The Most Common Consonants, In Any Order Three of the most common consonants of the English language are R, S and T. Every answer today is a word, name or phrase that contains each of the letters R, S and T exactly once, along with any number of vowels. For example, if the clue is "short-winded," the answer would be, "terse." Note: The R, S and T can appear in any order.

The Most Common Consonants, In Any Order

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

And joining us is puzzlemaster Will Shortz. Hi, Will. I can't see you this week.

WILL SHORTZ: Hello. And that was great last week. I really enjoyed that.

HANSEN: Oh, so did I. I mean, really, thanks for coming to Washington to play the puzzle in person. It was a really fun way to kick start the celebration of my 20th year as host of WEEKEND EDITION.


HANSEN: I know, I'm not thinking about it. You know, our segment was a big hit on Twitter, email and Facebook. If you don't mind, I want to read a couple of responses that we received.

Cindy Iger(ph) from Tacoma, Washington wrote, wow, what a blast. Thanks, Liane, for starting the party early. I so enjoyed the special guests you had: Daniel Schorr and Susan Stamberg.

Gene Delege(ph) of Kansas City, Kansas wrote, besides the fact that I loved this week's puzzler, I also enjoyed the rare NPR crew chat. As a listener from when WEEKEND EDITION Sunday first started, I enjoyed the talk of the progression of the show. I also appreciated why everyone laughed when Scott Simon suggested Liane might know who he was.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: Doug Wood of Michigan, who posted on Twitter as dwood1952 commented - I love this - what kind of an NPR nerd am I? Moved to tears by the puzzle segment. Thanks. That was fun.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: And finally, on Facebook, Chuck Puckett(ph) of Alabama posted this comment. I've been listening for the whole 20 years. It was a great way to commemorate it.

Oh, yeah. Nice. I'll remind everyone. If you didn't get a chance to catch our special edition of the puzzle last week, it's online at And you can also watch a video of it. You can look at us on our blog and YouTube by searching for puzzle in person.

All right, Will, I know you've been waiting to speak, but I'm going to make you hold off a little longer. You know, I usually go to you at this point for you to give us the challenge. But last week, actor Stacy Keach did the honors, so he's going to do it again.


Mr. STACY KEACH (Actor): This week's challenge comes from listener Ben Bass of Chicago. A few weeks ago, we had a puzzle: write the name KEVIN KLINE, pointing out that when the name is written in capital letters, it consists of 13 straight lines, no curves. And we asked you also to name another celebrity whose first and last names also have five letters, in which each name consists of 14 straight lines. The answer was VANNA WHITE.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. KEACH: So, here's the challenge: name a genre of music in two five-letter words, each word consisting of exactly 15 straight lines and no curves.

HANSEN: I could listen to his voice forever.

SHORTZ: Hmm, what a great voice.

HANSEN: He could repeat that and repeat that, but we won't. We have a surprise a little bit later. But what was the answer to that challenge?

SHORTZ: Well, the musical genre is heavy metal.

HANSEN: Well, we had more than 2,200 entries this past week. And from the correct ones, our randomly selected winner is David Winters of Gloversville, New York.

Hey, David.


HANSEN: Tell me what you do there in Gloversville.

Mr. WINTERS: I drive a gasoline tanker.

HANSEN: You do?


HANSEN: Are you on the road a lot?

Mr. WINTERS: Every day. It's a five-day job. I'm home every night.

HANSEN: Ah, okay. So you get to - do you hear the puzzle in the truck?

Mr. WINTERS: That's all I do on Sunday mornings, first thing.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: All right, how long did it take you to solve this one?

Mr. WINTERS: Unfortunately, about an hour. I say unfortunately because I like heavy metal music and it was the last thing I thought of.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. WINTERS: (unintelligible) that one.

HANSEN: Well, you've been playing for about 10 or 12 years, right?


HANSEN: Yeah. And I'll just say, you know, I know Gloversville. I know the town that you're in and there's such beautiful country up there so I feel like I'm talking to someone from a kind of hometown. Are you ready to play, David?

Mr. WINTERS: I think so. Yes.

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

SHORTZ: All right, David, three of the most common consonants in the English language are R, S and T. Every answer today is a word, name or phrase that contains each of the letters R, S and T, exactly once, along with any number of vowels. For example, if I gave you the clue short-winded, you might say, terse. And note that the R, S and T can appear in any order.

