Sunday Puzzle: This is how it begins... NPR's Ayesha Rascoe plays a special edition of the puzzle with Alt Latino's host Felix Contreras and puzzlemaster Will Shortz.

Sunday Puzzle: This is how it begins...

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And it's time to play The Puzzle.


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

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Ayesha.

RASCOE: Today, we're breaking the rules a little bit. What's going on?

SHORTZ: I'm on a six-day trip through Central America. So we're in the middle of a two-week challenge. And I'll remind everyone what that is in a moment.

RASCOE: So this week, we have a celebrity edition of The Puzzle. Our victim or our victor or however you want to look at it is NPR and WEEKEND EDITION favorite Felix Contreras. Welcome, Felix.

FELIX CONTRERAS, BYLINE: Thank you very much. I'm slightly nervous.


CONTRERAS: I ain't going to lie.

RASCOE: Don't be. Don't be. You got this.


RASCOE: So for the very few people out there who don't know, Felix is, of course, co-creator and host of Alt.Latino, NPR's radio show and podcast celebrating Latin music and culture since 2010. Felix, are you ready to play The Puzzle?

CONTRERAS: Yes, I am. I'm ready. Let's try this.

RASCOE: Take it away, Will.

SHORTZ: All right, Felix - first of all, nice to meet you.

CONTRERAS: Nice to meet you, man.

SHORTZ: I'm going to give you two four-letter words. Add the same two letters at the front of each of them to complete two common six-letter words. For example, if I said mire - M-I-R-E - and vise - V-I-S-E - you would put A-D in front to make admire and advise.


SHORTZ: There we go. Number one is dish - D-I-S-H - and pier - P-I-E-R.

CONTRERAS: Two letters.



SHORTZ: Yeah, what goes in front of dish, and I'll give you a hint. It's something you might put in a salad.


SHORTZ: There you go. And rapier...

CONTRERAS: Rapier, yep.

SHORTZ: Like a sword, yeah.

CONTRERAS: OK. All right.

SHORTZ: Number two is bile - B-I-L-E - and rose - R-O-S-E.

CONTRERAS: Bile and rose.

SHORTZ: And to give you a hint, the first one is a kind of phone.

CONTRERAS: Oh, mobile and morose.

SHORTZ: You got it. Rink - R-I-N-K - and tick - T-I-C-K.


SHORTZ: Oh, it's got to be two letters. You put just one in front. It's got to be two letters that go in front.

CONTRERAS: I hear the whole country yelling at me.


CONTRERAS: They're giving me the answer.

RASCOE: And I'm not being much help. Rink...

SHORTZ: OK, and here's a hint. What if you make something smaller? What do you do to it?

CONTRERAS: Oh, shrink.

SHORTZ: Shrink and shtick, yes.

CONTRERAS: Yeah, there you go. Shtick - OK, all right.

SHORTZ: All right. Loon - L-O-O-N - and tire - T-I-R-E.

CONTRERAS: Balloon? No, not balloon.

SHORTZ: Yeah, balloon - you got another L.


SHORTZ: Yeah. If you lived in the Old West and you wanted a drink...

CONTRERAS: Oh, saloon.

SHORTZ: Saloon and?

RASCOE: Satire (laughter).

CONTRERAS: Satire, satire (laughter).

SHORTZ: Satire, there you go. Try this - oral - O-R-A-L - and ashy - A-S-H-Y.

CONTRERAS: Oral and ashy...

RASCOE: Oh, oh, oh.



SHORTZ: It's got to be two letters in front, though.

RASCOE: Choral - C-H. Wouldn't that be...

SHORTZ: Oh, choral - interesting.

RASCOE: And chashy (laughter).

SHORTZ: Yeah, but there's no such thing as chashy. So sorry.


RASCOE: Cloral? That's not a word.

SHORTZ: No, no.

CONTRERAS: Oh, floral and flashy.


SHORTZ: All right. No hint necessary.


SHORTZ: OK, and here's your last one. Easy - E-A-S-Y - which this puzzle is not.

CONTRERAS: (Laughter).

SHORTZ: And your second word is ouch - O-U-C-H.


SHORTZ: And here's your hint. The first word describes certain food.

CONTRERAS: Oh, greasy and grouch.

SHORTZ: Greasy and grouch. Good job.


RASCOE: You did great. That was Felix Contreras. Please go listen to his excellent podcast, Alt.Latino, and stay tuned because they're relaunching it. Felix, thank you so much for doing this.

CONTRERAS: Thank you. Do I get a pin (laughter)?

RASCOE: You should. Yes, we're going to get you a lapel pin.

CONTRERAS: I will walk across the hall at the building and go get it (laughter).

RASCOE: Yes. And we will give it to you.

CONTRERAS: Thanks a lot, Will. Thanks, man.

SHORTZ: Thank you, Felix.

RASCOE: All right, Will, tell us about this two-week challenge.

SHORTZ: Yeah, it's a 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 necessary. For example, if you chose Oregon, you could say, Roger, go gorge on green eggnog. Or if you chose Nebraska, you could write Sen. Ben Sasse's sneakers reek. And that's S-E-N period, and Ben Sasse actually is a U.S. senator from Nebraska. So entries will be judged on originality, sense, naturalness of syntax, humor and overall elegance. No more than three sentences per entry, please.

RASCOE: When you have the answer, go to our website,, and click on the Submit Your Answer link. Remember, just one entry, please. And deadline for entries this time is Wednesday, August 17 at 3 p.m. Eastern because for this challenge, Will is going to need some extra time to judge all of your very creative answers. Don't forget to include a phone number where we can reach you. And if you're 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: Thank you, Ayesha.


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