Sunday Puzzle: TLDR Challenge NPR's Ayesha Rascoe plays the puzzle with Weekend Edition puzzle master Will Shortz and this week's puzzle winner, Vicki Helwick of Port Angeles, Wash.

Sunday Puzzle: TLDR Challenge

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


And it's a chilly day here in Washington, so we gonna warm up with the Puzzle.


RASCOE: Joining us, as always, is Will Shortz. He's puzzle editor of The New York Times and puzzlemaster of WEEKEND EDITION. Hi there, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Hey, Ayesha. And it's chilly in New York, as well.

RASCOE: (Laughter) OK. So, Will, could you please remind us of last week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yes, It came from listener Alan Hochbaum of Duluth, Ga. I asked, what common eight-letter noun can be shortened in two ways, using either the first three letters or the last four letters? And I said, the answer is a familiar item. And the answer is magazine. Informally, you can call it a mag, or you can call it a zine.

RASCOE: This week's challenge was a little difficult for our listeners. Vicki Helwick of Port Angeles, Wash., is one of fewer than 500 that guessed correctly, and she's our Puzzle winner. Congratulations, and welcome to the show.

VICKI HELWICK: Thank you so much, Ayesha and Will. I am so excited to be here.

RASCOE: And so I understand you've been playing the Puzzle for a very long time, right?

HELWICK: I still have postcard stamps in my desk drawer from when I used to send in on the postcard days.

RASCOE: (Laughter) Oh, my goodness. What do you like to do when you're not playing the Puzzle?

HELWICK: Well, I'm a teacher for an online academy here in our local school district, and I'm also a musician. I'm a singer.

RASCOE: All right. Well, Vicki, are you ready to play the Puzzle?

HELWICK: I hope so.

RASCOE: You are. You are. Take it away, Will.

SHORTZ: All right, Vicki and Ayesha. The letters RDA stand for recommended daily allowance, but accidentally, they're also the initials of Red Delicious apple. I'm going to give you some well-known initialisms, plus clues for some common phrases that happen to have the same initials. Number one is MPH. Normally stands for miles per hour, but it's also a toy in which you might add parts to a face.

HELWICK: Mr. Potato Head.

SHORTZ: You got it. LOL normally stands for laugh out loud, but it's also work done for the sheer pleasure of doing it.

HELWICK: Something of leisure?

SHORTZ: No, but of is right.

RASCOE: Oh, oh, oh. I think I know this one. Labor of love?

SHORTZ: Labor of love. Good.

HELWICK: Oh, of course. Labor of love.

SHORTZ: DDS normally stands for Doctor of Dental Surgery, but many libraries use this to arrange their books.

HELWICK: The Dewey Decimal System.

SHORTZ: That's right. PIN normally is a personal identification number, but it's also a little sticky thing you write on.

HELWICK: Post-it note. I have one right in front of me.

SHORTZ: Uh-huh. SST, normally supersonic transport, but it's also the Latin words cried by John Wilkes Booth in Ford's Theatre.

HELWICK: Sic semper tyrannis.

RASCOE: Oh, my goodness.

SHORTZ: You got it. I'm impressed. MMA's normally mixed martial arts, but it's also years in the past.

RASCOE: Oh, oh, oh, oh. I think I got this one. It - there's...

HELWICK: Do you have it?

RASCOE: There's a lunar (laughter)...

HELWICK: Oh. Many moons ago.

SHORTZ: Many moons ago. You got it. P-A-C is a PAC or a political action committee. It's also two sides to consider when weighing a decision.

HELWICK: Point and counterpoint? Oh, no, no. Pros and cons.

SHORTZ: Pros and cons is it. PDA - it's a personal digital assistant. It's also a public display of affection, but it's also to argue the other side of an argument even if you don't support it.

HELWICK: Play devil's advocate.

SHORTZ: You got it. Play devil's advocate. And here's your last one. BTS as in the K-pop band. It's also out of sight as backstage where things are done.

HELWICK: Behind the scenes.

SHORTZ: Behind the scenes. Good job.

RASCOE: Yeah, you did a great job, Vicki. So how do you feel? 'Cause you ran away with that.

HELWICK: I am - I'm very pleased that I was able to do as well as I did. And thank you for your help.

RASCOE: (Laughter) Oh, no problem. So, 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, Vicki, what member station do you listen to?

HELWICK: I am a founding and sustaining member of KMKX Radio.

RASCOE: Oh, wow. We love to hear that. That's Vicki Helwick of Port Angeles, Wash. Thank you so much for playing the Puzzle.

HELWICK: Thank you.

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

SHORTZ: Yes, it's from Joseph Young of St. Cloud, Minn., who runs the website Puzzleria! Name a symbol or punctuation mark on a computer keyboard. Anagram it to get the brand name of a product you might buy at a grocery in two words. What is it? So again, a symbol or punctuation mark on a computer keyboard. Rearrange the letters to get the name of a product you might buy at a grocery, two-word name. What name is that?

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 this week is Thursday, December 8 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 puzzlemaster of WEEKEND EDITION, Will Shortz. Thank you so much, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Ayesha.


Copyright © 2022 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.