HANSEN: Oh, that makes it so much harder.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: Here's number one and we'll start with five-letter answers. Your first clue is a fixed look.

Mr. WINTERS: Stare.

SHORTZ: Stare is it. Number two is unit of a mall.

Mr. WINTERS: Store.

SHORTZ: Store is it. The trunk of the body.

Mr. WINTERS: Torso.

SHORTZ: Torso is right. Where a chicken sits overnight. You know that old phrase where the chickens go home to…

Mr. WINTERS: Roost.

SHORTZ: Roost is it.

HANSEN: Mm-hmm.

SHORTZ: A stringed musical instrument of India.

Mr. WINTERS: Sitar.

SHORTZ: Sitar is it. Now we're with six-letter answers and your first clue is stitch made after surgery.

Mr. WINTERS: What was it again?

SHORTZ: A stitch made after surgery.

Mr. WINTERS: Oh, suture.

SHORTZ: A suture is it. Sign of the zodiac after Aries.

Mr. WINTERS: Taurus.

SHORTZ: Taurus. A sound system.

Mr. WINTERS: Stereo.

SHORTZ: Uh-huh. Holiday following Lent.

Mr. WINTERS: Easter.

SHORTZ: Easter is it. Expulsion. Six-letter answer.

HANSEN: Toss out, no. Hint.

SHORTZ: It starts with an O.

HANSEN: Is it what one might do with a dictator?


HANSEN: All right. Ouster?

SHORTZ: Ouster is the word, good. Now, we're at seven-letter answers.


SHORTZ: And your first one is Vienna is its capital.

Mr. WINTERS: Austria.


SHORTZ: That's right. Very, very funny. And it starts with an R.

HANSEN: Oh, I'm writing a stitch, that's not it. Very, very funny.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: So, it's laugh out loud funny. I'll tell you that one - that's a hard one - it's riotous.

HANSEN: Riotous.

Mr. WINTERS: oh.

HANSEN: Uh-huh. Okay.

SHORTZ: All right, how about hit? Still seven letters: ventilates. And it's a two-word phrase: ventilates.

HANSEN: Air something?

SHORTZ: Yes, airs, ventilates, airs (unintelligible).


(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: Airs out is it. And you got one more.

HANSEN: Oh no.

SHORTZ: This is an eight-letter answer and your clue is a path across the ocean, two words. Well, first of all, think of a three-letter synonym of ocean.


SHORTZ: Yeah, sea, yes. And the path across the ocean would be a sea… And there's also this whole highway blank 66 across the United States.

Mr. WINTERS: Route.

HANSEN: Route.

SHORTZ: That's it, sea route, good job.

HANSEN: Route. Oh, David. These were hard, Will.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: I had a feeling, yeah.

HANSEN: Yeah, it's - getting into the seven-letter words is where I started to lose it. Well, David, you know, you always get something for being on the air and, you know, both of us were doing pretty well there until the long words came.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: So, you know we had a special edition of our puzzle last week and the actor Stacy Keach surprised us by giving the challenges we just heard. Well, we have another surprise for you: an encore presentation from Mr. Keach. This time he has a dramatic read of your puzzle prizes.

Mr. KEACH: 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: Well, David, you can't take it to the bank, but, you know, what do you think?

Mr. WINTERS: It's great.

HANSEN: I do, too. I love his voice. And you are going to get all those things.

Mr. WINTERS: Thank you.

HANSEN: And I want to tell our listeners that if you missed Stacy Keach's appearance on the puzzle or the rest of the special edition, again, you can still view it on our blog, Before we let you go, David, what member station do you listen to in that truck?


HANSEN: WAMC out of Albany, New York. David Winters of Gloversville, New York, thanks so much for being our guest today.

Mr. WINTERS: Thank you.

HANSEN: All right, Will, now you do the honors. What's the challenge for next week?

SIEGEL: Yes. It's a pretty straightforward challenge. Think of a word starting with G and ending in R. Remove the G and R, and the remaining letters can be rearranged to spell a synonym of the original word. What words are these? So, again, a word starting with G and ending in R, remove the G and R and the remaining letters can be rearranged to spell a synonym of the original word. What words are these?

HANSEN: When you have the answer, go to our Web site 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. 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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