could you read the sentence again? We'll look for the Ps.

SHORTZ: Right. The water is lapping at the river's shore under the bridge span.


Mr. CARROLL: Swan.

SHORTZ: Swan is it.

HANSEN: Good job.

SHORTZ: This bill for malt bitters is busting the budget.

Mr. CARROLL: Bittern.


Mr. CARROLL: This bill for malt...

SHORTZ: ...bitters is busting the budget.

Mr. CARROLL: Bunting? I think it must be bunting.

SHORTZ: Bunting is it. That's it. A demand for higher wages was the thrust of the labor strike.

Mr. CARROLL: Thrush.

SHORTZ: Yes. Thrust of the labor strike.

Mr. CARROLL: Oh, shrike.

SHORTZ: Shrike is it. Canoeists know not to shift their weight in shallow water.

Mr. CARROLL: Swallow...

SHORTZ: Swallow is it. Canoeists not - know not to shift their weight.

Mr. CARROLL: Swift. Yup.

SHORTZ: And swift is it. The restaurant manager gave the couple a free meal.

Mr. CARROLL: Tanager and teal.

SHORTZ: Tanager and teal, good. And here's your last one. Kate Winslet files her nails with sandpaper.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. CARROLL: Of course she does, don't we all?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. CARROLL: Sandpiper and kite.

SHORTZ: Good job, Charlie that was great.

HANSEN: Charlie, you know your birds. Oh, well done. I have to admit, I got way lost in this. I was lost in the bushes, I think.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: Or in the weeds, as they say. Nice job. Well, coming up, we're going to hear the story of a 15-year-old girl who is heading to the Cannes Film Festival to show her documentary, which is pretty exciting. This is Michele Pinczuk.

Ms. MICHELE PINCZUK (Filmmaker): 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 "Puzzlemaster Presents" from Random House Volume 2. Will Shortz's latest book series, "Will Shortz Presents KenKen," Volumes 1, 2 and 3 from St. Martin's Press. And one of Will Shortz's "Puzzlemaster Decks of Riddles and Challenges" from Chronicle Books.

HANSEN: Fifteen-year-old Michele Pinczuk. Isn't that amazing a 15-year-old is getting her film shown at Cannes? Oh, yeah. What do you think, Charlie?

Mr. CARROLL: Well, I was out of town recently and I saw KenKen puzzles for the first time. So - in the local newspaper in Pittsburgh - so I'm real interested to get all this good stuff.

HANSEN: Excellent. And before we let you go, Charlie, you have to tell us the member station you listen to.

Mr. CARROLL: KNOW, St. Paul, Minnesota.

HANSEN: All right, Charlie Carroll of St. Paul, Minnesota. You were amazing. Thanks for playing the puzzle with us today. I'm so glad you were there.

Mr. CARROLL: It was a pleasure.

HANSEN: Okay. Will, we need a challenge for next week.

SHORTZ: Yes. Think of a six-letter word in which the third letter is S, as in Sam. Remove the S, and you'll be left with a five-letter word that means the opposite of the six-letter one. What is it? And here's a hint, the six-letter word has two syllables, the five-letter one has one.

So, again, think of a six-letter word in which the third letter is S, remove the S and you'll be left with a five-letter word that has the opposite meaning. What words are these?

HANSEN: 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. Our deadline this week is Thursday 3 p.m. Eastern Time. Please include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time because we'll call you 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 Puzzlemaster, Will Shortz. Thanks a lot, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane.

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