'-Ex' Marks the Spot! NPR's Ayesha Rascoe plays the puzzle with listener Kieran Cahalan of Weatherford, Okla., and puzzlemaster Will Shortz.

'-Ex' Marks the Spot!

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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, but my favorite is he's puzzlemaster of WEEKEND EDITION. Good to talk to you, Will.

WILL SHORTZ: Good morning, Ayesha.

RASCOE: So, Will, can you remind us of last week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yes, it came from listener Ed Pegg Jr., who runs the website mathpuzzle.com. Think of an animal in which the singular form of the female and the plural form of the male sound like synonyms. What animal is it? Well, the answer is deer, although it could also be other animals. The singular of the female is a doe, and the plural of the male is bucks. And doe and bucks both sound like synonyms.

RASCOE: Oh, OK. That was good. So now, listeners, I understand y'all did a good job with this one. Out of over 500 correct submissions, our winner is Kieran Cahalan of Weatherford, Okla. Congratulations, Kieran, and welcome to the show.

KIERAN CAHALAN: Thank you. It's wonderful to be here.

RASCOE: Can you tell me how you figured this out? Did you just start going through some animals in your head, or you just - you like deer? What happened?

CAHALAN: Well, a combination of the two. I did start, you know, sort of running through animals. And my commute takes me through so many rural parts of Oklahoma. So on a number of occasions, I've become closely acquainted with deer.


CAHALAN: And so it just popped in.

RASCOE: Well, hopefully in a very nice way you got acquainted with them.

CAHALAN: Yes. Once, perhaps not so nice, but...

RASCOE: (Laughter) OK. OK, well, what do you do when you're not playing the Puzzle and not running into deers? And I - you know, I'm using that not literally (laughter).

CAHALAN: I'm a wind turbine technician.


RASCOE: Oh, wow. OK. And how long have you been doing that?

CAHALAN: About eight years now.

RASCOE: Oh, wow. Well, that - so you're part of the clean energy revolution.

CAHALAN: Yep. Yep. Definitely a foot soldier.

RASCOE: OK, Kieran. Are you ready to play the Puzzle?

CAHALAN: I hope so.

RASCOE: Oh, you are. You are. You are ready to do it. OK. Take it away, Will.

SHORTZ: All right. Kieran and Ayesha, this is a good two-person puzzle. So I would like you - when either of you gets the answer, just yell it out as fast as you can. Each answer is a product or company whose name ends in E-X. For example, if I said a cold medicine, you would say Mucinex. OK, number one is facial tissues.

CAHALAN: Kleenex.

SHORTZ: That's it. Glass cleaner.

CAHALAN: Windex.

SHORTZ: Is right. Luxury watches.


SHORTZ: Uh-huh. Now another brand of watches and clocks.


RASCOE: Timex?

SHORTZ: Timex. You got it. Overnight delivery service.


SHORTZ: That's it. Credit card company, informally.


SHORTZ: Uh-huh. Rotary address files.

CAHALAN: Rolodex.

SHORTZ: That's it. And oven-safe glassware.


SHORTZ: That's it. How about synthetic fabric with high elasticity? It's good for exercise equipment and exercise clothing.

RASCOE: Oh, spandex.

SHORTZ: Spandex. You got it. How about breakfast cereals?



SHORTZ: Chex is it. Uh-huh. And your last one is a bygone product - tape for recording. They used to have the slogan, is it live or is it - OK. I'm showing my age there. That's...

RASCOE: Memorex.

SHORTZ: Memorex. You got it. OK.



RASCOE: That was good. I feel like we both did a good job. Right, Kieran?

CAHALAN: Well, I definitely appreciate the assist for sure. Yeah.

RASCOE: (Laughter). So how do you feel?

CAHALAN: Relieved. Relieved. That was a lot of fun. And yeah - always thought it would be a great experience. And very excited and pleased and pleased it's over painlessly.


RASCOE: Well, you did an awesome, awesome job. 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 npr.org/puzzle. And, Kieran, what member station do you listen to?

CAHALAN: I listen to KOSU, Stillwater, Okla.

RASCOE: That's Kieran Cahalan of Weatherford, Okla. Thank you so much for playing the Puzzle.

CAHALAN: Thank you again for having me.

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

SHORTZ: Yes, it comes from Mike Reiss, who's a writer-producer for "The Simpsons." Name a place in Europe in nine letters. Swap the third and fourth letters. Then swap the eighth and ninth letters. And the result is two words describing what this place famously does. What place is it? So again, a place in Europe, nine letters. Swap the third and fourth letters, also the eighth and ninth letters, and you'll get two words that describe what this place famously does. What is it?

RASCOE: When you have the answer, go to our website, npr.org/puzzle, and click on the Submit Your Answer link. Remember, just one entry, please. 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.


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