Sunday Puzzle: SHH! It's Puzzle Time NPR's Ayesha Rascoe plays the puzzle with Weekend Edition puzzle master Will Shortz and this week's puzzle winner Scott Porter of Orlando, Fla.

Sunday Puzzle: SHH! It's Puzzle Time

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


And it was on today's date in 1892 that a Christmas classic had its premiere in St. Petersburg, Russia. But roll over, Tchaikovsky, 'cause we've got tougher nuts to crack.


RASCOE: It's time to play The Puzzle.


RASCOE: Joining us, as always, is Will Shortz, puzzle editor of The New York Times and puzzlemaster of WEEKEND EDITION. Good morning, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Ayesha. Yeah, we have some nuts to crack today.

RASCOE: (Laughter). I hope they're not too tough now...

SHORTZ: Not too tough, no.

RASCOE: ... But we will see. Will, could you please remind us of last week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yeah. I thought it was a tough one, but a lot of people got it. It came from listener Warren Bergmann, of Neenah, Wis. I said many people carry blank - a four-letter word - in a blank - five-letter word - to make blank - nine-letter word. And I said, you can rearrange the letters of the first two words to get the last word - what words are these? And the first words are cash. You can carry cash in a purse to make purchases. Those are the words.

RASCOE: Yeah, I would never have gotten that, but we had over 2,000 correct submissions, including one from our lucky winner this week, Scott Porter of Orlando, Fla. Congratulations, and welcome to the show.

SCOTT PORTER: Good morning. Thank you.

RASCOE: I hear that you are a born competitor. You do marathons?

PORTER: I've done 150 of them.


PORTER: Many of them listening to The Puzzle and doing them while I was rolling along.

RASCOE: So you are - you're a paraplegic, and you do wheelchair marathons?

PORTER: Correct.

RASCOE: Well, that takes a lot of stamina and determination. So how did you figure this one out?

PORTER: Well, when I get The Puzzle on something like this, I start just thinking of things that go in there. And usually, you know, my first instinct's wrong. But this one, you know, my trial was cash and purse right away, and it just came to me.

RASCOE: Wow. So I feel like you are definitely ready to play The Puzzle. Are you ready?

PORTER: Absolutely.

RASCOE: OK. Take it away, Will.

SHORTZ: All right, Scott and Ayesha. Every answer today is a word that starts with S-H. I'll give you two words - one that can precede the answer, the other that can follow it, in each case, to complete a compound word or a familiar two-word phrase. For example, if I said night and tree, you would say shade, as in nightshade and shade tree. Every answer starts S-H. And here's number one - tennis and lace.


SHORTZ: Tennis shoe and shoelace, yes. How about April and stall - S-T-A-L-L?

PORTER: Shower.

SHORTZ: You got it. How about loan - L-O-A-N - and tank?

PORTER: Shark.

SHORTZ: You got it. Book, life - L-I-F-E.

PORTER: Shelf.

SHORTZ: Uh-huh. Window, spree.

PORTER: Shopping.

SHORTZ: Uh-huh. Sea - S-E-A - sea and station.

PORTER: Shell.

SHORTZ: You got it. The letter T, just the letter T, and tail - T-A-I-L.

PORTER: Shirt.

SHORTZ: You got it, T-shirt. Screen and clock.

PORTER: Oh, shot.

SHORTZ: Shot clock, screenshot is it. Cold and blade.

PORTER: Cold. Oh, shoulder.

SHORTZ: Cold shoulder, shoulder blade, right. And here is your last one. Road - R-O-A-D - and stopper.


SHORTZ: Roadshow and showstopper. So good.

RASCOE: How do you feel?

PORTER: Relieved. And now I have to get a new bucket list item to replace this one.

RASCOE: Well, I'm glad we got you on the show. 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, Scott, what member station do you listen to?


RASCOE: Well, we are glad to hear that. That's Scott Porter of Orlando, Fla. Thank you for playing the puzzle.

PORTER: Thank you.

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

SHORTZ: Yes, it comes from listener Chip Naharajan of Philadelphia. If you change the third letter of wolf to an O, you get the sound made by a dog - woof. Now name a six-letter animal and change the second letter to get the sound made by a completely different animal - what is it? So again, a six-letter animal. Change the second letter to get the sound made by a completely different animal. What is it?

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 22 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, Will.

SHORTZ: Thank you, 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.