Sunday Puzzle: Cities of America! NPR's Alina Selyukh plays the puzzle with listener Hannah Wilson of Chicago and puzzlemaster Will Shortz.

Sunday Puzzle: Cities of America!

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And it's time to play The Puzzle.


SELYUKH: Joining us is Will Shortz. He is puzzle editor of The New York Times and puzzlemaster of WEEKEND EDITION. Good to talk to you, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Alina.

SELYUKH: So remind us, please, of last week's challenge.

SHORTZ: Yes, it came from listener Steve Baggish of Arlington, Massachusetts. I said, name a famous person in American television - six letters in the first name, four letters in the last. Switch the last letter of the first name with the first letter of the last, then reverse the order of the two modified names. And you'll get a phrase meaning almost typical. What is it? Well, the answer is Norman Lear, who turned 100 on July 27. And make that switch - you get real normal.

SELYUKH: Personally, had a real hard time with this one challenge, but there were at least 500 other folks who submitted correct responses. And the winner is Hannah Wilson of Chicago, Ill. Congratulations, Hannah. Welcome to the show.

HANNAH WILSON: Yay. Hi. How you doing?

SELYUKH: Hello. Hello. So how did you figure it out?

WILSON: This one I got pretty much instantly, actually, because I had actually just seen that Norman Lear had turned 100. And I think that name was just at the top of my head. So I heard television personality, six letters and it just - my mind just went there, like it was the first thing I thought of.

SELYUKH: That's amazing. So what do you do when you're not playing The Puzzle?

WILSON: I have too many hobbies. I play the piano. I draw. I do a lot of trivia and crossword puzzles and that kind of thing.

SELYUKH: That makes sense. That makes sense. All right, Hannah, are you ready to play The Puzzle?

WILSON: Yes, I am.

SELYUKH: Take it away, Will.

SHORTZ: All right, Hannah and Alina, every answer today is a well-known U.S. city or town that has a two-word name, and you'll get rhymes for the respective parts. You name the places. For example, if I said lodge kitty, Kansas, you would say Dodge City.


SHORTZ: Here we go. Number one is calm things, Calif. That's C-A-L-M - calm things, Calif.

WILSON: Palm Springs.

SHORTZ: Palm Springs. You got it. Number two is fertile speech, S.C.

WILSON: Myrtle Beach?

SHORTZ: That's it. Quaker sites, Ohio.

WILSON: Shaker Heights.

SHORTZ: You got it. Blue raven, Conn.

WILSON: New Haven?

SHORTZ: That's it. Short chain, Ind.

WILSON: Short chain...

SHORTZ: It's a big city.

WILSON: So I'm going to need some help.

SHORTZ: The first part is a four-letter - common, four-letter word.

WILSON: Oh, Fort Wayne.

SHORTZ: Fort Wayne. You didn't need a hint. Your next one is court buyers, Fla.

WILSON: Fort Myers.

SHORTZ: You got it. Thin shawls - that's T-H-I-N - thin shawls, Idaho.

WILSON: Thin shawls - something falls...

SHORTZ: Idaho.

WILSON: I'm not totally sure.

SHORTZ: Yes. And if you have two babies, what are - what's each one of them?

WILSON: Twin Falls. I don't think I've ever heard of that.

SHORTZ: Twin Falls, Idaho is right. Make snarls, La.

WILSON: Lake Charles?

SHORTZ: You got it. Star barber, Maine.

WILSON: Bar Harbor.

SHORTZ: You got it. Rattle squeak, Mich.

WILSON: Battle Creek.

SHORTZ: Uh-huh. Fine stuff - that's F-I-N-E - fine stuff, Ark.

WILSON: Is there a Pine Bluff, Ark.?

SHORTZ: There is indeed. Hand function, Colo.

WILSON: Grand Junction.

SHORTZ: Uh-huh. Ain't proud, Minn.

WILSON: St. Cloud.

SHORTZ: Yu-huh. Swell lasso, Texas.

WILSON: El Paso.

SHORTZ: Uh-huh. And your last one is great knowledge, Pa.

WILSON: Great knowledge...

SHORTZ: Pennsylvania.

WILSON: Something college - State College.

SHORTZ: State College. Yeah. And how appropriate is that, for great knowledge? Good job.

SELYUKH: Amazing job. How do you feel?

WILSON: Pretty good. Those were smaller towns than I was expecting. But I'm glad I got most of them.

SELYUKH: Definitely. Well, so for playing our Puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, as well as puzzle books and games. And you can read all about it at Hannah, what member station do you listen to?

WILSON: WBEZ in Chicago.

SELYUKH: That's Hannah Wilson of Chicago, Ill. Thank you so much for playing The Puzzle.

WILSON: Thank you.

SELYUKH: OK, Will, we have a two-week challenge in store for our listeners this time. Tell us all about it.

SHORTZ: Yeah, it's a two-week, creative challenge. The object is to write a sentence using only the letters of any particular U.S. state. You can pick the state and repeat letters as often as necessary. For example, my home state of New York, you can use those letters to make, no one knew we were ornery. Or Washington, sighting a ghost tonight was astonishing. So entries will be judged on originality, sense, naturalness of syntax, humor and overall elegance. No more than three sentences, though, per entry, please.

SELYUKH: When you have the answer, go to our website, Click on the submit your answer link. Remember, just one entry, please. And don't forget this is a special, two-week challenge. Our deadline for entries this time is Wednesday, August 17 at 3 p.m. Eastern. Yes, you heard that right, Wednesday, August 17 because for this challenge, Will needs the extra day to judge your creative answers. And don't forget to include a phone number where we can reach you. If you are the winner, we'll give you a call at the regular time, 3 p.m. Eastern, Thursday, August 18. And if you pick up the phone, you'll get to play on the air with the puzzle editor of The New York Times and puzzlemaster of WEEKEND EDITION, Will Shortz. Thank you, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks a lot, Alina.


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