Sunday Puzzle: Word Scramble! NPR's Ayesha Rascoe plays the puzzle with listener Jamey Leahey of Danville, Kentucky, along with Weekend Edition puzzle master Will Shortz.

Sunday Puzzle: Word Scramble!

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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 puzzle master of WEEKEND EDITION.

Good to talk to you, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Ayesha.

RASCOE: So remind us of last week's challenge.

SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Michael Penn of Durham, N.C. I said, name two countries with a total of 12 letters that when spelled one after the other form six consecutive state postal abbreviations. And the answer is Denmark and Spain. Put those together, you get Delaware, New Mexico, Arkansas, Kansas, Pennsylvania and Indiana in order.

RASCOE: Wow. OK. I would have never thought of that. But we received more than 400 correct submissions. And the winner is Jamey Leahey of Danville, Ky. Congratulations, Jamey, and welcome to the show.

JAMEY LEAHEY: Thank you. Great to be here.

RASCOE: So how did you figure this out? - 'cause I wouldn't have got this.

LEAHEY: Sometimes it takes this longer to do it. My wife and I like to work on them together. And we started thinking about, OK, well, they're probably not six letters each. They're probably five and seven or something like that. And then we thought - 'cause we were in Kentucky driving up to Indiana - and we thought, well, what if it's Kentucky in there? Well, then how would the K and Y be split? And then it just occurred to my wife, you know, it's probably KS. And then it hit her - Denmark. And a few minutes later, we hit Spain.

RASCOE: Wow. So it was a group effort. So why are you doing...

LEAHEY: (Laughter).

RASCOE: ...The puzzle and not your wife?

LEAHEY: I was the one who said, well, let's send in the answer. Let's do it.

RASCOE: OK (laughter).

LEAHEY: She's actually on jury duty right now.

RASCOE: Oh, well, that's important, too.

LEAHEY: That's right.

RASCOE: You know, the puzzle, jury duty - you know, they're both civic duties.

LEAHEY: That's right.

RASCOE: So what do you do when you're not playing the puzzle?

LEAHEY: Well, my wife and I like to partake in some of our arts and culture activities in our small town. We do a little traveling, a little gardening. We stay busy.

RASCOE: That sounds like a lot of fun. So, Jamey, I got to ask you, are you ready to play the puzzle?

LEAHEY: Oh, I sure am.

RASCOE: All right. Well, take it away, Will.

SHORTZ: All right, Jamey and Ayesha, I'm going to give you two four-letter words. Rearrange the letters of one of them to get a synonym of the other. And which word is the synonym and which is the anagram is for you to discover. For example, if I said soup - S-O-U-P - and work - W-O-R-K - you would say opus because opus is an anagram of soup, and it's a synonym of work.


SHORTZ: All right. Number one is cozy - C-O-Z-Y - and sung - S-U-N-G.

LEAHEY: Golly. I'm not sure I'm going to get that. Let's see.

SHORTZ: Ah, you'll get this. Rearrange the letters of sung to get a synonym of cozy.

LEAHEY: Oh, snug.

SHORTZ: Snug is it. Number two is halt - H-A-L-T - and post - P-O-S-T.

LEAHEY: Let's see. Stop.

SHORTZ: That's it. Life - L-I-F-E - and rasp.

LEAHEY: Life and rasp. File and rasp.

SHORTZ: File is it. Part - P-A-R-T - and lore - L-O-R-E.

LEAHEY: Part and role.

SHORTZ: That's it. Tern - T-E-R-N - and torn.

LEAHEY: Turn and torn. Torn and rent.

SHORTZ: That's it. Left - L-E-F-T - and newt - N-E-W-T.

LEAHEY: Left and newt. Left and went.

SHORTZ: That's it. Tope - T-O-P-E - and bard - B-A-R-D.

LEAHEY: Let's see. Poet and bard.

SHORTZ: Poet is it. Link - L-I-N-K - and oven.

LEAHEY: Kiln and oven.

SHORTZ: That's it. Lean - L-E-A-N - and silt.

LEAHEY: Lean and silt.


LEAHEY: Ayesha, can you give me any help here?

RASCOE: I was...


RASCOE: I thought I had one, but then I was thinking...

LEAHEY: Lean and list.

SHORTZ: List is it. You got it.

RASCOE: List. OK. That's a good one.

SHORTZ: And here's your last one. Thin - T-H-I-N - and clue - C-L-U-E.

LEAHEY: I'm thinking luce. That's not it.

SHORTZ: Anagram the other one.

RASCOE: Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh.

LEAHEY: You got it?

RASCOE: This is what you need from me, but I couldn't give you one (laughter).

LEAHEY: Oh, a hint.

SHORTZ: A hint, a hint.

LEAHEY: That's right.

RASCOE: That was a hint that was a hint.

LEAHEY: That was great.

RASCOE: OK. Great job. So how do you feel?

LEAHEY: Oh, it feels good, feels good. I'd like to shout them out when I'm listening to the radio, but this, of course, is more challenging.

RASCOE: It's always different when you're in the moment. But you did a great job.

LEAHEY: Thank you.

RASCOE: 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, Jamey, what member station do you listen to?

LEAHEY: We listen to WEKU in Richmond.

RASCOE: That's Jamey Leahey of Danville, Ky.

Thank you, Jamey, so much for playing the puzzle.

LEAHEY: That was a lot of fun. Thank you.

RASCOE: All right, Will, what is next week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yes. It comes from listener Roy Holliday, of Nyack, N.Y. Name something in eight letters that you might hear at an opera. Drop three of the letters without changing the order of the remaining five and you'll name something you might see in an opera. What things are these? So again, eight letters, something you might hear in an opera. Drop three of the letters, but keeping the remaining five in the same order - you'll name something you might see at an opera. What things are these?

RASCOE: When you have the answer, go to our website,, and click on the submit your answer link. Remember, just one entry, please. Our deadline for entries is Thursday, September 15, at 3 p.m. Eastern. Don't forget to include a phone number where we can reach you. If you're the winner, we'll give you a call. 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 puzzle master of WEEKEND EDITION, Will SHORTZ.

Thank you, Will.

SHORTZ: Thank you, Ayesha.


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